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Reverse-Engineering Udi's Bread
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Hi everyone.

I've noticed the positive reviews of Udi's gluten-free breads, so I figured I'd take a stab at reverse-engineering the recipe. I use some simple mathematics to calculate the ratio of ingredients based on the information on the label.

Since I can't eat most of the main ingredients, I can't try it myself. But I'm sure others will enjoy giving it a shot.

Here's what I've come up with for both the white and whole grain versions:

Udi's White Sandwich Bread

Approximated Ingredients:

1/2 C Tapioca Flour/Starch

1/4 C + 1/2 Tbsp Rice Flour, brown

3 Tbsp Potato Starch

1-1/2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

3 Egg Whites, large

1-1/2 Tbsp Sugar

1 tsp Yeast

3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

3/4 C Water

Here's how my recipe compares to Udi's Nutritionally:


	Calories	Total Fat	Sodium	Total Carbs	Fiber	Sugars	Protein

Udi's	140		4g		270mg	22g		1g	3g	3g

Mine	135		3.7g		263mg	23.2g		0.8g	3.2g	2.5g

As you can see, it's pretty close, especially considering that Udi's numbers are rounded off. Though obviously, that doesn't ensure a similar loaf. One thing I'm not sure of is the amount of water. Since water doesn't effect the nutrients given on the label, I can't calculate it. Plus, the starches are surely a determining factor. But, not using them myself, I can only make an educated guess. How does it look to you? Another area I'm not totally confident about is the amount of xanthan gum. The eggs act as a binder, but the oil will reduce their effectiveness, as well as that of the gum. Opinions anyone? Udi's Whole Grain Bread Approximated Ingredients: 1/2 C Tapioca Flour/Starch 1/4 C + 1/2 Tbsp Rice Flour, brown 3 Tbsp Potato Starch 1-1/2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil 3 Egg Whites, large 1-1/2 Tbsp Sugar 1-1/2 Tbsp Teff Flour 1-1/2 Tbsp Flax Seed Meal 1 tsp Yeast 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar 3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum 1/2 tsp Salt 1/2 tsp Baking Powder 3/4 C Water Nutritional Comparison:
	Calories	Total Fat	Sodium	Total Carbs	Fiber	Sugars	Protein

Udi's	160		4.5g		280mg	23g		1g	3g	3g

Mine	151		4.4g		264mg	25.1g		1.5g	3.3g	3.1g

This one looks a bit less precise, but still not far off. Once again, the amount of water is questionable.

The bake time and temp should be comparable to other gluten-free breads I suppose, as would be the amount of rising to allow before baking.

I would greatly appreciate any opinions on these. And if you try any of them, please post your results!

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Hi everyone.

I've noticed the positive reviews of Udi's gluten-free breads, so I figured I'd take a stab at reverse-engineering the recipe. I use some simple mathematics to calculate the ratio of ingredients based on the information on the label.

Since I can't eat most of the main ingredients, I can't try it myself. But I'm sure others will enjoy giving it a shot.

Here's what I've come up with for both the white and whole grain versions:

Udi's White Sandwich Bread

Approximated Ingredients:

1/2 C Tapioca Flour/Starch

1/4 C + 1/2 Tbsp Rice Flour, brown

3 Tbsp Potato Starch

1-1/2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

3 Egg Whites, large

1-1/2 Tbsp Sugar

1 tsp Yeast

3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

3/4 C Water

Here's how my recipe compares to Udi's Nutritionally:

<TABLE BORDER="1" CELLSPACING="0" CELLPADDING="0">
<TR>
<TD>&nbsp;</TD>
<TD>Calories</TD>
<TD>Total Fat</TD>
<TD>Sodium</TD>
<TD>Total Carbs</TD>
<TD>Fiber</TD>
<TD>Sugars</TD>
<TD>Protein</TD>
</TR>
<TR>
<TD>Udi's</TD>
<TD>140</TD>
<TD>4g</TD>
<TD>270mg</TD>
<TD>22g</TD>
<TD>1g</TD>
<TD>3g</TD>
<TD>3g</TD>
</TR>
<TR>
<TD>Mine</TD>
<TD>135</TD>
<TD>3.7g</TD>
<TD>263mg</TD>
<TD>23.2g</TD>
<TD>0.8g</TD>
<TD>3.2g</TD>
<TD>2.5g</TD>
</TR>
</TABLE>[/html]

