Thirteen years ago, while I was living in Santa Cruz, California, it was suggested to me to try and cut gluten out of my diet to treat a range of mysterious medical issues I was having that multiple doctors were unable to treat. As a short, one month experiment for my health, I stopped eating bread, pasta, muffins and anything I could think of that contained wheat. At the end of the month, my digestive system was running properly, nightly heartburn was gone, my acne had cleared up, I was sleeping deeply through the night, my sinus issues were nearly completely gone, and I had new found energy I hadn't felt in years. I also was dying to eat some bread. I missed cookies and pasta.
Before the experiment, I had a weekly ritual of going for a long walk along the beautiful ocean cliffs to a market where I would buy a muffin and enjoy it on the walk back home. I missed that ritual, so it wasn't long before gluten crept back into my life. With gluten, the symptoms came back again, and thus began my decade of fighting with the gluten-free diet. At times, I was 100% gluten free. At other times, I was eating gluten 100% of the time. And then there was times when I ate gluten at every possible variant inbetween: half the time, only on weekends, only on vacation, almost never except for holidays with my family, every other day, and so on. My college housemate made fun of me for trying to invent gluten-free cookies in our kitchen (this was over ten years ago before gluten-free cookies could be found in stores and before you could buy gluten-free cookbooks everywhere.) She said they were disgusting. I thought they needed some work, but I also hadn't had a cookie in over a year, so I was optimistic of what they could become.
Since then, my gluten-free baking has evolved to a state in which no one can tell the baked goods they are raving about are gluten-free, and I like it that way. I have also grown into my gluten-free lifestyle, as now I am comfortable eating 100% gluten-free (and I am symptom free!) Recipes like this one is the reason why. I first made this lemon olive oil bread for Christmas this year. It was such a hit, I've made it a few more times, each time, improving upon the recipe. I think you will love it regardless if you eat gluten-free or not. It is nice to make as a breakfast bread, to have with herbal tea or as a gift for your gluten-free friend that is dying for a slice of yummy bread.
- 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (Cup 4 Cup and Bob's Red Mill make really nice all-purpose flour blends for gluten-free baking.)
- 1/2 cup almond flour or almond meal (Depending on which you use, the bread will come out with slightly different textures, but both are delicious.)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup agave nectar or honey (If you use honey, try to find real local honey. Don't use most supermarket brands as they are spun with high-fructose corn syrup.)
- 1/4 cup of olive oil (Use a high quality extra virgin olive oil. Check out how your brands ranks here.)
- zest of 2 lemons (Try to find someone with a lemon tree. They always have extras and you will be kept stocked in lemons. These are from my parent's tree.)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your bread pan with cooking spray or rub with olive oil, making sure you get all the corners. (I used mini bread loaf pans for this post.)
In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: flour, almond meal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Make a small well or indenture in the flour mix. Break the eggs in the indenture and add the honey and the olive oil. Stir until blended.
Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice to your dough. Stir it in until the dough is all well blended. Pour the dough into your bread pan leaving a inch or so from the top. Be sure to not overfill the pan, as it will expand in the oven quite a bit, and you don't want to have clean up your oven afterward.
Bake at 350 degree for 30 to 35 minutes until it is golden brown on top. The edges will pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick stuck in the middle of the loaf should come out clean when it is done. If it does not, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, watching it closely until a toothpick does come out cleanly.
Let the bread cool for at least 10 minutes before you invert the pan and leave it to finish cooling before you slice it.
Your kitchen will be filled with a yummy, lemony baked bread smell. Enjoy!!!
Are you proud of a gluten-free item you've baked in your kitchen? I want to hear about it! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.