This week the chefs at Bevo were experimenting with gluten free baking! With the growing concerns surrounding gluten, we have been increasingly requested to cater gluten free or gluten-friendly menus. This week, chef T-Bone and chef Adam explain how they go about gluten free baking, and dish out Bevo’s recipe for gluten free focaccia bread.
“The major challenge with gluten free baking is replacing the binding agent…” says Chef T-Bone. Gluten is actually a general term that refers to a variety of proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale (a newer grain, similar to rye according to celiac.org). The most important property of gluten for baking is its binding ability. Gluten is responsible for the spongy or elastic texture of dough and helps baked goods hold their shape. Though baking without gluten is entirely possible, the trick is to find the right replacement “glue”.
T-Bone and Adam started early in the week, experimenting with gluten free focaccia recipes. “The results varied, the gluten helps the bread rise and come together so we had some very runny dough in the beginning”
“First we experimented with gluten free flower thinking that we could just make that substitution and that would be it. We finally settled on a gluten free flour blend of tapioca flour, rice flour, and potato starch, but the focaccia was still not coming together the way we wanted”
The biggest thing that was missing, once the gluten free flour was used, was the glue to gold it all together: xanthan gum and gelatin (both of these products are produced using natural products. You can click here or here to learn more). “Once we incorporated gelatin and xanthan gum into our recipe, we finally got the consistency and finished product we were looking for.”
Here is the final version of all of T-Bone and Adam’s experimentation. Enjoy!
1.5 cup warm water
2 tsp. sugar
4 tbs. EVOO
1 tsp. vinegar
3 tbs. dry active yeast (different from instant yeast)
3 cups GF flour blend (equal parts tapioca flour, rice flour, and potato starch)
2 tsp. gelatin
4 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
¾ tsp. fine grain salt
3 tbs. Roasted Garlic oil (see recipe here)
¼ cup local cornmeal
3 tbs. coarse Kosher salt
In medium mixing bowl using a regular spoon combine warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let bloom for 5 minutes (until mixture is foamy).
Stir in eggs, vinegar, and EVOO.
Add flour blend, gelatin, xantham gum, herbs, and salt.
Mix with hands until even; dough should be soft, stretchy, and a little wet.
Cover cookie sheet with roasted garlic oil, ensuring that entire base and sides of tray are oiled.
Sprinkle cornmeal to cover base of tray.
Place dough on sheet and spread the dough out evenly, covering the entire surface.
Let sit in warm area until dough rises over top edges of sheet pan.
Dock (poke with fingers to stop rising) and sprinkle coarse Kosher salt over top to your taste preference.
Bake at 375 for 8 minutes, spin tray and bake for another 8 minutes.