Bread – GF staples for the family

I know! You have kids that need healthy lunches and sending a green salad with roasted chicken is just not going to work.  Well, maybe some can get away with it, but if you have teenagers and you are converting your family, you need bread for sandwiches at lunch and pizza on Friday night when they show up with their friends.   So, what do you do?

We had some good advice on the bread when we started.  So, we bought Udi’s bread and kept it in the freezer (extras) or in the refrigerator for the loaf we were actively using.   It was crumbly (get use to crumbly GF products) but tasted OK and my 16 year old son went along with it – quite surprisingly, without much complaint.  Since I don’t eat many sandwiches, I really did not pay much attention to the taste, but finally, I said there must be something better.   So, we tried some other products and then my son did start speaking up – No, no, no!   So, back to Udi’s we went.  In most cases, we were paying about $6-7 for a loaf that would get my son through a week of lunch sandwiches.

After months of this, I noticed a product I had always ignored, was on sale…..  Gluten Free Pantry Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix (6 Pack)

It called for adding eggs, butter and milk/water, but when made, I figured it was about a $1 less per loaf.  So, I bought a couple of boxes.  If I was going to take the time to make bread, I was going to make 2 weeks’ worth.   Guess what? My son and hubby loved it!  As did my daughter, home on college break.

What was I thinking? Now, I had gotten myself into a pickle and would be expected to make bread on a regular basis.  Did I mention I travel on business about 70% of the time?  But, I have a large mixer and have found I only make bread about once every 3 weeks, sometimes only once a month, and it really only takes about an hour’s worth of total work spread out over a few hours.  I get caught up on some DVR’d shows, do laundry and make bread.

I bought extra loaf pans and make 3 loaves at a time.  The single box makes a very lofty loaf of bread and does not fit in typical sandwich bags well, so I don’t use all of the dough for loaves.   I make hamburger buns with the extra.

Take 3 boxes, follow instructions (I use half water & milk), fill the loaf pans about 2/3rds full each, reserving about 2/3 cups of the dough, per box.  Cover these loaves to rise.

I’m impatient, so in the winter, I heat the oven to 250, then turn it off and open the door to cool down, as I pour the dough in the pans.  Then I set the pans in the oven with a flour sack cloth covering them and close the oven door for about 30 minutes, as they rise.  In the summer, a 72 degree house will take about 1.5 hours to rise (more energy efficient).  With the remaining dough, I make buns.  I cover an insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper and plop about 1/3 cup dough on the cookie sheet.  Using the spoon/spatula, I move the dough around and pat on it, until it is about a 4 inch circle.  You should have enough to make 6 buns or 2 per box.   Cover these with a towel and add them to the oven to rise.   When risen slightly, move them to a hot oven and cook them per box instructions.   I always have to lay foil over the top, half way through to keep the loaves from getting to brown.

The loaves need to be turned out fairly soon after coming out of the oven or they become soggy with sweat.  When mostly cooled, slice into desired bread slices and prepare for freezing.   I don’t like my foods to touch plastic, so I put my sliced bread loaf into a brown paper lunch sack and then put this in a zip top type plastic freezer bag, and into the freezer.  I use the same 4 freezer bags over and over again.

I have also found, no one wants the humpy end pieces, so I cube these up and place in my ‘for croutons’ bag in the freezer.  About once every 2 months, I make croutons while the new bread is rising.

It is easier than you think and your family will be more accepting of the transition, if they like the GF products.  So, try it, they will like it J.

Next up – Pizza they will love.

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