I could live on bread and butter, as long as it's good quality bread and butter. Wheat and grains, is a staple in most diets no matter what cultural background you are from. Alot of the foods we eat contain some sort of wheat product, wether it be the main ingredient or a supplement. Think bread, pastries, pasta, cake, naan bread, pizza, etc most foods alot of us are accustomed to and eat without a second thought. Then think about what it would be like to find out that all the things you love to eat were actually making you sick, because they contain gluten.
I have a friend who only recently found out she had coeliac disease and I can't say that I know what it's like but it would be a huge change of diet and lifestyle. "Coeliac disease affects approximately 1 in 100 Australians. However 75% currently remain undiagnosed. This means that approximately 157,000 Australians have coeliac disease but don’t yet know it." - coeliacsociety.com.au
After my post promoting the Gluten Free Expo that's happening this Friday 6th and Saturday 7th at Sydney Showground, I was contacted by Fatima from Tesch Communications introducing me to Simply Wize, which was a new gluten free and fructose friendly food brand and were also a sponsor of the expo. I was asked if I was interested in sampling some of their products and was sent a box of French Stick mix, Crusty Bread mix and a packet of Gnocchi. They also do other products such as deli wafers and mini lavosh, visit http://www.momentumfoods.com.au/ for more information.
When I mentioned it to Ryan he was a bit skeptical of the products but I was curious and willing to be open minded to trialling new products. Plus, it's for the benefit of all those who do have coeliac disease. If it gets my tick of approval, being one who has no food allergies at all, then surely it will be good enough for those who are coeliac or choose to have a gluten free diet.
Over the weekend I decide to pull out my box of goodies and try one of the products, I decide to use the French Stick mix, simply because I felt like it. They were also kind enough to add a couple of packets of yeast for me as it was required to be added to the bread mix. The mix looks like regular flour/bread mix and the instructions are pretty much the same as for making regular bread, however just remember to add cornflour when kneading the dough instead of your regular flour. I have always had problems with the kneading part so am never quite sure if I have done it correctly or for long enough, the dough seems elasticky so I think it's okay.
I divide the dough into three instead of two as instructed to make the french sticks a little smaller. It's then left to rest for 5-10 minutes.
"To create a French Stick, flatten each ball into a large rectangle" - erm this is my interpretation of a rectangle =D
"Roll it up starting from the long side. Moisten edge with water, seal and taper the ends" - This is my attempt, they so don't look anything like french sticks. I cover my sticks and let them proof... for a while.
They don't quite appear to be double the size at this stage but upon prodding they seemed to have risen and were airated. Good enough I suppose, I cut the surface of each roll and then pop them into the oven. There's also a bakers tip: For best results place two ice cubes on a seperate pre-heated tray in the oven to create some steam. (Steam allows the bread to rise in a uniform manner creating a sheen on the fully baked product) - Oops! I misread that at the time and decided to use 4 ice cubes and put it on the same tray as the bread.
While cleaning up I spot this on the kitchen bench. Interesting! My parents usually have a coffee in the morning and use sweetened condense milk instead of regular milk- the vietnamese way of having coffee. They're usually quite busy, but isn't this just plain laziness? =D I havn't tried it yet but am keen to see what it tastes like.
25 minutes later I have myself three small french sticks. So fugly though! I'm not too thrilled with the result, it seems to be okay, the bread feels a little heavier than I expected. Not sure if it was to do with the product or my baking skills.
Doesn't look quite like the beautiful photo on the box.
I cut one up to inspect closer. I poke at the inside, squishing it in my hands. It feels like regular bread though I have a little suspicion that it's not cooked as it's a little moist but I think that's from my ice cubes, it also smells like regular bread. I break off a piece and put it in my mouth "hey it tastes pretty much like the real deal' I think to myself.
I grab some 'butter' (okay it was Devondale dairy spread but it tastes good) and slather some on my freshly baked bread. Mmm it was good. I cut up a few slices and slather on some more spread. I keep coming back to the kitchen and before long I've finished one whole stick. Yes just bread with the diary spread, nothing else, oh the simple pleasures in life.
I save one of the french sticks to give to Ryan to see what he thinks, he's very very skeptical but when I call him the next day and ask him if he'd tried the bread his response was "it was really really good, I'm suprised". So there you have it, a tick of approval from a picky eater. I wanted to give a french stick to one of my managers at work to see what he thinks but it would have spoiled by the time he took it home from work. Now I have to think of some cool ways to use the other products, maybe I might give them to my manager to try out at home.