Product Review: El Peto Gluten-free Italian Bread Mix for the Breadmachine

I recently discovered that El Peto factory, a company that claims to be the “Gluten-free specialists”, is less than a 10 minute drive from my house. Naturally I went to their factory outlet store (yes, the products ARE a LOT cheaper at this factory outlet compared to the same product in the grocery store) and I spent a hell of a lot of money.

el peto italian bread mix

One of the items I picked up was a big bag that contained 7 smaller bags of bread mix, enough to make 7 loaves in the bread machine. At the time I thought “All you have to do is add water? Great I’m game for doing less work!”. So, I took the bag home and immediately began to make a fresh loaf of bread. This is what came out of the machine :

el peto italian bread mix final product

Um. eww. The dough was gummy and heavy. Immediately I realized that the loaf of bread just did not rise. That was a waste of my money!

But being frugal, and having 6 bags of bread mix left I thought “What happens if you just add a tbsp of yeast to the mix?”. So, I proceeded to clean out my bread machine, and I started from scratch. This time I added 1 tbsp of bread machine yeast.

And voila! The result was a perfect moist and wonderful loaf of bread!

I’m not quite sure what happened with this mix. Perhaps they forgot to add yeast to the mix? Perhaps the bag was sitting too long at a high temperature (yeast doesn’t like that). Whatever the case may be, I did have trouble with this mix.

So in conclusion, El Peto Italian Bread Mix for Bread Machines is absolutely yummy! But only if you add your own yeast. Although I do like the taste of this loaf, I may not buy it again. Its a shame because I’ve had El Peto’s other products and they are fantabulous. Next time I won’t be lazy —  I’ll just make the bread from scratch!

Oh, and if you do live in Southern Ontario, the El Peto factory store is worth a drive to Cambridge — you can get flours and baking supplies there at exceptional prices. And they do have nice high quality flours. They also have gluten-free cereals, pasta sauces, pastas, pie shells, cookies, pizza crusts, lasagnas, sausages and more. Just stay away from the mixes.

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Awesome gluten-free oatmeal and honey bread (only for celiacs who can tolerate uncontaminated oats!!)

I got home from work today and I really wanted to make oatmeal bread. The trouble was that the recipe I normally make (from “Complete gluten-free cookbook by Washburn and Butt) called for a couple of ingredients I don’t have in the house at the moment. One of them being apple cider. I thought that I could possibly use apple juice, but I didn’t have any of that either.

I really wanted oatmeal bread! I began searching around the internet and found — nothing! Absolutely nothing! It was horrible. I’m sure the reason is that uncontaminated oatmeal and oat flour is difficult to find (at least it is in my area). So, I just winged the whole recipe! It came out wonderfully! I used the gluten-free setting on my cuisinart bread maker. I did stop the rise half way through the rise cycle as the loaf didn’t take very long (at all!) to rise, and if I had left it longer it would have collapsed. So, if you are using a breadmaker, only let the bread rise for 1/2 hour, then set the machine to bake for 1 hour. Of course you can just do the whole thing using a stand-mixer and a regular old oven. Who needs a bread maker? (Well I do, because I don’t own a stand mixer… its a sad state of affairs).

I can’t find my camera. I don’t know what I did with it! Hopefully I’ll find it before I eat the entire loaf. Regardless, here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

wet ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (177 mL) warm water
  • 3/4 cup (177 mL) warm milk
  • 1 egg (lightly whisked)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) apple sauce (sugar free)
  • 1 1/4 tsp (6.25 mL) cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) honey
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) walnut oil

dry ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups (375 mL) all purpose gluten-free flour mix, your choice.
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) certified gluten-free oats
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) certified gluten-free oat flour
  • 3 tbsps (45 mL) brown sugar
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) salt
  • 3/4 (11 mL) tbsp yeast

Directions:

  1. If using a bread machine, put all of the wet ingredients in first. If your machine has a pre-heat cycle, let this run now! If using an oven: mix all th wet ingredients together with a whisk or wooden spoon.
  2. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl or a bag so that the mixture is uniform.
  3. If you are using an oven: now is the time to combine the dry and wet ingredients with a stand mixer or a powerful hand mixer. Mix for 4 minutes! If you’re using a bread machine: put the dry ingredients into the machine now, and help the kneeding blade to mix the dough with a spatula or wooden spoon (just be careful not to break the moving blade!). If you are using an oven: put the ingredients into a large bread loaf pan, or split between 2 small loaf pans. Don’t try to cram it all into a 9×5 pan! It won’t fit!
  4. No matter what method you use, let the loaf rise for 1/2 an hour BUT NO LONGER! The oat flour is light and it doesn’t rise like other gluten-free flours.
  5. If using an oven: shove the loaf in an oven set to 350F (180C) for about an hour (or until the internal temperature is about 195F (91C). If you have two smaller loaves you’ll have to adjust the cooking time accordingly. If using a bread machine: make sure you stop the kneeding cycle early, and put the machine on a bake only cycle for 1 hour. If you have a crust and loaf size setting use a 2 lbs loaf setting and dark crust.
  6. Take the loaf(s) out of the pan(s) and let cool completley on the counter before slicing.
  7. ENJOY!

