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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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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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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