For a growing portion of the Unites States, celiac disease is becoming a common term in their vocabulary. If you are unfamiliar with this disease, it is when the small intestines are hypersensitive to gluten, making it difficult for people to digest such things as wheat, barley and rye. This can cause extreme discomfort, inflammation, and a host of other symptoms that are quite unpleasant. To not acknowledge this population on a bread blog would simply be criminal. Unfortunately, people with this disease will have adverse reactions if they attempt to consume the previous recipes we have discussed. So, we are here to shift the paradigm and present recipes more people may enjoy.
There is a very viable alternative for people with celiac’s to enjoy bread, and that is gluten free bread. As we have discussed in a previous post, gluten is a vital part of creating the structure of dough and the final loaf that we consume. In most scenarios, without gluten we will simply not be able to make bread but, with the growing number of people with celiac’s disease, so does the movement to create delicious alternatives.
To make gluten free baked goods is an art, and just like baking bread, it takes a little bit of time and patience. We have outlined some of the basics you need to consider when starting to think about baking gluten free bread in your own home.
Just like when baking traditional bread, it all starts with flour. In the gluten free universe there are many options, like tapioca, buckwheat, and chickpea flour to name a few. When talking about yeast breads specifically, you need to have a strong support system to build your dough. Since gluten free flour, lacks gluten, we need a strong replacement for it; that replacement, is protein. Oatmeal and buckwheat are two great options to use when choosing your high-protein flour.
It’s no secret that protein isn’t gluten. Even though it is a great alternative to create the structure of your dough, we need to ensure that your bread will “rise to the occasion”. Yeast thrive in acidic environments, and in order to ensure a sufficient rise, we need to give them exactly that. Ascorbic acid a.k.a. Vitamin C is the answer to this problem. Not only with this increase the volume of your loaf, but it will also act as a natural preservative for your bread to increase its shelf life.
Back in Time
Gluten free bread is not something that recently made its appearance on the baking scene. In fact, one such example was created over 400 years ago; pão de queijo (Bread of Cheese), a traditional and widely popular Brazilian bread.
This dish has its roots in African slaves that were brought to Brazil. The original recipe was simple, and made from what was thought at the time, to be inedible scraps from processing yucca. Yucca is a root vegetable that was a staple throughout the colonial period of brazil and was used to create many dishes that are still popular today. The way it was processed to create these dishes was time intensive. It was first peeled, then grated, soaked and dried. The byproduct of this process was a fine white powder and is where we find our main and previously only ingredient in pão de queijo; the slaves formed this powder into balls and baked them in the oven. It wasn’t until 200 years later that cheese was imbued into these delectable rolls and they truly lived up to their name.
Here is where we introduce you to the recipe to create pão de queijo in your own home. Share this post with your friends and let us know what you think of the recipe in the comments below.
P.S. Even if you can eat gluten, we highly recommend you bake this recipe. You will not regret it!
Pão de Queijo
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (10 ounces) tapioca flour or sour cassava flour
1 – 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking pan with parchment and set aside.
1. Boil the Milk and Oil: Combine the milk, oil, and salt in the saucepan while whisking occasionally. Bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from heat as soon as you see big bubbles coming up through the milk.
2. Add the Tapioca Flour: Add all of the tapioca flour to the saucepan and stir until combined. The dough will be grainy and gelatinous at this point.
3. Cool the Dough: Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (Alternatively, you can do the next few steps by hand. Be prepared for a work-out.) Beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed until it smooths out and has cooled enough that you can hold your finger against the dough for several seconds.
4. Beat in the Eggs: Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl. With the mixer on medium, beat the eggs into the dough one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5. Beat in the Cheese: With the mixer on medium, beat in the cheese until fully incorporated. The resulting dough will be very sticky, stretchy, and soft with a consistency between cake batter and cooke dough.
6. Portion the Rolls: Using an ice cream scoop, a tablespoon measure, or a spoon, scoop rounded portions of the dough into mounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet approximately an inch or two apart from each other. Dip your scoop in water between portions to prevent sticking.
7. Bake the Rolls: Transfer the sheet with the rolls to the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 350°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the rolls have risen, the outsides are dry, and they are just starting to brown. Cool briefly and enjoy! Leftover rolls can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week and re-crisped in a toaster oven.