The trend toward gluten free baked goods is on the rise. Even my own doctor says there is no reason for anyone to eat wheat in its current non-nutritional state – even if you do not have Celiac Disease. As a result, I’ve tried to take gluten out of my diet. I tested negative for Celiac Disease, but now when I eat gluten, I see by my aching stomach how difficult it is to digest. If you carefully read labels and learn the gluten free buzz words, you can do pretty well. However, baking at home is the real challenge.
A friend suggested that I try the Chebe bread mix for making pizza crust and my daughter-in-law pushed me off the mark by ordering me some online and handing it to me (God love her. http://www.chebe.com/) At first glance, online ratings are pretty good and it’s not terribly expensive. A box, which makes a small loaf or four buns is three dollars and change. You can find sales as well. The second plus is that making it is very easy. They basically combine the flours for you – not always so easy to find – and you add the other ingredients. So basically, they are making out like bandits, but the ease of making a home baked product is worth the (not exorbitant) cost.
I started with the cheese buns because I had some turkey burgers stuffed with Feta and Spinach that I wanted to try. To make the buns, all I had to do was to follow the recipe on the box by adding two Tablespoons oil, a cup of finely grated cheddar cheese, 2 eggs and ¼ cup of water. You mix this together and knead it. You have to really press it together to get it to mix. I ended up lightly wetting my hands in the end to provide just a bit more moisture. Then you divide the dough into four pieces and form them into balls.
Here are some tricks for you. 1. If you want to divide dough equally, make it into a roll. Then cut the roll in half, then each
half into half again. 2. If you want to get a nice “bun” shape, form the ball and then continue to work it around as you would to make a ball, but cup your hands. That makes a higher more bun-like shape.
The next step is to place the buns on an oiled baking sheet or one that is lined with parchment paper and brush them with oil. Then bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, until – as the package says – they are lightly browned. I used the full baking time, but although they did not brown, I took them out anyway and let them cool. The result was a great bun that was crispy on the outside and delightfully soft on the inside – not terribly large, but decent in size. They do rise a little, but not a lot.
According to the box, these buns are gluten, soy, corn, rice, potato, yeast, peanut, tree nut, egg, lactose/casein, iodine, and sugar free, non GMO and Kosher Certified. Whoa. The only thing that is pretty funny though, is that they tell you to add eggs and cheese to the mix, so go figure. That negates a number of those things! I can’t imagine the buns would be as good without them, especially the cheese.
The result – with the cheese – was pretty good. I would make them again. The crispiness, however, made it a bit hard to eat. You could mitigate this by brushing the hot buns with melted butter to soften them. This does, however and of course, add calories, which brings me to one of my pet peeves.
The box says this mix makes 4 sandwich buns. The calorie count per serving is 70. That sounds pretty good at first, but if you look at the Servings per container, it’s 10. Yes, TEN! So if you make 4 buns, each bun is actually 175 calories. Not only that, the calorie count on the box only includes what is in the box. So let’s add the other ingredient calories and divide that by 4. (2 T olive oil = 238, 1 cup cheddar cheese = 455, 2 large eggs = 156) So our total is 1,024 divided by 4 = 256 per bun. That’s not terrible. Now if we look at what I put on the bun, I had 5 oz. ground turkey breast at 150 calories, 1 slice of red onion and 1 pieces of lettuce that are practically negligible, Spinach and feta cheese providing about 60 calories and 1 Tablespoon low fat mayonnaise at 40 calories. So my total sandwich came to 506 calories, which really isn’t bad for eating something that really tasted like a hamburger. My point is just that it’s a lot more than it looks like at first glance. I even noticed online that when you look up calorie contents, the Nutrition box will often say “1 serving”, but they won’t tell you how much that serving is. So easy to be deceived! So be careful and look closely.
Long story short. Good buns! You can also use this mix for pizza crust, rolls and other things. It just depends on how you shape them.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Whenever you eat fresh breads, they are not best straight out of the oven. They still need time to rest and develop. I would make these buns in the morning next time and serve them for dinner. Later – and the next day toasted – or simply buttered and sprinkled with salt, they were really, really good. They were also not quite as crispy, which would make them better for a burger. This bread mix will be a staple in my pantry from now on. 🙂