gluten-free mini baguette

Can you believe this gluten-free baguette can be made in your oven?  It’s true.  And it’s not difficult.  If you or your loved one cannot tolerate gluten, making this for them would be the ultimate gesture.  Since gluten-free breads tend to be far more dense than what we’re used to, this baguette may be too “heavy” to use for making a sandwich.  But cut this into crostini-like slices and your gluten-free friends will come running.  Actually, all of your friends will want some.  And before I forget …how cute are those French baguette wraps?  Full credit must go to Heather Bullard  who, by the way, has the most amazing website loaded with design, travel and lifestyle tips.  You can head over to her site and print these up.  Perfect touch if you’re arranging a wine and cheese gift basket, don’t you think?

Getting back to our bread conversation, thanks to the genius of Dr. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, you can easily make these beauties at home.  It’s all outlined in their book, Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.  And thanks to Bob’s Red Mill, all or most of the ingredients should be available at your local market.

As I mentioned in my Gluten-Free Artisan Bread post, my first attempt at this didn’t turn out so well.  I substituted a few of the ingredients with what was more readily available to me at my local store.  I found out the hard way that you cannot substitute sweet rice flour for stone ground rice flour.  And that potato starch and potato flour are two very different things.  If you have trouble finding any of the ingredients listed for the all-purpose flour mixture, don’t worry.  They are all available on Amazon.  Or directly from Bob’s Red Mill.

Please don’t be intimidated by all of the steps involved.  This flour mix is like magic.  Once you get used to mixing it up, you’ll easily have a stash handy and if you have a serious issue with gluten or someone close to you does …you’ll find that it’s worth the effort.  The key is to measure each ingredient carefully …I found that measuring in grams on my food scale by keeping a running total worked out well.

As the authors state …“The ingredients must be very well mixed, otherwise the xanthan gum or psyllium will not be evenly distributed and your loaves will be inconsistent.  Whisk and mix the ingredients in a 5 to 6-quart lidded container.  Finish by picking up the container and vigorously shaking until the flours are completely blended.”

The yeast is sprinkled in with the flour mixture.  Once the dry ingredients are well combined, the lukewarm water is added.  It is recommended that it be exactly 100°.  I know this all may seem to be a bit much but please don’t give up on it.  After all, it’s like a science project.    The final product is so superior …it’s worth the effort.  You just can’t buy this at your local bakery.  Well, maybe you can if you live in a large metropolitan area.  But, for the rest of us, we’re on our own.  In Haddonfield, NJ, not too far from where I live, there is this amazing bakery right in the center of town called Posh Pop Bakeshop.  Everything in the shop is gluten-free.  They have delicious cakes, cookies, crepes, muffins, sandwich bread and so on.  But they don’t offer artisan bread.  They don’t offer baguettes.  Maybe someday they will.  In the meantime, like I said …we’re on our own.

If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix up the dough for about one minute.  If not, give it a good stir for about two minutes until the mixture is very smooth.  And the best part is …no kneading necessary!

After a two hour rest, your dough is ready for the fridge.  This is where the “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day” comes into play.  This recipe makes four pounds of dough.  For each baguette, you’ll need about 12 ounces of dough.  Of course, you can adjust that to suit your needs.  If you do, just be sure to adjust the resting and baking times accordingly.  Over the next ten days, grab what you need to make a baguette or a round loaf (16 ounces), let it rest for the appropriate time and bake.  Just five minutes of your hectic schedule.  The rest of the time it takes care of itself.  And the longer it hangs out in the fridge, the more developed the flavor is.  Simply genius.

Our baking specialists recommend that you bake this bread on a preheated baking stone or baking metal, using the steam method.  Or in a preheated Dutch oven.  I decided to try the alternate method by using my LeCrueset preheated, lidded deep saute pan.  It worked out so well.  I simply lifted the formed mini loaves, including the parchment paper, right into the saute pan, covered it and let the magic happen.  For additional insight on what to expect with this unstructured dough, check out this video.

When the baguettes are done, place them on a cooling rack for a full two hours.  That’s the hard part.  It smells so good, you’ll want to cut into it immediately.  After all, who doesn’t love warm bread straight from the oven?  But don’t be tempted.  Gluten-free bread needs a full two hours of cooling to set completely.

When ready, cut the mini baguette into thin slices.  Add to your cheese board.  Or serve with your favorite spread or dip.  Or just some plain ol’ butter.  It’s all good.

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gluten-free mini baguette

Adapted from Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

Keep a supply of this gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture in the pantry. With a batch of this master boule dough in the fridge, you can enjoy fresh bread every day. Just takes five minutes of your time.

