Whenever I'm having a bread crisis, I turn to King Arthur.
Not the head of the Knights of the Round Table—the flour brand and virtual compendium for all things carb.
So on a recent Saturday, days-deep in some random cleanse I'd cursed upon myself (no gluten! No dairy! No — gasp — no alcohol!), I found myself scrolling through King Arthur's recipes. I had it bad for a sandwich. Not a particular sandwich, but rather the idea of any sandwich: soft, toasted bread spread with mayo and Huy Fong chili garlic sauce; lettuce for crunch; a mild, funky cheese (Comté, is that you?); sprouts for flair; perfect waves of turkey, or salami, or ham, piled high like yoga mats at the class I'd skipped earlier that day.
King Arthur to the rescue: I identified a recipe for gluten-free sandwich bread that looked so soft, I briefly fantasized about a nap on its surface. To rid its batter of dairy, I swapped in almond milk for its whole-fat regular milk, and warmed refined coconut oil for butter. (I also upped the salt, because I am who I am, and used cornstarch in place of xanthan gum, which I can neither pronounce nor ever locate in a grocery store.)
And with just a bit of mixing, then some downtime while the batter rose, I ended up with...the best gluten-free sandwich bread I've had in a very long time. It was slightly sweeter and crumblier than a regular loaf, almost like a bread-scone hybrid. It evoked sandwich bread that'd spent too much time with a horde of biscuits, and which had recently started trying to act like one.
It made the perfect complement to savory sandwiches and sweet open-faced ones alike.
Here are the combinations I enjoyed so much, my boyfriend asked if I was leaving him for bread:
- Toasted and layered with turkey, Swiss, arugula, Dijon, and mayo on one day, and ham and cheddar on another.
- Broiled for a minute, then brushed with a clove of garlic, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt.
- Used for a classic peanut butter and jelly, which in my case was an almond butter and raspberry chia jam.
- Topped with a handful of crumbled cheese, melted under the broiler, and finished with a pinch of salt, chopped chives, and hot sauce.
- Oven-warmed and spread with dairy-free cream cheese and jam on one slice, and almond butter, honey, and Maldon on the other.
- Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread Recipe
Makes: 1 loafIngredients3 cups gluten-free flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup slightly warm almond milk
4 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
3 large eggs
1. In a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and cornstarch. Once homogenous, slowly pour in the milk, with the mixer running on low. When all of the milk has been added, it should become cohesive.
- 2. Add the melted coconut oil, and beat until fully combined. With the mixer running, beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is thoroughly mixed in (no streaks of yolk!) before adding the next. Use a spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat on high speed for 3 minutes. You'll end up with a very smooth, thick mixture that's more reminiscent of cake batter.
- 3. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and let rise for 1 hour. It won't exactly double, but it will puff up substantially. Then, use a spatula to gently scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl—this will take some of the air out of the batter.
- 4. Grease an 8 1/2-inch by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, and scoop the batter into the pan, using a wet spatula to level it as needed. Cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rise somewhere warm for about an hour—when it's ready, the batter will be just peeking above the edge of the pan. (About 20 minutes before it's ready, heat your oven to 350°F.)
- 5. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. To cool, turn it out of the pan onto a rack.