Monday, July 7, 2014

So let's talk about bread

One of the first things I say to people who ask me about starting a wheat-free diet is, "Don't try to replace the foods you like now, the ones that are full of wheat."  Basically, it is hard to create a flavor/texture identical to what you are used to, so as you begin a new phase of eating, don't try to replace those foods.  Not yet.  The disappointment factor is going to be a bit on the high side. Go for basic foods that taste the same because they never needed wheat or dairy to make them special to begin with (steak, roast, veggies, fruit, grilled chicken, beans...) and enjoy food in its simplicity.

Bread is the killer.  Meaning, it is the most challenging food to substitute a perfect replacement.  Unless you want to pay your right arm for a loaf to fulfill your craving, or if you want to save your arm but still wear it out as you mix 65 different flours with gums, gels, and fairy dust to make "the best ever gluten-free bread!", give yourself a little break from bread.  At least at the start.

You see, we tried to dive right in to a "fully substituted diet."  I paid a few right arms for a few loaves of not so impressive bread.  I gave up on the crazy "song and dance and delicate balance" to make "normal" tasting bread.  So when someone gave me a recipe called "Quick and Easy Rice Bread" I just stashed it away.  I wasn't up for tasting another disappointment.

Fast forward 7 years.

I got that recipe back out.  We don't miss "bread" like we used to.  Actually, yes, I say "bread" in quotations because what we now view as bread is a far cry from the yeasty light loaves from our former dietary life.  And we're good with it.  Really.  We have learned to like our new bread.

So it was time for this recipe to make its debut.  If we had tried it back when we thought "bread" was a certain way, we would have rejected it.  Now, we rather enjoy the spongy texture.  It is delicious served right out of the oven, when it is warm and the outside has just a hint of crust to it.

I changed it up a bit because I didn't have any dairy-free milk in the house.  Orange juice stood in and if a dreamsicle ever wanted to be a wheat-free, dairy-free loaf of bread, it would probably taste something like this:

Here you go:

Quick and Easy Orange Rice Bread

1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons palm shortening
2 eggs
1 cup rice flour (I use either white or a 50/50 mix of white and brown rice flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream together sugar and shortening; beat in eggs and vanilla.  

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder and add to the egg mixture alternately with the orange juice.  Don't over beat.  This is best mixed by hand.

Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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