Improving Existing Bread Recipes

The major problem with the bread is the lack of stability. The center of the bread falls in. However, the bread tastes good. The bread on the left is Carol Fenster's French Bread baked as a sandwich loaf. A version of this recipe is in the public domain. Click here for the recipe. This bread recipe in Wheat-Free Recipes & Menus is a bit different than the public domain version. It was modified by substituting Expandex for 100% of the potato flour addition to Carol's basic baking mix - something similar to Bob's Red Mill All-purpose Baking Mix. As you can see, Expandex did nothing to improve the shrinking.

The right hand bread is Carol Fenster's foccacia baked as a loaf (same cookbook as noted above. Again, the issue is that the center of the loaf falls in. This recipe is not in the public domain and will not be described in detail. The modification to Carol's foccacia recipe was the substitution of Expandex for a portion of the tapioca flour required by the recipe. Although the bread is good tasting and stretchy, it also fell in. Clearly, Expandex does nothing to stop that problem.

Here is the left hand bread, fully risen in just 30 minutes. It is ready to go into the oven. The bread seemed to rise too quickly and although the batter was prepared properly, it seemed too wet.

Here is the result of a number of modifications to Carol Fenster's recipe. The most significant were: added two eggs instead of 3 egg whites, used 3-3/4 cup of the flour mix in Experiment 1, used a total of 3 Tablespoons of olive oil - no butter, and left out 2 Tablespoons of water. Also, the yeast was not "proofed" in hot sugar water. Instead, the yeast was added to the dry ingredients in the hope of slowing down the rise. The batter was quite stiff - something on the order of wheat bread but stickier.

 

 

As you can see, the crumb is pretty even. I would like slower rising and more uniform bubbles from bottom to top. But the bread did not collapse in the middle. The slight indentation on the right is the score mark to encourage a uniform break rather than a random break. The bread is properly stretchy.

Could the bread be made taller? The recipe size I selected filled the bread pan to about half-way. I stopped raising the bread when it doubled in height. It would be interesting to use more bread dough and see if the bread has enough strength to raise beyond the top and stay connected to the bottom part of the bread. Wheat-free breads are notorious for not being able to hold together; thus, creating a real mess in the oven. But there is room to experiment on this.

Well, there were two more modifications. They were intended to affect the favor of the bread, not the texture.

In both test batches of Carol's bread I substituted 1/4 cup of hand ground toasted buckwheat (kasha) for 1/4 cup sorghum. The buckwheat is a coarse meal - kind of like a buckwheat polenta in texture. This adds a little tooth and flavor to a bread that is fairly bland.

I also used Authentic Food's Garfava-garbanzo bean/fava bean-flour. It has a stronger odor than the navy bean flour used in Experiment 1. The combination of Garfava and buckwheat makes for a nice tasting bread.

You could use 100% sorghum flour and not substitute buckwheat for sorghum, and you could use mild navy bean flour. I have not tried the recipe using corn flour substituting for for bean flour - one of Carol Fenster's recommendations. I do know that Expandex requires protein to work well. Sorghum does contain quite a bit of protein, but I do not know if just the sorghum alone will provide sufficient protein. But the bread also contains not fat dry milk, another source of protein. Here are another two opportunities for experimentation: leave out the milk (and use less liquid) ; leave out the bean flour (and substitute corn flour).

What about the foccacia? Yes, I modified that in my second round of testing. Instead of 3/4 cup of water as the recipe indicated, I used only 1/2 cup. The batter was very stiff, but it rose slowly and baked perfectly. But I didn't use Expandex because I prepared the foccacia as a flat bread with a thin coating of pizza sauce and cheese on the top. Oh yes, I also put a tablespoon of tomato powder on the batter. There is no picture of the bread because it got eaten!

So, what are the take-aways?

Recipe I used

  Ingredient

Measure

  Amount

Tapioca flour and Expandex

Cups

3/4 cup regular tapioca flour and 3 Tablespoons of Expandex

White Sorghum Flour

Cups

1

Coarsely ground buckwheat meal Cups 1/4

Potato or Corn Starch

Cups

1-1/4

Garfava Flour or Bob's Garbanzo-Fava Flour

Cups

1/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons

Granulated Sugar

Tablespoons

1

Xanthan gum

teaspoons

1

Guar gum

teaspoons

1

Lecithin granules (optional)

Tablespoons

3

Ascorbic acid (optional)

Teaspoons

1/8

Active Dry Yeast

Teaspoons

1-1/2

Salt

Teaspoons

1-1/2

Non-fat dry milk powder Cups 1/4

Whole eggs

Number

2

Light olive oil

Tablespoons

3

Water (110F: hot from the tap)

Cups

1 + 1 Tablespoon

Cider or rice vinegar

teaspoons

1/2

 

1. Measure and blend all dry ingredients in a bowl separate from the mixer's work bowl. Using a whisk, thoroughly mix dry ingredients. 

2. Into the work bowl of a stand mixer, add in eggs, oil and vinegar. Start mixer at low speed. Now add the dry ingredients a little at a time.

3. Slowly add 110° F degree hot water until dough is well blended. 

4. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes (dough will be thick and sticky).  

5. Preheat oven to 400° F [about 15 minutes prior to bread having doubled in bulk]  

6. Coat a 4" X 9" metal or 4" X 8-1/2" glass bread pan with margarine and dust with brown rice flour  

7. Add the dough into pan (dough should fill about 1/2 of the pan), gently spray top with olive oil and then spray plastic wrap which will be used to cover the dough. 

8. Set pan in a 68° F location until bread has risen just under the lip of the loaf pan. (Sometimes it will take 30 to 60 minutes. Longer is better than shorter) 

9. Score the top of the bread with 3 - 5 diagonal cuts before placing in oven.  

10. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Check with stainless steel bread tester. You may need to cover the bread with aluminum foil to keep from over-browning the top.

11. You can let bread cool for about 15 minutes and then remove it from pan, or you can tip out the bread onto a cooling rack.  

12. Allow the bread to completely cool (at least 1 hour) on a cooling rack, before slicing.

Bread can be stored in freezer for longer shelf life. It can be refrigerated for a few days to maintain freshness, but the bread will get harder.