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Posts Tagged ‘bread’

My first giveaway! How exciting!

So, have you tried anything from Katz Gluten Free yet? I hadn’t but they sent me a sample package a while back and I am loving everything in it! And now they just sent me their two newest products, Vanilla Rugelach and Chocolate Frosted Cupcakes (with sprinkles!).

I am sitting here eating one of each (despite all the Christmas cookies, Buckeyes and fudge sitting on my kitchen counter). I defrosted the chocolate cupcake in the microwave (a little too long) and the smell that filled the kitchen was wonderful and chocolately. I had asked my husband if he wanted half but he didn’t since he had just opened a beer. But just now he came wandering in here, his nose leading him, asking if there as any cupcake left. Uh, no. Gone. Gulp! Mmm. I don’t think he will pass up any future offers of these cupcakes!

These cupcakes would be a great option for school children. The school could keep the package frozen and defrost one for a classroom birthday treat as needed for your child. Or keep them in your freezer for a special treat for you!

And the Vanilla Rugelach are good too. But the vanilla is a little bit overpowering, in my opinion. My favorite rugelach is their Cinnamon Rugelach. Both are great with a cup of tea (as you can see in the picture here).

Of their other products that I have tried, I really like the Challah Bread. As well, the Chocolate Chip Cookies. They have a great flavor and plenty of chips that are a little melty when you bite into one.

So, enough with the review. Be sure you go on over and check out some products – they are currently offering free shipping on orders over $30, how cool is that? The shipping prices of things often cause me to just ‘do without’ instead of ordering something online.

As well, go on over to the Katz website and enter yourself into the “Box of Katz” giveaway. The drawing for this huge prize will be held on January 3rd.

And to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment here, letting me know if you have tried any of their products and if so, which is your favorite? If not, let me know which product you would like to try. With this, you will be entered into a drawing for one of their Scrumptious Sample Packs, shipped direct to your door! (One entry per person, please.) The winner will be chosen on Sunday, January 2nd.

And if you follow Twitter or Facebook, be sure to ‘follow’ or ‘friend’ Katz Gluten Free for more fun!

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Gluten Free Brioche

Earlier this week I posted about the Crusty Boule that I had made from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoe Francois. The cookbook focuses on gluten containing breads but has one chapter on gluten free breads that is well worth the price of the cookbook. It is my understanding that Jeff and Zoe worked with Shauna of Gluten Free Girl on the gluten free recipes. And they all did a wonderful job!

Today I made the brioche bread. (You can find a copy of the recipe here.) And as you can see below, it baked up great.

This time I decided to make only a half of a batch to test it out. (Plus I don’t need that much bread around the house!) Initially I was a bit concerned because the dough was quite soupy. But I left the dough on the counter to rise as directed and I think it almost doubled in size. I stuck it in the refrigerator overnight and when I took it out this morning I could tell that it had in fact risen quite a bit yesterday. I placed it in a loaf pan, since I don’t have a special brioche pan, smoothed it out, covered it and left it on the counter for the allotted time. When I uncovered it, I discovered that it had even risen a bit more. I brushed on the egg wash and sugar and stuck it in the oven to bake. It came out looking wonderful! It was a bit hard to get out of the pan but with a few hard shakes it finally came out perfectly. Luckily I had to leave the house and so I left it on the counter to cool completely. When I returned, I sliced it up and…YUM! Another delicious bread – many thanks to Jeff, Zoe and Shauna!

If you wish to make your own bread , I would highly recommend this cookbook. This bread, the brioche, is a sweeter bread and probably less nutritious than the boule bread as this recipe contains more highly refined gluten free flours (tapioca, cornstarch, etc.) than the boule (sorghum, brown rice, etc.), but each one has its place. I would imagine the brioche would be good for making French toast. And in the cookbook there is a recipe for Cinnamon Buns using the brioche dough – I bet they are wonderful!

Have you made any of the recipes in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day?

Happy Baking!

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I don’t typically eat bread. When I was diagnosed 15 years ago, the two choices in pre-made gluten free bread were Food For Life’s White Rice Loaf and Ener-G’s White Rice Loaf. And if you’ve ever tasted them, you’ll know why I pretty much stopped eating bread. Ugh – it was to be used only in emergencies or toasted and slathered in something.

