Friday, November 4, 2011

Even better than before!

I just made a new batch of my GF pumpkin muffins, and they are so good I realized I had done a disservice to you all by posting my previous recipe. I'm so amazed at the goodness created by the new flours I'm incorporating it's really hard to believe that I waited so long to expand my horizons.

When I started out GF it was very intimidating. There are so many flours out there that the lists go on, and on. I decided I would only start with a few alternative flours and learn those first, and the nature of non-wheat flours. I used rice, tapioca, potato starch, and a little oat, I also tried a bean flour mix. I worked on the rice mixtures and tried all sorts ways to recreate the protein structure of gluten. I tried eggs, gelatin (btw, that does NOT work), xanthan gum, guar gum, no gums, lots of gums, medium amounts of gums, all the gums, and I have settled on two options. I have some guar gum in my pantry, I will use it if I need to. Now I use Gluten Free Gluten, and that works really well. I also have xanthan gum and use that quite a bit. The thing about the GFG is that it has some of the gums you would normally use in it, it also has a few that are only available to commercial bakers. Perfectly measured out, you use 1 part of the GFG to 5 parts whatever flour mixture you use. I don't use it in quick breads, it's only intended for yeast breads, where you would have a higher gluten content.

Having been baking a lot this last two months, attempting to recreate bread for a sandwich (not easy to do), I am starting to branch out. I pulled out my mill today and milled up some quinoa. I have some milled oat flour and some teff on the way. I did this mostly because rice flour has a lot of calories in it. 550 calories a cup? Wheat flour only has around 400 a cup. WW says rice flour has 15-17 points in a cup of rice flour, wheat flour has 12 points in it. It's a big difference when you're really counting calories.

Let's talk about GF bread for a minute. I'm sure it would make great stuffing, because it's all so dry! Many of them taste fine, but they tend to be small, already stale, and expensive. I bought a local commercial loaf, thinking it would be great, however the slices are so tiny and thin it makes me wonder how they're packing 80 calories into a slice! Also when I toast them they turn into hard chunks of mouth ripping cardboard.

Tomorrow I'm making french toast.

I did find a local gluten free bakery, and I've had some items from them that are really quite good. I liked them so much I bought a cookbook written by the owner. I then went and bought a loaf of bread from the bakery. The woman loves bean flour. Garbanzo bean flour in this, garbanzo bean flour in that, making cookies? Add garbanzo beans why not? Can you make your baked goods more dense? You want to know why the cakes are so heavy and a loaf of bread from this place weighs two pounds, yet is the size of a bloated softball? Garbanzo bean flour is super heavy, and doesn't rise very well. I'm not saying her bread is bad. It's quite good, but not really what I'm looking for. It is tasty, but I'm not sure it's the best for sandwiches unless you slice your slices 1/4 pound thick. I am not a fan of her cake. It has garbanzo bean flour in it. Cake SHOULD NOT BE DENSE! The densest cupcakes known to man.

It also makes me think: she says she focuses on whole grains, but mostly she just uses garbanzo bean flour. Where's the variety? I have noticed that once chefs find a method that works for them, they stick to it. In cookbooks, they tend to have one basic blend, and that's what they use for everything. It's usually a rice blend, augmented with teff, sorgum or garbanzo bean flours.

I'm not sure where I'm going, but I don't want to have a 'generic' mix, and would rather use the freshly ground grains I have from my recent millings, so they stay fresh and use what is available rather than a standard mix.

Where is all this going? I removed a cup of rice flour from my pumpkin muffins and added to it 1/2 C quinoa flour and 1/2 C oat flour. I also ground my own rice flour, it took some time and I had to put it through the mill a few times. I thought they might turn out too grainy or gritty, but no! The mill worked really well for the rice, it ground up very fine and very little remained after sifting. Quinoa also mills into a nice fine flour on the finest setting. I have a heavy duty professional grade KitchenAid stand mixer, so I'm able to use the mill attatchment with that. I don't think you should use a mill if you have a smaller stand mixer, just buy a quality free standing mill.

Every time I make baked goods, I must try them. Especially muffins, or little items, I'm so curious to find out if it turned out good. I made up the new muffins and ate one (I had the WWPP for it, so no problem), so good. So much, much better than before! The nuttyness of the oat and quinoa together was very mild, but went so well with the pumpkin. I'm so happy with the new results that I plan on taking them to a ladies afternoon event with me.

Spurred on by my success I started working on my sandwich bread. I'm so close. The last loaf I made was almost as good as the wheat infested stuff. It just had a little too much egg in it. Also the book I'm adapting the recipe from, the lady likes to 'spread' her dough, and the loafs never look nice if you do this, so I have my own method. It came to me on my way to work. It's worked very well. You can spread if you want, but your bread will not look nice and round and it probably won't rise up as good.

Now I know I just got done saying not to have a 'generic mix' but I do have a basic mix that I keep around to help make baking easier and faster. This is for when I want to make up some rolls or pizza dough at night and I am tired. I just don't use it all the time.

Basic Gluten Free Gluten Rice Mix

6 oz. Thai rice flour
3 oz. potato starch
3 oz. tapioca flour
2.4 oz. OrGran Gluten Substitute

I would not recommend mixing home milled whole grains, as they need to be frozen and used quickly to prevent them from going bad. Just make up your basic mix and supplement as needed. Also, this is done by weight so the amount of gums in your mix will be the correct amount. I would recommend to any GF baker: just get a scale and quit whining.

Buttermilk GF Sandwich Bread


1 C. GFG rice mix
1/2 C. oat flour
1/2 C. quinoa flour
1/8 C. tapioca flour
1/8 C. potato starch
.8 oz OrGran Gluten Substitute
2/3 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbs. unbleached sugar
1 Tbs. dry active yeast
2 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg
3 Tbs. canola oil
3/4 cup + a little extra(about 2 tbs) warmed buttermilk
extra flour for dusting work surface


Grease a smaller bread pan.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a stand mixer. Even the yeast. Whisk the wet together and pour into your off stand mixer. Turn the mixer on low till the wet and dry are just mixed. Turn the speed up a bit and mix until you have a smooth mixture. It's not really a dough, and not really a batter. Prep your work surface with flour and put the mixture on the flour. Pat it into a loaf and coat in flour. Put into the pan and let this rise for about an hour. After 45 minutes or whenever the appropriate time is turn the oven onto 350 degrees and then bake your bread for about an hour. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.

Slice and enjoy!

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