Saturday, February 5, 2011

Baguette vs. Gluten Free Sandwich Bread


Everyone eats it…but we all know that the yeasty, chewy stuff (if it’s white and refined) goes straight to our you-know-where’s!

Today, for my first real post, I decided to kick off the site with a post about the most basic food that we all seem to crave. Bread.

The first recipe will be my French Baguette (level: intermediate), which I encourage you to bake only on rare occasions and when you have a good half a day (especially if trying the recipe for the first time). Then I will show you exactly how much refined carbohydrates you are putting into your body when you eat it ;)

The second is my yeast free adaptation of sandwich bread. (For some good yeasted sandwich breads please see the bottom for what else you might want to try…this is a place where I want to spread the word of what’s already out there…use the world wide web for your health my friends!)

Yeast-free is important for our home because we both have a lot of yeast in our systems already—and are not wanting to add any. (I guess this may be a consequence of all those years I ate Granny’s raw bread dough by the bucket loads!) There are many types of fungi that develop from eating too much yeast. If you are white bread eater, please be a middle-of-the-road eater, everything in moderation!

French Baguette (makes 6 hoagie rolls or 2 large baguettes):

Ingredients and Materials:

- 1 lb. (or 2 ¼ cups) Unbleached King Arthur Bread Flour ***

- 2 ½ Celtic sea salt, which is packed with electrolytes and minerals and is iodine free

- ½ tsp honey

- 11 oz Water (or 1 1/3 cups) 105° - 110° (if you don’t have a thermometer check the running water, with your wrist, for a temp like lukewarm bath water)

- 1 ½ tsp Active Dry yeast

- A little olive oil

- Large bowl

- Plastic wrap, large plastic Tupperware box, and/or empty cups

- Oven-safe tray or pan

- Cookie sheet

- Pitcher of ice water

***There is a huge problem in our country: genetically modified strains of grains being the majority of what grains are grown here in the USA (wheat, rapeseed- for canola oils, soy, corn are at the top of the list). Please visit this Hulu Documentary, The Future of Food for more information. You may also want to watch Food Inc. – warning it’s not pretty! (hint: This may be a discussion for a future post :). King Arthur Brand Bread Flour posted a statement early last year that they do not use any GMO (genetically modified) ingredients in their flours. Therefore, it's my recommendation for all recipes that contain wheat. King Arthur flour is also unbleached and unbromated (for more info on potassium bromate added as an oxidizing agent click here, also “oxidized” is kind of like a synonym for “free radicals added to your food”. So oxidation = bad!)…. I digress!

Method (see below for method with stand mixer):

- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl (or bowl attachment to your mixer)

- Add the yeast to the warm water and honey and let bloom for about 5-10 minutes it should be bubbly

- Mix either with a spoon or by hand the flour/ salt with the water and yeast.

- If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, blend flour/ salt mixture with bloomed yeast mixture on low until incorporated and then on speed 3-4 for 3-5 minutes

- Dump onto a floured surface and form into a ball, kneading lightly. (This step is not necessary if using a stand mixer) The ball should be very tight.

- Place into an oiled bowl (I use the same bowl as before) and let the batter rest, covered in plastic wrap for about 30 minutes to an hour or until the ball doubles in size (you can tell if it’s ready if you stick your finger in- up to the first knuckle- the ball the indention stays)

- After the dough has doubled in bulk, the ball will need to be punched down, getting out all air bubbles and divided up:

--> into 2 equal parts of about 13.5 oz. each for baguettes

--> into 6 equal parts of about 4.5 oz each for hoagies

- Roll one portion out onto a floured surface (let the other portions rest loosely covered under plastic wrap) into a long rectangle, about 3" x 3 1/2 to 4 feet long.

Fold that rectangle in half like so.........

Pinch the sides closed all around......

Then crease the middle with the side of your hand.......

and fold ....... pinching the seam closed.....

Finally, roll evenly, flipping the seam side down, starting in the middle towards the ends, into a 15"- 18" baguette....

Tip: for the ends roll down snake like Then tuck under on the side with the seam and continue to roll out

- Let the dough have a bench rest of about 10-20 minutes (draped in plastic wrap) while you prepare the cookie sheet with parchment paper.

- After the first bench rest is a good time to preheat the oven to 500 for an electric oven and 475 for a gas oven. When you preheat the oven, place the oven safe metal tray or cake pan in the bottom of the oven. Also get together a large pitcher of ice water.

-Then repeat 2 more times previous steps of rolling out, folding 1/2, pinching, creasing, shaping, and resting...going in the same portion order (This may seem unnecessary; however, developing surface tension is highly important for the finished product!). Then place the dough (seam side down) onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap, using cups so that the wrap does not touch the dough like so...

