Review by "I AM THE GFB" - April 30th 2016
Of the two Simple Mills kits I was asked to sample, it was this that excited me most. I have always preferred savoury food over sweet, and who does not love the smell of warm, freshly baked bread wafting from their kitchen?
As you can see, the picture on the front of the box is of a very delicious-looking flatbread so, splitting the mix into two lots of 134g, I decide to make two; one today and one at the weekend.
Simple Mills mixes require minimal ingredients and offer minimal, easy-to-follow instructions, which is fantastic! The only potential obstacle is the confusion of ‘cup’ measurements, with which I am steadily becoming familiar, however a cup of liquid does not equate to a cup of flour. If baffled, there are tools you can purchase via Amazon to help you measure in this traditional way, without scales. Alternatively, you can do as I do; follow one of the many online conversion guides. I use this one: http://www.chefindisguise.com/conversion-tables/
What’s in the box?
In the box is enough mix to make two 7 inch flatbreads, twelve dinner rolls or a loaf. The single bag of dry mix consists of almonds, arrowroot powder, flax meal, baking soda, sea salt and organic coconut sugar. On the side of the box is an ‘Ingredient Spotlight’, a useful and rather appealing read about almonds and their health benefits.
Simple Mills have not simply attempted to put together a bread mix to cater for the GF community. They are one step ahead with a virtually ready-to-go kit that is the closest I have found to meet the nutritional requirements of health and fitness fanatics. Most importantly, this blend of natural ingredients supports coeliacs who, due to the nature of autoimmune conditions, may need an additional boost of protein, magnesium (for bone health) and natural antioxidants, all of which are present in this unique blend.
First I must preheat the oven to 350F (180c). That’s fan 160c, fan being the most consistent setting on our oven, especially for cakes and bakes. Our old range tends to offer more heat than requested as a misguided generous gesture, so I turn the dial to 150c.
The instructions tell me to whisk the eggs with the oil and cider vinegar. Nice and easy; two eggs for a full box, one egg for half a box. I pick a pretty egg laid fresh by Geraldine.
Next, the apple cider vinegar.
A whole pack requires 1/4 cup, so 1/4 cup halved is 1/8 cup… 29 to 30ml? Hmm. That seems a lot. Make It Gluten Free HQ emailed to recommend just a teaspoon of vinegar due to some preferring to eliminate the distinctive flavour, but I fear this to be radically different from the printed method so I opt for a happy medium – 1 tbsp (15ml) – quickly followed by the oil (1 tbsp). Mix mix mix… pour in the dry mix. Combine. Leave for four minutes, during which time the mix will thicken.
Four minutes later, I dollop the mix on to the lightly oiled baking sheet and, with damp fingers, gently shape it into a ‘rustic round’. I have some garlic butter in the fridge (just a finely minced garlic clove and a couple of tablespoons of salted butter) so drop little 1cm cubes into one half of the bread. I want to try the bread as it is, but would be crazy to miss a garlic bread opportunity!
The recommended baking time is fifteen to twenty minutes so I check after fifteen. It looks almost baked to perfection, so I give it another three minutes. I have to say it looks and smells almost too good to resist. After a quick wash of the bowl, whisk and spoon, it is too good to resist so I cut a small wedge and grab the butter!
The texture is gorgeous; light, a good crumb, subtly grainy from the ground almonds and just the right amount of moisture. The crust adds the perfect crunch.
Flavour-wise, this is slightly sweet, however it is impossible to expect otherwise as almonds are one of the sweeter nuts. I like both the garlic and the plain halves, but prefer the natural taste of this rather marvellous combination.
This bread is very moreish, so much so, two of us have each eaten a third of the rich, warm, nutty delight without realising. A third is too much I fear, as waves of nausea override my happy taste buds. Note to self: This sweet little bread is big on almonds, big in flavour and plenty big enough to serve four people with big appetites.
This is superb and so easy to make. Even if this kit was full of nasties, it is undeniably fantastic value for money so being GF, I defy you to find a more affordable ready-mix! Two starter-sized breads, each serving four, is my personal recommendation; almond-based rolls may be too sweet, whereas sweetness is a highlight of bread that should be served warm with butter, cheeses or soup.
Simple Mills have come up with a quick and very delicious bread with endless possibilities. When I buy this again, I will try my favourite fresh red chilli / cheese combo, garlic and rosemary, cheese and onion… I’d better add two kits to the basket! Whatever you fill yours with, half fill your tin, top generously then cover carefully with the remainder; this will prevent burning and add the all-important element of surprise! Also, I suggest you choose something spicy, strong or fragrant to complement the sweetness, rather than add to it.
I urge you to try this kit, even if, like me, you are a dedicated home cook. This is the first time I have tried a pre-made mix and I am pleasantly surprised!