Welcome to my first review of Rana’s Artisan Bread. I’ve been honoured with the title of brand representative for their bread mixes which was a bit of a gamble on their part as until The 2016 London Food Allergy Fair I’d never taste their breads. I was enjoying a little nibble of all the tasters on their stall and proudly announced that I was going to be a brand rep to Rana’s sister who was holding the fort. Note, I nibbled first, announced second…the bread was delicious. My challenge would be to make mine just a tasty and crusty.
My track record for making gluten free bread is somewhat shady, if you don’t believe me search ‘bread’ above…I guarantee you’ll get Cake loaves, puddings made from bread or other bread reviews but no actual bready bakes born from Glutarama’s kitchen. The simple reason for this is I try, I fail, I make bricks.
Well dear reader, that’s all in the past now, I received my first bread mix this weekend and skipped around the kitchen like a kiddie at Christmas. Rana’s Bold Buckwheat Artisan Bread was to be Challenge #1. I had my son’s last ever football match for his present school to watch and then that afternoon was already blocked out for baking.
Husband and kiddies decided it was too hot for baking and deserted me to go to the local beach pool, I didn’t mind, it meant I could concentrate on this first loaf, I was putting myself under some serious pressure not to mess this up, I didn’t want to let Rana down and I didn’t want to let myself down…
I love new ideas and was intrigued to find that the bread mix packet contained a little parchment bag and greaseproof sheet for the bread, this was super cute and meant I didn’t have to faff about with cutting paper to size, 10/10 for making life easier!
There was also a super simple photographic instruction sheet with step-by-step instructions, please note however, that not ALL instruction are on the photo guide, this is just to assist you with the bake and ensure you’re doing it right.
The instructions were simple, tip the contents into a large bowl, add the water, stir to combine and leave for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes beat vigorously for 1 minute…I probably didn’t do this for 1 minute and when I cut the loaf there was 1, yes 1 teeny clump of dry mix, so don’t be a weakling like me and use this as an opportunity to work those upper arm muscles.
Something unusual happens to the dough mix once you’ve let it rest and beaten it, it becomes elastic and drops blissfully from the spatula, I admit screwing my face up at this point thinking how have they managed this chemical magic transformation…then I decided less pondering more bread making.
Here’s where you need your little rectangle of baking paper, you plop the dough onto the sheet and think back to your school days in art when you modelled clay with wet shaping tools! I had a glass of water hand for this bit and dipped and smoothed, dipped and smoothed until the loaf had achieved the desirable shape, to be fair this too no time at all. I have no doubt that even the most nervous baker could do this in a jiffy.
Once I was happy with the shape, all that was left to do was dust with a little rice flour, score down the centre of the loaf and pop into the cute little parchment bag. The bag is a work of genius, it protects the loaf during the proofing stage, and guard the loaf from burning during the baking stage.
The proofing stage, as with many gluten free loaves, does not actually see much of a rise, if any at all. I was tempted to peek into the gently folded bag but refrained, it was not a case of simply popping the loaf into the oven for 90 minutes, the bag also acted as a clever deterrent from opening the oven door, there was no point you see, the loaf had its little cover, all I could do was sit, put my feet up, catch up on some emails with a cup of tea and await the soggy worn out family to return from their pool adventures.
I’m jealous actually, not about the pool trip (not my thing, pools are to be swum in lanes or aquasize if you ask me) the look on the families faces when they walked through the back door was what made me jealous, fancy walking into your home after a tiring pool session and being welcomed by home baked bread smells, divine! The only downside? We had to wait for the loaf to completely cool. I wanted to follow this first loafs instruction to-the-last-detail but boy was it worth it.
Beth’s not a brown/seeded bread fan normally but she enjoyed the bread enough to have a whole slice, hubby loved the malt-like taste that hit you with your first bit and I got to enjoy the rest over the the next two days. The loaf was super crusty, moist in the middle, utterly delicious with loads of butter and we even had a bit left to soak up some chilli sauce we had on our fish on the Sunday evening.
It’s fair to say my confidence has increased tenfold when it comes to baking bread. This is certainly not your every day bread at £3.99 each mix for a 350g loaf but, this is not your average bread. Imagine a cheese board and biscuits with crusty loaf to entertain friends and family or a special crusty loaf to accompany your fresh homemade carrot and coriander soup, or something special to dip in a baked Camembert. Rana’s Artisan Bread is THAT kind of loaf. A must have in the larder for ‘you deserve it’ moments.