Servings 5 mini baguettes

Ingredients

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mixture

  • 6 cups stone ground white rice flour * (36 ounces / 1,020 grams)
  • 3 1/4 cups sorghum flour (16 ounces / 455 grams)
  • 1 3/4 cups tapioca flour or starch (8 ounces / 225 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cups potato starch ** (8 ounces / 225 grams)
  • 1/4 cup xanthan gum or psyllium husk powder *** (1.4 ounces / 40 grams)

Gluten-Free Mini Baguettes

  • 6 1/2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour mixture (2 pounds, 3 ounces / 990 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon dry active or instant yeast (.35 ounce / 10 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (0.9 ounce / 25 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (1 ounce / 30 grams)
  • 3 3/4 cups lukewarm water (1 pound, 14 ounces / 850 grams)
  • 1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water for brushing the baguette (or plain water)
  • parchment paper or cornmeal

Instructions

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mixture

  1. Whisk and mix the ingredients in a 5 to 6-quart lidded container. Finish by picking up the container and vigorously shaking until the flours are completely blended.

  2. The ingredients must be very well mixed, otherwise the xanthan gum or psyllium will not be evenly distributed and your loaves will be inconsistent. 

  3. * Do not substitute with sweet white rice flour.
  4. ** Do not substitute with potato flour.
  5. *** If you choose to use psyllium husk powder instead of xanthan gum, do not store the prepared dough for longer than five days.

  6. If you’re measuring by U.S. cup-measures, be sure to pack the flour tightly into the cup, as if you were measuring brown sugar.

Gluten-Free Mini Baguettes

  1. In a 5 to 6-quart bowl or stand mixer, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar.

  2. Add the lukewarm water — lukewarm water (100ºF) will allow the dough to rise to the right point for storage in about 2 hours.
  3. Mix with the paddle attachment of mixer until mixture is very smooth, for about one minute. Alternatively, using a spoon or spatula, mix well by hand for one to two minutes. Kneading is not necessary. Transfer mixture to lidded (not airtight) food container.
  4. Cover with a lid that fits well to the container but can be cracked open so it’s not completely airtight. Plastic wrap is fine, too. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature about 2 hours; then refrigerate it and use over the next 10 days. You can use a portion of the dough any time after the 2-hour rise. Fully refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and easier to work with than dough at room temperature, but whatever you do, do not punch down the dough — this is unnecessary with gluten-free bread baking.
  5. On baking day: pull off a 3/4-pound (large orange-size) piece of dough, then place it on a pizza peel prepared with plenty of cornmeal or parchment paper. Using your flour-dusted hands, gently press the dough into a log or cylinder with slightly tapered ends.  Use wet fingers to smooth the surface. Allow it to rest at room temperature for 40 minutes loosely covered with plastic wrap or under a roomy overturned bowl. The dough will not look as though it has risen much after the 60 minutes — this is normal.

  6. While the dough is resting, preheat a baking stone or baking steel near the middle of your oven set at 450ºF for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, preheat a lidded cast-iron saute pan or Dutch oven for 45 minutes at 450ºF. If you are using the stone or steel, place an empty metal broiler tray for holding water on the shelf below the stone or steel.

  7. Brush the top of the baguette(s) with egg white wash or water.  With a wet serrated bread knife, slash with diagonal cuts at about 1/2 inch deep.

  8. Shimmy the baguette(s) onto the preheated stone. Quickly and carefully pour 1 cup of hot water from the tap into the metal broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam.  Bake for a total of about 40 to 45 minutes, or until richly browned and firm.  Alternatively, use the piece of parchment paper as handles and carefully lower the dough-topped parchment paper into the preheated pot. Cover and place in the oven. No need for a steam bath with the lidded pot. If you are using the preheated vessel, remove the lid after 30 minutes, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer uncovered or until the crust is richly browned. 

  9. Allow bread to cool completely, about 2 hours, on a wire rack.
  10. Store remaining dough in the refrigerator in your lidded or loosely plastic-wrapped container and use it over the next 10 days. If your container isn't vented, allow gasses to escape by leaving the cover open a crack for the first couple of days in the fridge. After that, it can be closed. 

Recipe Notes

Depending on the cast-iron vessel to be used, more than one baguette can be baked in a single batch.  Measure the diameter of the vessel and shape the baguettes accordingly.  The cast-iron lidded saute pan used here is 12-inches in diameter.  Each mini baguette measured about 10-inches in length allowing for 3 loaves to be baked at once.

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