Ok, don’t get too excited – these are not cookies. I know, they seriously look like giant cookies. But they’re not.
Before you feel deflated and say “aww”, let me assure you that this recipe is very, very exciting. For me anyway. It’s exciting because it’s gluten-free bread.
Let me correct that sentence: It’s exciting because it’s gluten-free bread that doesn’t suck.
I complain about store-bought gluten-free bread a lot. Far too much. So a while ago I thought of that classic saying: “Either *bleep* or get off the can.” Actually, that’s probably not a saying at all, but rather a phrase I heard once and can’t forget.
When I posted the quick bread recipe, I mentioned that I was terrified of using yeast. The two-rising thing seemed just too intimidating to me. However, I was assured by Kelly from Trial and Eater that yeast wasn’t so scary. So, I did some research on the Internet (it’s hard to believe I used to do anything without extensive googling) and gave it a go. I’d baked with yeast in the past, but that was only regular (i.e. gluten-containing) bread and pizza dough. Would gluten-free yeast bread work too?
Well, guess what? It worked! By George, it actually worked!
They may look a little funny, but these “bread rounds” are delicious. It’s like eating a ball of deep dish pizza crust. And I mean that in a really positive way. (I’ve always thought the best part of the pizza is the crust! I’ve never understood people who throw away their precious crusts).
These “bread rounds” (yeah, I didn’t know what else to call them) are a bit too flat to be bread rolls, but they’re perfect with a bowl of soup or a salad or just by themselves. And later this week I might try turning them into individual pizzas!
Which brings me to a super-duper important point: These must be eaten warm. Don’t worry though – you don’t have to eat them all at once! Leftovers can be frozen, and then reheating them is simple: Wrap each bread round individually in aluminium foil and bake at 330-350°F (165-180°C) for about 15 minutes (or until warm).
Making these bread rounds reminded me that I should bake with yeast more often! While it takes a while, there’s very little actual work involved. It’s mostly waiting, waiting, and waiting some more.
Baking with yeast is also the perfect way to get rid of some pent-up rage (er, if you have any). Because the funnest part of making bread is punching down the dough after the first rise. Show that dough who’s boss!
Oh dear, my hand/arm looks rather weird there! Balancing a camera in one hand while the other hand is lodged in a ball of dough isn’t easy!
When you see the recipe, you may see the mashed potato and think “Waaaahhh?” Relax, people. The mashed potato was a stoke of madness that I had while standing in my kitchen. I knew I wanted gluten-free bread that was moist and didn’t fall apart. So I figured I’d need something “gluey” to replace the gluten, but I really didn’t want to use xanthan gum, since that stuff seems all too weird for me. That’s when I thought of good ol’ mashed potatoes – they add moisture and are a fantastic binder.
Oh, and the bread doesn’t taste like potatoes, if that’s what you were wondering.
One final thing: If you’re used to making “regular” bread, then just note that gluten-free bread dough is a bit stickier and wetter than it’s glutinous counterpart. You should only add enough flour so the dough holds together as a ball – it should still stick to your hands.
- 2 cups warm potato water (divided)*
- 2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar (unpacked)
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 large potato, peeled, cooked and mashed
- 2 ¼ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ½ cup rice flour, plus extra for kneading
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ - ¾ cup polenta, for rolling
- Combine the yeast and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add 1 cup of warm potato water, and let sit for 15 minutes, or until foamy.
- Meanwhile, use a coffee grinder to process the chia seeds until they resemble a flour. Transfer to a small dish, and add the remaining 1 cup of potato water. Whisk well and make sure there are no large clumps. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.
- Once the yeast is foamy, add the mashed potato, all-purpose flour, salt, olive oil and chia seed mixture. Mix until well combined. Add the rice flour, and mix well. The mixture should resemble a sticky dough.
- Transfer the dough to a surface dusted with rice flour. Sprinkle a handful of rice flour over the dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. While kneading, continue to sprinkle over rice flour – enough so the dough (a) doesn’t stick to the surface, and (b) is sticky, but holds together. The dough should still stick to your hands, but can be formed into one big blob.
- Lightly grease another large bowl. Transfer the dough to the greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap (or a dish towel) and leave in a warm place for 1 hour.
- After an hour, the dough should have roughly doubled in size. Punch the dough to deflate it. Line two baking trays with non-stick paper. Pour ¼ cup of polenta into a large, shallow bowl.
- Form the dough into 10 balls. This will be a little difficult, as the dough is very sticky. Roll each ball of the dough in the polenta, add more polenta to the bowl as needed. Place the balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Let the dough sit for 40 minutes in a warm place. After 40 minutes, the dough should have spread and risen a little.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake the dough for 20 minutes (check after 15), or until cooked through. You can use a knife to check the insides are no longer raw.
- Cool the bread rounds on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooking rack. Serve warm, and freeze any leftovers. Enjoy!
1 large potato = 6½ oz or 185g (peeled weight). Add to saucepan, fill saucepan ¾ way up, add pinch of salt. Bring to boil. Once boiling, cook for 10-15 mins or until tender. Remove from saucepan with fork, mash well. Leave water to cool down, to the point that you can put a finger in the water and it doesn't hurt.
Don't omit the sugar - it "feeds" the yeast
I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour