Public awareness continues to grow about the impact of gluten sensitivity and intolerance, as does the market for gluten-free products. The latest entry into that market is a gluten-free flour from the revered French Laundry.
If you’ve ever tried baking without traditional wheat flour, you know it can be done, but it can be tricky. You’re in for many conversions, substitutions and possibly some textural sacrifices. Professional bakeries, such as Pure Knead, do it successfully by hand blending their own flours using millet, brown-rice flour, sorghum and tapioca.
It has been difficult for home bakers to replicate gluten-free products with the same degree of success. Maybe The French Laundry’s new gluten-free flour called C4C will simplify the process. C4C can be substituted “cup for cup” in recipes requiring all-purpose flour.
The product was developed for in-house use at the The French Laundry by its research and development chef, Lena Kwak. Kwak, who tests a range of recipes and products for the restaurant, initially developed the gluten-free flour for the restaurant’s alternative brioche. According to the C4C website, the brioche reduced one diner to a joyful display of tears, inspiring Kwak to share the product on a larger scale.
Kwak worked with Thomas Keller, chef/owner of The French Laundry, to form the company C4C. They worked in partnership with Williams-Sonoma to produce and distribute the product, which made its debut in Williams-Sonoma’s stores this month.
I picked up a bag of C4C to give it a test run. With it, I made pumpkin bread, a year-round staple in our house. My first observation was the the
batter was very elastic, almost dough-like. It also took slightly longer to cook.
What about the taste and texture? The taste was nearly identical though the texture was not. The crumb was softer and gummier than quick breads made with wheat flour. That being said, it’s less dense and gummy than many of the gluten-free products I’ve tried.
I think the product is worth more testing. Up next? Scones, biscuits, pancakes? And at $19.95 per three pound bag, I’m going to make the most of it.
–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog
– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team.