A miracle has occurred in my continuing quest for an excellent gluten-free bread! I took gluten free bread to a lunch today and it was eagerly eaten by everyone, not just the gluten-free representative! Let me share the secret…
Any of you who read this blog or know me will have realised that I am not a packet mix kind of a person. I like to do things from scratch. I like combining flavours, having control over what comes out and have never been able to figure out why you would have a packet mix for cakes when you still have to add eggs, milk and butter – why not just make the darned thing from scratch? I don’t even tend to buy pre-made pasta sauces and the like. Now this has stood me in great stead as someone newly arrived in the ranks of the gluten-free, as it means it is no hardship to make something from scratch. I do have to confess however that I have not had a lot of success with gluten-free bread. All this changed on Friday night.
Thanks first of all Hannah for giving me the link to The Tin Kitchen. The Tin Kitchen are a small artisan bakery based in Geraldine and run by Derek and Jean Tutton. They started out selling their bread at farmers’ markets and had lots of requests for a moist gluten-free bread which would make sandwiches. They started making this and then had requests from outside of the area, so have developed a gluten-free bread mix.
I very cheekily asked if they would send me some bread mix to review, and two days later, a 1kg bag of mix arrived. I have to confess to a considerable amount of scepticism on my part – surely it couldn’t really be that good or that easy? I got home on Friday and thought how nice it would be have fresh hot bread as an entrée. I used half the bag (each 1kg bag makes two loaves) added the requisite amount of warm water (yep, that’s all you do – add water and stir!) let it rise for an hour and popped it into the oven.
My taste-testing panel, which is comprised of my mother-in-law, husband and two 4 year olds all pronounced the hot bread with melted butter a winner. One of the small boys wasn’t keen on the crustiness, but I loved that. The bread was surprisingly light and aerated, actually SMELLED like ‘real’ bread and even tasted like it. The only negative we identified was that it had that slightly slimy after-taste that gluten free bread often does. Generally a positive response, but we agreed that the real test would be the next morning, after it had been sitting wrapped in a tea towel overnight.
I came downstairs for breakfast this morning to find that one small boy and the mother-in-law had already sampled the “morning after the day before” bread and felt it was pretty good. I had two pieces for breakfast, one with just butter (in the interests of consistent tasting :-)) and one with honey, and I have to say, it was still like bread. I need to stress here that I DID NOT TOAST the bread, this was eating just as bread. It tasted great, and in fact cold, the slight sliminess wasn’t noticeable at all.
With a big gulp, I took the remainder of the loaf to a family lunch. Two random teenagers were added to my tasting panel and both pronounced it excellent and said that they would never have known it was gluten-free! I had it with hummus and it was lovely.
Sadly, I cannot tell you what the bread was like 24 hours after it was cooked, because there was none left after lunch 🙂 So, the positives? Easy to make, definitely. Great taste, certainly. Nicely crusty, yep, although this wasn’t a winning factor for 1 of my tasters. Good just as bread, yes and that’s true the next day as well, when even home-baked gluten bread doesn’t do so well.
Jean and Derek sent me the plain mix, although they also have a seeded mix as well. They tell me they’re experimenting with a pumpkin and walnut mix – not for me as I don’t much like walnut, but it does sound interesting. You can buy the mix in bags of 1kg (2 loaves) for $8 plus delivery. Compared to the costs of a commercial gluten-free loaf at around $7, that’s a good buy. You can also buy a 5kg bag for $35 plus delivery. I’m going to experiment with the other half of my mix and maybe add some pumpkin seeds and herbs to see what happens. I also need to try freezing it to see how it does when it’s thawed and toasted.
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to bake, this is the perfect bread mix for you. It’s really low-fuss, incredibly easy, and it would be nearly impossible to get it wrong. If you’re the type of person who does like to bake, this is a great bread mix! In this case, I am extremely happy to relax my “no packet mix” rule and thoroughly recommend The Tin Kitchen’s gluten-free bread mix. Try it – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. To buy, go to www.thetinkitchen.co.nz