Having an hour commute each way to my day of cooking in Paris has been enlightening in many ways: I have a daily moving catalogue of a variety of fashion blogs, a memorization of how to beg for you and your dog as a Parisian gypsy (same people, same trains, it’s amazing), and the opportunity to catch up on some reading. Favorite finds have included “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, “Amour A En Perdre la Raison” by Maryse Vaillant, and this little number by New Yorkais Rosecrans Baldwin “Paris I Love You, but You’re Bringing Me Down”.
Now that LCD Soundsystem is probably stuck in your head (my apologies), and the reason this brings me to bread is that the gluten-free loafs here simply do not compare to the marvels that are created daily back in the States. (Happy Campers in Portland Oregon, Mariposa Baking Company in San Francisco, Risotteria NYC, New Cascadia Portland, and even Food For Life in plastic bags nationwide, to name a few.) Paris, I do love you, but when it comes to GF bread, you really do bring me down.
Fortunately the flour in the bread in France is naturally lower in gluten, so if you just have a sensitivity, you can “push your luck” sometimes and end up with a four-leaf clover. However, for those who have overdosed on that luck pushing, or just want a really tasty loaf of bread, this experiment proved so fruitful it would be a shame to keep in my tiny studio kitchen alone.
Buckwheat Herb Loaf
Gluten- and nut-free. Vegan.
1 cup + 3 tbs. (140 g) buckwheat flour + a few tablespoons more for dusting pan
1/3 cup (25 g) arrowroot flour
3 tbs. (15 g) sweet rice flour (mochiko)
1 packet (9 g) dry active yeast
1 tsp. (4 g) sugar
1 cup (200 ml) warm water (not boiling, or it will kill the yeast, but not cold, or it will not provoke the yeast)
2 tsp. honey or agave nectar (vegan)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. sage
1/8 tsp. rosemary (chopped)
1/2 tbs. high heat oil (grapeseed recommended)
1 tsp. dried oregano
a few pinches flaked sea salt (optional but recommended)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Proofing time: 2 hours
Cook time: 30-40 minutes
Yields one large loaf
1. In large bowl, mix flours, yeast, and sugar with a whisk. Add water, and stir with a spoon or paddle attachment of electronic mixer on low speed for 2 minutes. Add honey, salt, thyme, sage, and rosemary. Mix for another 8 minutes, until dough starts to hold. Set aside as you gently oil and dust a deep 8”x8” bread pan, or any other size loaf you want. Fill no more than half way full, as this dough will rise.
2. Spatula the dough into the prepared mold, cover the pan with a damp cloth not touching the dough, and let rise 1 1/2 hours room temperature.
3. Pre-heat oven to 410 degrees Fahrenheit (210 Celcius). Very gently brush the bread with oil, and sprinkle with oregano and sea salt. Cover again, and set the bread to rise next to a hot surface for 20-30 minutes.
4. Bake for 5 minutes, rotate, and bake for another 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 360 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celcius) and bake another 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 C) to finish bread, cooking for another 10 minutes or so, until inserted pairing knife or wooden skewer comes out basically clean (some moist crumbs, but nothing sticky).
5. Remove, let cool 2 minutes before running a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the bread. Remove the base by sticking a spatula under the loaf, let sit a few minutes before serving.