A sigh for bread

January 28, 2012

More pseudo-bread.


Baking, or alchemy? Life was much simpler with King Arthur.

I’m TRYING. Truly, I am. I’ve almost said “hell with it” half a dozen times, and gone ahead and eaten the pasta/sandwich/pastry that is voluptuously reclining there on the plate or the buffet table, leering salaciously at me. But I’ve refrained.

And I’ve spent a good C-note on different flours and xanthan gums and egg replacers and such stuff, and have studiously perused recipes and foregone the sensuous pleasure of kneading and shaping a loaf in favor of spooning a thick, viscuous batter into a pan.

OK, so Miz Scarlett used to knead for me. You know what I mean. It’s freakin’ poetic license, ferGawdsakes.

Well. It makes a pretty loaf, at least.

So today, I try this whole-grain loaf that one of the multitudinous gluten-free bloggers had posted. It’s like five different kinds of flours, all designed to take the place of wheat, with its troublesome gluten component.

Amber waves of grain, my happy ass.

Anyway. It did rise. And it has a nice looking crumb to it. But dammit all to hell, it tastes bland.

I will grant that this has the best texture and mouth-feel to it of any of the gluten-free breads I’ve tried yet. It was reasonable, toasted with butter and a schmear of apple butter. But it leaves much to be desired. The quick breads, as a rule, tend to be better. But I want me some plain old, honest-to-God, all-purpose flour.

Good apple butter forgives a multitude of sins.


Here is the recipe. It ain’t all that and a bag of chips. But I guess it’ll have to do when you can’t have the real thing.

On the other hand, dinner tonight was pretty doggoned excellent. Tamarind braised pork. A recipe mostly of my own devising, one in which I started out with no particular idea where I was going to wind up, but I like where it went.

I’d bought country style ribs, which are really just the trimmings off pork shoulder roasts to make them fit in the little styrofoam trays in the supermarket meat counter. They have a moderate amount of fat on them, plenty of collagen that wants to melt into tenderness in a long braise, and are generally on sale. All those are Good Things.

So I chunked the strips of pork up into little cubes of pork, and I salted and peppered and browned them. At this point I was thinking maybe of braising the pork in apple juice, or in barbecue sauce. But I was glancing at my spice rack for inspiration, and I saw a jar of tamarind paste.


H’mmm, sez I. Tamarind braised pork? And off to Google I took myself.

It seems that mostly, it’s pork belly that gets tamarind glazed. I browsed four or five recipes, got the general flavor profile down, and proceeded to wing it.

I browned the pork chunks, then deglazed the pan with a couple of small onions, sliced into half-moons. These were soon joined by some chili-garlic paste and some grated ginger, about a tablespoon each; some five or six cloves of minced garlic; two tablespoons of tamarind concentrate, and a healthy portion of ground coriander. Meanwhile, the browned pork chunks had gone into the crockpot, sprinkled liberally with some soy sauce.

All the sauteed onion stuff eventually got happy and joined the pork. I added maybe a cup of water to give the pork plenty of liquid to braise in, and kicked the crockpot up onto high, and went about my business.

Sometime in the afternoon, I added a shot of fish sauce, turned it down to low, took some of the juice, and stirred in a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch and added it back in to thicken the sauce. Just before dinnertime, I cooked some rice, and there I was.

It was pretty doggoned good stuff. Doesn’t rise to Sweet Baby Jesus level, but we can’t all be masterpieces. The leftovers will get eaten, I am quite sure.

I cannon complain. About the pork, at least. I will continue to complain about the bread, until I find a recipe that’ll make a decent one, without benefit of REAL flour.

If you and y’mama ‘n ’em have a recipe for gluten-free loaf bread, give me a shout, wouldja?


4 Responses to “A sigh for bread”

  1. Try this recipe instead…and add your own flavors.


    Or this one:


    I think you will find the recipes online tend to be moderate (to mild…like the one above that you tried of mine) – in order for people to add their own.

    I love adding black kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes to the one you tried in your post.

    But for now, our weekly bread is the honey & oat – easy, and fewer ingredients. It holds up well…doesn’t have to be toasted to taste good, etc.

  2. kayatthekeyboard Says:

    I will! And thanks!

  3. Jason Stark Says:

    Never used it but this sounds incredible. The wife does not care much for pork but I am sure she will eat anything with garlic and fish sauce.
    We are overdue for a trip to “Sams Oriental Market” on University in LRock. Adding Tamarind to the list.

  4. Sharon Says:

    Soldier valiantly on in the battle against gluten. When you hit just the right combo on bread it will be a huge hit. I am on standby to assist with marketing.

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