I’ve had polenta before. I’ve even made polenta before. But today I did something new. I followed the directions on the Bob’s Red Mill* bag! Wow. It was really good. I love polenta because it keeps really well, so now tomorrow I can just throw a slice in the skillet for breakfast or lunch. It’s good to have around for a quick and filling meal. Today, we enjoyed our lunch of salad and polenta cakes with pesto and tomatoes while the dough for the focaccia was “rising”.
Now, the focaccia. I’ve made focaccia a million times (Not a MILLION, but quite often). This was my first try without gluten. As we all know, baking is a science. And today, I was given totally new “chemistry” and asked to make the same ol’ bread I’ve made for years. Of course it wasn’t perfect. But it was pretty close to that familiar Italian bread I’ve shared with family and friends. The consistency was pretty good, maybe a little more dense than I cared for, but still pretty good. I topped today’s with potatoes and rosemary. One of my favorite combinations. I was pleasantly surprised with the flour mix we used. We chose Bob’s Red Mill’s All Purpose Baking Flour Mix. (Also, I recommend using the same brand of Xanthan Gum.) At first I was a little concerned, as I was pouring the flour it had a different (not bad) smell. I was sure this would affect the taste somehow. It didn’t. My husband seemed surprised as well. The bread was super savory, and my husband said he was impressed by how bold the flavors were. Coming from my husband, this is a good thing.
So, like I mentioned earlier, baking is a science. And this experiment didn’t turn out exactly as expected. I say this because focaccia is a yeast bread. You are supposed to let it rise for an hour. My bread did not rise. It sat in the same shape I left it in. So when I went to form the dough to bake, I was more than a little concerned. Anyone who bakes bread knows, bread should rise. And I used the right amount of yeast. It’s the same amount I’ve always used. But my concerns were all calmed when I tasted that first bite. All the flavors were there, even if it was a small loaf.
Overall, I think today was a good food day. Successful lunch that both my husband and I enjoyed? CHECK. A focaccia bread that my big, Italian family wouldn’t look down their noses at? CHECK. AAANNNDD I found out the Woodchuck Hard Cider that I bought before my diagnosis is Gluten Free!
Baking in the Breadbasket,
*Bob’s Red Mill Polenta is made in a facility that also processes wheat, FYI.
P.S. I don’t work for Bob’s Red Mill. I just really enjoy their products, and totally recommend trying them.