Editor's Note: I've been a huge fan of Aki and Alex of the blog Ideas in Food ever since I was a little chef-ling burning meat as a line cook in Boston. With their newest book, Gluten-Free Flour Power, they turn their considerable intellect to gluten-free recipes, developing unique solutions for folks who maintain a gluten-free diet. —Kenji
Last week, Aki and Alex from Ideas in Food showed you how to make three different blends of gluten-free flour that can be substituted, gram for gram, for standard flour in any recipe. With this week's recipe, they show you how to use those blends to make a classic potato bread, with a tender crumb that makes it the perfect vehicle for sandwiches.
One of the biggest quirks of gluten-free baking, they point out, is the lack of oven spring in most doughs. Traditional flour-based doughs are stretchy and elastic. When you place dough into a hot oven, pockets of air and water vapor rapidly start to expand, stretching out internal bubbles and giving bread its open structure. This process relies on gluten for stretchy resilience.
Gluten-free breads, on the other hand, are far less stretchy and don't exhibit much oven spring, which means that you have to build those bubbles in from the start.
In this recipe, the dough is placed into a Pullman loaf pan, then allowed to rise almost completely before it's put in the oven. This ensures a nice, light, bubble-filled texture even without dramatic oven spring.
Cooked potato is the other secret ingredient. It not only lends some of its flavor to the bread, but also provides a good source of fully hydrated starch to keep the bread moist and tender as it bakes.