My First Faux-caccia

You know, this whole gluten-free thing hasn’t been quite the pain in the ass I expected at first, and not just because I’m lucky enough only to get joint pain when I eat gluten (meaning I can cheat without major repercussions from time to time). I work in New York, so GF lunches are fairly easy to find, and once I got over my egg sandwich craving for breakfast it was pretty smooth sailing. The difficulties I’m having are in finding acceptable pre-packaged bread and pasta. I’ve turned out a few decent loaves of bread on my own in the past few months, but dried pasta offerings have been uniformly disappointing so far. If you have any recommendations, I’m all ears!

One of these surprisingly good homemade bread experiments was a gluten-free redo of a Concord grape focaccia I first tried last year. It took a couple of weeks to get to the point of baking that bread, just because focaccia is a favorite of mine and I knew no wheatless version could compare to the real thing… but then I sucked it up, put on my big girl pants and got to work.

And you know what? The weeks of anxiety were just a silly way to spend my time — it turned out great! Gil and I ate about half of it that first day, so I’d consider it a success. Also? It’s much, much easier than baking honest-to-goodness bread — no kneading involved and no overnight rest in the fridge, so the time between craving and craving fulfillment is much abridged.

I just received my copy of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, which has another version of focaccia that I’m dying to try. Let’s hope those Concord grapes hold out one more week!

recipe after the jump

Gluten-Free Focaccia with Concord Grapes adapted from Carol Fenster’s Gluten-Free Focaccia

I didn’t bother seeding the grapes, though I found them unpleasantly crunchy this time around. I’ll try them without seeds next time for a less al dente treat.

3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 1/2  teaspoons dry yeast
1 cup brown rice flour or sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
1 1/2  teaspoons xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped and divided
olive oil, for drizzling
1 pint Concord grapes
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Combine first 10 ingredients in medium mixer bowl along with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves. Beat with electric mixer (regular beaters, not dough hooks) for 2 minutes. Dough will be soft and sticky.

Transfer dough to greased 11 x 7-inch nonstick pan. Cover with aluminum foil and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes or until desired height.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

When dough has risen, press dimples in it with your fingertips and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with remaining rosemary, scatter Concord grapes across the surface, and top evenly with coarse salt and turbinado sugar.

Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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3 Replies to “My First Faux-caccia”

  1. Beautiful photos! The only decent gluten-free pasta we’ve found outside of Italy (which, by the way, has an incredible variety of fantastic GF pastas) is Trader Joe’s Organic Rice Penne. Other than that, Schar products tend to be really good when you can find them in the States. It’s an Italian company that we actually first discovered at the Farmacia in Florence (apparently they treat Celiac as an actual medical condition there and you can buy GF foods and really great beer at some of the pharmacies).

  2. This is amazing!!! I made it today and my whole family (all gluten eaters) ate it up. We were especially excited ’cause we’ve had a pile of concord grapes in our fridge for days and it didn’t seem to be depleting at all.

    I did make one adjustment — I let the yeast bloom in the sugar + water before adding it to the other ingredients. It works better at my crazy-high elevation, I think. Aside from that I kept entirely to the recipe (strange, for me!).

    The most wonderful part is that fresh out of the oven this bread would soak up Olive Oil + Balsamic Vinegar. I haven’t had a bread like that since going GF a year ago! Woohoo!!

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  3. Thanks for the suggestions, Mike! I’ll keep my eyes open next time I’m at TJ’s and will order a box of Schar’s if I don’t see it around. Knowing that GF pastas are common in Italy, I was surprised and a little disappointed to find that Eataly didn’t carry any of them (though I’ve read that Batali wants to start selling GF bread, which makes me terribly happy). I just picked up some Ancient Grains quinoa/corn pasta on a friend’s recommendation; I’ll report back if it’s any good.

    Katie – I’m so glad your family liked it! And what a good idea to bloom the yeast instead of letting it work its magic over a longer time; I’ll give that a try next time I make it.

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