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My (new) favourite gluten-free, multigrain, sandwich bread

bread closeupI’ve been trying for a couple of weeks to find a gluten-free sandwich bread recipe that I really enjoy. My new job starts on Monday and I’ll have to bring lunches with me — sandwich time! But how can I bring a sandwich if I absolutely hate all of the gluten-free sandwich bread that I’ve come across? I had made a low-gluten bread with spelt flour, which I can easily make into a gluten-free variety by substituting sorghum for spelt. But this bread is much softer than sandwich bread — its too hard to cut into even slices and is much better as an accompaniment to stew or soup. I wanted something healthy that would make a simply wonderful sandwich.

Yesterday I have up on the oven and I bought a nice new Cuisinart breadmaker. This was a little pricey, but it had a gluten-free cycle. My first attempt at using this bread-maker was a disaster (I’ll post about that tomorrow). But my second attempt was superb!

My new favourite gluten-free bread recipe can be found published in the “Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook” by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt. This is the only gluten-free cookbook I have tried (and since starting this blog, I’ve tried no less than eight) where each and every recipe comes out wonderfully. I highly recommend this book!

The recipe I am currently discussing is for “Sunflower and Flax Bread” which can be found on page 198 of this marvellous cookbook. I used the bread-machine, but the book also contains a mixer-method recipe on page 197 which I am sure is just as wonderful. You can buy the book in the store or on-line at chapters.ca or amazon.com. If you do buy the book and cook by metric (like myself) watch out for their metric conversions: they’re sometimes wrong!whole loaf image For instance, a 1/4 cup of something 62.5 mL, but the book says 50 mL HOWEVER the book also said that 1/2 cup is 125 mL which is correct! I’ve corrected these problems below. If you want to do the math yourself, the accepted volume of 1 cup is 250 mL, 1 tbsp is 15 mL and 1 tsp is 5 mL.

Sunflower and Flax Bread (Bread Machine Method)

Adapted from “Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook” by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4cup (188 mL) sorghum flour
  • 2/3 cup (167 mL) amaranth flour
  • 1/3 cup (83 mL) ground flax seed (this is what I used) or flax flour (what the recipe calls for)
  • 2/3 cup (167 mL) potato starch (I used potato flour, I do believe they are technically the same thing)
  • 1/3 cup (83 mL) cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp (15 mL) xathan gum
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) bread machine yeast (or instant)
  • 1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) salt (I use fine sea salt)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) cracked flax seed
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups (310 mL) warm water
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) cider vinegar
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 2 lightly beaten egg whites

Directions:

  1. Mix together all of the dry ingredients, making sure that the mixture is uniform. Set aside
  2. Mix water, oil, vinegar, eggs and egg white together and pour into the bowl of the bread maker
  3. Set your machine to the dough cycle or use the gluten-free cycle if your machine has one. Select a 1.5 or 2 lbs loaf size (I selected 2 lbs and it came out great)
  4. If your bread maker has a pre-heating cycle (mine does) wait until the kneed cycle begins then slowly add your dry ingredients to the bowl. I helped the mixing along with a wooden spoon because I just don’t trust a machine to do things without my help.
  5. When the kneading is finished, remove the mixing blade, smooth the top of the loaf (make sure you also spatula down the sides of the bowl) and let the rise cycle take over. This should be 45 minutes to an hour long.
  6. If you have the machine that has a gluten-free setting, the machine should auto-magically start the baking process. If your machine has a crust setting, select medium crust. If not, select your bake cycle, time it to 60 minutes at 350F (180C).
  7. When finished, remove from pan immediately and allow to cool completely on a rack. If you cut the bread too soon your slices will not be even.
  8. ENJOY!

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Ancient grains blueberry banana bread (gluten-free)

bread close up

YUM! Banana bread! I love banana bread. There are many different gluten-free banana bread recipes out there, and I wasn’t satisfied with any of them. So this is my attempt at improving what was already out there.

I wanted a recipe that was high in fibre and nutrients. In order to do that I wanted to use as many different types of flour as possible. I also added flax seeds for fibre, and blueberries for antioxidants.

This is not the light and fluffy banana bread that is common as a snack bread or dessert. I’m not saying it doesn’t taste good, its actually very tasty, but you can tell its better for you than most other breads. Think of a regular banana muffin versus a banana bran muffin. This one is closer to the banana bran. I plan on cutting slices and freezing them individually between wax paper for excellent, healthy breakfasts on the run! Next week I’m going to try to reduce the fat content and turn the recipe into muffins. Stay tuned!

There to see more photos, click the links ‘outside of bread’ & ‘inside of bread’ directly below.
outside of bread
inside of bread

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Low-Gluten Multigrain Bread

low gluten bread crumb

This low-gluten, kneed free, high-fibre bread is moist, light and very tasty. My favourite feature of this bread is the inclusion of flax seeds, which I simply love for the fibre and Omega fatty acid content. In addition, it is made with the flour of the gluten free ancient grains amaranth and quinoa as well as spelt flour, a low in gluten, but not gluten free variety of wheat. Everyone in the family can eat and enjoy this extremely healthy bread. It is ideal for people, like myself, with a mild form of celiac who are still able to eat spelt. If you know somebody with celiac and you are not sure if they are able to tolerate the low gluten content in spelt flour, do not use spelt in this recipe! The flour of the gluten-free grains sorghum or teff can be used instead of spelt with little or no change in bread quality.

TURTLE TASTE TEST RATING: 8 out of 10 shells

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