Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bread, with a stand mixer

Last July I went on  a quest for good homemade bread. I had some success, but determined that I really needed a stand mixer to handle some of the heavier dough. Well, I got a stand mixer for Christmas! So, for the past few weeks I've been looking for opportunities to make things that require a stand mixer.

I made two different kinds of bread, similar to my bread-making night in July. The first was the King Arthur Flour bread mix. Talk about easy, lovely bread. The bread is buttery and soft, with just a hint of flakey crust from the butter I brushed over the top. It rose beautifully, and with the Kitchen Aid to do all the work, it was a cinch!

The second loaf is the white-bean "grainless" recipe from a friend. When I tried this recipe before, the dough was totally unmanageable, engulfed my hand mixer, and resulted in a oddly shaped loaf, despite the loaf pan. The Kitchen Aid certainly took care of that problem. The dough hook took that sticky mess and worked it into a dough I could be proud of. The resulting bread was still just "okay." It wasn't light or fluffy; it didn't rise all that well; and the taste is "good enough." It will be fine as a vehicle for other things, but it's not the kind of bread that makes you believe you could live on a bread and water diet.

And so my quest continues. I can make a delicious loaf of gluten free bread, but it comes at a cost. The next leg of my quest will be to search for a bread recipe that is both easy and inexpensive. At nearly $7 a loaf, the King Arthur Flour mix is only slightly better than the bakery loaf, which runs between $7 and $8. Udi's bread is delicious and can be bought at the local Kroger, but it is in the $6 range as well and is a smaller loaf.

These prices are actually pretty good when you consider that the average increase in cost to go from "regular" to "gluten free" is 300%. I've been fortunate to find most of the things that I need to be gluten free for only twice as much as the "regular" versions.

So for now, good bread will continue to be a bit of a luxury around here, but then, that's probably okay.

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