Soft textured and mildly flavored breads

Left hand image is Experiment 8-C and right hand image is Experiment 8-B. Widths and heights of bread were intended to be different so that they would not become confused during the tasting and testing process. It turned out that I didn't need to be so careful: The right hand bread has a distinct yellow color. Both breads achieved approximately the same amount of bulk during the same leavening time. They were also baked for the same time.

During the past couple of weeks I have been testing "soft textured breads." Although I have historically not found this style of bread to be my first choice, there are a number of people that prefer soft textured and soft flavored breads to robust breads. Direct contact with a food professional and indirect contact with another strongly indicates that people are poles apart when it comes to bread: Some like soft breads with the mildest possible flavor while others like breads with robust flavor and texture. Most of my breads are the latter, but this experiment covers the former - soft textured bread with mild flavor.

Experiment 8-A: Commercial bread mix - Heartlands Finest Performance Blend:

The process could hardly have been simpler because the flour was already mixed. I basically used the recipe I adapted from Bette Hagman's book on breads. This is essentially the recipe in Experiment 7.

I used the 1 pound bag of flour to get approximately 3-1/2 cups
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon of yeast
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
4 1/2 Tablespoons of melted soft margarine
1-1/4 cup of warm water (110° F)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 whole eggs warmed to room temperature


During the rising process there was some loss in leavening power when the carbon dioxide bubbles burst through the dough. I observed this because the oil spray bubbled around the holes that formed.

A taste test with co-workers was very favorable. People that like soft-textured, mildly flavor bread really liked this recipe. Others wanted more flavor and said something was missing, but they couldn't pinpoint a disagreeable flavor.

Experiment 8-B Testing Tom Van Deman's Celiac Light Bread Recipe

I made the bread just according to the way Tom Van Deman recommended. See attached recipe. However, I did not pre-heat the oven or use extremely hot water because instant yeast does not require that type of treatment. I just proofed the bread dough in the oven with the door closed and the light on. There was plenty of activity!

Experiment 8-C Modifying Tom Van Deman's Recipe

Please note that Tom Van Deman has copyrighted his recipe. His claim: [This recipe] is NOT TO BE USED FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES FOR ANY REASON WITHOUT SIGNED AND WRITTEN PERMISSION from Tom Van Deman.

I wondered what effect mild-flavored navy bean flour, Expandex and sweet rice flour would have on Tom's recipe. So I made both Tom's recipe and the modified recipe pretty much simultaneously.

1 cup+ 2 Tablespoons Hartlands Finest navy bean flour or any other brand (Brand isn't important. This is just a supplier I know that has the product.)
1 cup cornstarch and sweet rice flour (Place 1 tablespoon sweet rice flour into a 1 cup measure. Add cornstarch by the spoonful until the 1 cup mark is reached.)
1 cup + 1 Tablespoons tapioca flour and Expandex (Place 3 tablespoons of Expandex into the bottom of a 1 cup measure. Spoon in tapioca until the 1 cup level is reached. Now add 1 more tablespoon of tapioca.)
3 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (or a 50%-50% mixture of guar and xanthan gums)
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons white sugar
3 whole eggs warmed to room temperature
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water - 110°F;
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (SAF is my favorite along with Fermipan. I do not like Fleischmann's instant yeast. It is expensive, and I think it is flabby.)

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl using a whisk. Place liquid ingredients into the work bowl of a stand mixer and blend on low until thoroughly mixed, about 30 seconds. Next add the dry ingredients and mix until fully mixed - about 2 minutes.

Scrape the bread dough into an 9" X 5" bread pan that has been prepared by spreading margarine on the bottom and sides and then dusting the pan with brown rice flour. Level the top of the bread with a spoon that has been dipped into water. Spray the top of the bread with olive or peanut oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap, place into an oven with the light turned on. When bread has doubled in bulk, remove from the oven, and heat the oven to 375°F (convection ovens will heat to 350°F). Place the bread in the oven until a cake tester comes out clean - 35 minutes. Allow to fully cool before slicing.

To maintain the springiness of the bread, freeze bread immediately either sliced or as a whole loaf. Do not allow the bread to become frost burned (freeze dried).

Testing results (My evaluation. You may feel differently.)
The bread in Experiment 8-A has the mildest taste, followed by 8-C and then 8-B. Tom's bread has a strong bean flavor, which is slightly bitter. Experiment 8-B and 8-C had the best loft and although 8-B became slightly pockmarked, there was very little loss of carbon dioxide as the breads leavened.

Flexibility after 18 - 24 hours at room temperature
Please note: This test is extremely qualitative. Please feel free to re-test and either agree or disagree. Most GF breads will regain elasticity when heated. These breads were not heated.

All three breads "tightened up" after sitting at room temperature. The taste did not change, but the texture did. The breads are not as fluffy. Experiment-8A remained fairly flexible. It is likely that the sweet rice flour helped keep the flexibility. Experiment 8-C was more flexible than 8-B, but only moderately so. Bending and flexing the same amount damaged 8-A and 8-B more than 8-C. Tom's bread recipe does benefit from Expandex and sweet rice flour. However, don't expect miracles. It is possible that different amounts of Expandex and sweet rice flour would make 8-C even more flexible in the room temperature test. I did not optimize the amount of these two ingredients but selected a standard amount of Expandex and guessed on the sweet rice flour.

Suitability to make dinner rolls (See Experiment-3.html)
These three recipes are good candidates for dinner rolls. Initially, I believe that all three doughs are extremely sticky. I would surmise that you could drop the dough on a floured surface, roll a ball and then form a three-leaf dinner roll as in Experiment-3. It might be necessary to reduce the water to make to dough easier to handle.

Comments and what to try next
Tom's recipes were formulated for high altitude. Water boils at a lower temperature in the Denver area. Perhaps Tom needed more liquid to keep his recipe from drying out. At 6,000 feet, water boils at 201°F. So, more water vapor is probably going to escape during the baking process. I observed some shrinkage in the bread which I believe could be reduced by leaving out a bit of water. Or perhaps it is because I spoon flours into a measuring cup instead of scooping and packing, as recommended by Carol Fenster. The most accurate and consistent method is by weighing the ingredients. Few of us have kitchen scales, and even those who do are making recipes authored by those that don't. So, you could try to leave out water, one tablespoon at a time.