As you can see, it's pretty close, especially considering that Udi's numbers are rounded off. Though obviously, that doesn't ensure a similar loaf. One thing I'm not sure of is the amount of water. Since water doesn't effect the nutrients given on the label, I can't calculate it. Plus, the starches are surely a determining factor. But, not using them myself, I can only make an educated guess. How does it look to you?

Another area I'm not totally confident about is the amount of xanthan gum. The eggs act as a binder, but the oil will reduce their effectiveness, as well as that of the gum. Opinions anyone?

[b]Udi's Whole Grain Bread[/b]

Approximated Ingredients:

1/2 C Tapioca Flour/Starch

1/4 C + 1/2 Tbsp Rice Flour, brown

3 Tbsp Potato Starch

1-1/2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

3 Egg Whites, large

1-1/2 Tbsp Sugar

1-1/2 Tbsp Teff Flour

1-1/2 Tbsp Flax Seed Meal

1 tsp Yeast

1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

3/4 C Water

Nutritional Comparison:

[html]<TABLE BORDER="1" CELLSPACING="0" CELLPADDING="0">
<TR>
<TD>&nbsp;</TD>
<TD>Calories</TD>
<TD>Total Fat</TD>
<TD>Sodium</TD>
<TD>Total Carbs</TD>
<TD>Fiber</TD>
<TD>Sugars</TD>
<TD>Protein</TD>
</TR>
<TR>
<TD>Udi's</TD>
<TD>160</TD>
<TD>4.5g</TD>
<TD>280mg</TD>
<TD>23g</TD>
<TD>1g</TD>
<TD>3g</TD>
<TD>3g</TD>
</TR>
<TR>
<TD>Mine</TD>
<TD>151</TD>
<TD>4.4g</TD>
<TD>264mg</TD>
<TD>25.1g</TD>
<TD>1.5g</TD>
<TD>3.3g</TD>
<TD>3.1g</TD>
</TR>
</TABLE>

This one looks a bit less precise, but still not far off. Once again, the amount of water is questionable.

The bake time and temp should be comparable to other gluten-free breads I suppose, as would be the amount of rising to allow before baking.

I would greatly appreciate any opinions on these. And if you try any of them, please post your results!

OK, loaf number 5 today. I did the white bread again, used a little less water than called for, let it rise to the top of the pan, baked at 350 for 35 minutes. It fell in the middle again :blink: It was however, delicious, and my son devoured the whole loaf.

NOTE TO ALL: :blink: I am not an accomplished baker! I've tried the recipe with more egg whites and more water, but I can't get this one not to fall. It comes out of the oven beautiful, then it falls. Any tips would be appreciated!

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Seems you got my post before I could edit the mistakes :lol:

I have to guess it fell because of too much rising, too much water, or not enough xanthan. I have tweaked the recipes again. How much water did you use?

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Seems you got my post before I could edit the mistakes :lol:

I have to guess it fell because of too much rising, too much water, or not enough xanthan. I have tweaked the recipes again. How much water did you use?

Well, the first loaf I used exactly what the recipe called for in water,and it fell. Third loaf of white was today, I used 3/4 tsp x gum, and a smidgen less than 3/4 cup water. The first two loaves I let rise to 60% and 75%, so this time, I let is rise to the top. I think my problem is I just suck at baking :ph34r:

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Well, the first loaf I used exactly what the recipe called for in water,and it fell. Third loaf of white was today, I used 3/4 tsp x gum, and a smidgen less than 3/4 cup water. The first two loaves I let rise to 60% and 75%, so this time, I let is rise to the top. I think my problem is I just suck at baking :ph34r:

Crazy idea here, how about flipping it over & supporting the sides or "handles" of the loaf pan & letting it cool? Homemade angel food cakes are cooled by turning them over & putting the pan ontop of an empty wine bottle thru the middle part (where the hole is) so the cake part doesn't collapse. Does that make sense? Just a thought.

