Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Product Review: Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix

He who fears indulgence misses out.

That's a banner slogan on the Pamela's Products website, and I quite like it. We all benefit from a little indulgence every once in a while, especially when you consider all the definitions of the word. I think it's right up there with "He who dares, wins!"
But I didn't buy Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix because of a catchy banner ad. I actually bought it because it was on sale, and I had tried it once before and underbaked the loaf of bread I attempted to make with it. I could tell that it tasted great, but most of it was inedible, so I resolved to try it again at some point. This bag of mix had been sitting in my pantry for a while, and I was in the mood for some bread, plus I needed a blog post, so I decided to give it another go yesterday afternoon. This time with rolls instead of a loaf. They don't take as long to bake, and I seem to do better with rolls. Portion control is also much easier.

Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix comes in a bag with a little packet of yeast. There are instructions on the back for both bread machine and oven baking. I had a bread machine many, many years ago and LOVED it, but nowadays I do all my baking in the oven. I made the basic recipe as printed on the bag.
There are also suggestions for ingredient add-ins to make different types of bread, and you can find even more ideas on the website. I've already decided to try the Cloverleaf Style Rolls next time.
So, to make the basic recipe, all you do is put 1/4 cup oil and 2 eggs in a 2 cup measuring container, and add enough warm water (yeast likes warmth) to make 2 cups total. Add that to the bread mix and yeast, and mix with a whisk attachment for 3 minutes.
Since there's no gluten to help form the bread's structure, gluten-free doughs have to be mixed and handled differently than traditional bread, and often their dough is more like a soft batter, which was the case here. I filled greased muffin tin cavities about half-full with the dough, and let it rest for an hour. Well, actually, it was quite a bit longer than that because my oven got busy with cooking dinner, and then I kinda forgot about them, but everything came out fine.
The dough didn't really rise that I could tell from "resting" so I didn't take a photo of it before baking. I also neglected to get a picture of the finished rolls right when they came out of the oven, but here are some totally cooled and hanging out on a plate the following morning for breakfast. As you can see, the dough did rise while it was baking.
I know they're not all that pretty. I started to smooth the tops of a couple of them after I put the dough in the muffin tins, but I lost patience with that pretty quickly. The dough was really soft and sticky, so I thought that the tops would smooth out on their own during resting/baking. They obviously didn't, so lesson learned there.
Since those with gluten intolerance may have sensitivities to other foods, I'll list the ingredients. Pamela's Gluten Free Bread Mix contains: Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, Sweet Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Organic Natural Evaporated Cane Sugar, Chicory Root, White Rice Flour, Millet Flour, Honey and Molasses; Rice Bran, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum, Yeast Packet.

The honey and molasses add a deep, sweet flavor, and I love the way it tastes. The texture is pretty good, too. In fact, nobody can tell these rolls are gluten-free just by looking at them, and most folks may not know even after eating one. The above photos show a roll cut with a knife, and here's what the inside looks like when pulled apart by hand.

Despite the outsides browning nicely, they aren't very crusty, and I noticed that the crumb goes a little stodgy in my mouth just before I'm ready to swallow, but overall the mouthfeel is pretty close to regular bread. Apparently you can also make bagels and pizza crust with this bread mix, which is fantastic. I just wish it wasn't so pricey. I was going to contact the company and see if they would send me some of their products to review, but they only send samples to groups, which is a bummer because I love getting stuff for free. Oh, well. This is one to watch for when it goes on sale.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can get it for cheaper on Amazon with the Subscribe and Save program. (You can just "subscribe" once and get the savings, or have your shipment come as infrequently as once every 6 months).