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Hamburger Buns – Gluten Free

8 Apr

photo_1[1] My experience playing with GF flours seems to have paid off.  I am finally comfortable altering recipes without feeling obligated to first try them as is. This skill served me well over the weekend when I decided it was time to learn to make gluten free hamburger buns. Grilling season is approaching, in fact my BBQ loving husband has already fired up the grill a couple of times. We enjoyed some lovely organic, grass fed burgers over store bought buns. Honestly, they’re not too bad. Some of the GF buns are actually okay if you toast them. But it seems so silly to spend oodles of money on the healthiest meat only to wrap it in a bun devoid of nutritional value. So the bun-baking experiments began.

A week or two ago, I tried to form my regular bread recipe into buns but they turned out a bit dense and more like a kaiser than a hamburger bun. I opted to keep researching and keep trying and that’s when I came across this recipe. I liked the simplicity of the recipe and I could tell (from my previous bread-baking experiments) that it would likely work out quite nicely. The photos of beautiful looking buns helped too.

I try not to bake with too much rice flour so I opted to try the high fiber flour blend recommended bphoto_2[1]y Living Without on their handy dandy Substitutions List. I used sorghum, teff, millet, tapioca starch and corn starch. The flour blend did not disappoint. Now, picky eaters could be triggered into denial of the deliciousness of these buns based on the darker, brown colour of the teff flour. I have not found a light teff flour yet but I don’t mind if my food looks funny. Purple potatoes are delicious so why not brown bread 😉 If your family doesn’t like strange looking food, you may want to use something other than teff flour.

In order to rephoto_4[1]ally feel like I could recommend this recipe to you, I just had to try it loaded up with ridiculous amounts of veggies. So I piled on the sprouts, tomato, onion all over a veggie patty. Guess what!? This bun has staying power! It did not crumble, I was not left eating the last of my burger with a knife and fork. I didn’t need a box of napkins to clean up my hands after. In fact, I’d say my hands were about as dirty as they would’ve been had I eaten a wheat bun! Really. It’s true.

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of high fiber gluten free flour blend
  • 1 Tbs xanthan gum
  • 1 Tbs yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower or grape seed oil
  • 1 Tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and/or sesame seeds

Instructions:

  • Warm the eggs in a bowl of hot water if they are not already at room temperature.
  • Proof the yeast by measuring out the hot water, stirring in the honey then adding the yeast. Let this stand for about 5 minutes or until it is foaming.
  • Meanwhile, measure the rest of your wet ingredients into a stand mixer and blend lightly.
  • Gently stir in the yeast mixture (when it is ready).
  • Pour in the flour and blend for two minutes on medium-low.
  • The dough will look like sticky cake batter more than traditional bread dough. It should fall off the paddle but not be runny.
  • Drop the batter on to a parchment lined baking pan or a greased bun pan, dividing the batter evenly between the buns (8-10 buns). Shape the buns (see notes).
  • Gently rub olive oil over the buns and add sesame seeds or salt.
  • Let rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and the internal temperature is 180 degrees.

Yield: 10 hamburger buns.

Notes:

Shaping the buns: The dough cannot be shaped as regular gluten dough would be because it is so sticky and delicate. It can flatten out and become dense if over-handled. Water  is the only answer. Use wet fingers or a wet silicone spatula. I prefer to have a bowl of water and a mini silicone spatula near by while I’m working. Once your dough is evenly divided, use the wet, spatula to give the buns a nice shape. These will puff up really nicely as you bake them so focus on getting them to the correct diameter and let the rising and baking attain the height for you. Don’t worry too much about getting the buns wet while shaping, this will not harm them unless you really soak them.

Oiling the buns: I prefer to use my hands rather than a pastry brush as the dough is very soft and the brush can leave lines in the dough.

Getting a rise: Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature as this will help the rise. They did not appear to rise much in the 30 minutes I left them but did nicely in the over. The texture was quite airy and there were definitely nice air bubbles (see second picture), so don’t worry if you don’t see too much difference in size before you pop them in the oven.

