Reaching for a roll, breaking through the crackly crust to expose the tender insides riddled with holes.
Steams escapes redolent with the piney sharpness of rosemary as your fingers slip slightly on crunchy salt crystals on top. Butter slathered inside melts in an instant, primordial grunts of joy leave our throats as the first bite meets our tongues.
This sounds like a dream for us gluten-free folks. We don’t get tender threaded bread with lovely large holes now, do we? And the abililty to break through an actual crust, rarely.
Shauna was the first to bring together our mixture of flours, starches and gums to create a crackling crusty loaf.
Then she did the next right thing, sending out a call for recipe testers.
We have all had that experience of preparing a recipe from a magazine, only to have it flop. We think we have done all we could to make it just like the instructions say but somehow fail to achieve our goal of perfection.
Sometimes, it isn’t us.
It’s the recipe.
An untested recipe is like a car driven by a first time driver, lurching and stopping without reason, occasionally crashing.
Why would anyone publish a recipe without testing?
Occasionally a deadline looms, sometimes just one change was made on the fly that didn’t make it into the printed version. Sometimes for the sake of word count, an ingredient is left out.
Then, when the recipe doesn’t work, we blame ourselves.
Shauna and Danny tested all their recipes using a network of friends, fellow bloggers, twitter followers and the like.
I am very proud to have been one of their testers. As a bonus, I got to see some of these incredible recipes months before anyone else.
Pout, I couldn’t share them.
Even when my sisters begged, pleaded with tears in their eyes. I had to tell them to wait, wait, wait for the release.
Here, have another slice of crusty bread. Toasted, slathered with butter and lemon marmalade on top.
Now the waiting is over, the book is here, you can all go buy it now, with a second copy for your best friend.
The rest of us can enjoy all the recipes and variations that occur in the hive of gluten-free baking.
Variations like the gluten free rosemary rolls I described at the top.
Yes, you read that right, Gluten-Free Sourdough Rosemary Rolls.
You see, I took Shauna’s recipe and baked a lot of bread. Then I realized the bread I missed was sour. Not the sweeter youthful taste of newly risen bread, but the older, wiser, slightly cranky, world-weary bread.
This is where my curiosity exploded.
What about other attributes of flours? How about fat percentages? Carbohydrate counts? Fiber? Protein!
Of course, protein is essential since gluten is what we are taking out. Gluten is protein. So we have to replace it.
My curiosity led to research, which led to the extraordinary geekiness of my flour chart.
The chart that fed the next journey of discovery, how to make a starter .
The live yeasts in the air working on all that protein became my starter, the rising agent for true sour flavor and texture. The crunchy crusted, tender threaded bread of my dreams finally manifested under my slightly scorched hands.
But, just one kind of didn’t satisfy all of my yearnings.
When Ed worked for Breadfarm, my favorite bread was a roll. That sounds so simple, a roll.
But the roll of my remembrance, the roll that lived in my memories for the 5 years I’ve been gluten free wasn’t truly simple.
Complications arose from the desire for a stark contrast of crunchy crust and resilient spongy insides.
Perfumed with the piney smell of rosemary, the crust brushed with olive oil prior to being sprinkled with coarse salt. A bit complicated, improved by dipping in more olive oil.
Or by having a fried egg, sandwiched inside with a bit of char from the toaster, softened by butter.
This was the Proustian roll of my memories.
I set out to create this roll. Then laughed when I realized just how simple it was once you had the basic dough.
- ⅓ batch of Gluten Free Sourdough Bread
- 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
- 2 tablespoons (20 grams) Olive oil
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Equipment needed: Piping bag fitted with empty coupler or ice cream scoop
- Mix together by hand the sourdough and rosemary.
- Beat well to distribute the rosemary.
- Place parchment paper onto your baking sheets but on the back, you will slide the paper onto your preheated pizza stone to get a great crust.
- If you don’t have a pizza stone, use the baking sheets as typical, but realize your rolls will be a bit softer.
- Fill the piping bag ½ full.
- Pipe a figure 8 for each roll, making sure to keep nice big open areas on each 8.
- These will close slightly as the dough rises.
- Optional: you can create rounded rolls instead by using an ice cream scoop to create a ball.
- Nestle the dough into a greased pan.
- Drizzle the rolls with 20 grams of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse grained sea salt
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap.
- Let rise for 2 hours or more till doubled in height.
- Preheat oven to 450 with pizza stone on lowest rack.
- Place risen rolls on the pizza stone using the back of a sheet pan or a peel to make certain that you don’t touch the stone and burn yourself.
- Bake for 20 minute or till well browned on the bottom and top.
- Let cool 5 minutes before serving