The Return of Ellie Bread
My daughter got her braces put on this past week, and she is miserable with discomfort. Having had braces myself at her age, I wish I could say that I remembered it well and had a host of soft comfort foods at the ready for her as she adjusted to having pokey metal take up residence inside her mouth. But honestly, I must have blocked out this memory, and I fell down on the mom job.
As she was sorting through ideas of what would taste or feel good, Ellie hit upon a memory that fueled her request: remember when I used to make Ellie bread, squishy and soft and so great for sandwiches?
In fact, I did. Ellie bread was a cornerstone of the Cooqi bakery. It was designed, as its name perhaps suggests, to appeal to the challenging palates of kids. My Ellie was four at the time I developed the original recipe, and she was the prototypical kid who balked at anything dry, crumbly, dense, hard, or yucky. That pretty much left out anything available as GF bread at the time. During the life of the bakery, Ellie bread opened doors for lots of kids and grownups who either missed, or had never actually had, good bread.
But that was several years ago now, and the GF bread world has changed considerably. We now have the likes of Udi’s, Canyon, Green’s, as well as a lot more players in the field of recipe development. When Udi’s came on the scene with its seemingly impossible achievement of bread with airiness and the ability to keep its bread-like shape, and at a price point I could never attain, I took it as a signal that something had shifted in the world of GF bread, and that if I wanted to continue to be a player, I had to come up with something comparable.
I worked and re-worked, reverse-engineered, and tinkered. Ultimately, I came up with a bread formulation that I thought (and still think) rocked, and was closer to more traditional bread, in that it didn’t rely on eggs and milk to be fluffy or moist. This recipe has become my primary loaf bread in my home, and I make it regularly. Consequently, I haven’t made the old version of Ellie bread in some time.
Until yesterday, when I dusted off the old recipe, upgraded it slightly to 2.0, and found myself newly wowed by how good this bread is, especially fresh from the oven. Indeed, it was this experience of fresh-from-the-oven bread that first inspired me to develop mixes—I wanted everyone to have access to such heaven!
And so, the same Ellie that inspired the original years ago now inspires a revival: the timeless Ellie Bread.