I was diagnosed while in college and went to school about an hour and a half from home. I lived in the dorm initially and the only way I ate bread was if my mother or grandmother made me a loaf when I came home for a visit. Remember, too, that the internet was only an infant and Bette Hagman was the one and only Queen of Gluten Free Baking, and this is only 15 years ago!

When I left college and moved out on my own, my mother sent my (her?) bread machine with me. My husband and I used it periodically but the gluten free breads still weren’t worth it to me. They came out all crumbly with the giant holes from the machine’s paddles on the bottom. Sometimes they were a flop and I didn’t like wasting all those expensive ingredients. And our machine took at least 4 hours to make one loaf and it was hard to find that chunk of time in a week in which to make it and let it cool. Finally I gave up on baking breads. And then my husband started using the bread machine for gluten breads. He enjoyed making his own bread. But eventually the novelty wore off and he stopped making his own too. And then at some point the bread machine went back to live at my mother’s house. That was pretty much the end of my bread making, except for the obligatory loaf for my Thanksgiving dressing.

Even before being diagnosed as a celiac, I wasn’t a big bread or sandwich eater. So all these years I haven’t worried too much about finding gluten free bread. But so much has changed! Bread recipes abound and there are lots of great gluten free bakers out there creating goodies I haven’t tasted in years!

Over the winter, in one of our farming/gardening magazines, my husband read about this cookbook touting a new way to make bread in five minutes a day. And then he would periodically mention that he wanted to start making his own bread again. Then he read that the authors were coming out with a new cookbook and this one had gluten free recipes in it! So I googled it and came upon the website, and after poking around a bit, I broke down and bought the book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoe Francois.

The first time we made the Crusty Boule, using the recipe in the cookbook, we weren’t sure if it was right or not. It tasted good, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t rise much at all and was fairly dense. It also had a slight sour taste. By the way, the recipe in the cookbook does not require you to use a large Dutch oven (which I do not own) the way the recipe on the website indicates. The cookbook, of course, provides a lot more detail and options for using the equipment you already have and I would highly recommend it even if it is just for the gluten free chapter.

The recipe makes 4 pounds of dough and although you can easily make the recipe smaller, we chose to make the whole batch for some reason, the first time around. Not too smart, but there we were. So after baking the first bit of bread, a couple of days later I made another one, with the same results as the first, and then with the final bit of dough I made a pizza crust. The pizza crust was pretty good. But I just felt like something wasn’t quite right with the bread. And not being a baker, I didn’t know where to begin. Is it my equipment? Is it our elevation (5500′)? Not sure. So I poked around on their website again and read through all the comments and decided to try again.

So by the second time around, I had bought a pizza stone to bake it on, hoping it would help, somehow. I mixed up the dough and left it to sit on the counter to rise and lo and behold, this time it actually rose to not-quite-double its original size! The first time we made it, we noticed that it didn’t rise very much but I wasn’t very surprised since it was a gluten free bread, after all. The next day I baked a free-form loaf and it turned out great! I also left it alone long enough to let it cool completely and this may have helped too. In the book they recommend not slicing it before it is cool. But after all those years of not tasting bread fresh out of the oven, the smell was hard to resist. The second time around I was better at resisting! This second batch was still dense and had a slightly sour taste but it was a very tasty, sour taste. If you are looking for a light, Wonder-bread-like gluten free bread, this is not it. This is more European in style in that it is a denser, stick-to-your ribs type of bread.

Also, I cut part of the bread up into cubes and took it with us on our birthday trip to The Melting Pot. It was great!

We have now made 2 batches of the four pound recipe and have enjoyed it a lot. In fact, it only takes us about three, maybe four, days to eat one one-pound loaf. They recommend that you store the baked bread on the counter with the cut side down, not in plastic, but uncovered. This does not help with my self-control issues as I have no problem walking by and just slicing off a bit to nibble on. And since I don’t need the extra calories, we won’t be making this too often. Or else I will have to remember to cut the recipe in half or freeze the dough the way they indicate on the website.

