I mentioned before that I lived in Lake Wylie, SC. I only lived there for a year. The year after I graduated college. It was sort of a lonely time. I had two friends in South Carolina: the treadmill and the kitchen. But I don’t regret moving there, not at all. Lake Wylie is where I taught myself to bake. Not having a life was the best thing that ever happened to me. I read a lot about food. I bought cook books and food magazines. I loved being in the kitchen. I looked forward to it every night after work.
I worked four ten-hour shifts a week at a nuclear power plant. If your mind went straight to Homer Simpson, it’s in the right place. My job was slightly stressful but always very interesting.
(MEGA NERD ALERT- SERIOUSLY, PREPARE YOURSELVES)
I remember going into nuclear containment with my boss to see the reactor. I wore my dosimeter, watched it count my radiation exposure and hoped it wouldn’t start screaming. You never want a screaming dosimeter. Should I just stop here? Did I lose you at “dosimeter?” After leaving containment, it’s standard practice to be scanned for hazardous gases and chemicals that may have clung to you without your knowing. My boss went first and was cleared. I stepped into the scanner and it immediately looked like some sort of disco party. Lights were flashing. Alarms were sounding. I had no idea what was happening. This was no disco. I had radon gas in my hair. I warned you. I can out-nerd most anyone. They gave me two options:
I spent hours alone waiting for my hazmat hair to be normal again. I was really starting to consider option one. I sat there thinking of everything I wanted to bake. It kept me calm. Finally, my scan came out clean and I rushed home to make quick bread. Quick breads were my thing. I made them so frequently I could make them without a recipe. This really seemed like a normal story until I actually started writing it down. Somewhere on this internet there has to be another story about nuclear containment quick bread, no? My point is, baking was my stress-reliever. It was how I would unwind most nights. It made me forget that tomorrow I’d be going back to a job that I hated. A job that seriously suggested I shave my head.
I left that job but my passion for baking stayed with me. I baked often and really got quite comfortable in the kitchen. Comfortable enough to start a blog. But then I went gluten free and I had to start all over. Baking without gluten is completely different. I realized this almost immediately. I tried to make a gluten free quick bread and it quickly went in the trash. But after much trial and error, I’m getting back into my quick bread groove.
I have by no means mastered this weird science of gluten free baking, but I’m getting it and I’m happy to share with you as I do. I am so pleased with how this orange loaf turned out. Unlike most gluten free breads, it doesn’t taste like gross. It’s soft, moist, and really fragrant. It reminds me so much of the quick breads I used to make in South Carolina. This is my idea of comfort food and I really hope you try it. Even if you’re not gluten free, you’ll enjoy it. I promise. I also promise that I will never let my inner nerd write a blog post again. But I just got so excited that this bread actually worked that it brought me right back to my nuclear containment days. There’s really no making sense of it. Let’s just forget this ever happened. Make the bread.
Orange Loaf (adapted and inspired by Edible Perspective)
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (I used 2%)
1/4 cup honey
Juice of 2 oranges (about 1/4 cup)
Zest of 3 oranges
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup oat flour (I make this myself by grinding gluten free oats)
3/4 cups buckwheat flour
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons ground flax
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Posted on March 5, 2013