Monday, 29 August 2011

GF Bread Mix by King Arthur Flour

GF bread mix
I tend to be a bit sceptical when it comes to gluten free bread... and to pre-made mixes, so I wasn't sure what to expect with this mix. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the end result of this bread. It is as good, if not better, than the pre-made gluten free loafs you can buy in the store, and it was larger in size than most
The directions are very straight forward, and could be easily followed by an inexperienced baker. The box includes a yeast packet along with the mix, and only requires the addition of water, 3 eggs, and 4 Tbsp melted butter or oil (I used canola oil). The rising of the batter takes a bit of time and attention, like any yeast bread.

I used a 8 1/2" x 4 1/2 " loaf pan and was surprised at how high the bread rose while baking (pretty much twice the height of the pan). I was afraid the loaf might fall when I took it out, but it didn't at all. The instructions end by saying to cool the loaf on a rack, but I think it would be helpful to note that the bread needs to cool completely before attempting to slice it, which I did with great results. I was able to cut the bread quite thin (I got 17 slices not including the end pieces) and noticed right away how flexible the bread was. It had a very nice, moist texture and mild taste, and before I was even done slicing I had eaten one of the smaller pieces.

The texture was impressive when the bread was fresh from the oven, but I wanted to see how it held up on the counter overnight and in the freezer. I found that the bread wasn't as good at room temperature after sitting, but it reclaimed most of it's flexibility after microwaving. The frozen bread held a similar texture when microwaved, but both the frozen and counter top bread were amazing toasted.

The ingredients in this mix are fairly simple (mostly rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and xanthan gum), but there was one ingredient I didn't recognize: emulsifier. I was searching the King Arthur Flour website and found they had a "miracle ingredient" they called
cake enhancer that was made of the same ingredients as the emulsifier. I wonder if this is their secret to creating such great gluten free bread! Luckily they sell this cake enhancer by itself... and I might just have to do a little experimenting!

The taste of this mix is great, but it is lacking in whole grains. It would be better if they could include some brown rice flour or other flours with fiber, vitamins and protein. I think if I were to make this again, I would add some ground flax seed into the mix.

At $6.95, the cost is decent for gluten free bread (most pre-made GF loafs that are any good are similar in price) and can be ordered
online for those outside of the States. If this mix was in Canadian stores, I would definitely buy it, but when you add the shipping cost to the price of the mix it gets a little out of my price range.

Health 3 stars
Cost 4 stars
Taste 5 stars
Texture 4.5 stars
Overall Rating: 4.1 stars

my finished product

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