(How) can I make a french loaf that tastes like it came from a can?
May 18, 2016 4:48 PM   Subscribe

Some combination of nostalgia and longing for comfort food is making me crave Pillsbury French loaf, which I really enjoyed 20 or 30 years ago. Nowadays, though, I live in the UK and in any event I need to stay gluten-free. Can anyone point me to a recipe for something that will taste similar?

I think that what distinguishes the loaf-from-a-can from other loaves for me is a combination of softness, springiness and saltiness. But I don't really know anything about baking bread of any kind.

Although I fear that the springiness has something to do with gluten, I'm happy to try to adapt a non-gluten-free recipe if someone can point me to one.
posted by sueinnyc to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The springiness is usually gluten but a lot of that texture is coming from lots and lots of fats. And not good fats.
posted by JPD at 5:22 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's also due to dough conditioners, most of which are not generally available to the home baker, nor are they particularly healthy.

Trying to recreate a commercially produced dough at home is tough to start with, trying to adapt it to a gluten-free recipe is harder still. Bread is very dependent on gluten for texture, structure, and taste, as you correctly guessed. There are a number of gluten-free bread recipes online, but I doubt any of them are going to be a close match for canned dough taste.

I would recommend experimenting with a couple recipes using whatever brand of gluten-free all purpose flour you can get in your location and xanthan gum as a binder and see how close you can get. There's usually a trade-off somewhere in the flavor and texture, depending on what's more important to you.
posted by ananci at 6:45 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Google Brazilian cheese roll recipes! Made with tapioca flour and yummy cheese...salty, chewy, addictive gf goodness!
posted by bookworm4125 at 8:21 PM on May 18, 2016 [5 favorites]

Once, when I was trying to make less-unhealthy toast-bread for my kids, I used cream in the recipe, which was a really good idea. This was not with gluten-free flour, but with a wholemeal which was weak in gluten, which means it might be possible to make it work with a gluten-free flour. I don't write down my recipes, but it is very similar to this.
posted by mumimor at 11:33 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes tapioca flour is your answer. I can get it from Tesco, in the Brazilian shelf of the world foods aisle. Make sure to get the sweet flour, and I guess it'd make most sense to try adapting the cheese bread recipe on the back until you get what you want. My first thought would be to use Philadelphia instead of cheddar.
posted by ambrosen at 5:03 AM on May 19, 2016

Thank you all! I'm excited to give the Brazilian cheese roll angle a try.
posted by sueinnyc at 4:29 PM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Here's a search page for the locations to buy from the company that makes tapioca starch (and maybe still makes cheese bread kits).
posted by ambrosen at 7:52 AM on May 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

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