Kudos to you & RiceGuy for giving this a shot!

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One thing I can tell you is that Udi's is a DOUGH not a batter bread. If you look closely at the loaves, you'll see that they are rolled up prior to rising. This is a gluten bread technique. You roll the dough into a rectangle and then roll up, like for cinnamon rolls, but don't cut it, just tuck the ends under.

I, too, have been working on this. One adaptation I have tried is to whip the egg whites and fold them into the mixed dough. I haven't achieved Udi's texture, but this has greatly improved my loaves.

I'm going to give your recipes a shot using my addition. I'll post results.

RiceGuy, please teach me this reverse engineering method. I stink at it.

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Trillum Hunter, that is interesting. I have very little bread baking experience, but I volunteered to test out the recipes for Udi's. That was one thing I was concerned about, was that it is very goopy, and not like I remember my Mom's bread loooking like in the pan. What would you do to the recipe to get it to be like a dough? Less liquid? The best loaf I made was the Udis whole grain, but I used 3/4 cup water. It is like pudding that is not quite set. The puzzling thing is that on the Udi's label, water is the first ingredient: so doesn't that mean that there's more water than anything else?

Forgive me if my questions seem remedial, but I am a remedial bread maker, trying to make my little boy happy.

Janie

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It's interesting-the weight is dead-on. I think Riceguy has hit it, but there is something in the technique that makes this bread different. I'm getting ready to bake two loaves--one with the egg whites whipped, one not.

Have you ever tried Lorka's bread? You can the recipe on here. It's a great bread, and it you beat the whites and fold them in, it is even better. The beaten egg whites make for a softer, more fluffy loaf. Give it a try with any recipe you have, even a mix.

Don't worry about not knowing about baking. You have to learn, and the best way is by trial and error. Never throw out a brick though. They make awesome croutons and bread crumbs. That frees me up to experiment when I know I won't really waste it.

Here's to success!

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I think Rice Guy must be a mathmetician,with a minor in baking:) I am a great cook, just was never a baker. Now I am learning for my boy. I haven't tried Lorka, I will look it up. None of my loaves came out as bricks. Some of them sunk in the middle, but they were still absolutely delicious!

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Well, the first loaf I used exactly what the recipe called for in water,and it fell. Third loaf of white was today, I used 3/4 tsp x gum, and a smidgen less than 3/4 cup water. The first two loaves I let rise to 60% and 75%, so this time, I let is rise to the top. I think my problem is I just suck at baking :ph34r:

Sounds to me like it is still too much water. Since I don't use eggs, I've never seen what all those whites will do to the dough. I'd try starting with about 1/3 cup of water, and add more if needed. If the dough is too stiff, you can always add a bit more. But once you've got too much water in there, you can't get it back out.

I never just measure the water and dump it in. I add it little by little until the consistency is right.

Also, when you say you let it rise to 60% and 75%, is that the percentage of the pan, or the original level of the unrisen dough? The size of the pan might be throwing you off, if that's what you're looking at. Always judge based on the level of the dough when you first put it into the pan. And remember, most of the rising will occur when it bakes, not before. If you're using a 4x8 pan, allowing it to rise to the top of the pan is much too high, and it will definitely fall.

That was one thing I was concerned about, was that it is very goopy, and not like I remember my Mom's bread loooking like in the pan. What would you do to the recipe to get it to be like a dough? Less liquid? The best loaf I made was the Udis whole grain, but I used 3/4 cup water. It is like pudding that is not quite set. The puzzling thing is that on the Udi's label, water is the first ingredient: so doesn't that mean that there's more water than anything else?

It should be thicker than what you describe. I've been trying to find the best description for the consistency of the dough that I usually shoot for. And the best I can think of is that it's somewhere around softened cream cheese. A fist-sized lump would just barely be able to hold itself up without drooping. But keep in mind that this is for the whole grain breads I generally make, which aren't starch-based at all. High-starch content should help it rise up higher, so I think the dough might need to be slightly softer than that.

