Gluten-Free Tales: Wonderful Bread Mix (Bob’s Red Mill) #1

In which we are introduced to the characters in volume 1, and look at what happens to a bread mix prepared by someone on (legal) Ambien. ((Which is like being drunk, but without the hangover. Requires a prescription, probably for a good reason.))

ETA: Follow-up (and Guar Gum)

I was tempted to put in an issue #0, but hey. This isn’t a long post, it’s just full of pictures.

This is my current bread machine (of which, unlike my rice cookers and crock pots, I have only one):

It’s called a Zojirushi Mini Home Bakery, and bakes a 1lb loaf. It does this pretty well if you aren’t trying to be gluten-free. ominous lightning flash

Here’s the inside of its bread pan. That paddle is awesome, and can be removed, which I should have done after the first kneading, but more on that later.

You can see why a Zojirushi Mini Home Bakery, despite being upright, would generate breads that look like proper little loaves instead of rectangles. Normally a rising wheat/yeast bread rises about the pan by quite a decent amount.

On the other hand, gluten-free breads are more difficult.

Here is effort #1, using the Gluten-Free Wonderful Bread Mix from Bob’s Red Mill.

A baker, even a novice like myself, would cry, for there is no rising top. :( This probably has two causes: (1) I was basically drunk when I made this bread—I’m used to being off my rockets when I make bread in the Zojirushi because it’s just that dead simple for wheat, and (2) I didn’t remove the paddle and thus the two stir-downs occurred. Unlike the Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme (which does a much bigger two-loaf bread and is horizontal), the Mini Home Bakery doesn’t have a program mode that lets you turn off the stir-downs and extra kneads.

Also, I had to halve the mix, which required halving various things, and if you thought normal wheat bread baking was fussy, well, you haven’t met gluten-free wheat bread baking. A bit harder to do, also, while one is drunk, but I managed to do it properly after viewing this morning the actual recipe and list of ingredients.

Thee first two problems I can mitigate by: (1) being more aware of things during GF baking, (2) removing the paddle after the knead caaarefully with silicon-tipped tongs so I don’t rip up the non-stick lining.

The third is probably going to require a little more experimentation before I conclude that one can only have at least a 1.5lb bread machine in order to use the convenient Bob’s Red Mill mixes. Which makes me sad.

However! There is a somewhat happy ending.

Hm. Actually, there’s a little bit of a downer before the rising ending. This is the top of the bread. So, so flat. It looks more like, say, a pound cake baked by someone on a single dose of Ambien at midnight. The Zojirushi doesn’t usually generate flat breads. Sigh.

So I sliced. Hell, why not. I need something for breakfast.

Somewhat happy ending follows!

The bread looked like bread inside! Sure, it looked like the bread had been a victim of the French Revolution, but the texture was quite springy. It was a bit dense, like the times I didn’t use Red Star yeast for my wheat breads, but this was with the SAF packet that came with the bread mix. (However, SAF is Red Star. So. Yeah.) Yeah, the second and third stir-downs didn’t help with the texture.

Munching on it, it is dense and without the somewhat buttery taste I’m used to from plain bread recipes. Not a surprise, as the recipe doesn’t use butter—but it’s pretty good for not using butter. I’ve made a bread with vegetable oil before, and, well, I think I’m using olive oil next time.

I’m eating a second slice right now. It’s not bitter, it’s pretty neutral. If I used an oil I liked, it would have worked much better.

Wonderful Bread Mix says 16 servings, so I estimated slices that would result in 8 servings, and they’re a little thicker than, say, an Orowheat slice, but not by much. With butter or a spread, this would pretty much be just like Real Bread. ((I don’t eat butter with my bread. Left over from the Years of Zorn and Tharn, when I needed food that was cheap and didn’t need a fridge. Butter doesn’t make that list.)) It definitely doesn’t fall apart, like some gluten-free experiments apparently do, and can do for sandwiches and toast. Or just eating plain.

