Pumpernickel Bread, Gluten-Free

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When my father was young he worked in a bakery. He explained that they would take the cake that did not sell during the day, crumble it up and turn it into pumpernickel bread. This fascinated me – using cake to make bread? Maybe that’s why pumpernickel tastes so good. This is my vegan, gluten-free version. And no, I do not use leftover cake!

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups garbanzo flour
2 cups arrowroot, corn or potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour
4 teaspoons xanthan gum
4 Tablespoons sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 packages active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup molasses
4 1/2 cups warm water (more water may be necessary)

Preheat oven to 200F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour, garbanzo flour, starch, tapioca, cocoa and xanthan gum.

In a medium size bowl mix the sugar with the yeast and pour in about 1 cup of the water. The water should be lukewarm, not hot, or the yeast won’t work. Beat the mixture with a fork and let sit for about 5 minutes. The top should foam. If it doesn’t the yeast is not good and the dough won’t rise. Mix in the molasses and oil. Pour the yeast mixture over the dry ingredients and incorporate with a fork whisk. Mix in another cup of water. Continue adding water until the mixture has the consistency of thick cake batter. It will be a creamy, very thick liquid.

Pour batter into two greased loaf pans, filling each pan about half-way. Place on the top of the oven and cover with a towel. I have a gas oven with the burners raised above the top surface of the oven so that the pans are not directly touching the heat – they are just in a warm environment. If you have a flat surface cook top you many want to place the pans on a rack so they are not in direct contact with the heat. Allow the batter to rise and double in size – rising above the top of the pans. This can take from 30 to 60 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 400F and bake loaves for 10 minutes. Remove loaves from the oven and cover each with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake the covered loaf pans for about 35 minutes. To determine if the bread is done, insert a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. I like a moist bread, so I baked it for 35 minutes after covering. The toothpick was free of crumbs but there were some gummy spots which when cool becomes a moist, spongy bread. Remove from oven and let cool.

Delicious served with our REAL Prune butter.

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