>> Monday, March 4, 2013
Before I say what I need to say (and do what I need to do for my own curiosity), let's break bread together. I promise it won't be the last time ever. Just the last time for a while.
CINNAMON + RAISIN APPLESAUCE BREAD
Makes two loaves or, as I discovered, one gigantic monster
What you'll need . . .
- 2-1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1-1/2 cups applesauce
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons ground flax meal + 1/2 cup hot water (flax eggs)
- 2 teaspoons salt (I used coarse, Kosher salt)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Method . . .
- Optional: Make 15-minute applesauce for us in this recipe. But any sort will do.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the yeast and 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit until frothy.
- Whisk in the applesauce and let sit another couple minutes. Then add the flour, olive oil, flax eggs, and salt.
- Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until all the ingredients are well combined, about 3 minutes. Raise the speed to medium-low, and continue to mix until the dough is uniformly smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes more.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat out into a round + cover with raisins and cinnamon. Knead until they are in the dough. Don't worry if raisins pop out from time to time, that happened to me, too.
- Place the dough back in the bowl you used to mix it in -- lightly oiled and covered with plastic wrap.
- Let rise for 2 hours, until doubled in bulk.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. I used a dutch oven to bake my bread (it's 5 to 6 quart in size), so if you have one -- place it in, too, to preheat as well. (Alternatively: You may also use a loaf pan and bake two loaves.)
- Punch down dough a bit and fashion into a round. (Alternatively, split into two pieces and shape into a loaf that will fit in your pan.)
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown.
- Turn out the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
You read that correctly. After years of scoffing + rolling my eyes like a bratty 13-year-old at the gluten-free diet for years, I am going to give it a try for 28 days. I have been waking up feeling hungover for a couple weeks now. I've had digestive ills, too, that I won't go into. I haven't been drinking much. I haven't been particularly dehydrated (I have water at my side 24/7).
One of my friends suggested my gluten-heavy diet might be to blame. We all know I eat tons of the stuff. So, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
I will write more about this plan + why I'm doing it tomorrow. I had a farewell hunk of bread for breakfast this morning, am saving some for Stephen, and have packed a good chunk of it away in the freezer for safekeeping. I don't know exactly what "the plan" will entail, but I refuse to buy expensive, exotic ingredients to substitute in for my regular mainstays. Instead, I'll use what I have -- oats, cornmeal, almonds, flaxmeal, etc. -- staying within our weekly grocery budget.
I will not be going gluten-free for life even if I feel fantastic at the end of this little experiment. All or nothing rarely works for me, especially for matters relating to food. However, I see how my reliance on bread and other convenience carbs is cutting into my veggie intake and, therefore, might be wrecking havoc on my body.
I could learn a thing or two -- also -- by making creative substitutions for my favorite foods, like pizza and cookies, and perhaps come up with some alternatives to throw in my everyday mix of culinary delights.
Also, I've started a Pinterest board with tasty gluten-free foods I've discovered and am continuing to suss out. And I'd love your suggestions for how to incorporate GF foods and ingredients into my life without feeling shocked/deprived of my crusty slices of sourdough.
Stay tuned for more on this "exciting" adventure . . .
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