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Looks Can Be Deceiving

I came across this website with a recipe for grain-free bread – looks delicious doesn’t it? Great texture, filled with yummy looking ingredients, and all made with no grain of any kind.no-grain-bread

I am disappointed to report that false advertising exists, even in recipes.

Here is the recipe (and picture) from their website:

No-Grain Bread

  • ½ cup walnuts, ground
  • ½ cup flaxseeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup zucchini, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Procedure:

  1. Line a 10-by-15 inch pan with parchment and grease with olive oil or butter.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix walnuts, flaxseeds, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, blend egg yolks, zucchini mixture, and walnut oil.
  4. Beat egg whites until soft peaks occur. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff but not dry.
  5. Fold dry ingredients into egg-yolk mixture. Fold egg whites carefully into egg-yolk mixture and pour into prepared pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Cut into 3 ½-by-4 inch squares. Can be frozen for later use.

This makes 7-8 slices.

In reading the recipe, right from the start you can tell that it may not look like the picture posted. First off, where are the chia seeds? (or are those poppy seeds?) And what about the sunflower seeds? Yes, walnuts are called for in the recipe, but that’s about the only similarity with the recipe and the picture.

Then in the recipe directions it says to use a 10”x15” pan. A loaf pan, about 4”x8”, is what you normally make bread in. Of course you can make it in other shaped pans, but generally those are flat bread-style breads like focaccia. This recipe is essentially calling to use a baking sheet. Using this type of pan tells me that the ‘bread’ isn’t going to rise very much, and the pieces will be flat and square.

Finally the directions contradict themselves when it says “cut into 3 ½-by-4 inch squares”, yet at the end it says it “this makes 7-8 slices”. Square and slices are very different, especially in reference to the outcome of a bread recipe.

Why did this recipe bother me so much?

Because gluten free ingredients are expensive. Trying out new recipes is time consuming, and it’s extremely frustrating when all the time and money you’ve put into something turns out inedible. Yes, inedible. For me, it tasted awful. And finally, the picture shown in the recipe was obviously from a different recipe.

The texture was spongy, and reminded me of fried tofu – of which I am not a fan. All I could taste was eggs, and with that amount of walnut oil it had a slightly ‘off’ taste (like after you’ve had an omega-3 vitamin and you can taste the fish oils). The color inside was grey and anemic looking, and it didn’t really rise at all… if anything it deflated.

NoGrainBread1a

The finished product…??

This recipe’s taste and texture is more like a soufflé, a quiche, or a grain free pancake. But even then I wouldn’t use this recipe in place of those.

Gluten free bread that tastes like ‘real’ bread is hard to make. Its texture is extremely hard to duplicate. But that’s what we strive for in the Gluten Free Club. We never post a photo for a recipe that is not from the recipe we made. If a recipe we created didn’t turn out, or tasted terrible, we just won’t post it.

Here would be a perfect place to post a recipe of our no-grain bread, however we don’t have one. At least one that tastes great. We’re working on it though, and when it’s perfected and tastes great, you can be sure we’ll let you know!

 

23 Responses to Looks Can Be Deceiving

  1. Garrett January 16, 2015 at 6:32 am #

    Thank-you for sharing.

  2. Christa January 16, 2015 at 7:49 am #

    Thank-you for this information! What I truly appreciate about your “Gluten-Free Club” is your honesty and caring. Yes, GF supplies are expensive and I could not afford to “experiment” with a recipe that would “fall flat” . That is why I never hesitate to try one of your recipes – I have never been disappointed and neither has my grandson ! In fact, the whole family will eat and enjoy one of your recipes! I don’t have a printer yet but every morning I check my tablet for your recipes, pen and paper in hand – to date I have 2 notebooks filled ! Many yet to make !

    • Angie Halten (Admin)
      Angie Halten (Admin) January 16, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

      That’s so great to hear, thank you! Our test kitchen’s goal is to create foods that don’t taste ‘gluten-free’ if you know what I mean. Living a gluten free lifestyle shouldn’t have to be a sacrifice of taste – so we’ll keep trying to raise the bar!

  3. Sharon January 16, 2015 at 8:23 am #

    I read all the gluten free flour alternatives. However I like coconut flour and almond flour, not all of the ingredients in the flour substitutes in all these recipes. Do you have recipes using these flours, coconut and almond flour.????

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley January 16, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

      Here’s a bit of background first…Because coconuts and almonds are nuts, and not grains, when ground into flour they act very different in baking.
      Coconuts have such a high fiber content, they require much more liquid and eggs to be mixed with it to produce desirable results. If you’re wanting to replace some of the flour/blend in a recipe for coconut or almond flour, I would suggest replacing no more than 25%. Even then you’ll probably need to add a bit more liquid (I would start by adding an equal amount of liquid – if added 1/3 cup coconut flour, add 1/3 cup more liquid that what is called for in the recipe). Using these types of ‘flour’s (without following a specific recipe), requires a bit of trial and error until you find the magic ratio (if the recipe calls for eggs, you may need to add an extra one, or more egg replacer).
      For any of our Flour Blend recipes, you can always swap out a bit of the protein flour* that is called for in the recipe and replace with coconut or almond flour (but only 25%), just be aware that you may need to alter your recipes with the suggestions I listed above.
      *see the Flour & Starch Substitutions chart in this article for a list of protein flours.

  4. Marilynn January 16, 2015 at 9:34 am #

    Thank you so much for bring so honest. I have tried so many gluten free breads ( still trying) recipes. I have found many both bread machine and oven recipes. Many have a very good taste but do not rise. I WILL NOT GIVE UP. I hope I will run upon one that will be perfect. Boy I will be waiting for a recipe that will turn out perfect. And for all of you who need gluten free PLEASE do not give up.