When I put the dough into the pan, I smooth it out with the back of a wet spoon. If it keeps sticking to the spoon, causing peaks in the dough, then it's probably too moist, and will fall. Again, this is typical for my whole-grain breads, and may not be the same as starch-based breads.

The whole grain one you tried had additional ingredients to help stiffen it, so that again suggests less water will be better.

I'd add the water a little at a time until the consistency is right, and let it rise in the pan to about 70% of the original unrisen height of the dough. If it doesn't fall, then you can let subsequent loaves rise a bit more. In my experience, you will eventually reach a point where it'll fall while baking instead of afterward, which generally means the dough has stretched as much as it can. This sometimes indicates that more water is needed, especially if it has cracked. At that point, you may add more water, or not let it rise so much. Doing this, I eventually arrived at a point of equilibrium, so that it won't fall or crack, and it's not too moist inside.

About batter breads; I have never gotten such recipes to turn out right. Even my cakes start out thick enough to sculpt the dough, although the consistency is softer than for my breads. Doing this, they turn out great. But here again, I don't bake the sort of cakes that most recipes suggest. I use no dairy, eggs, or sugar (though you'd never know it by the texture and taste IHMO).

To sum up, I now think the 3/4 cup of water is too much. I have to guess it is because of the egg whites. You may end up using less than 1/2 cup, maybe even 1/3.

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I will give it another shot tonight, with less water. Thanks!

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I suspect the most important elements of Udi's formulation are in the following ingredients:

"Cultured Dextrose, Ascorbic Acid (Ascorbic Acid, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Corn Starch), Enzymes"

This is what we are overlooking and aren't likely to easily duplicate. They are the smallest by weight, yet perhaps what makes Udi's better. They are dough conditioners, and also may help keep the product from rapidly becoming stale.

Not to say we shouldn't keep trying. Good work Rice Guy, Wolicki, and Trillumhunter.

best regards, lm

p.s., Wolicki - While it's true that Rice Guy is a very smart fellow, I suspect he used a recipe conversion calculator (which still involves a lot of trial and error, ie. work).

p.s.s., The reason water is usually the first ingredient listed in many recipes is simply because water is very heavy, and the ingredients are listed by weight, not volume.

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Okay, here's what I got last night. The loaf with beaten egg whites is far closer to the texture of Udi's. It does have too much water though because it remained a batter. I did leave out the oil accidentally and it is the closest thing to french bread I've tasted.--so happy accident. The taste is close, but I think Udi's has more baking powder in it. I can really taste the baking powder. I am wondering if the traditional two-rise process would work on this dough? I will try it.

The second loaf with the egg whites just added in was much denser. It seems like a gluten-free bread. It's tough but would make good stuffing.

The formulation is close, I think. I'm going to cut the water back but what would I add to make up the weight? I do think the egg white trick is a key to this.

Fun stuff for snowy days!

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I suspect the most important elements of Udi's formulation are in the following ingredients:

"Cultured Dextrose, Ascorbic Acid (Ascorbic Acid, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Corn Starch), Enzymes"

This is what we are overlooking and aren't likely to easily duplicate. They are the smallest by weight, yet probably the most important. They are dough conditioners, and also may help keep the product from rapidly becoming stale.

Well, I didn't really overlook it. It's just that, as you noted, they can't really be duplicated so easily. However, I doubt the flavor or texture of the end product relies heavily on them. The ascorbic acid I figure is to aid the yeast, as that's what is added to instant/rapid-rise yeast. It might be a dough conditioner too, though I'd think the vinegar would be doing that to a greater degree. Still, ascorbic acid is easily obtained, if anyone want to try adding it in. The cultured dextrose is, according to this, a preservative. The enzymes is a wild card, since we really don't know what sort they are. As I understand it, enzymes break things down. So, the question is what is being broken down, and why.

BTW, no conversion calculator.

Okay, here's what I got last night. The loaf with beaten egg whites is far closer to the texture of Udi's. It does have too much water though because it remained a batter. I did leave out the oil accidentally and it is the closest thing to french bread I've tasted.--so happy accident. The taste is close, but I think Udi's has more baking powder in it. I can really taste the baking powder. I am wondering if the traditional two-rise process would work on this dough? I will try it.

