Tried my hand at baking gluten-free bread, and it was indeed a learning experience for me. Having met a number of folks who are celiacs or who have given up wheat, I was compelled to start baking gluten-free goods. For background to my endeavor, an acquaintance of mine highly recommended that I try a gluten-free bread baked by a small Denver company called Udi's Handcrafted Foods. And I will say that this stuff is fantastic, despite the fact that it came out of the freezer aisle of a health food store. No disappointment here - just more inspiration for me to bake wheat-free. After the summer months whizzed by, I noticed that my pantry boasted a gluten-free cache of sorghum, millet, chestnut, almond, sweet rice, quinoa, flax, corn, tapioca, arrowroot, potato and oat flours/starches (can't forget the xanthan gum or guar gum!!!). That's all in addition to my usual glut of flours: unbleached or bleached all-purpose, cake, pastry, semolina, and the almighty bread. (Technically, it is not considered hoarding if you keep everything organized and eventually use it all.)
Continuing with this gluten-free bread story, I finally met up online with what I thought was an impressive recipe. I have only a simple understanding of why gluten-free breads are so dense and do not rise: without the gluten a "real" rise cannot occur. Well, in my bleary-eyed efforts the bread did not turn out like how I had hoped. Not that my hopes were completely dashed. It certainly was a special kind of bread - dense beyond recognition. No open crumb here. A cross between Irish brown bread and hard tack. Crude, I'll say. On the other hand, think captivating desert topography with its striking crackle of a crust and rich nut-brown color. As for another redeeming quality, it had an unusually wholesome and pleasantly nutty flavor.
While the taste of this bread grows on you, unfortunately, it can weigh you down. Density was the culprit and may have gotten the better of this loaf. My friend, Eileen, calls this bread "gluten-free lead." I have to agree!
I still have my gluten-free stockpile and welcome any suggestions or recipes.