I've been a huge fan of the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day series since I tried their first book in January of 2011. Although I'm just an average dad who kind of bumbles through the kitchen, I'm willing to try new things and these recipes have literally changed my life. I've become somewhat famous in my neighborhood for teaching a bunch of other dads how to bake. My office loves me when I bring in fresh bread. Although I had never baked before (because my wife is an incredible baker), I have fallen in love with baking artisan bread.
This Gluten Free book is a great new spin on their series of recipes. This book acknowledges that there is a large number of people with celiac disease, wheat allergies, and wheat sensitivities. They have done an incredible job of tailoring their recipes to help those who want to enjoy fantastic breads without suffering the ill-effects they experience from gluten.
The new Master Recipe consists of:
* Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
* Kosher Salt
* Sugar (optional)
It's that simple. Keep in mind though that removing gluten from the recipe impacts the rise of the loaves and the crispiness of the crust. Adding a little sugar to the dough helps with the crust. They also explain the techniques for improving the rise. (Just to illustrate the point, their Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients
featured many grains that lacked sufficient gluten for a good rise, so many of those recipes actually called for added gluten.)
Even with the modified Master Recipe, baking incredible loaves couldn't be simpler. You mix the yeast, salt, water, and gluten-free flour in a big tub and put it in the fridge to rise and chill overnight. Then the next day you can start baking. Bake however much you want, and then leave the rest of the dough covered in the tub for up to two weeks. You never have to kneed or punch the dough. And besides the initial rise, you only need to let the formed loaves rest and un-chill for about half an hour before you bake them.
I can prepare a double batch of dough in about ten minutes. I store all my ingredients in plastic storage containers out in the garage, so I just grab what I need and bring it into the kitchen. Making a double batch of dough gives me plenty to make loaves for my family and to bring some in to share at work.
I rarely make the dough and bake it on the same day, because the dough is sticker and harder to work with at first. Although you CAN form and bake the loaves after the initial three hour rise, it's a lot simpler to let the dough chill overnight before you try to bake with it.
The results are amazingly beautiful, delicious, healthy, and cheap loaves of bread.
What do you need to get started? Not much really, but I found that some extra accessories like a baking stone, pizza peel, and parchment paper really make things go better for me. I've put together a list of items in this collection:
Keep it cheap!
The best way to keep the price down is to buy the staple items at a big store like Smart & Final. Individual yeast packets at the grocery store are probably the most expensive ingredient (about a buck per packet). It's a lot cheaper to buy a pound of yeast for under $4 at Smart & Final. Same goes for the flour: buy big bags of flour at Smart & Final to save money.
I am obviously a huge fan of this technique and these recipes. I've personally coaxed dozens of my friends to buy the first edition and try baking for themselves. I've also given many copies of the first edition as gifts to friends. It's been a blast to see regular guys like me learn to bake amazing breads for our families. A bunch of us even got together and had a huge "Dad's Bake Sale" to raise money for one of our kids' sports teams. It was a huge success.
You can see photos of some of my finished loaves in my review of one of the earlier editions: http://www.amazon.com/review/R310O1MND9UVUZ
Give it a try and have fun with it!