    Marilynn

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley January 16, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

      At least we’re all in this together, right! Does you bread maker have a gluten free setting? If it doesn’t that could be the problem you’re loaf isn’t rising. Gluten free breads should only have 1 rise. Bread machines (without the gluten free setting) will almost always have 2 risings. Gluten free breads have enough troubles getting to rise well, that once it does rise you don’t want to punch any of that down – it won’t come back up again! Check out the comment I left for Shirley, I listed two of my favorite breads that I use for most things now, if you want to give them a try.

  5. Lisa Parlett January 16, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    Yes, this has happened to me before too! the picture looks so great, then big disappointment! I thought it was just my lack of skills in the gluten free department, but if your test kitchen had the same problem I know now that it can’t just be me! Thanks for posting, and always having reliable recipes here! It does seem like the grain free versions are the hardest of all and I look forward to when you get one out.

    • Angie Halten (Admin)
      Angie Halten (Admin) January 16, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

      Great tasting bread is definitely the ‘Holy Grail’ of gluten free cooking! We’ll keep trying though!

  6. Yvette January 16, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    I am having a hard time making gluten free bread, my husband is gluten intolerant (not celiac)….we bought a bread machine but takes so much stuff very hard to fiquer it out. Will keep trying thanks for some of the advice.
    Yvette

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley January 16, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

      Check out the reply I wrote to Marilyn regarding bread machines – could this be the problem?

  7. Moe January 16, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    Thanks for sharing this. I have tried many recipes myself and were a flop. Very costly and time consuming.

  8. Shirley January 16, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    Thank you for your work. Still trying to find a bread recipe that has texture and taste close to ‘my old life’. Yes, ingredients are expensive……sigh…….

    • Marla Hingley
      Marla Hingley January 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

      Yes…sigh…I know what you mean. I don’t think we’ll (the entire cooking world) will ever be able to re-create a gluten free bread with an identical taste and texture to wheat bread. I have come to the realization that we need to find our ‘new normal’.
      My favorite types of bread to use now are the flatbreads – with its texture similar to chewy French breads I find it’s quite a close substitute (my new normal 🙂 Try these two out and let me know what you think: Italian Flat Bread, Olive & Asiago Focaccia With all the herbs and spices in these two recipes, these breads won’t work if you’re making a PB&J sandwich or French toast, but for everything else, give it a go!

  9. JoAnn January 16, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    Thanks for posting this review. I’ve experienced similar results with recipes and wondered what I did wrong. Good to know it might not have been a problem with what “I” did, but rather, what the “recipe” did.

    • Angie Halten (Admin)
      Angie Halten (Admin) January 16, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

      I hear ya! I’ve had more than my share of ‘what did I do wrong’ too!!

  10. Willow January 16, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    I found the same thing recently with a grain free zucchini muffin recipe i found online.Completely inedible and i consider myself to be a competent baker. A lot of expensive ingredients went into that batter that i could have used to make something my family could enjoy! Argh

  11. Cathy January 16, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    I agree 100%…..I just wasted a bunch of chocolate making flour free brownies …..that were well inedible.

  12. Mary January 16, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

    boy, how many times have I tried a recipe to have it not be anything like the picture! I don’t understand the point of posting something like that. They are certainly not going to get fans that way. Thanks for being there and pointing this out. And doing what you’re doing. If you can’t trust a cooking site what can you trust?!

  13. Diane January 16, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

    I wish you would of put this last information at the beginning before I wrote it into my recipe book!

  14. Virginia Phillips January 16, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

    Eight years ago when my daughter and I were diagnosed with Celiac (and I have Chron’s Disease – wonder if there could be a connection?), my husband and I researched bread machines and bread mixes. Not wanting to waste our money, we decided Pamela’s Bread Mix was the most simple to use and dared to try a Sunbeam machine.sold by Walmart. We used our first machine so much, that it finally quit working, so we bought another Sunbeam from Walmart! Both machines have been wonderful; the bread rises well, and of course, the bread is a bit denser than regular white bread, so I slice it as thin as possible. The delicious hot slices just melt in my mouth, make delicious cheese toast, and wonderful peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my grandson. Now,what I would like is a simple delicious GF flaky biscuit recipe. Would any one share such a recipe with me?!

  15. Jackie January 17, 2015 at 6:55 am #

    I make a ” loaf’ using

    2 cups of milled flax seed
    2 whole eggs
    5egg whites, slightly beaten
    5tbl olive or coconut oil
    1tsp baking powder
    1tsp salt
    1/2cuo water
    1/2 tsp honey
    Blend dry ingredients
    Add wet ingredients
    Stirring well with a wooden spoon
    Place in a small , small oiled bread tin. You can make the tin smaller by filling in space with tin foil.
    The mixture is not going to rise much.
    Bake 30 mins in moderate oven. Can be sliced when cool . Dont call it ‘bread’. And you will love the snack!! love Jackie.

  16. Muriel January 19, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    Cookbooks and recipes that CLAIM to be gluten free are multiplying like fruit flies – I am personally fed up with the cookbook situation – claims to be GF, a premium price, and a minimum of genuine GF recipes, the majority of these so-called recipe books consist of foods that are GF already – ie, filet of sole sauteed in butter with a drizzle of lemon ??? They are attempting to get on the GF bandwagon and make as much money as then can without even a shred of conscious!!!
    Whenever I come across another of these “GF” cookbooks, I have taken to sending e-mails to the publishers and complaining – optimistic hope that eventually editors/publishers will take some notice.

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