Anytime I see a recipe and in it the words “active dry yeast” and “rise” I usually think well that’s a quick waste of ingredients and then run for the hills. I don’t know what it is about recipes, such as bread, that give me such a struggle. The thing about cooking, baking and experimenting in the kitchen is it’s not always a success, at least for me. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, you just can’t win ’em all. To be perfectly honest, I’m okay with that. I mean I am only human. Not to mention, it makes a successful recipe that much sweeter. When I first began using gluten-free and grain-free flours for baking it was rough. I’d end up with dry, crumbly, bland and just plain awful things. I’d hold back tears every time I had to throw away a pan that contained half a bag of almond flour, that darn stuff is expensive! Once I got the knack for how to balance out the dryness and make it not a requirement to have a tall glass of water within reach it was a piece of cake, literally. I felt like I could transform any recipe into one that was gluten-free and better even, grain-free. As I was in my glory and baking up a storm along came Otto’s Cassava Flour. It was like I had found my baking soulmate. A flour that made both cooking and baking paleo foods EASY and DELICIOUS. After several recipes and knowing that I was able to have such success with the flour led me to give their sandwich bread recipe a whirl. (No yeast required, phew!) I was pretty impressed by the taste and the texture, however, I felt like I wasn’t really stepping outside of my comfort zone. I mean sure it was baking and yes it was bread but I was still avoiding yeast like the plague. It was time. I needed to face my baking fears and make the real deal. I measured, whisked, molded and waited like my life depended on this loaf of bread to rise. Forty minutes later, I kid you not, it rose. I baked it up and after another 30 I was slightly afraid to take it out of the oven in fear that any sudden movement would cause it to implode into a doughy mess. Unfortunately, things burn when left in the oven longer than needed so I had to remove it. After letting the loaf cool slightly I cut into it and to my excitement there was no throwing away necessary. I ACTUALLY baked a real loaf of bread (go me!). So moral of the story is this, if you think you can’t, you can. Have patience, have guidance if needed and most importantly don’t be afraid to rise to the occasion (sorry I had to!). Plus, you get some insanely awesome crunch on the outside, soft in the middle French bread out of the deal. I mean that’s motivation enough if you ask me!
Click here to purchase Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour.
Paleo French Bread (recipe from Otto’s Naturals)
Makes: 1 loaf/total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 1/2 c warm water
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 pkg active dry yeast
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/3 c Otto’s Cassava Flour
- 1 1/3 c arrowroot flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp butter
- In a small bowl, combine warm water, maple syrup and yeast. Whisk vigorously to activate the yeast and until mixture begins to froth. Set aside and let it continue to froth for about 15 minutes.
- In another small bowl, whisk the eggs and set aside.
- In the bowl of stand mixer (I used my Kitchen Aide stand mixer with the whisk attachment) add the flours and salt and combine on a slow speed to prevent spilling.
- Add butter by the tablespoon to the flour and continue to mix on low until it clumps together.
- Turn up the speed to medium and slowly add the eggs and the yeast mixture. Continue to mix until a sticky dough forms.
- Using a spatula, scrape down the edges of the bowl to form a ball. Using wet hands, remove the dough and mold into a loaf and place on to a lightly greased cookie sheet or in a loaf pan.
- Lightly cover the loaf with a warm, damp dish towel and let sit for 40 minutes in a warm place.
- When ready, preheat the oven to 400F and bake for about about 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and it removes easily from the pan.
- Allow to cool before slicing with a bread knife.
Roasted Eggplant & Zucchini Parm Sandwich
Serves: 4/total bake time: 25 minutes
- 1 small-medium eggplant, cut into 8, 1 inch slices (I used a Sicilian eggplant)
- 1 small-medium zucchini, cut into 8, 1 inch slices
- 1 c organic tomato sauce
- 1/2 c grass-fed mozarella, shredded*
- 1/2 c grass-fed parmesan, shredded*
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- fresh basil and parsley
- 1 loaf of Paleo French bread (see recipe above)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Slice vegetables into 1 inch slices, as noted above. Lay onto a cookie sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes or until slightly tender.
- While vegetables are cooking, slice bread vertically into four large chunks. then slice each piece in half, horizontally to form two halves.
- When the veggies are done remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.
- When ready to assemble sandwiches start by spreading a spoonful of tomato sauce onto bottom slice of bread, top with a slice of eggplant and zucchini, then top with a little more sauce and a sprinkle of mozarella and parmesan. Continue the layer once more. Sprinkle with fresh herbs before adding top slice of bread. Secure with a toothpick if needed before serving.
*This is a modified paleo sandwich as it does contain grass-fed cheese. You can sub nut cheese to omit the dairy all together.