After baking the bread I realized that NOBODY should avoid baking their own GFCF bread if at all possible. I don't know how a bread maker could make this any easier unless it can get the ingredients out of the fridge for you. I need to find someone that has a bread maker (and bakes GFCF breads in it) and see how different the prep and end results are.
Thank you Gluten Free Cooking School for this great recipe. I have experimented and made a slight change or two. As I've said before, I'm amazed at how much more I'm willing to experiment and not freak out if I don't have the EXACT same ingredients as called for in the recipe and learned that I can add things too.
1 Tbsp active dry yeast (1 packet is fine and make sure it's gluten-free. Fleischmann's is.)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups water (105 degrees or a little less than hot)
2 1/2 cups GF all-purpose flour mix (blend of your choice)
2 Tbsp GF ground flaxseed meal (optional)
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cider vinegar
Before I start gathering ingredients I turn my water faucet to hot. I have found that the hottest temperature my faucet spits out is a great temperature for the yeast. I did measure the temp the first time I made it but since my hot water already comes out the right temp it saves me from having to temp it each time. After you have gathered all your ingredients combine the yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Don't use a cereal-sized bowl or it might overflow as the yeast grows. (Ask me how I know that!) Add the water gently while whisking the yeast and sugar. Let this mixture rest while you mix the rest of the ingredients. If your yeast is good you will see bubbles and foam form on top. The first loaves I made were from packets I had in my pantry for almost a year. They hadn't yet expired but when I ran out and purchased a new jar of yeast there was a SIGNIFICANT difference in how it proofed (resting/growing period).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour mix, xanthan gum, and salt and stir well. You can also add ground flax seed meal if you like. Besides the nutritional value, I think it adds pretty flecks of color to the bread. You can sift or use a whisk. I prefer the whisk! In a 3rd bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, and vinegar until the eggs are well mixed. It will appear a bit frothy.
By this time the yeast mixture should be pretty foamy and ready to use. Add the yeast mixture and the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until all the ingredients are well mixed. At this time you can scoop the dough into your bread machine and bake on the 80 minute setting. (I haven't used a bread machine so I don't know how well this step works but I'm sure it's lovely!)
Side view of bowl. You can see how much foam there is while proofing the yeast.
View from top of yeast. The "foam" almost appears like a thick batter
If you don't have a bread machine you can grease a
loaf pan with shortening, ghee, or your favorite allergen-free butter substitute. Scoop the dough into the loaf pan and smooth out with a spoon. I like to get a little tough with the bread and push it down into all the corners of the loaf pan before smoothing it out. I have had times where a pocket on the side of the loaf didn't rise well. You can see the pocket in the lower right-hand corner of the pan. With good fresh yeast, this really isn't a problem but if you are concerned about the age of your yeast go ahead and fill in the corners. Older yeast within expiration (and possibly shortly after expiration) will still rise but it might not be as effective. Cover the bread loaf with a damp towel and let it rise for 45-60 minutes until loaf has doubled in size or reaches the top of the pan. It is not necessary to place on top of a warm surface like a warmed oven or on top of the refrigerator/freezer where it can get a little warm on top. I have set it on my counter and let it rise with no problems.
After the dough has risen, bake in a 375 degree oven (preheating is not necessary) for 60 minutes. When the bread is done it will have a crisp brown crust and it will pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the oven. You can remove from the pan immediately or let it cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. You may need to use a butter knife around the edges and be careful not to cut into the loaf of bread. It's very easy to cut into your loaf where you don't want to. I like to wait about 5-10 minutes and then let it cool a little longer before slicing into it with a large serrated knife. I usually slice it up and then store in a freezer bag for later use. You may want to date it so if you store more than one loaf in the freezer you will use the freshest loaf first. I have found that if you slice it while it's still warm, it can get difficult as you get towards the warmer center part of the loaf. It's usually a little sticky feeling when it's warm from the oven. My loaves always seem to be a little dark so I think I fear it will burn and pull it out around the 45-50 minute mark so it's possile it's not completely baked and may explain the stickiness but it has never affected the texture of the bread when eating. Also, I try not to waste too much in general, so the crumbs left over from slicing the bread go into my bread crumb container that I use for chicken nuggets or for breading other foods.
When I remove a loaf from the freezer I keep it in the refrigerator for storage. I don't know how long it would take for the bread to go bad because it's usually consumed in 2-3 days which is probably about right. The bread will feel a little dry when you take it out of the fridge - not like "regular" bread. I put the bread on a paper towel and heat on defrost or medium low for about 30 seconds and then turn over and do the same thing. That will take the cold off the bread and soften it up a bit.
The bread is great for sandwiches, toast, french toast, breadcrumbs and whatever else you'd like to try. I hope that baking bread is a little easier for you now and that you will enjoy it! My 12 year old son said this bread was waaaay better than any bread we have ever bought and my 6 year old daughter who isn't on a special diet loves the bread. I love how it makes our home smell too!