We were hit by a "bomb cyclone" a few weeks ago. I don't know who comes up with these meteorological terms. I love how dramatic they all sound. Bomb cyclone! Polar vortex! Derecho! Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! In any case, it was CRAZY cold here and cold weather usually compels me into the kitchen. Specifically, it compels me to bake. So, yeah, I did make a yummy beef stew, but it was this Rustic Bread that took the prize. It is a yeasted bread which means it takes more time.... perfect for a snow day.
Full disclosure, I have a this wicked awesome Combi Oven. It adds moisture to the baking process which helps create a real crust. But, you don't NEED a combi oven to bake this bread. The recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen and they write the recipe for regular ovens. So, keep reading and try this one for yourself.
One cooking tool you will really find helpful when it comes to this bread is a Thermapen. If you've read a few of the recipes on my blog, you'll know that I love my Thermapen when it comes to cooking meat... but it turns out that it can really help with baked goods, too. If you ever see one on sale, I highly recommend it.
I didn't take a ton of pictures as I made this recipe. I wasn't planning on sharing it on the blog. But, it just tasted too good not to include. This tastes like REAL bread. Like you're at a nice restaurant and they put fresh bread on the table for dipping in olive oil, it's like THAT bread. You will not know this is a GF bread. It has air pockets, a crusty crust, and some real chew. Anyways, I'm sure I won't be able to wait until the next Bomb Cyclone to make this bread again... so I'll be sure to take some pictures for you then.
Gluten-Free Rustic Bread, (makes 2 loaves)
- 4 oz. (1-1/3 cups) oat flour
- 8 oz. (1 cup) warm water, 110 degrees
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 1 tsp ActiveDry yeast (Fleischmann's is GF)
- 12 oz (2-2/3 cup) GF flour (be sure it includes xantham gum)
- 5 TBSPs powdered psyllium husk
- 1 TBSP ActiveDry yeast (Fleischmann's is GF)
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 9 oz (1 cup + 2 TBSP) warm water, 110 degrees
- 2 large eggs
- 1 TBSP cider vinegar
- sesame seeds for sprinkling on top, optional
Combine oat flour, warm water (use your Thermapen to be sure it is 110 degrees), sugar & yeast in a bowl to create your starter. Let this mixture rest approximately 30 minutes, until the yeast activates and the mixture becomes bubbly and smells yeasty. While you wait, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set the baking sheet inside a second baking sheet. This double-layered baking sheet will ensure that the bottom of your bread loaves don't overcook. Next, set your oven up to proof your loaves of bread. If you have a combi oven, set it to the dough proofing mode. If using a standard oven, turn your oven on to 200 degrees. Once it comes to temperature, turn the oven off.
After turning off your 200 degree oven, blend GF flour, psyllium husk powder, yeast, sugar & salt in your stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Slowly pour in warm water, eggs, cider vinegar, and activated starter. Scrape down the mixer bowl as needed, and blend until combined... about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and beat the dough about 6 minutes. The dough will be thick and sticky.
Lightly dust your countertop with a little GF flour and using your clean and dry hands, divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll each piece out into an approximately 8" rope or loaf. Stretch the loaf out from the center and try not to taper the ends. Carefully move each loaf to your prepared baking sheet, setting them down approximately 4" apart from each other.
Cover loaves loosely with plastic wrap and place in warmed oven, being careful not to let the plastic wrap touch the oven rack. Let loaves rise in the oven for approximately 10 minutes. Remove baking sheet from the oven, switch oven on to 350 degrees, and let loaves sit on the counter another 20 minutes until loaves have risen by 50 percent. If you have a combi oven, you can leave your loaves in the oven for the entire 30 minutes to proof.
Once your loaves have risen, remove the plastic wrap and cut 3- 2" long 1/2" deep slashes across each loaf. If using a combi oven, remove baking sheet from the oven and switch oven to baking mode, set to 350 degrees with 30% humidity. Remove plastic wrap from the loaves and cut similar slashes into the loaves as described above. If you'd like to sprinkle the tops of your loaves with sesame seeds, now is the time. The seeds may stick on their own, or you can spritz the loaves with water first to help the seeds stick.
Bake loaves for approximately 90 minutes, rotating the baking pan halfway through baking time. At 90 minutes, pick up the loaves and tap the tops and bottoms of each loaf, listening for a hollow sound. The crusts on my loaves were darker than I expected, but don't judge your bread's doneness by the crust's color. Trust the hollow sound AND your Thermapen. A loaf of bread like these rustic loaves is done when the internal temperature registers close to 200 or even 210. I ended up baking my loaves another 15 minutes to get to 210.
Once the loaves are hollow-sounding when tapped and their internal temperature is 210, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the bread cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Remove loaves from the baking sheet and let them cool for approximately 3 hours on a rack. This is the tricky part. You want to cut into that fresh bread and eat it while it's still hot, but it's actually still cooking in there, so be patient. Let the loaves cool COMPLETELY on the rack. Then, gobble it up!