The calories on this thing are 150 kcal (I think that’s the right term) when prepared. So two slices with a little spread is a pretty sizeable breakfast.


  1. Don’t do this while incapacitated. At least not for a while.
  2. Remove the paddle after the first knead, with silicon-tipped tongs, because it’ll be quite warm to the touch.
  3. Use recipes meant for 1lb bread machines. The Wonderful Bread Mix is meant for a 1.5lb bread machine, so halving may indeed not result in a good-looking bread, but it tastes decent. I might just try the 1.5lb the next time I buy a bag of this bread mix, which is soon.
  4. Red Star quick-rising yeast might be a good replacement for the yeast in the next experiment with the second half of the bread mix (currently sealed away in a Lock & Lock).
  5. Perhaps use olive oil next time instead of saffola oil.

I feel a little bit sad the bread turned out well even with all the things that went wrong. Because my stomach doesn’t feel like it’s going to turn while I’m eating this bread. I always ignored it before, but this time it’s different—and it also doesn’t feel like little pieces of it are going to annoy my tonsils, which I can usually tell from eating wheat bread and buns these days from horrible experience.

But we’ll see. Maybe I’ll have a decent excuse to go back to wheat breads?

The bread is currently cooled off and wrapped in plastic wrap to keep moist. Supposedly that’s a problem with GF breads.

Not a bad experience, overall. But not as good as my very first wheat bread in the machine, which turned out beautifully.


5 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Tales: Wonderful Bread Mix (Bob’s Red Mill) #1

  1. I absolutely adore SAF yeast. In my area, SAF is only sold as “instant” yeast, which can tolerate higher temps and has a greater percentage of live yeast as compared to active dry. There is no way I’d ever go back to anything else; if I have to buy SAF in lb packages, I will, it’s that good.

    For a first experiment, it looks like the Mix came out quite well indeed. It has a good crumb, even with the extra stirrings and kneadings. I’m curious to see if removing the paddle will result in a better, higher rise next time.

  2. I may have to look into SAF! I tried Fleishmann’s, but found that Red Star gave a better loaf (and was better tasting to boot).

    The great thing about a small breadmaker is that one can quickly experiment with quite a few breads and very little waste. ^.^

  3. I might have to try that Wonderful Bread Mix. It looks like the other half-pound of mix in this category would fit in your one-pound breadmaker. I have a bigger breadmaker (second one, the first eventually jumped off the counter and broke its top) (both free, second hand) but I have not been satisfied with the crust on the sides with regular breads, which seems too thick. The shape of the pans is very much the same. Lately I use it mostly for pizza dough since I can’t have pizza unless I make it myself with cheese I can eat instead of the kind I can’t. (Turns out I can have goat cheese or sheep with no ill effects.)

    Non-dairy is hard enough, even though I have been doing that since 2002. I tried gluten-free for a couple weeks and didn’t feel the payoff was worth it for me. At the time. But a good gluten-free sandwich bread would be.

  4. Yup, too bad about my allergy or something to the guar gum, really. Otherwise this would have been sandwiches (it worked fine as a PB-and-J sandwich yesterday!).

    I may return to yeast breads, but I shall continue to attempt blazing the GF trail for some while longer and at least a few more breads longer.

    The Zojirushi bread makers seem seriously heavy enough that jumping off the counter is the last thing they would do—I’ve made over 50 loaves in my little Zojirushi.

    It also turns out bread with a somewhat thick crust, but one can use the Light Crust option with the Soft Bread setting to mitigate that, at least on a Zojirushi.

    *hugs her Zojirushi Mini Home Bakery*

  5. The jumping off the counter incident occurred when the machine was getting old, and the paddle had loosened up enough that it thumped around a bit, like an unbalanced washing machine. Imagine my surprise to come home one afternoon to find it had made the leap. The cover broke off entirely, and the bread dough spilled pitifully out on the floor. Put it on a baking sheet in the oven, and it made fine bread.

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