I baked a loaf of it in those first weeks, mostly to convince myself that there was something other than that awful rice based cardboard my mother purchased to hold the basic ham and cheese.  I baked two loaves of it just before he came home for R&R so we could pair the homemade soups I made with the garlic bread he so adores.  I baked another loaf of it in those Colorado mountains where we spent a carefree week during that much needed respite from deployment.  I baked it when we got home again so he could have a grilled cheese with the homemade tomato soup.  I made it in the weeks after he left so I could have dinner without too much fuss.

I do love the days when I have the time to pull the jars from the pantry and really bake.   I find it deeply satisfying to pull powders from jars and end up with a house filled with the lovely aroma of fresh baked bread.  I wish life afforded me the time to do that on a more regular basis, but sometimes I’m just plain busy.  This bread?  It’s great for those busy weeks.  Where I live I can grab this mix at Fry’s or even Walmart since they added the gluten free section a few months ago.

It requires very few steps.  Milk, heated to 100 degrees and then “proofing” the yeast is the only part that ever baffled me.  The recipe indicated the yeast would “foam”.  The first few loaves, my yeast never did foam.  Later, baking a different loaf, I realized why.  The yeast needs sugar to feed on.  Just heating the milk never activated it.  The bread still rose, a bit.  It almost reached the top of the loaf pan each time.  This always seemed sufficient to me, after all gf breads never do rise the way “regular” bread does.  This time, I added a bit of sugar to that milk and the yeast did this . . .

It foamed.  The remainder of the instructions are quite easy to follow.  You simply combine everything in the mixer for the requisite three minutes, pour it into a loaf pan and this is the odd part.  Take a rubber spatula, run it under some warm tap water.  Don’t dry it off.  Use that spatula to smooth the bread, but only as much as is necessary.  Do not overwork your dough, it’s fragile this gf baking world.  Let it rise, and then bake it.  The house will fill with the aroma of fresh bread.

GF bread doesn’t last the way regular bread does so I use a slice or two the night I make it and freeze the rest.  Frozen slices can be thrown into the toaster oven while I walk the dog and when I get back toast is ready to be scarfed down . You can thaw a few slices in the microwave for sandwiches.  The very first loaf I ever made was pulled from the oven at nearly midnight.  The next morning was a family breakfast, and for three years now that breakfast has meant french toast.  Celiac wasn’t going to steal a family tradition from me, so that first loaf was sitting on sis’s counter the next morning.  Brother slid those slices into his famous batter and browned them in a pan on the opposite side of the kitchen from the griddle that held the glutenous bread slices.  Sis and my eldest nephew each took a slice of regular bread and a slice of gf bread.  Both looked up in a bit of shock and informed me they would chose this bread over “normal” bread.  We all fell in the love with the denser texture of this bread and the way it held up to the french toast batter.  I know Udi’s is a much loved bread for most of the celiac community, but it always falls apart on me.  It’s a bit bland.  It reminds me of a tasteless angel food cake.  I don’t like angel food cake.  Sure, Udi’s serves the function, and is so much better than some of the other options out there, but this bread?  It fills the need better in my opinion.

I am glad things like this and those wonderful french toast mornings can still happen, gluten free.