The Omnivore was absolutely thrilled when he heard that my doctor had asked me to eliminate gluten/wheat products from my diet. Sure, he put on a somber face, tilted his little head a tick to the right, and offered a hug. But I could see that smile lurking in the background. He was secretly happy.
You see, I’d not lost my desire to cook with my new found dietary restrictions. And what I’d gained, in the ‘Vore’s view, at least, was less restrictions on my cooking. No reason to add wheat flour to all my baking, you see, because I wasn’t eating it anyway.
No reason to insist on Whole Grain Pizza Crust. No reason to make Whole Wheat Walnut Raisin Bread for breakfast. Not even a decent excuse for Compromise Bread. The Omnivore just doesn’t prefer whole wheat like I do. And since I couldn’t eat the bread, but insisted on continuing to make fresh bread, the Omnivore was brimming with joy. 100% white floured joy.
I made the most wonderful Italian Bread. Two loaves, with slightly different crusts, and both super-delicious. At least, that’s what I heard, over and over again. Not like he was rubbing my nose in the fact that I couldn’t actually eat the bread or anything :-p. Not that he’d every make me feel bad about the lack of bread in my life. Not that he’d comment on the fact that I spent hours in the kitchen making food that I couldn’t even savor. He wouldn’t do that.
One Year Ago: Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread and Cucumber Sandwiches
Italian Bread (adapted from KAF, two loaves)
4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup dried potato flakes
1/4 nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for eggwash)
butter, for brushing the cooked loaves
In a large bowl, stir together all of the dough ingredients till cohesive. Knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes, until it’s smooth and supple, adding more water or flour as needed. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for one hour, or until it’s doubled in bulk.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and divide it into two pieces. Roll each section into a rectangle 15 inches long and 6 inches wide. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll, pinching the seam and placing the loaf seamside down on a greased baking pan.
Cover with greased plastic wrap or a damn towel and let the loaves rise until very puffy, about an hour.
Brush the loaves with the egg wash, then sprinkle heavily with sesame seeds. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for about 25 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown. For the crispiest crust, turn off the oven, prop the door open, and allow the bread to cool in the oven. For a softer crust, brush baked bread with melted butter and allow loaf to cool wrapped in a tea towel.