Product Review: Bob's Red Mill Homemade Wonderful GF Bread Mix

 

Here's a ray of sunshine!  #BobsRedMill #GlutenFree #Bread Mix worked much better than I expected.  It produced a loaf that has classic size and shape, doesn't shrink as much as many homemade loaves, and has a great deal of firmness so you can make sandwiches that don't fall apart in your hands.  In fact the crust is crispy, even crunchy on top, and the crumb middle is soft and fluffy like ordinary white bread.  The smell is "normal" since it's a yeast bread.  It uses Saf brand yeast, Saf also makes Red Star yeast.  

Since it's a mix, it has simple instructions on the back and I'm pleased to mention, that I've added two simplifications and it worked perfectly well.  The instructions say to use 1 egg and 3 egg whites.  I used two eggs and it was fine.  It also says to use room temp ingredients, but chances are this is a risky thing to do, liquids and eggs may be forgotten too long.  What I did was, I mixed eggs, water, oil, and then microwaved for 30 seconds until the refrigerator chill was gone.  Faster and safer.  You can use milk if you tolerate that. Don't microwave too long or it will make scrambled eggs. 


I used an 8 and 1/2 by 4 inch pan, and it seemed like the bread was going to rise right out of it, and flop over, but it didn't.  It just rose up and gave it a perfect bread shape.  This bread mix is not good for the bread machine.  You're better off mixing it with a mixer, or by hand.  It becomes very "doughy" and strongly elastic.  It contains pea protein and a lot more gum than I usually eat, which seemed to give me some gas at first.  After a couple of days that was fine.  No doubt those features are why it behaves so much like an ordinary dough. 

It passed the "toast test" with flying colors.  I only had to toast it once.  And for a short time at that.  You see how the slice is indented at the bottom?  That's how it "shrank."  The top is very crusty/crunchy so it can't move.  The sides are also crusty.  But the bottom was up against a strip of parchment paper and softer.  So that part of it shrank.  Lesson learned.  Don't put butter, oil, or parchment paper in the pan.  The crusty edges are what keep the crumb from collapsing.  

 

I also had to carefully smooth the top of the batter.  The batter is stiff.  Even with a little extra water, I added a few extra tablespoons while it was mixing...  it was lumpy looking and thick.  You have to press firmly to get the corners into the pan and flatten the top.  Then you let it rise only once.  Then you can slice the top if you wish, and bake.  Don't skip the oil on top while it's rising.  It needs it so the top doesn't dry out too fast.  

For a warm place to rise might be the oven, with the oven turned on for 30 sec, and then turned off. 

I did try the bread machine method, but this mix has changed formula and it is no longer very bread machine friendly.  It needs to bake for 90 minutes.  No bread machine does that.  It takes an unusually long time for the inside to set and the little paddles can't handle the stiff dough.  There is elasticity in this dough, but not a lot of sheeting, so the dough can't relax like gluten dough does.  

I did find official Bob's Red Mill instructions for using a bread machine with their new mix, but in my experience, it will turn out with gummy areas.  Here it is, if you want to try:

For most bread machines:
1. Combine liquids in ingredients and place in bottom of baking pan.
2. Pour the dry mix on top of wet ingredients already in the baking pan.
3. Place the contents of the yeast packet on top of dry ingredients.
4. Use the basic/white bread cycle for a 1 ½ lb loaf.- medium crust

The instructions say to make sure it bakes to an internal temp of 210 degrees F. 

For interest, the old mix was based on garbanzo bean flour and some lentil flour along with the grain flour.  The new mix is based on pea protein.  Both mixes have fans, but the old mix is now unavailable. Neither mix was Organic.  Bob's Red Mill tests their products to ensure they are not contaminated with trace gluten.  They use a gluten free facility. 

Overall this is a decent bread mix which is much tastier the first couple of days after baking.  But it's still perfectly usable after several days.  It's especially good for sandwiches. 

High Fiber Option

Update:  May 22, 2021  I made a batch with a can of adzuki beans which I added for fiber and nutrition reasons.  One of the downsides of "mix" breads is that the fiber is usually really low or of poor quality.  Most fiber you might add like oat bran is very likely to be contaminated with gluten.  And many beans have too strong a flavor to be good in bread.  However, the old formula for this mix used to include chickpea flour.  And I decided I like the flavor of adzuki beans, which are sometimes made into a sweet pudding filling for Asian style filled buns.  So the flavor is compatible with yeasty things.  

If you want to try my higher fiber adzuki bean version, take a 16 oz can of adzuki beans and rinse them until all foamy stuff is gone.  That's the stuff that gives you gas.  Then place in a blender with the 1 and 1/2 cup of water the recipe normally takes.  Blend until smooth, add to the mixer and make the recipe as usual.  When it's time to let it rise before baking, it will rise more slowly.  That's OK.  Just wait.  I had to wait two hours for it to rise.  Then bake for 90 min as usual.  The "bulk" of the mix will be more, so I made a small loaf and a normal size loaf.  The small loaf didn't seem to need less time.  But it would've probably been good to take it out at around 75 min instead of 90 min.  

The result was an even better texture than before.  I challenge anyone to guess that there's beans in there.  I couldn't tell and neither could my taste tester, Doug. 

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