Darling Sister,

My poor husband has been put on an exclusion diet for twenty weeks that includes no gluten and restricts certain kinds of sugars. I quickly realized I cannot go that long without something bread-ish in my life. After trying the selections at Whole Foods, and being generally underwhelmed by those stiff, mealy offerings, I stumbled across a recipe from Saveur that saved us. While the ingredients require a trip to a natural foods store or other well-stocked grocer, the tougher to find ingredients (looking at you, xanthan gum!) will last me through many loaves. This recipe requires exact measurements, so I used my kitchen scale and pre-weighed the dry ingredients for six loaves at the ready in my pantry. On Saturdays, I add the eggs, oil, and carbonated water to the dry mix and I’m halfway to bread before I have even finished my coffee. The resulting loaf is a little sweet, tender, and best sliced thin and toasted – fortunately it is sturdy enough that even a 1/4 in slice can hold up to a sandwich just fine!

Today’s fresh loaf! I left the top unspilt for a nice, high crown.

I followed the recipe posted at this site, with just a couple of modifications. First, I do not have seltzer water in my house. I do, however, have a case of tonic in the bar. I have been using tonic in lieu of seltzer for six weeks now with no noticeable problems. Second, I find that this dough takes longer to develop a nice rise than the recipe indicates. I turn on the oven while I’m mixing the dough, and turn it off when I’m putting the oiled dough in the pan. This serves as a nice, warm incubator for the loaf, and I give it a good 2-hour rise there. Third, it’s hard to get a nice loaf-y shape out of this sticky batter. I find that scraping the dough into a rough ball with my spatula and spritzing the ball on all sides with a little canola oil means that I can shape the dough into a cylinder the size of my loaf pan using my hands – a much more uniform result than just scraping, dropping, and hoping (as the recipe would have you do).

Looking forward to when we can have onions again, but not missing bread,

Sister

I spent all the time measuring and fiddling with dry ingredients up front, so I feel like a total boss dropping this bad boy into the mixer on Saturday mornings.

 

Fresh from the mixer, the dough has a very disconcerting clay-like texture. Take heart!

 

After a couple of hours, the dough will peek over the top of your loaf pan – which means it’s time to warm the oven and get baking!

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