Do you spend your time in the free-from aisles of supermarkets? If you are tired of tasteless alternatives, this handy machine could answer your woes – here’s our Zero Gluten Baker from Imetec review
For anyone not in the know, gluten is the name given to the proteins found in wheat – like durum, semolina, spelt, rye, barley, etc. It’s name is synonymous with its job as it helps food keep its shape by sticking it all together, helping to hold its form. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that we might not expect, however, we mostly associate it with bread and other baked goods, pasta, cereals, soups and beer.
Why is gluten so bad? Well for those who suffer with celiac disease it can attack the digestive wall and cause immunity problems, others have a much milder form of gluten sensitivity, and this often goes unnoticed. But, there are many studies which suggest gluten is just bad for all of us and we could all benefit from a gluten-free diet…
What!? Life without bread? I know, I know, but not feeling bloated, sluggish and lethargic after eating gluten-rich foods also has its benefits, beyond the taste of bread and butter! So when the Zero Gluten Baker arrived at the LIVING offices, I was more than ready to test it out.
I have used a bread maker before so it wasn’t alien to me as I unpacked the bits from the box like the kneading prongs, the various bread tins and stands. There did seem to be quite a variety of tins with the Zero Gluten Baker though, which was great as it gives you the tools to make bread loafs, as well as rolls and even ciabatta breads – all gluten-free.
A recipe book is provided with 30 easy bake gluten-free recipes, as well as traditional ones too, everything from classic loafs, sweet bread, brioche, Italian breads and even a lemon drizzle cake – all gluten-free. What a selection and if you are new to the diet, it might make transitioning not too much of a big step.
After a quick trip to the supermarket to stock up on my cupboard and gluten-free essentials – I spent approximately £5 on gluten-free flour, sunflower oil, fine salt and easy bake yeast but you might already have these in the cupboard – I was ready to go. A gluten substitute was also included in the box with the baker which is necessary for most of the recipes in the book. The instructions suggested sticking with a classic white loaf for the first time but I went for crusty white rolls with a roasted sesame seed top.
The recipe was easy to read and simple too with just five ingredients plus water to make my six rolls. I began by adding water, sugar and yeast to the loaf tin and clicking the appropriate settings laid out in the method section of the recipe.
The functionality of the baker is simple – there are not too many buttons and each one does what it is supposed to do! The trickiest part came just two minutes in when I had to add in the flour, gluten substitute and salt because I was unsure if I should stop the process or just lift the lid and pour it in, it wasn’t exactly clear in the recipe book or baker manual what to do, however, I just opted for lifting the lid and pouring it in and it seemed to do the trick!
I then left it alone to work its magic – forget kneading for hours as it does it all for you! There was minimal mess too which is perfect. About 1 hour from the end of cooking I transferred the mixture from the loaf tin to the individual roll tins and then put it back in the baker to finish.
The rolls were different in taste from ordinary bread rolls, but they looked just the same. Crunchy on the outside but nice and fluffy on the inside. They tasted great and even the kids liked them!
Cleaning the loaf tin and utensils which came with the baker was easy and fuss-free. They are all non-stick so as long as you grease the bottom of the roll tins, the bread will just pop out when done. However, if you have any spillages into the baker itself, cleaning is a bit of a nightmare as you cannot remove any parts. It’s best to keep everything in the loaf tin to avoid having to do this!
If you are thinking about following a gluten-free diet, please seek advice from your doctor beforehand to ensure you do it the right way without losing all the vitamins, minerals and fibre in your diet.