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Friday, 11 December 2015

Grain Free Baguette

This recipe has been a work in progress since the end of September. We were taking a much needed break in the Fingerlakes with our wonderful friends. We planned a 4 day escape and rented a lakeside cottage over one of the most beautiful fall weekends you could ask for.  We hiked Watkins Glen, and had some absolutely delicious meals! (in a cottage with hodge podge of kitchen implements, it was a bit of a challenge to cook!) But, we succeeded in creating some memorable meals, and enjoyed some very much needed time away.

Our view from the deck
Watkins Glen has to be one of the
most beautiful places I have been!
renamed this one "flatbread"
Anyhoo, the whole grain free baguette quest started with a trip to Wegmans (Have you been to Wegmans?? What an amazing grocery experience!! We need Wegmans in Canada!!)We picked up a frozen Against The Grain baguette to go with dinner one night. It was pretty darn tasty, and you would honestly never know it was grain free. Which, of course, made me want to make it myself. Easy peasy…or so I thought….(those of you who follow my Facebook page may remember some of these...)

Dense! But the right shape!!
This one went straight in the trash :(
Well, multiple tries and multiple fails later, I FINALLY came up with a winner! Taste, texture and look, it has it all. It has a great shelf life for grain free as well.  It keeps well for 4 days on the counter in an airtight container, and freezes like a dream. I have toasted it as crostini, used it as a bruschetta base, and have enjoyed multiple slices with a simple skim of butter. It does not disappoint!

In all my trials I have used multiple different types of cheese, and I find ones with less moisture content work best, like a grana padano (my fav) or parmesan. That being said, I have used cheddar, asiago and mozzarella as well with good results.

My favorite cooking method is on my pizza stone in the oven, and while it gives the crust a bit more crunch, it is not absolutely necessary if you do not have one. I have used a sheet pan as well, and it works just fine.
The dark interior colour comes from the chia. I have a very large bag of black chia seeds right now, and all my experimenting has been with them. Using white chia would lighten up the inside of the bread although it won’t alter the taste at all. Give the seeds a quick whiz in a blender before using!

Grain Free Baguettes

1 c whole milk
½ cup avocado oil
finely grated Grana Padano
3 c tapioca starch
½ c ground chia seeds(whiz in a blender jar!)
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
100g  cheese, grated with small side of grater (just shy of 1 1/2 cups, NOT packed!)

Heat milk and avocado oil on medium low heat until bubbles start to form all around the edges of the pan, approx 6 min. You want it very warm but not really boiling. 

While milk is heating, in your stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix the tapioca starch, chia, baking soda and salt on low until combined.
Add the hot milk and turn up a notch on your mixer. Let mix until the mixture becomes a fairly smooth dough. Continue mixing until the dough becomes cooler to the touch.
When the dough is cooler, add the vinegar, and the eggs, one at a time, letting them combine somewhat in between. 
Mix until the eggs are well mixed in and your dough smoothes out again. It will take a bit to mix in, but trust me, it will!!
Add the grated cheese and mix well. Turn mixer off, scrape down sides of bowl with firm spatula and mix again for 1 minute to ensure all ingredients are well combined. 
Preheat oven to 425 with rack in the middle position. If you have a pizza stone, put in oven on the middle rack before preheating.

Divide dough in half evenly and with WET hands shape into two long thin baguettes on a piece of parchment paper.  Rewet hands as needed, the dough is sticky and wet hands help greatly with the shaping of your loaves!
With a wet serrated knife, slash shallow cuts diagonally across the tops of your loaves, re-wetting knife blade if it starts to stick.
Using a pizza peel (or the back of a cookie sheet) slide your loaves (still on parchment) onto hot stone in preheated oven. (alternatively, if you have no pizza stone, place the loaves (still on parchment)  on a large sheet pan and place in preheated oven)
Bake for 25 minutes or until baguettes are nicely risen and browning. Do not under bake as it changes the inner texture of your loaf.

Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks before slicing. Store in airtight container for up to 4 days at room temp. Freezes really well. 

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