Sunday, January 6, 2008

Gluten Free Bread Machine?!

Breadman TR2500BC
Breadmachine with several excellent functions including a GLUTEN FREE setting!!!

I have to admit that I've never really been a kitchen gadget "fan" per say. However, once I realized that I had Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, and a Corn allergy (my three C's) I decided i'd make cooking for my limited digestive tract as fun and interesting as possible. My kitchen boasts everything from a food dehydrator to special ladle holders for the side of my pots and pans. The list continues to grow, and let me tell you, each new gadget gets its own review.

The latest gadget is no different. I have wanted one of these lovely items for months (ever since I read about Gluten Free Bread machines on Karina's Kitchen and I was thrilled to open it up on Christmas morning. However, with all the holiday traveling i've done I haven't had enough time at home to test it out. Poor me...

Well my attitude is sufficiently bright and shiny tonight, as I am finally home and STAYING here (at least for a month or so). What does this mean??? I get to try out the "Breadman"!!!
I just got back 4 hours ago but I immediately went to the nearest store (which unfortunately is not a health food store) and got a gluten free mix to test it out!

My first attempt was using Bob's Red Mill Hearty Whole Grain Bread Mix which (lucky me) is also wheat, corn, and dairy free! I really wanted to get a generic sandwich loaf bread (like Pamela's Ultimate, which I have heard GREAT things about) but I couldn't find one so I plan on going to Whole Foods tomorrow to stock up on different mixes.

So my review is as follows:

Taste: While I am not a huge fan of the particular mix that I got (it was a little too strong and "pumpernickle-esque" for me) I have to admit that the texture of the bread I made in this bread machine was AMAZING! Not only was it moist, it was (while a little dense) very fluffy and filling! I was astounded that GF bread could bread! I can't wait to try other mixes and hopefully formulate a few of my own.

Preparation: I found it incredibly easy to set everything up. It might have taken me 3 minutes to combine the ingredients in the correct order, Set the machine, and walk away. Plus, unlike the general bread settings which can run a 3 hour cycle or more, the GF setting was just under an hour and a half (so less waiting in drooling anticipation to be done ;op)

Presentation: This is the only area that I really had any qualms about. While the bread tasted great and was easy to make, it didn't come out as "pretty" as I would have expected. The dough paddle in the bottom of the pan leaves an indentation in the loaf itself. Because of this the middle loaves aren't really good for sandwiches or serving because they are misshapen. I plan on saving them to dip in soup or to use as bread crumbs though.

Overall I am highly pleased and would definitely recommend purchasing one of these if you have celiacs disease, suffer from wheat intolerance, want to cut back on the gluten, or just want a great tasting and easy homemade loaf of bread. I'll update this post later with my opinion on some other mixes.

Have a great Tuesday and Happy Healthy Living!

As Promised I have an update on another mix used in the Breadman. Last night I tried out Bob's Red Mill's Cinnamon Raisin Mix.

I wouldn't recommend this AT ALL. The texture was too dense, the bread was bland and not at all "cinnamony." In fact the only sweetness came from the raisins which did not get evenly dispersed throughout the dough during the kneading process.

I give this one two sticky thumbs down.

2 more reviews on bread mixes for you lucky readers ;o)

Namaste Bread Mix:
This bread had a great taste. It rose well and tasted like a really hearty french bread. It is great for sandwiches or dipping and you would never know it was gluten free. I highly reccomend it for presentable bread in its fullest form.

Bob's Red Mill Homemade Wonderful bread mix:
I LOVE the taste of this bread personally...however it may not please everyone's pallette. It had a slightly "eggy" taste after baking (somewhat like a yorkshire pudding...i know it is a bad description but i'm coming up empty on this one). Also while dense it did not seem too much so. I would definitely stick to using this mix for toast, or as a grain at dinner time as it has a distinct flavor that I wouldn't want to cover up in a sandwich...just me though.
One problem I had with it was that it rose unevenly even after I reached in to the machine twice to level it out. Another reason it isn't too ideal for even sandwich slices.


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