Bread

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt

Bread…the often maligned staff of life. A slice of evil carbs. The heaven-sent envelope for melted cheese.

I didn’t give it much thought on a personal level until 10 years ago. When I was diagnosed with celiac disease. And reluctantly began my adventures into the murky depths of the gluten-free diet.

Full disclosure: I worked my entire professional life as a registered dietitian, so I knew what celiac disease was. And what a gluten-free diet was.  My least favorite diet to teach someone about. Challenging to say the least.

It was not without great irony, that I embarked upon this new personal life chapter.

Returning to the subject of bread…

“Back in the day” as we baby boomers say, gluten-free (GF) bread was akin to extra thick cardboard…at best. Available only by mail order. Or at a lonely booth at the annual dietetics convention. Samples piled high as dietitians rushed past the company table. Towards the latest low fat potato chips on display further down the crowded aisle.

GF bread was oh so very dry. Like chewing on a rug pad. Sandy when crumbled. Taste? A junior high science experiment gone wrong.

When I was diagnosed in 2009, a hopeful light had started to appear at the end of the gluten-free diet tunnel. A few companies were starting to manufacture decent gluten-free mixes, cookies, cakes…and some breads. The marketing strategy was not so much aimed at those of us with celiac disease (we are only 1% of the US population), but for those with gluten intolerance as well.

However, the real economic driver for the cascade of GF foods on the grocery store shelves? The tidal wave of consumers who believe a gluten-free diet is a healthier diet overall (it isn’t, don’t get me started…).

All the attention is fine with me though. I benefit from more choices that actually taste…almost as good…as their “real” counterparts.

I tried making GF bread from a mix the old fashioned way. Letting it rise and all of that. There were a number of disasters until I found a mix that turned out okay…

gf bread 2011

…but the texture? meh… Taste? better than a GF loaf off the shelf. Still way too much work.

In 2011 my 2 adult children took pity on me and gifted me a bread machine at Christmas. Along with several bags of GF bread mix.

“It’s easy Mom. Just put it all in the machine and push the gluten free setting button!”
They were well acquainted with my aversion for recipes with more than 6 ingredients and a few steps.

They were right. It was easy. The bread tasted even better. And did I say it was easy?

The magic bread mix plus bread machine did equal a quality loaf of gluten-free bread. Not quite like the old days of hearty wheat and bran bread, but a definite improvement…

GF bread 2012

No more cardboard bread. The taste and texture acceptable. But still not…well…normal.

gf bread cutJPG

However…since I pride myself on reading directions – no matter what they are for – I also studied the recipe book that came with the bread machine.

I found a gluten-free bread recipe listing:

5  different flours plus
9 other ingredients
and 15 steps…

…I thought maybe I could make an even better GF bread. Worth the time to assemble. With so…many…ingredients. And the bread machine…

My curiosity got the better of me. As often happens.

I tweaked the recipe with:

1. What I had learned since my diagnosis (which includes: forget all you ever knew about baking bread)
2. Old Food Science class info nuggets pried from my memory bank circa 1976 (science is science after all).
3. Let’s try somehow to increase the fiber so eating white bread doesn’t feel so wrong.

It worked.
Excellent tasting gluten-free bread.

Which I know I have a photo of somewhere.
And when I find it, I will add it to this post!

One thing for sure: samples would go fast at the convention….

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Wonder

This post inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo

The prompt: Wonder

The wonders of the world? The wonders of nature?

How about the wonders of the food we eat? The colorful & crunchy vegetables that grow from the ground – if carefully tended and nurtured and harvested.

From the earth we need to take better care of…but that’s another blog post topic all together.

A huge light bulb moment in the 7th grade changed my life. I asked my science teacher Mr. Jackson about potassium. My mother needed to increase her intake and I thought he might know the answer. It was a chemical after all.

His answer? Broccoli. Bananas. He then gave me a list of high potassium foods. It was that simple.

I had no idea until that moment in time that natural foods were that important. And what “healthy” as an adjective in front of “food” could really mean. Eat. Chemical reactions in the body. Feel better.

I went on to study nutrition and dietetics in college. My career resulted. Thanks to Mr. Jackson. Teachers: another wonder.

A true wonder of the world? I believe it starts with vegetables. Broccoli…peppers…carrots….
And then, of course, fruits.

As I used to show my patients, drawing a line down the center of a paper plate (way before the publicized “My Plate” visual), vegetables should take up half your plate.
Not always a popular suggestion.

Vegetables may not be exciting.
But they are still a wonder…

 

broccoli

peppers copy

IMG_8042 copy