The second loaf with the egg whites just added in was much denser. It seems like a gluten-free bread. It's tough but would make good stuffing.

The formulation is close, I think. I'm going to cut the water back but what would I add to make up the weight? I do think the egg white trick is a key to this.

Very interesting. Did you leave out the oil for both loaves? Oil does soften the texture, though it also tends to defeat binders.

Beating the egg whites could be something Udi's is doing. There isn't any reason to rule that out. But I was wondering if it might be possible for them to be using dehydrated egg whites. Would it still be listed the same? Then, part of the water could be to reconstitute the eggs.

As for making up the weight when cutting back the water, how do you figure there's weight missing? I mean, baking the bread evaporates a sizable portion of the water. Just how much is unknown. While you could take the total weight, and subtract the weight of all ingredients, it doesn't really tell you how much water they started with. An approximate based on the difference in weight of a similar dough before and after baking might get you in the ballpark, I suppose. Though still, I'm not convinced it'd be of much value. Also, baking will drive some moisture from the egg whites.

Did either loaf sink? What temp and time did you use to bake them? What type and size pan did you use?

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Neither of my loaves sank using glass loaf pans at 350. I only left the oil out of the first one.

I didn't mention, I do use dried egg whites. For the first loaf, I took a 1/4 water to 3 tablespoon of egg white powder. This was a guess because I didn't really know the exact ratio to use. I soaked them and then whipped them. I also bloomed the yeast in sugar water even though it is instant rise. I only use 3/4 c water total. I beat together everything but the egg whites and then folded those in. I then put it in a glass pan and let it rise in the micro with a glass of boiling water.

The second loaf I use 6 tablespoons of egg white which is actually the correct amount to equal 3 fresh. I just beat everything together and did the same as above.

As far as less water meaning more ingredients--I don't know. I'm new to baking by weight. The dough weighs 12 ozs. A baked loaf of Udi's weighs 12 oz. So--what's that mean? Should the dough be heavier than a finished loaf?

Other than the enzymes, I don't think the other things matter much--IMHO>

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This may be a dumb question, but here goes. Since they are in Colorado and at a higher elevation, would this some how effect the rising, amount of ingredients and or baking times? I know whenever I have been in high elevations things cook drasticly different for me. Could this be their secret niche for getting such great products?

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That's really interesting. I just recalculated the recipe with powdered egg whites, and the nutrients are closer to what Udi's has listed on the label. However, it looks like about 2-1/2 Tbsp of the powder is about right. Are you using meringue powder, or plain powdered egg whites? I looked up meringue powder, and the first ingredient is sugar, which might account for the fact that 6 Tbsp of the powder you have equals 3 egg whites.

But, if the bread didn't sink, why would the consistency of batter still mean it was too much water? I mean, in my experience, less water would mean less rise, hence a denser loaf. So as long as it wasn't too moist inside, does it really matter?

As for the weight of the dough verses the finished product, that's a good question. I have no idea what would account for the difference between Udi's and what I calculated. Adding any additional ingredients other than water would throw off the nutrient levels. So, perhaps that's the answer - more water? I doubt it, as it sounds like more water could make it turn out soggy inside.

But I do think the reason Wolicki's sank, and yours didn't, is likely the egg powder vs fresh. Mainly because of the water content.

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I use pure egg white powder. I'll email the company and ask what the ratio is for reconstituting.

Would more baking powder throw off the nutritional values? Like I said before, this bread has a distinct baking powder taste. I am of a mind that the leavening is done by the whipped egg whites and baking powder.

The next thing I will try is mixing everything but the egg whites. I'll allow this to rise until it is spongy. Then I will fold in the egg whites.

One thing that sticks with me is the fact that the dough is rolled out at one point. When I started doing this, I read an interview with the owner where he talked about the success coming from it being a dough, not a batter. I can see this in the finished loaves.

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I'm reading 'Bake Deliciously! Gluten & Dairy Free Cookbook' by Jean Duane. Haven't tried any of the recipes but thought I'd share these hints suggested in the book.

