For the first time in ages, I finally had time to bake again. My supply of bread in the freezer was rapidly dwindling, and I was starting to use Kinnikinnick bagels as my bread for sandwiches because they were all that remained. Bagels are fine, but there’s nothing better than homemade bread. I had trouble deciding what to make, and finally turned to a book I really haven’t used much- Bette Hagman’s “The Gluten Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods.” I decided to make the Potato Bread on page 203, which calls for a blend she calls the Potato Flour Mix. Apparently it was developed for corn intolerant people and is an alternative to her featherlight mix for creating a white bread. This recipe called for one cup of sorghum along with the potato flour mix. I was intrigued, so I threw some together, let it rise, and baked it in the oven. It resulted in a pretty loaf, with an unexpectedly hard and crunchy exterior that I had never seen before in gluten free baking. I was excited to try it, and when I did, I thought the texture was really pretty good. Unfortunately, I wasn’t wild about the flavor. I gave a slice to DH with some honey and he said it was pretty good, but he’ll eat anything if you put honey on it. Hmmm. The next day when I tried it again, it was much less soft and seemed “gluten free” in texture. It also had a flat flavor from the potato starch that wasn’t especially appealing. It did seem like it would have a good texture for bruschetta, so I made some into garlic toast and added some yummy sheep cheese at the end. Doctored up, it wasn’t bad, but I think it’s one of my least favorite Bette Hagman breads that I’ve tried. I’d give it a 5/10, and probably wouldn’t make it again due to texture and flavor, although the crust was appealing. While I was baking, I also prepared Bette Hagman’s sourdough starter so that I could make some sourdough bread in the next day or two.
The next day I made one of my favorite breads by Bette Hagman, her Honey Almond Sourdough on page 87 of “The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread.” Because I use a Zojurishi Bread Machine, I have to be careful when making sourdough breads- the extra yeast in the sourdough can result in bread that rises, rises, rises, and then falls when it reaches the top of the pan. I always make the small recipe in the bread machine for sourdough, although I can get away with making a medium loaf if it isn’t sourdough. I also never add gelatin to my recipes, although Bette recommends it. It’s just not necessary, and by using the four flour bean mix, xanthan gum, and a little egg replaces, you end up with fantastic soft, spongy texture and a flavorful, delicious bread. I’ve made this bread many times before- and this time, just like always, I ended up with a wonderful loaf of bread for sandwiches. I decreased the water a bit, as her recipes can sink a little in the bread machine, and might decrease the water even more next time as it did dip slightly inward after taking out of the machine. This bread is incredible when freshly sliced (slice after it cools or the bread may get compressed) with a little margarine and (optional) honey. It’s also fantastic the next day, toasted and used in a sandwich. (I prefer toasted bread in general, but it’s a matter of taste- you could possibly eat it without toasting it, even the next day.) I used it for one of my favorite simple veggie sandwiches- hummus, avocado slices, sprouts, and fresh basil. Sometimes I add cheese, olives, or sliced tomatoes. Mmm mmm good. This bread also freezes exceptionally well. I would give it a 9/10 as one of my favorite breads for flavor, texture, and overall appeal.