About two years ago I found out that I could no longer eat any gluten/wheat products. The news hit me about the same way as if someone had said I was not allowed to breathe air ever again. I mean ... are you kidding me?? Can life as we know it possibly continue at a table devoid of gluten?
As if suddenly going completely gluten free in my 40s wasn't hard enough, I soon came to realize that gluten-free (GF) bread loaves cost roughly four times what a regular loaf of bread costs at the store ... but they are about one-third the size, have the consistency of drywall and the flavor of cardboard.
Because my family doesn't have that kind of extra dough to spend on a barely palatable loaf of bread (sorry – don’t punch me for attempting to rise to the occasion with bad puns), I looked into the possibility of making my own GF bread.
You know, when you make a basic loaf of regular bread, the main ingredient is all-purpose flour. Apparently if you wish to make an edible loaf of GF bread, you first need to possess a veritable arsenal of no less than five different types of odd and unusual flours: soy flour, white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, garbanzo bean flour, millet flour, brown rice flour, xanthan gum … (what the heck is xanthan gum???) ... and our local country grocery store doesn’t stock these items … and, in fact, had never even heard of most of them. The only place I could locate many of the necessary ingredients was online ... and to purchase all the ingredients and have them shipped would cost ... about 10 times what it would cost to bake a normal loaf of bread.
So … I got creative. And I mean, crazy chicken lady creative!
So here is what I came up with. Is it real bread? NO. Will it satisfy a craving or help make a sandwich? YES.
And best yet, the ingredients can be modified to make anything from sandwich bread to garlic bread to gingerbread!
Sandwich Bread Ingredients:
7 farm fresh eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar (or the equivalent of your favorite sweetener)
Dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon caramel-flavored extract, optional
1/4 cup oat bran, optional (but it does give it a more bread-like texture)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Separate eggs.
3. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and sugar.
4. Using a mixer, beat on High until stiff peaks form.
5. Mix in caramel extract and oat bran.
6. Briefly mix in egg yolks (don’t beat for more than 10 seconds – just get them mixed in a bit).
7. Put mixture into a greased 8x8-inch square pan, a 9x5-inch loaf pan, or the equivalent.
8. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes or until flaky and golden brown on top. (You may need to experiment with what bake times work best for your oven. If it is too moist and "eggy" inside, cook your next loaf for an extra 5 minutes.)
9. Because of the lighter texture and consistency, I have found that slicing the loaf like a hamburger bun works best. (Yields 2 servings.) Fill with your favorite sandwich fillings and EAT!
For variations, mix in the following ingredients when you mix in the oat bran:
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cup sugar (total)
1 tablespoon ground garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground onion powder
1 teaspooon salt (or to taste)
And get creative!
And when I get really creative...
"Watch out, Ma! It's a swirling vortex of doom! And I think it just ate Big Bird!"
Oh, wait ... I guess I didn't mean that kind of creative. *sheepish grin* (My internal artist just ran amok.)
What I mean is, with this recipe, the possible variations are almost as endless as a swirling vortex of eggy delight. Try different herbs, spices and flavors. Just avoid things like fruit purees that may take all the fluff out of the egg whites.
Because the eggs are light, things like blueberries will sink to the bottom – but this will create a neat layered appearance.
Please let me know if you try this and what you think! I'd love to hear what creative and tasty combinations you come up with so I can try it too!