Silly Yaks manufactures bread products in an old fashioned, handmade style. Our intention is to create a range of rustic, craft-style breads, with stronger flavours and heavier textures than modern manufactured breads. What you get when you purchase a Silly Yaks bread loaf or bread roll is a gluten free bread product which has much more in common with a handmade sourdough bread from an inner city boutique bakery than it does with mass produced white bread from the supermarket.
This article will tell you a bit more about our range of Gluten Free Bread Loaves and Gluten Free Bread Rolls, giving an indication of how they should look, taste and how you can handle and prepare them in order to get the best results from them.
Free From Information
All of our bread loaves and bread rolls are 100% wheat free, 100% gluten free and 100% peanut free. They are also dairy free, egg free and nut free. All of our bread loaves are yeast free, while the bread roll products (including the New Recipe Garlic Bread) contain yeast – in our opinion it just isn’t possible to make a high quality, hand-rolled gluten free bread roll and also make it yeast free.
With the exception of the Fruit Bread, and the New Recipe Garlic Bread, all of our Bread Loaves and Bread Rolls are safe for people with fructose malabsorption allergies (“Fructose Friendly™”).
All of our bread loaves and bread rolls contain no added artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. All are free from genetically modified ingredients.
As we do with all other products in our range, we refrain from adding any preservatives to our Bread Loaves and Bread Rolls. This means that they come with a relatively short “Fresh Use By” of seven days from the date of manufacture. In order to achieve the full seven day life, the product should be stored at or below 20 degrees Celsius in an environment of relatively low humidity. Ideally, to prolong their lives, all Bread Loaves and Bread Rolls should be stored in the refrigerator.
Like all other products in our range, our Bread Loaves and Bread Rolls can be frozen. Once frozen, they will last at least six months. All products receive a “Frozen Best Before” date of six months from the date of manufacture prior to shipping. This “Frozen Best Before” date is valid so long as the product has been completely frozen before the “Fresh Use By” date. Bear in mind that it can take a day or two to completely freeze a whole loaf of unsliced bread.
When freezing a Bread Loaf which has been bought fresh, we would recommend that you slice the loaf first. Not only will this allow the loaf to freeze more rapidly but it will allow you to take individual slices out of the freezer for use without having to defrost the whole loaf. While re-freezing bread is not a particularly dangerous activity (from a food safety and microbiological perspective), repeated defrosting and re-freezing of a loaf will not improve its taste or texture.
Once the loaf has been sliced (we recommend using a sharp, good quality bread knife for best results), you can either return the entire loaf to the bag or wrap one-slice or two-slice portions in Glad Wrap or similar (Bryn likes to use Glad Sandwich Bags with the ziplock closure) for freezing. Do be sure to seal the bread completely in order to avoid freezer burn through loss of moisture.
Bread Rolls can generally be frozen in their original packaging, as they are easily separated when frozen and can be defrosted and used one at a time.
Silly Yaks gluten free Bread Loaves and Bread Rolls can be defrosted naturally, by removing them from the freezer and leaving them in the refrigerator overnight, or in the microwave. If using a microwave, the following guidelines may be helpful:
- A single Dinner Roll can be defrosted on half power in approximately 2 minutes.
- A single Small Baguette can be defrosted on half power in approximately 2 ½ minutes.
- A single Large Baguette can be defrosted on half power in approximately 4 minutes.
- A single Hamburger Bun can be defrosted on half power in approximately 2 ¾ minutes.
- Two reasonably thick (approx 8-10 mm) slices of bread can be defrosted on half power in approximately 2 ¾ minutes.
When defrosting Bread Rolls using a microwave, we find that it is better to err on the side of too much heating rather than too little. Heating the interior of the bread to quite a high temperature tends to produce small quantities of steam which is trapped inside the roll’s crust. Having nowhere to escape, the steam fluffs up the roll and can increase its height (where the roll has shrunk when frozen) by as much as fifty percent.
Generally it is a good idea to leave bread products which have been defrosted in the microwave to “rest” for a few minutes after removing them from the microwave before using them. This allows any steam to dissipate and reduces hot spots.
These guidelines assume the use of a 600 Watt microwave, such as we have in our test kitchen.
Why Does Gluten Free Bread Seem so Heavy?
All gluten free bakery products make use of vegetable or other gums in order to provide the “set” or “stick” that is provided by the gluten when baking with wheat flour. Common gums used for this purpose include Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum and Locust Gum. At Silly Yaks we use a combination of Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum, blended in a very specific ratio which we have found from long experimentation to produce the best results. It is these gums which keep the bread from collapsing in on itself as it cools, by setting hard and providing a structure which allows the bread to hold its own weight. This is one of the functions that gluten performs in traditional bread baking.
The flipside of this very important function is that the gums, once set through cooling, are much harder and have much less flexibility or “springiness” than the gluten in cooled wheat bread. Thus, gluten free breads at room temperature tend to have a slightly stiff, stodgy mouth feel when compared to wheat breads. Luckily, heating the gums tends to soften them, bringing a smoother, softer mouth feel to the bread. It is for this reason that most gluten free breads have a superior taste and texture when toasted to that which they display when eaten untoasted.
So how do we take advantage of this interesting fact? Well, the trick is to ensure that, whenever possible, gluten free bread is heated before eating. You can do this by heating it for twenty to thirty seconds in the microwave, although this can tend to cause the bread to become a little soggy. Or you can do it by heating it briefly in the oven, under the grill, or by toasting it. As is so often the case with gluten free products, the best results are achieved by a combination of these methods.
When making sandwiches with fresh or frozen Silly Yaks Gluten Free Bread, we would recommend the following steps in order to get the best results:
- If the bread is frozen, defrost the slices in the microwave according to the directions above.
- If possible, give the bread slices between thirty and sixty seconds under the grill or in the toaster, just to dry out and crisp the surface of the slices. This will leave the bread slices easy to handle and crisp and crunchy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside.
- While you are lightly toasting the bread, prepare your sandwich fillings.
- Assemble sandwich, eat and enjoy!
These guidelines are equally applicable if making a hamburger, baguette or other snack using our Hamburger Buns, Small Baguettes, Large Baguettes or Small Turkish Bread products.
Bread Rolls as Accompaniments
When using products such as our Small Baguettes or Dinner Rolls as accompaniments to a main meal, you will achieve best results by using the following steps:
- Perhaps half an hour before you are ready to serve the meal, defrost the product in the microwave according to the instructions provided above. Be sure to err on the side of over-heating the rolls, as this will enusure that they fluff up nicely and regain their full height and an open interior texture.
- Once defrosted, rest the rolls for five to ten minutes.
- Place the rolls in the middle of a conventional oven, pre-heated to 180°C.
- Bake the rolls for five to ten minutes, keeping an eye on them to ensure that they do not burn. This should give them a nice crisp crust, whilst retaining the softness of the interior provided by the microwave defrost.