Gluten Free Herby Tear & Share Loaf
If you've followed Wildcraft's journey from the beginning, you may remember our shop before our lovely new Bakery Shop and Café opened in Meanwood. It used to be based on the Penraevon Industrial Estate as part of our bakehouse and the range of products was quite different to what we have now. One of our bestsellers was our Garlic Tear and Share loaf. We would add crushed garlic to the dough itself and bake it until it was a pale brown. Then our lovely customers would buy it with pats of garlic infused dairy-free butter dotted on each little roll, ready for you to pop into your oven and finish baking.
We've not made them in a very long time but we haven't stopped thinking about them! So when we were planning the videos for our Baking Secrets series, we knew it was time to bring it back.
It's a great starter loaf for someone who isn't used to baking gluten free. It gives you ample opportunity to practice your shaping technique and it is actually surprisingly hard to create something inedible!
The recipe is pretty much identical to that for the focaccia. But because of the way the dough is shaped, treated and baked, the end results are radically different.
One thing you will notice when you watch the video is how the dough is shaped. You could, if you wanted, just weigh out blobs of dough and roll them into a simple ball of dough with your well-floured hands. It would bake up ok and give you a bread product that is still better than anything you can buy out there. But as people baking without gluten, I feel like we miss out on so much of the tactile pleasure of working with dough.
"Normal" gluten free bread dough is more of a batter than an actual dough. You can't really shape it, or work it or enjoy the process. The only thing you have to focus on is the end result. At Wildcraft, none of this applies. And in fact, our bread benefits greatly from the shaping process!
What shaping does is that it realigns the molecules in the dough and convinces it to behave the way that we want it to. Unshaped, or badly shaped dough, behaves in unpredictable ways when it hits the heat of the oven. It can split and distort strangely and end up looking like a squashed shoe. We don't want that!
When shaping your rolls, step 1 is to form your dough into a log. Then you can divide that log into 6 equal portions. If they end up being a bit differently sized, you can pinch dough from the bigger ones and add it to the smaller ones. What you don't want, is to end up with some of the rolls that form the loaf being considerably larger than the others. If this happens, the you will end up with poor results with your baking. The smaller rolls will proof faster than the bigger rolls, making you think that the loaf is ready to go in the oven. When it goes in the oven, the big rolls will be underproofed and dense, while the smaller rolls would run the risk of ending up overbaking.
Obviously, I have made a LOT of small breads in my career. So I'm pretty good at making sure that the rolls are within 10-15 grammes of each other. But when we are baking for sale, we weigh out every single roll to make sure that they are exactly the same. The weight for these rolls should be 100g each.
Other than the garlic version mentioned above and the rosemary & sea salt one in the video, some really delicious flavour combinations include:
Sun dried tomato and herb: Work your herbs (I like oregano) into your dough with some chopped sun dried tomatoes. Use the oil that the tomatoes were marinated in intead of the sunflower oil in your dough
Mature cheddar and caramelised onion: I love the crispy fried onions you can buy in the supermarket worked into the dough, then covered in mature cheddar before baking
Feta and olive: work your olives into your dough and sprinkle with crumbled feta before baking.
As always, if you have any questions whatsoever, why not pop over to our Wildcraft Baking Secrets Facebook Group where our bakers are on hand to help you through every step of the process.
25g/2tbsp sunflower oil
10g/2tsp sourdough starter
275g water or 170g if using liquid egg whites
6g/1tsp egg white powder or 2 medium egg whites
275g Wildcraft White bread flour blend
7g/2tsp instant dry yeast
- Add your dry ingredients into a bowl, starting with your flour, your egg, white powder if using and your yeast and whisk it together.
- Pour your water, your sourdough starter and your oil into the bowl of your mixer. With the mixer turning, add your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and keep turning on a medium high speed until it forms a soft, squidgy dough. It becomes more elastic as you beat and gives better results. So don't beat for LESS than ten minutes.
- Dust your surface with flour to stop your dough from sticking. Tip your dough onto your bench. Sprinkle with a little bit more flour and form it into a log shape, like this. Using your dough scraper, divide your dough into six equal portions.
- Shape each piece into a ball by patting and rolling it three times before using your hands to shape it into a ball, using a cupping motion with your palms. Repeat this with your other five pieces of dough.
- If you find that your dough is sticking, sprinkle a little bit more flour onto your bench and then keep going. If you make some balls bigger than others, you can pinch from the big ones to give to the small ones.
- Line an eight inch cake tin with paper and brush with oil to stop the dough from sticking. Arranging your doughballs like a star, and brush it with an egg wash.
- Sprinkle with fresh herbs and flaky Maldon sea salt.
- Leave to proof until it looks nice and puffy, and then put it into your oven to bake at 185C in a convection oven or 165C with the fan on.
- After about 25 minutes, it will look golden brown. It's ready!