This rustic loaf offers a thin, chewy, golden crust full of a rye/wheat-like taste, which is neat considering it’s gluten-free. The interior is moist, soft, and dotted with flaxseed — a nice contrast with the thin, chewy, rustic crust. And it smells wonderful in a heady, bread-y kind of way. 🙂
Bakers will recognize the preheated-pot baking method, which captures the steam necessary for creating the artisan-style crust, as a technique from Jim Lahey of New York’s Sullivan Street Bakery that was popularized by Mark Bittman.
Unfortunately, most of the photos are of bread half-eaten. We often dig right in and forget about taking photos. Then at some point, someone (usually me) blurts out (with bread stuffed in the mouth), “Bwrey! Woh nod to tok a photo!” (Translation: Hey! We need to take a photo!) I’ve posted photos of Neat Bread (look for the flaxseed) and also a version of Neat Bread that does not involve flaxseed. Both have a similar crust and interior structure.
- 2 T ground flaxseed plus 6 T boiling water
- 1 t dry active yeast plus pinch sugar plus 1/4 c warm water
- 1 1/4 c Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Mix
- 1 1/4 c rice flour
- 1/4 c glutinous rice flour
- 1/2 c tapioca starch
- 2 T sugar
- 2 t xanthan gum
- 1 1/8 t unbleached sea salt
- scant 1 1/4 c to 2 c warm water (roughly speaking)
In small bowl, proof yeast by adding yeast, pinch sugar, and 1/4 c warm water and mixing. If it bubbles in about 10 min., the yeast is alike and kicking. Wait till it almost doubles in bulk. If it doesn’t ever bubble, discard and repeat with a fresh t of yeast. Set aside.
In another small bowl, mix flaxseed and 6 T boiling water. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients. Add flaxseed mixture and yeast mixture. Gradually add just enough of remaining warm water to make a sticky, thick dough. Mix with chopsticks or fork; do not use hands, as dough will be too sticky. The resulting dough will seem like a conventional wheat dough that needs maybe 1 c more flour, or it will seem like a too thick conventional wheat muffin batter. Aim for a doughy batter (or batter-like dough) that falls off your chopsticks in a satisfying clump, that doesn’t cling too hard to your implement, but that doesn’t slide off too easily either.
Oil a medium size bowl large enough to accommodate roughly twice the volume of the dough. Using an oiled rubber spatula, transfer batter to bowl. Use spatula to smooth/style top of dough however you like (opt). Loosely cover bowl with cloth, lid, or plastic wrap. Let rise undisturbed in a draft-free place till roughly double in bulk.
Preheat oven about 450 F. About 30 minutes before baking, place into preheated oven a large cast iron pot with lid on.
Remove pot from oven. Remove lid. With bowl in hand, slide dough into pot, using an oiled rubber spatula to push dough along if necessary. (Don’t worry if it’s misshapen; odd shapes often look better.) Quickly put lid back on and return covered pot to oven. You want to do this as quickly as possible to avoid losing too much heat from the pot interior. Be careful. Pot is HOT!
Cook 30 min. Remove lid and cook until crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven. Transfer loaf to cooling rack. Cool completely or till slightly warm before eating. Do NOT slice while still hot/very warm; doing so will cause bread interior to be undercooked.
About 6 servings of bread
- I am constantly experimenting with this recipe and modifying it every week. This recipe is decent but can be improved. Will post improved version soon.
- Different method: Instead of using the oiled bowl method, spread parchment paper on work surface. Sprinkle rice flour onto paper. Turn risen dough onto paper. Sprinkle with rice flour. Gathering the corners of the parchment paper, flip dough into pot. Cook as instructed.
- One popular alternative way of getting the dough into the pot is to let the dough rise on a piece of parchment paper, then place the parchment paper (with dough on top) into the pot. This is ideal, since it doesn’t disturb the dough like the two methods do and end up reducing the rise. However, I’m not a fan of this method since, (A) my parchment paper is tested for safety at up to 425 F degrees — and I cook my bread at at least 450 F, and (B) parchment paper is coated with silicone and chemicals, and I necessarily trust these things next to food being cooked at high temperatures. i.e., I’m concerned those chemicials might do some nasty degrading onto my food at such high temperatures. I haven’t read anything to support this concern; however, I haven’t read anything that allays my fears either.
- I use a 5 quart Le Creuset enamel covered, cast iron pot.
- If your loaf is overly moist on the inside, try reducing the amount of water added. Aim for a thicker (but still overly sticky) dough.