Next up, the slightly sweet Brioche recipe! Or maybe the Naan…. decisions, decisions!

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The Gluten Intolerance Group recently announced that The Melting Pot had joined the Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP) and launched a gluten free menu. Conveniently, last week was my birthday, so we decided to go for my birthday dinner since neither of us had ever been there.

Initially I was a little hesitant as I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a guinea pig while they got ramped up on their gluten free services. But then I figured someone had to be first and decided to go for it. I made our reservation through their free online system and made a note that I required the gluten free menu. A couple of days prior the manager called to confirm the reservation and the need for a gluten free meal.

When we arrived, they noted again that we needed a gluten free menu* and took us to our secluded table for two. This table had only one burner for one pot of fondue at a time, which should usually suffice for the normal party of two. But after discussing our needs with our server, they decided to move us to a larger table so we could have two burners. The main reason for this was so we could each have our own separate entrée. As I have mentioned, I am not a total vegetarian but more of a flexitarian and thus I generally eat meat when I go out, but rarely cook it at home. My husband is a lacto-ovo vegetarian. And while their vegetarian option is great, when the gluten containing items are removed there isn’t much variety left and I wanted my husband to be able to have the full experience too. So they graciously provided us with a larger, two-burner table.

Shortly after we were seated at our new table, the manager, Tony, stopped by to check on me. We had a nice conversation about the new menu and how excited he was about it. He also told me that the next time we made a reservation to just mention that we needed a two burner table and they would accommodate us. I also mentioned to him that I had brought my own bread for dipping (shoved in my practically empty purse) and he said that was great and that they are looking into providing gluten free bread but are waiting until they see how the new menu goes over. He said the logistics of providing gluten free bread are difficult as they don’t know how much they would need and don’t want to leave it sitting in the freezer for a long period of time, waiting on the next gluten free customer, but that it may be an option in the future.

For our cheese course we shared the Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue with cauliflower, celery, carrots and apples. (As noted on the menu, you should request that it be made with cornstarch instead of flour.) I had also brought along some of my own bread and we dipped that as well. It was heavenly! The next course was the salads. We both had the California Salad and it was super yummy (although heavy on the dressing).

For our entrée, I ordered the Signature Selection and my husband got The Vegetarian. The Signature Selection typically comes with filet mignon, shrimp, teriyaki sirloin, chicken breast and salmon. It is noted on the gluten free menu that you should request a substitute for the teriyaki sirloin and so I requested scallops. We cooked each in our own separate fondue pots to avoid gluten contamination in my pot as well as meat contamination in the vegetarian pot. The dipping sauces they provide are also gluten free except for the teriyaki.

For desert, we chose The Original, which is a mixture of chocolate and peanut butter. The chocolate fondues usually come with a lot of gluten filled items for dipping (cake, brownie bites, Rice Krispy Treats) and I wanted my husband to be able to have all the other goodies, so the manager suggested that we could order one dessert but place it in two separate pots, one for me and one for my husband, thus eliminating the cross-contamination issue. It was wonderful! They brought me strawberries, cherries and bananas for dipping and I had also brought along some cubes of lemon pound cake that I had made at home. The menu says that they will provide plain marshmallows and pineapple also, but they didn’t give us those items, and I was so happy with the strawberries and bananas that I didn’t miss them. In fact, I asked for more bananas because they tasted so good with the chocolate and peanut butter fondue.

All in all, it was wonderful! And as far as I can tell, I was not contaminated. Our server, Les, was very conscientious and in fact, he had a shellfish allergy so he seemed to understand allergies and noted that he did not want to get me sick. My husband and I were both completely stuffed and loved it so I am sure we will be going back another time. If you plan on going, be sure to join Club Fondue through their website for special offers and a free chocolate fondue for two.

Kudos to The Melting Pot and especially Tony and Les at the Albuquerque location!

* One side note – in order to view the menu on the website, you need to type in a zip code to get the restaurant  nearest you and from there you can click on the ‘menu’ button to see the different menus. The gluten free menu is listed separately. It initially took me a bit to figure this out.

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