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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