On flour: If you live in Vancouver, BC it is probably worth your while to make a trip to the flour isle at Famous Foods. They carry a wide range of flours, can answer questions readily and are more affordable than any other place I have found in Vancouver.

Easy Peasy Gluten Free Bread

28 Dec

I have tried a few bread recipes now and have had varying success. In the beginning of my gluten free adventures, I tried a French Bread mix that tasted more like baking powder biscuits than bread. It didn’t take long for me to decide that I would have to learn how to make gluten free bread myself. I started toying with the idea of buying a bread maker that had a gluten free setting. But as I started trying different bread recipes, I realized that GF breads are a bit easier than gluten breads because you do not need to knead and rise, knead and rise – you can just rise and bake, which hardly makes a bread maker worth it in my opinion. I may change my mind if baking bread becomes too time consuming. But right now I am still enamored with my new Kitchen Aid mixer and revel at every opportunity to use it.

photo(6)I tried a sandwich bread recipe that turned out really well the first time, but then didn’t work out the following two times. The photo is of the first loaf of bread I made with this recipe. The first time, I skipped the flax meal and the vinegar called for in the recipe and it was wonderful.   With the flax meal (still skipped the vinegar), it was dense and didn’t rise well. It did make rather delicious stuffing for Christmas dinner though.

The Christmas dinner leftovers are what led me to make the Gluten Free Crusty Boule recipe from photo 5.JPGThe Gluten Free  Girl, again. I wanted yummy, hearty, soft bread for turkey sandwiches. This bread does not disappoint. I have made this bread a few different ways. Straight up as the recipe says, rising it for two hours, shaping it, rising it, then baking it. I’ve kept it refrigerated then baked it later in the week, that was delicious (see Bread in Five* for instructions on refrigerating then baking). I’ve added dried fruits for a holiday fruit bread, then glazed it with a cardamom glaze, I’ve added herbs for a delicious herb bread. As you can see, I really love this recipe!

photo(7)For the latest loaf, I doubled the recipe (as it appears on Bread in Five) and made one giant oval shaped loaf. There were a couple variations from the recipe this time, I shaped the bread right after mixing, allowed it to rise for 2 hours and then baked it, rather than rising, shaping, rising then baking. Also, rather than using sorghum and brown rice, I used sorghum, brown rice and buckwheat. The bread came out hearty and a bit darker: reminiscent of the sprouted grain breads I used to eat. Except this is better because it’s softer and stands up to being piled high with cranberry, turkey, lettuce …

This bread is such a relief to me. I was tired of hard bricks of bread that fall apart unless you toast them, then even still you have to finish eating your sandwich with a knife and fork. I was tired of dried out pucks of  gluten free starch from the freezer with little nutritional value. This bread is easy, delicious and actually feels and tastes like bread. Thank you, Gluten Free Girl!

Notes:

As stated above, I find this recipe really easy. But, when I first read it, I was intimidated by the dutch oven and figuring out how to bake the bread without a dutch oven. After reviewing many other recipes, this one definitely sounded like the winner. So I decided to wing it and just bake the bread on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 450° F. I am glad I did.

Get a rise out of it! Bring your ingredients to room temperature before you mix them; this will help the dough rise. You can put your eggs in a bowl of warm water. If you are using egg whites from a carton, simply measure them out into a bowl and then stack that bowl on top of another bowl with hot water in it – like a double boiler.

I substituted half of the brown rice flour for buckwheat flour. I am trying not to use too much brown rice flour as I have read about various health concerns with it, including arsenic levels. From my understanding these wouldn’t normally be an issue but if you’re gluten free and deriving much of your grain intake from brown rice flour, it may be an issue. So I’m employing the “better safe than sorry” logic and limiting my intake. Besides, variety is good 🙂

*This recipe was developed by the Gluten Free Girl and The Chef for the folks at Bread in Five. The recipe appears on both websites (linked above). I like the larger size of the recipe on Bread in Five but prefer the layout of the instructions on the Gluten Free Girl website because I do not need photos with my instructions. If you prefer visual aids to know how your dough should look at different stages, you may prefer the Bread in Five website.