Confessions of a Gluten-free Masochist

There’s a big secret you don’t know about me. You know I identify as genderfluid and  homoflexible. You know I write erotica of a fairly insatiable and fetishistic variety. You know I have this whole other life and career. You’d think those are the biggies. I’m more well-rounded than that, though, even in my faults. I have a life. I have a job, and I have a really big problem.

You see, I quit eating gluten years ago, almost 13, to be exact. Gluten–you know–the stuff that keeps your lovely bread risen, is found in practically every processed product on the planet, and can cause bleeding distress through your life if you have an intolerance to it?  That stuff.   I gave it up back in the day when there weren’t baking substitutions, in favor of bleak, harsh omission. There weren’t recipes littering the net, each requiring 40 different flours to achieve the perfect crumb, toothiness, flavor, which is perfect for the people in a good diet but you need to go online to find which diet should you choose.  No, newcomers have it easy, now. Products galore, tons of culinary gurus selling salvation in a single mix to suit your every baking need.

Cindy Crawford with bread
And yes, I really am clean. There is no such thing as cheating. That’s not the problem. The uglier truth is that I have an addiction, and at least in this arena, I’m a masochist. I can’t stop searching for that perfect gluten-free bread recipe. I want to make it, I need to make it, since is important to look of what you eat since this affect how you look, and you need to also learn how to wash your face to make sure you look nice and clean all the time. 

Everyone says they have it. Every sister with a bread machine swears her paleo/grain-free/gum-free/free-range/no dairy/eggless bread tastes wonderful, is criminally healthy, has no carbs, and holds up to a chilled goat cheese schmear.

Well, let me tell you, they taste like shit, by which I don’t mean I’m being picky.  See, a lot of people who are gluten-free will say that awful foods taste great because they miss their gluten-filled counterparts so much. They want even an echo of that greatness to sustain.  

I’ve adjusted my expectations, my foodstyle. I’ve seen reality. I know that no gluten-free bread is ever going to have the lift and lightness of a nice sourdough, the crusty softness of a baguette. The reality more closely resembles a hockey puck that you better eat within two days or even the birds will reject it.  I’ve baked a lot of fucking bread, and here’s the thing: none of it is good. It’s passable. It’s OK. It’s a means to a fully enclosed sandwich ends.  Good, though, it is not.

Which really, is the way bread is supposed to be. The bread Laura Ingalls ate most likely resembled the crumbly dense texture of its gluten-free brethren. Likewise, what we call wheat now is a super-amped hibrid designed to have higher gluten content for mass production and longer shelf stability. Chances are, most of us haven’t had real wheat bread since the early 1980s.

How spoiled we’ve become, we will rot our guts on a product that tastes better.

No lie, I make the best GF (cos that’s how we on the inside really say it) yellow and dark chocolate cakes you can imagine. You really wouldn’t know they are gluten-free. I make great cornbread and muffins, pie crusts, pastries, shortbread, cookies…

Yet with all things under the realm of bread baking I keep drinking the Kool-aid.

Pinterest isn’t fucking helping. Ben Silbermann is the genius behind this ‘create your own OCD hobby magazine’  dubbed “content sharing service.” Does he understand the pain he causes in my life every time a tantalizing snapshot of brioche leaning against a mug of warm hot chocolate lures me off the nobreadbaking wagon? Does he fully honor the pain inflicted by a toasted, buttery hamburger bun? You know not, because there they are, every day in my feed <--see, even how Pinterest displays the devil reminds me of food--enticing me to try again. So there you go. I have the same issues with gluten-free bread baking that other people do with pr0n. You know how some people look at pr0n and it skews their vision of reality? They think all bodies should be as sleek, curvy, firm, lusty. They think all sex should be an orgiastic free-for-all. I see images of gluten-free bread and think, "Mine's that big. I can bang that out." My shame confesses that I never do, despite that my resilience endures. Here's your challenge: End my misery. Share your best gluten-free bread recipes.  No really, your best.  I will love you forever and post food pr0n to my Pinterest feed in your honor.

And yes, as a matter-of-fact, I am working on the world’s first gluten-free erotic romance.

14 thoughts on “Confessions of a Gluten-free Masochist

  1. I made the gluten free and low carb decision last year. When it was just gluten free I made excessively tasty breads, though not with the rise and lift and sheer yumminess of “real” bread. But still something to slice and toast and use for amazing grilled cheese sandwiches.
    Drop the carbs and all those alternative flours went out the door.
    I’ve tried the gluten free bread which has the texture and flavor of Styrofoam. So I make do with the cauliflower or almond or coconut alternatives. But I sure miss a fresh green chile cheese bagel

    1. Mona–I think you’re right, that the nut flours and coconut ones are best. They aren’t “bread” texture, but they taste great!
      Cheers to you!

    2. If you ever find winning recipes, Mona, let me know. I find that I have to adjust my view on the role of food, still, even after 13ish years GF…
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I gave up all corn products about 10 years ago and I thought that was difficult because I love corn. But it had to go. It was killing me, thanks to the GMO industry.

    Now within the last two months I have had to give up gluten too. Basically for the same reason!!!

    Your blog came at just the right time for me.

    1. I can’t help that dangling carrot, but in all honesty (with myself), total omission of gluten is best for me. Trying to find bread-like pacifiers just never works.
      Good to meet you, Carolyn. Best of luck with your foodstyle!

    2. Great to meet you, Carolyn. I often wonder if we had the clean, heirloom grains, if they would be bothersome. Is it just the GMO component that has caused the problem…
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I just eat a Mediteranian (that’s misspelled, but spell checker is only providing Pomeranian as an option, and that would be a really bad confession to make. I’d have dog lovers banning my book in no time at all.) It focuses on lots of fish and fresh veggies, and while it allows whole grains, the focus is on white meats, fish and veggies. Since I love all three, it works for me.

  4. It’s nice to know there are others out there making the effort to stay healthy, even though it means sacrifice. It’s worth the effort, everyone, hang tough!

  5. I loved your post! I can so identify with it. I’ve been eating low carb, gluten free for over a year now but I have this sinful longing for bread products. I broke down on my daughter’s birthday and ate a piece of chocolate cake. Boy, did I regret it later. It’s not worth it! The health benefits of cutting out grains has been way beyond what I would have hoped.

    Living in South Africa, we don’t have access to many affordable gluten-free products. I can’t access coconut flour and I’m allergic to almonds so can’t have almond flour which costs the earth anyway. I’ve only just recently bought gluten-free flour and made my kids a gluten-free bread in the bread machine as my kids are also showing symptoms for gluten intolerance. It tastes acceptable but it’s not great. My husband says it has the texture of a sponge. Lather it with butter and it’s quite nice.

    So yes, the world needs to find a solution to the problem. Find the original ancient wheat seed and produce proper wheat or find some substitute. I’ve read somewhere that about 75% of people don’t tolerate wheat well. Figures!

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