EDITED: I’ve added a link to the recipe for the winning bread. Please note that
the original says “4 organic butter”. This should read 4 tablespoons of organic butter.
THE BREAD TASTING
Tastings have been a popular part of our culture for some time now. Different gourmet olive oils are popular for tastings. I’ve read about tastings of expensive balsamic vinegars. No one has ever invited me to a tasting of gourmet chocolates, although if invited I would certainly accept and show up early! I have been to wine tastings, and even a cheese tasting, but this week was the first time I was part of a bread tasting.
Working on developing a good gluten-free bread to use for an upcoming cheese fondue dinner, I had produced three different loaves for my daughter and son-in-law to choose from, since they were giving the dinner. Although pledged to bake up several loaves of the chosen recipe, in the meantime I had put away the bread machine and given a sigh of relief.
Neatly sidestepping the way I had removed myself from the decision-making, my daughter, who was coming over for dinner, announced she would bring over slices from the various loaves so that we (hey, wait!) could choose the best one for the fondue, and would that fit with what I had planned for dinner? Well, I had made a smoothly blended gingered carrot soup, so some toast would go very well.
To work with, we had two slices each of three different breads, all gluten-free, and two different opinions on buttering. One person (my husband Ricardo) prefers salted margarine, one person (me) prefers unsalted butter, and the third person (our daughter) decided we’d use both methods. So we toasted, buttered, and then cut each slice into quarters.
As we began spooning soup and munching bread, we agreed to eat one bread at a time, and comment on its characteristics, so we started in, leaving for last the bread we thought would probably be the best. The combination of carrot soup and bread was yummy enough to keep us quiet at first. The gluten-free bread was more delicious than I had expected! Things were looking up!
The first slice, called Black & Decker, was a little dry, had good consistency and the look of a real sandwich slice, but didn’t hold together well enough for our purposes. We could imagine bits of it falling off into the fondue, so we moved on and tried the brownest bread of the three, Doug’s Recipe. It had been made with buckwheat flour and quinoa flour, along with others,and had ground flax seed mixed in. It didn’t look beautiful, but the flavour was both rich and fresh, with a nutty deliciousness. Quite a surprise! The last bread, White and Brown, was moist and a little sweet, of all three the one tasting closest to ordinary home-made bread. We all loved it.
It was time now to decide on the most important criterion for the fondue bread. We were trying to replace the traditional French baguette, which is thin and crusty, and sliced in small chunks for fondue, so clearly we would need a bread with enough crustiness to be pierced by the fondue fork and not fall apart when swirled through the cheese mixture. Hmmm. There were quarters of bread left, so the three of us tasted and considered.
It was unanimous! Doug’s Recipe held together well and had good crust. We all could imagine it adding nice flavour to the melted cheese as the diner bit into it. Excellent! There was a little scrabble as three hands went for the two remaining bread quarters, but we broke up the pieces and shared. Problem solved, and a very tasty dinner ended.