Reconstitute powdered egg whites with sparkling water for added lift in baked goods. It also suggests letting the batter sit for a few minutes to absorb moisture into the flours since gluten free flours are very dry.

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I use pure egg white powder. I'll email the company and ask what the ratio is for reconstituting.

Would more baking powder throw off the nutritional values? Like I said before, this bread has a distinct baking powder taste. I am of a mind that the leavening is done by the whipped egg whites and baking powder.

The next thing I will try is mixing everything but the egg whites. I'll allow this to rise until it is spongy. Then I will fold in the egg whites.

One thing that sticks with me is the fact that the dough is rolled out at one point. When I started doing this, I read an interview with the owner where he talked about the success coming from it being a dough, not a batter. I can see this in the finished loaves.

Yes, adding more baking powder would throw things off, unless you reduce the salt. I'm not sure a distinct baking powder taste is what we should shoot for, but if you want that, you could use 2 tsp baking powder, and reduce the salt to 1/4 tsp.

My guess on the idea of rising before folding in the eggs is that it'd release a lot of the bubbles, and you'd have to allow it to rise again.

OK, if the owner said it's a dough, then it's a dough LOL. Perhaps that's why they add baking powder to a yeast leavened bread - to get the extra rise, otherwise it'd be denser than it is.

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Actually that overpowering baking powder taste is what keeps me from LOVING Udi's. :D But I seem to be the only one in my family that tastes it. I would be happy to reduce that.

Right, I'm wondering if it is risen twice. That a traditional gluten way but makes gluten-free bread become bricks.

I ran out of baking powder, but I got more! :P I'll work some tonight.

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Actually that overpowering baking powder taste is what keeps me from LOVING Udi's. :D But I seem to be the only one in my family that tastes it. I would be happy to reduce that.

Right, I'm wondering if it is risen twice. That a traditional gluten way but makes gluten-free bread become bricks.

I ran out of baking powder, but I got more! :P I'll work some tonight.

TH,

I am gonna let you experiment for awhile. It's starting to make me anxious, LOL :D Since you are a good baker, I will wait for your counsel before I try it again.

Janie

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This is such an interesting thread - I have been trying to make a decent loaf of bread all this week, before my Udi's runs out.

I just thought I would throw in my two cents here, for what little it's worth...Is it also possible that Udi's is made with Expandex? That was my first thought when I read the white bread label - something reminded me of Jules Shepards Nearly Normal mix, which has Expandex as the first ingredient.

http://expandexglutenfree.com/product-information/

Nita

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Is it also possible that Udi's is made with Expandex?
Doesn't seem to be, since it would have to be listed on the label. If the tapioca starch was modified, I'm pretty sure they'd have to declare it.
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If the tapioca starch was modified, I'm pretty sure they'd have to declare it.

Ah, of course you're right about that. I forgot about the INCI requirements.

I like Udi's for the almost normal sandwich taste (though I feel that it loses its structure when toasted). I ordered directly from them and the loaves were fresh and delicious, shipped frozen to me. But the frozen loaves I purchased last week from a health food store 20 miles from me tasted absolutely horrible. Very stale. No taste of yeast (and I loved that the most about Udi's). Dry and crumbly. Expiration date off in the future.

That was when I decided to start making my own. For some reason, I worried that Udi's success had somehow compromised their technique. I have been unable to justify ordering again, since the cost of shipping is so prohibitive. I am going to experiment with folding in stiff egg whites. It is the way that the Udi bread toasts up (and degrades, texture-wise) that makes me think this is really critical to the springy texture. It has that meringue-like quality. Awesome when baked to perfection, and degrading to dust when baked too long (or toasted, as is the case here).

The enzyme part has me doing a lot of Googling, though.

Thank you, RiceGuy for your research into this. When I saw the thread title, I was thrilled beyond belief. Coming up with a cost-effective method of keeping a steady supply of sandwich bread in my house, is what keeps my kitchen gluten free. My husband is not Celiac, but whole-heartedly agreed to give it up - as long as he can still have tasty sandwiches.

Nita

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