I learned through trial and error that I am not – repeat, not – a bread maker. That’s why I rely on Glutino’s Favorite Sandwich Bread mix. It works every time. It’s not picky about ingredient temperature, rise time or even the pan you bake it in. I highly recommend this product. It’s a yeasty, soft bread that pleases everyone. And it makes amazing rolls when divided into a 12-cup muffin tin!
I bake a loaf every week, and below is my no-fail method. Plus instructions on how to store and serve the bread, as well as make croutons, breadcrumbs, dinner rolls and sandwich/hamburger buns!
Empty the flour mixture and dry yeast into the bowl of a standing mixer; attach the beater and turn on the mixer, slow setting (to incorporate flour and yeast). In a two-cup glass measuring cup, add 1 3/4 cups of water and 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil; heat in the microwave on high for 1 minute, stir, heat on high 1 minute and remove from microwave. Whisk eggs (or egg substitute) together. Add heated water/oil mixture and egg to dry ingredients, and turn on the mixer, low setting for 30 seconds. Lift beater, and using a rubber spatula, scoop all the dry ingredients off the bottom of the bowl (otherwise it’ll stick!); lower beater, and mix for 3 minutes on medium-high speed. Turn on the oven, 375 degrees.
While the mixer is working on the dough, it’s time to address the pan. I have found the thin, light-colored, shiny aluminum-looking pans work best for this bread – not the disposable ones – one step up. (Stay away from insulated pans! The loaf won’t cook all the way through evenly; bottom inch remains a doughy mess. )
Now to grease the pan…I’ve tried butter, vegetable oil, olive oil, Crisco and spray canola oil. The spray canola oil works consistently and quickly every time. The trick with gluten-free bread is to only grease the bottom and about halfway up the sides. The bread will rise fast, but because there’s no gluten to create structure, it’s not a stable rise; the large, irregular air pockets will collapse after the bread cools leaving a flat, dense loaf. So in order to slow the rise, and create more even, uniform air pockets, don’t grease the top half of the loaf pan’s sides – the rising dough needs something to “grip.”
With a rubber spatula, scrap the dough into the prepared pan. Spread it evenly, pushing dough into the corners, and get the top as level and smooth as possible. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with canola oil, and cover the pan (oil side down). Set it in a warm place to rise, and give it 20-30 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap, and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and turn it out on a cooling rack.
Once it’s cooled, use a serrated knife to slice the entire loaf of bread (should yield 16-20 slices). Since this bread has no preservatives, it must be kept in an airtight container. In my experience, press-and-seal baggies and plastic sealable containers (like Tupperware) work best. It can be kept on the kitchen counter (dry, cool area!) for a few days, then in the fridge for a few days, and then to the freezer.
For long-term storage, I recommend straight to the freezer. A gallon-sized press-and-seal baggie, with a few sheets of parchment paper for separation, should hold the entire loaf. I make four layers of four slices, separated by parchment (otherwise they’ll stick together!), in each bag.
When thawing the bread, I do not recommend letting it thaw at room temperature. The texture goes to mush. I put the frozen slices in the toaster before using them to create sandwiches, French toast, croutons and breadcrumbs.
- For a cold sandwich: set the toaster to low/medium-low, and let it cool on a rack before assembling the sandwich.
- For a hot sandwich: set the toaster to low/medium-low, and use immediately.
- For French toast: set the toaster to medium, and let cool on a rack before using.
- For croutons: set the toaster to medium, and let the toast cool completely on a rack. Mix olive oil (or melted butter), salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning in a small bowl; brush it on the cooled toasted bread. Cut the pieces into squares, and return them to the toaster. Toast the croutons until crunchy.
- For breadcrumbs: set the toaster to high/dark, and let the toast cool completely on a rack. (Make sure the bread is toasted all the way through, or it’ll make gummy breadcrumbs.) Use a blender or food processor to pulverize it into crumbs.
The finished dough can be used to make sandwich/hamburger buns and dinner rolls as well.
To create buns – line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and spray a 1/3 measuring cup (or 1/2 cup for larger buns) and rubber spatula with spray canola oil. Use the measuring cup to scoop out dough, and the spatula to remove it and smooth over the top. Cover the buns with plastic wrap (sprayed with canola oil), and let them rise for about 30 minutes. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-35* minutes.
To create rolls – grease a 12-cup muffin tin with spray canola oil (be careful to wipe off all overspray!). Using a large serving spoon, scoop dough into the muffin tin; make sure the muffin cups are evenly filled. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap (sprayed with canola oil), and let them rise for about 30 minutes. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-35* minutes. Turn out on a cooling rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
- Garlic rolls: add garlic powder and salt to melted butter, and drizzle over rolls before baking.
- Cinnamon rolls: add cinnamon and sugar to melted butter, and drizzle over rolls before baking.
*The baking time for buns and rolls varies. Set the timer for 25 minutes, then check every 5 until done. The tops should be brown, and sound hollow when tapped.