Celiac.com 10/16/2008 - Having gone gluten-free I, like many of you,have been struggling with gluten-free baking challenges. I began withpancakes. My first pancakes, made with a popular mix, were not thelight, fluffy things that I remembered. My son compared them to hockeypucks. They got eaten, but were not a favorite. The next time I tried apopular author's gluten-free pancake recipe. These were a hit, and didnot have the sourness of the popular mix (which were bean-based)! Theauthor's recipe was also based on sorghum flour, so I have becomeconvinced that sorghum holds the greatest potential for gluten-freebaking. I also tried the author's recipe for bread, which is based onher same sorghum flour mix as her pancakes. The bread, however, was adisaster, and it collapsed as soon as it was taken from the pan. Ithink possibly that the problem was that by the time you take hersorghum flour mix, and add the additional potato starch called for inmaking the bread mix, you end up with a mix that is overwhelminglystarch rather than flour. There is actually very little sorghum flourin it by that point. I repeated these problems when trying to use yetanother popular sorghum-based gluten-free bread mix.
Well,heck, the Agricultural Research Service was my old stomping ground! Fora couple summers during college I worked at the ARS in Beltsville,Maryland, and at least one of them was spent in the Human NuitritionResearch Division. I worked as a biochemical technician. While I wasworking with test tubes and distillation apparatus, the wonderfularomas from the nearby test kitchens would waft by me and I would envythe taste testers. I decided to contact those sorghum researchers whohave been involved in the search for a good gluten-free bread recipe. Iemailed them requesting to know if they had developed any goodnon-sourdough recipes, and I received the following replies (the replyfrom Tilman Schober was particularly valuable):
- 1) Add the hydrocolloid HPMC (hydroxypropyl methylcellulose).It tremendously helps to get a good crumb. It is a food additive, andsome people object to it because they regard it as not natural.However, it is available in a food grade version designed for humanconsumption, and we simply know nothing that works better. Xanthan gum,probably the second best hydrocolloid, is much inferior in gluten-freebread making. There are various slightly different versions of HPMCcommercially available. As US government employees, we cannot endorse aspecific product. However, I would like to let you know that we hadgood success with Methocel K4M, food grade, which is available fromretailers like Ener-G Foods.
- The larger your bread pan the more likely the bread willcollapse. Try to use small pans, and just bake more loaves. This alsohelps to keep them fresh (just freeze the loaves which you do not eatfresh immediately after cooling). A good pan size might be e.g. 6inches by 2-3 inches and 2-3 inches high.
Mix sorghum flour with starch. A recipe that has worked for usis described in the attached article (wHPMC, p. 5138). It is as follows: 105g water, 70 g sorghum flour, 30 g potato starch, 1.75 g salt, 1 gsugar, 2 g dry yeast, and 2 g HPMC. Highest accuracy in weighing theseingredients is not required, but I would prepare a larger amount ofdough (e.g. all ingredients multiplied by 10), so that it is easier toweigh. Mix all dry ingredients first in a large bowl (make sure thatthe HPMC is well mixed with the rest, it tends to form lumps withwater). Then add the water, mix (electric mixer) until a smooth batterresults, and pour (or spoon) the batter in the greased bread pans. Letthe dough rise for about 30-45 min (depends on temperature, observe howit increases in volume) and bake at 355 oF for about 30 min (depends onpan size, you will need to find out for your pan size and oven type).
Tilmanthen wrote again, enclosing a copy of the referenced article, andasking that I cite it. The article was published in the "Journal ofAgricultural and Food Chemistry", 2007, 55, 5137-5146, and is entitled,"Gluten-Free Sorghum Bread Improved by Sourdough Fermentation:Biochemical, Rheological, and Microstructural Background." The Authorswere Tilman J. Schober, Scott R. Bean, and Daniel L. Boyle. They areworking in the Manhattan, Kansas Grain Marketing and ProductionResearch Center of the Agricultural Research Center.
The otherperson who responded to my inquiry was Scott R. Bean. He sent me anearlier but related article, entitled, "Use of Sorghum Flour in BakeryProducts." This article was published in the "AIB InternationalTechnical Bulletin" in Volume XXVIII, issue 3, May/June 2006. Theauthors here were:
- T.J. Schober and S.R. Bean, USDA-ARS, GMPRC, Manhattan, KS 66502
- E.K. Arendt, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
- C. Fenster, Savory Palate Inc., Centennial, CO 80122
- Fenster, C. 2004. Wheat-Free Recipes & Menus: Delicious, Healthful Eating for People with Food Sensitivities. New York: Avery (Penguin Group).
I don't know about you, but I, forone, intend to get the Methocel K4M, food grade, and try using itinstead of guar gum or xanthan gum! I also plan to try the 70-30sorghum mix described today by Dr. Schober. I am TIRED of gummy bread,and collapses!