Since we found out that my son, Grant, was gluten sensitive, bread has become a big issue in our house. Grant LOVES bread. Even before his diagnosis, I had been baking all of my own breads. I was having issues with all of the preservatives in bread. My body DID NOT LIKE THEM. I’d eat a piece of bread for lunch – I’d feel like I’d been hit by a truck all afternoon. In retrospect, this was probably a gluten and preservative issue. But have you looked at your bread label lately? If not, go do so! Do you know what everything in there is? I’ll have a post coming soon on wonderful breads (regular & GF) that you can make your self at home – simply! (I already hear your skepticism – but really you can!)
For now, here’s a yummy for you….
This recipe is super easy because it uses Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix as a flour base so you don’t have to pull out 5 different kinds of flours. For those of you that don’t eat Gluten Free (GF) – this is still a great 100% whole grain option that passed that test with dinner guests who didn’t know it wasn’t made with wheat!
Gluten Free Focaccia Breadsticks
1 Bag of Bob’s Red Mill GF Pizza Crust Mix (see purchasing notes at bottom)
1.5 cups Warm Water
2 Eggs (or 2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed +6 Tbsp water for egg free option – let sit for 5 minutes before using)
4 to 6 Tbsp Olive Oil – Divided
2 Palms full / about 3 Tbsp Dried Thyme (you can use fresh and reduce the amount by about half – just didn’t have any when the idea struck!)
GF Cornmeal or GF Flour for pan
Sea Salt to top
Get out your stand mixer. Empty the yeast packet (included with the mix) into the bowl and add 1.5 cups of warm water. Let sit for about 5 minutes to let the yeast activate. After the 5 minutes is up, add in your eggs (or replacement) and 2 tbsp olive oil. Mix until blended on low speed. Still on low speed, add in about half the flour mix, add the Thyme and then the rest of the mix. Blend on low until all flour is taken into the dough then mix on medium high for about a minute.
Now comes the messy part. If you’re an experienced GF baker – you know to expect sticky dough – and this fits the bill. For those of you that aren’t used to working with GF dough, now is the time to roll up your sleeves, take off your rings and get your hands doughy. I’ve found the easiest way to work with this dough is with wet hands. Any spoon or spatula you use just makes a mess.
Wet those hands and use them to scrape the mixer blade of the dough and then divide the dough into to two sections. (If the dough is sticking to your hands – go get them wet again!)
Cover (go eco and use a stainless bowl instead of plastic wrap) and give it a good 30 minutes to rise in a warm location. I like to preheat my oven to 425 degrees and place the bowl by the vent. Your oven will get good and hot and it will help the rise. That said – don’t expect a big rise out of this – you won’t get it and that’s OK!
While your dough is rising, pull out your baking sheet, parchment paper, cornmeal (or flour) and sea salt. Line your pan with the parchment and give it a good coating of cornmeal (think of the amount used for rolling out a pie crust).
Note: the mix makes enough for 2 batches. You can refrigerate the 2nd portion and use within the next 3 days. If you want to make it all at once, I’d do it in 2 bakings to avoid mushy centers.
When your timer dings – go wet your hands again, pull a section of dough from the bowl, and place it in the middle of the parchment . (At this point you will be spreading the dough – if your sink is more than a step away from the pan – you’ll probably want a small bowl of water to dip your hands in to keep them wet. ) With wet hands work the dough into a rectangle, re-wetting hands as needed. You want your dough to be about 1/2 inch thick. Don’t worry about making it too pretty. Rough edges = Artisan!
After you dough is spread take a serrated knife and cut it into about 12 – 14 pieces. I cut across the middle and then divide according to what looks right. (Don’t worry if they close back in on each other a little bit – they’ll still break apart after baking.) Brush with olive oil until nicely coated but not dripping. Sprinkle with Sea Salt.
Bake for 18-24 minutes on center rack of oven. Check after about 15 minutes for browning. You want a nice crispy crust – medium browned. Edges should be slightly hard to the touch on tapping.
Cool enough to handle, then break apart and enjoy! Best when still warm – they didn’t last long in our house!
Another option you can try is to spread in a jelly roll pan (dough about 1/8″), top as noted above and bake for 14-19 minutes. This comes out more like a flat bread/cracker – but still very yummy.
I plan to play with different herb combinations with this. I will keep you posted on what I find that I like. If you try something and it turns out yummy, please let me know!
*Purchasing Notes: Bob’s Red Mill products can be found in the health food sections of most traditional grocery stores. I tend to buy mine online (and in bulk) from Vitacost or Amazon because the pricing is so much better.
© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.