- Or you can cover with an upside down plastic Tupperware tub if you have one lying around that isn't being used (this would be ideal for even proofing- the yeast warm up the air sealed inside the Tupperware tub)

-Let the dough proof for about 20 min to 45 min, depending on how warm your kitchen is (Should be in a place that is about 76-85 degrees, but if you kitchen is much colder, like mine, then just let the dough proof longer). You will know it is done when you press on it with your finger and it will very slowly spring back. If you press on it and the dough falls, don't worry- just reshape it by rolling it out twice as before, then proof it again!

- After the final proof, remove plastic wrap and cups or Tupperware container, Score the bread with a lam or very sharp, non-serrated knife.

-Bake in oven for 35 minutes at 500 (electric) or 475 (gas) or until bread comes out to 205ish degrees with a thermometer. As you place the bread in the oven, pour the ice water into the hot metal tray in the bottom of the oven. The steam is essential for developing a good crust!

Let the bread completely cool before cutting! Cut with a bread knife or serrated knife.

There you have it… French Baguettes! Made a little bit healthier by taking out bleach, GMOs, and oxidizing agents, and adding essential minerals!

Gluten Free, Yeast Free Sandwich Bread: Makes 1 loaf in a 9" loaf pan (about 12 slices)

Ingredients and Materials:

Dry Ingredients:

- 1 ½ cup brown rice flour

- 1 cup white rice flour

- 1 cup tapioca flour (you can fin Bob’s Red Mill @ Kroger and Publix)

- 2 tsp. Xantham Gum (this is the only “special” ingredient that may not be at your normal store… definitely worth the trip to a natural or whole food market, though as it helps to bind gluten free baked goods)

- 1 tsp. baking soda

- ½ cup ground flax seed mill (again Bob’s)

- 2 tsp sea salt

- ¼ tsp baking powder

Wet Ingredients:

- ½ cup maple syrup (I only use Grade B)

- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (which can now be found at Costco!)

- 2 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar

- 4 eggs

- 1 ½ cups water

For Baking:

- 9” or 10” loaf pan

- Parchment paper


- Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, whisk together

- Mix the remaining wet ingredients in another bowl, whisk together

- Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix until combined

- Prepare the parchment paper and loaf pan… this is a tip I learned “in the biz”….

This way you can just lift the bread out of the loaf pan from the oven right onto a cooling rack so that the bottom crust doesn’t get soggy!

- Bake @ 350 (for electric ovens) 50 minutes- 1 hour and remove and place onto cooling rack (if bread begins to brown too much, cut oven temp by 25 degrees), bake @ 350 (for gas ovens) 25 minutes, then cut temperature down to 325 for 30 more minutes

Also, Try these gluten free yeasted sandwich breads:
Amy’s recipe at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
Ali’s recipe at Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

Nutritional Comparison per Serving:

I did some digging and after all my calculating, a couple slices of the gluten-free, yeast-free bread comes out to have about the same amount of protein and carbohydrates** as a hoagie (1/6 recipe of baguette). Now, servings wise these two servings are similar, about one sandwich worth each; as far as weight goes, the gluten-free bread is much heavier because of its nutrient density. AND, the baguette is almost all complex carbohydrates** which have been refined (meaning not a whole lot of vital nutrients and trace elements/enzymes we need left in AND a lot less fiber). There are more simple sugars in the gluten-free, yeast-free bread as well as the lack of gluten, and PLENTY of fiber! (Now, there is a lot out there on why gluten is bad/ not good in the amounts we eat; but I’m no expert. I just know stories and anecdotal evidence from others and my own family’s journey.) So there you have it: two extremes of bread…. From refined white to whole grain, gluten and yeast free…. Whichever bread you will be eating; look for healthier ways to make it one step better for you!

Stay tuned for Smoothie Sunday!


  1. I love this Eryn!!! Great blog! We just recently made the switch from olive to grapeseed oil for COOKING specifically and I already feel better knowing we are no longer putting toxins (heated olive oil) into our bodies. And I totally didn't know you could get it at Costco!

  2. Fascinating! What does it mean when you say allow the dough to "bloom"?
    Also, I think that is the most perfect round ball of dough I have ever seen!! ;)
    LOVE this!

  3. Whitney, I know you can get it at Costco down here...hopefully Atlanta too! Maybe when you come down to Douglasville you can stop by and get you a gallon :)

    Anna, "bloom" means to let the yeast have a good first feeding when added to the warm water... it will bubble up and look a little like it's "boiling"

  4. It's so hard to make good gluten-free bread! I've been failing miserably all week:) Would you be interested in linking this post to my new link party, Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love? The party goes live tomorrow morning (Friday) at 6am at Hope to see you there!

    Lisa @ Allergy Free Vintage Cookery


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