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Going gluten-free means relearning baking

Better than sliced bread.
gluten free bread

Chef Nancy Silverton is widely credited with pioneering the artisan bread movement in California since starting La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles 26 years ago. Although she no longer is involved in the business, today’s 10 cafes and wholesale operation are challenged to live up to La Brea’s legacy, says Jon Davis, senior VP of brand innovation and chief baker. To capture sales from the large number of consumers who are avoiding gluten, Davis worked for 18 months to develop an all-natural gluten-free sliced bread in the La Brea artisanal style. “To achieve the right texture, taste, color and volume, I had to relearn how I handled the flours, set the water-to-grain ratio, mixed and proofed the dough and shaped the loaves,” he says.

Gluten-free multigrain sandwich bread

Dough conditioners typically are used to firm up texture, but Davis eliminated them in this recipe because the grains in the flour blend—sorghum, rice and amaranth—perform that function and keep the bread additive-free. Tapioca and potato starch impart lightness and egg whites provide the leavening since there’s no gluten to trap the carbon dioxide released by yeast, he adds. But the dough turns out stickier, so instead of patting it into loaf pans, it is extruded through a machine. To reduce shrinkage and set the sides of loaves, Davis proofs the dough 50 percent longer than he does for traditional breads and bakes the loaves three times longer. 

Smart swaps

Instead of...Try this...
Wheat flourBlend of sorghum, amaranth and rice flours with tapioca and potato starch
Gluten for leaveningEgg whites for leavening
Patting dough with hands into pansExtruding dough by machine into pans

 

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