Gluten-Free Millet Peasant Bread
1 hour, 45 minutes
It's been years since I've been able to enjoy eating a nice slice of bread. Being borderline gluten-free for the past 10 years, I've had to limit my intake of wheat bread to very rare occasions, and even then I always worry, "Will I have a reaction?" My quest for a nice and fluffy, gluten-free yeast bread, without dairy, eggs, baking powder, highly refined products, and gums has been very discouraging. Even the store bought gluten-free breads were a discouragement. I don't really like flat breads, so I finally just gave up in dispair. That is, until my mother bought a gluten-free bread recipe from a gluten-free baker's website. She tried a couple of them and called me, all excited that she had found a gluten-free bread that actually rose and held it's shape! I wasn't too enthusiastic at first. After all, I'm a little more picky about bread than my mother is (she's been gluten-free for much longer than I have). Plus, it was summer and too hot to experiment with the oven. So I brushed it off and told her I was too busy to play around with it.
Then Thanksgiving came, and I needed a good gluten-free bread dressing recipe! I dug out the recipe and started experimenting. The results were ok for bread cubes and croutons, but nothing special for bread, at first. It took a number of flops and eating some bricks for a couple months before I finally got the recipe tweaked the way I wanted it. I didn't like how it baked in my bread pan--the middle didn't seem to get cooked enough. So I switched to a cookie sheet and baked it as a round "artisan" loaf. It turned out much better that way! Yes, you do need to weigh the flour and water--but you can order a scale on Amazon for $25-$30. *Update: I have found a bread pan that bakes this bread beautifully in a loaf shape and cooks all the way through! http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/bread-loaf-pan-9-x-4-x-4 is the best pan I've ever used! It's taller and narrower and provides the support needed for beautiful loaves of bread! One recipe makes one loaf pan, and believe me--it's TOTALLY worth the money for the pan--It actually looks like real bread!
One warning, this is not sandwich bread--it needs to be heated or toasted to make it fluffy. However, it's the closest thing I've had to bread in years! Even non-gluten-free people think it's wonderful! The best part is that I've been able to successfully use the dough in many other ways! Pizza crusts, cinnamon rolls, garlic pull-apart dinner rolls, and even raisin/apple bread! I'm sure it won't stop there... Now that I can successfully and guiltlessly bake away and the whole family can enjoy it, I don't think anything is going to stop me! lol The gluten-free baker has been unleashed! Yippee!! (Note all the breads pictured are gluten free except the large golden wheat rolls in the center.)
So, if you like this recipe, I'd like to introduce you to the baker where my original spring-board ideas came from. Browse his web page, and if you see any recipes you like, buy them! They're only $3 per recipe and he's got lots of neat ideas on there--some dairy/egg free, some with dairy/eggs, but all of them gluten-free. Check them out! www.recipesforliving.info
MIX all dry ingredients together in a bowl, until thoroughly mixed.
ADD oil and warm water and quickly (but gently) stir together. It will be soupy, but don't add more flour! If you weighed everything precisely, it will thicken to cake-batter consistency within about 30 seconds.
SET aside for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. This will allow it to raise and the flax and chia to activate. During this time it will thicken almost magically into bread dough!
FLOUR your hands and gently knead into bread dough on a floured counter (won't take more than 30-60 seconds of gentle kneading). It should now have a nice texture--not too sticky, and easily moldable. If it is really sticky, add a couple tablespoons of more flour, and try again.
FORM into a loaf and put in your oiled bread pan, or form into a ball and set on an oiled cookie sheet. (*See note for more ideas.)
LET rise for 15-25 minutes in at room temperature, until nicely doubled, or just over the top of the bread pan.
BAKE at 375F for 60 minutes.
COOL thoroughly before storing.
KEEPS one week in the refrigerator, or slice it and freeze it for later use.
*Note: At this point your dough is ready for anything! If you don't want a plain loaf of bread your options are endless. You can flatten it onto a cookie sheet with your hands into a pizza crust and poke it with a fork before letting it rise to desired thickness. You can flatten the dough on a floured counter top, spread with your favorite filling, and roll up into sweet rolls. You can simply knead some minced garlic-olive oil-herb-mixture and a bit more flour into the dough, oil a cast-iron skillet and form into dinner rolls. Use your creativity--the ideas are endless! Don't worry, I'll be posting some of those ideas as future recipes if you want more detailed instructions. :)