“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.~
Peace Day is on September 21st, and it is in the spirit of peace, love and forgiveness that I started this recipe for olive-rosemary bread.
I don’t want to compare wars and violence and the eventual ceasefire and peace with the process of developing a gluten-free bread recipe, but this process did feel very involved, and there were lots of failures. I have never thrown out as much food as I did while developing this recipe.
If I still had chickens, they would have been thrilled.
And while the flavor has been delicious in every iteration of the bread and each rustic loaf looked gorgeous, they all had a wet, gummy interior. They rose well, browned well, produced a beautiful crust, and were utterly disappointing in texture.
It took some doing, but I think this is it. Chewy crust, well-balanced flavor, and a texture that mirrors a hearty, gluten-filled bread. This bread has taught me the power of egg whites and almond meal to bump up the protein in a flour.
It has made me re-think my relationship with the all-purpose flour blend as the be-all, end-all for baking. Don’t get me wrong: this blend rules for pancakes, cookies, biscuits, scones, and waffles. It makes a great cupcake. But as I continue to explore gluten-free baking, I know that there is more to it than cup-for-cup substitutes.
This bread will rise, but it will not reach the great heights of a standard bread. In the end, this does not matter. This recipe makes two, one-pound loaves: one for you, and one for a friend.
1 3/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water (80 to 100 degrees)
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
coarse sea salt for garnish
1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and half of the water (approximately. This is just to activate the yeast). Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine flour, almond meal, salt, and xanthan gum. Mix briefly to combine.
3. Add water, proofed yeast mixture, egg whites, and olive oil. Mix until the ingredients come together, about a minute.
4. Add olives and rosemary and stir to combine. Do this step by hand; the olives should not be crushed.
5. Turn mixture into a clean bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for two hours in a warm, dry place.
6. After two hours, divide the bread in half and shape into boules on baking sheets lined with parchment paper . Let sit for another 40 minutes.
7. Near the end of the resting period, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a very sharp knife, cut lines in the top of each loaf and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
8. Place a pan filled with hot water on the lower rack of your oven, then slide the bread in above the water
9. Bake for approximately 65 minutes. Bread should reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees
10. Cool completely before cutting. This bread should be eaten within a of couple days.
- Another brand of gluten-free all-purpose flour can be used, but the results may be very different.
- This toasts beautifully and is especially delicious with homemade ricotta and freshly-cracked black pepper and/or some arugula.