A beauty of a bread for you to bake.
Grainy, whole grain bliss. One of our absolute favorite gluten-free bread recipes. This rustic round loaf is tender and flavorful, and lovely dipped in extra virgin olive oil, Italian style.
Giving up bread is hard. Bread is basic. Almost a need. Like air. Like breathing. It is both routine and celebratory. Prosaic and divine. A simple, torn-off hunk of good bread embodies a deep sense of nourishment, for body and soul. The bewitching mix of a handful of flour, some yeast, some salt, some water.
Stir. Knead. Rest. Bake.
And as if by magic, this warm and fragrant alchemical creation called bread appears.
And all is right with the world.
When I think of our honeymoon in Italy (seventeen years ago, darling) I think of the color of the evening sky above the cypress. A shot of burnished gold that shimmered with the faintest veil of pink and lemon yellow. I think about the shopkeepers sweeping their doorsteps each morning, nodding their Buon giorno! as we walked to fetch a New York Times and a cappuccino not served in a paper cup. There was love, yes. And wine. And olives.
And there was bread.
The best bread I had ever devoured.
My go-to breakfast was a plate sized flat-bread studded with olives, paper thin tomato slices, or chopped fresh garlic. Chewy, salty, sweet, and earthy. A bread worth the walk into town. I must have eaten dozens in our too-short two week stay.
Here in southern California, I have been living almost breadless. By choice. The hundreds of gluten-free breads I have baked in the past nine years have not tempted me into the kitchen. Not even the best gluten-free bread recipes. Starch, you see, is not agreeing with me lately. I think we may be breaking up. For good. My body hums happily without it. My waistline is trimmer without it (though not quite up to honeymoon standards, I am seeing the promise of a waistline appear). But this week I started remembering.
And the craving began.
So I began bargaining with myself. The dialogue went something like this.
Okay. You want a piece of bread, darling? You're going to have to bake it without starch. Without sugar. You know that, right? And you are prepared to plunge into abject failure if this gluten-free whole grain concoction doesn't turn out? It is a risk, you know. Baking without gluten. Making bread without starches. It's tricky. It's fickle. So if this turns out badly, promise you won't despair.
I pulled out every non-starchy flour and ingredient from my snug little pantry and imagined my pre-celiac Italian memory. I stood and stared at the tumble of half-used bags and battered boxes on the counter for a good ten minutes. Steve walked by and glanced at his wife of seventeen years standing deer-in-the-headlights still.
He knew not to ask.
I grabbed brown rice flour. Almond meal. Millet flour. Quinoa flakes. Rice bran. Garlic. Sea salt. Olive oil. An impossible, motley crew of ingredients that would prompt any Italian baker to raise her eyebrows in a justified Che cosa succede?
And guess what, my Bella Bambina?
You know what.
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(c) Gluten-Free Goddess Recipes – Read story here.