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Gluten-Free Baking


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#1 lperry

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:54 PM

As of yesterday, I now live with a partner who can't eat gluten proteins. Baking, however, is a significant part of my cooking. I'm determined to make this change without there being a radical difference in what shows up on our dinner plates every night. I know that I am not the first person to have this particular wish, but I do have a bit of an advantage in that starch and its properties are something that I study as part of my work. I hope that my experiments can help others who have to make this change, or those who, like me, are cooking for someone with a restricted diet. If you have something in particular that works, please share. :)

Gluten-free baking project #1 was cornbread. First, I figured it would be easy, and second, I wanted something to work well on attempt number one to galvanize me for more challenging tasks ahead.

The wheat flour typically added to cornbread doesn't really contribute as a structural element, but is used to lighten the heaviness of the cornmeal. I subbed in rice flour in a one - to - one volume ratio with no discernible difference in either taste or texture from the regular cornbread I make, and this substitution will very likely work in any recipe that has a larger volume of cornmeal than flour. The cornmeal was stone ground white cornmeal.

Cornbread.jpg

#2 Anna Blume

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 08:40 PM

Good luck! Have you noticed the timely recent posts on Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef (March 2 & 7, 2011)?

If not, check out the 2nd, especially, for a coterie of gluten-free bakers and their ratio rally.

#3 lperry

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 08:04 AM

Good luck! Have you noticed the timely recent posts on Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef (March 2 & 7, 2011)?

If not, check out the 2nd, especially, for a coterie of gluten-free bakers and their ratio rally.

I have, and these last two posts are actually some of the best information out there. I've read quite a bit of the online information, and it seems that many people don't understand the role that gluten plays in baked goods. I can't see trying to "replace" gluten in something like a cake or biscuits, when the purpose of using a cake flour (low protein = low gluten) is to prevent the gluten from being activated in the first place. There also seems to be confusion about when specific amounts matter and when they don't. That's why I started with cornbread - the cornmeal makes the structure, and the rest just doesn't really matter. I kind of wish I had grabbed the acorn starch at Super H and made a more "authentic" cornbread, just for fun, but I already had loads of bags in the cart.

Mr. lperry is also finding that packaged, processed, gluten-free foods are about as good as packaged, processed, wheat products. He's not too thrilled with this morning's "bagel." I suggested oatmeal because he likes it, it tastes good, and he can eat it. Shifting expectations will certainly be a part of this transition.

#4 ScotteeM

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 02:18 PM

Mr. lperry is also finding that packaged, processed, gluten-free foods are about as good as packaged, processed, wheat products. He's not too thrilled with this morning's "bagel." I suggested oatmeal because he likes it, it tastes good, and he can eat it. Shifting expectations will certainly be a part of this transition.

That's for sure! You very likely will not find a satisfactory GF bagel. Udi's brand makes very good GF breads, and their bagels are acceptable, although not a true substitute for the real thing.

I'm glad you found Shauna & Danny's blog. I highly recommend their book, not only for baking but for living the GF lifestyle. If you use the link on their blog to get to Amazon and buy it, they get a commission, and you pay the same price you would anyway. The book is lovely, filled with fantastic illustrations. The stories and comments are lovely, and the recipes are great.

I'm not much of a baker myself, but I have followed Shauna's blog as she has worked through one recipe after another. She had a great series on cookies at Christmastime.

I am two years gluten-free, and it has been a life-changing experience (for the better). It takes several months of being strictly GF to really notice a difference, so perseverance is essential. When I find myself missing something that contains gluten, I think about what specifically I miss, and how I can re-create that quality without the gluten.

Nathan at Restaurant Eve has developed a great GF bread recipe, and he might be willing to talk to you about his trials and errors, too. He told me it took quite a lot of batches before he was satisfied with the results. I always consider his GF bread a treat.

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#5 monavano

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 02:34 PM

Does anyone have experience with almond flour? This product gets good reviews and I'm tempted to give it a try for carb reduction purposes.

#6 Anna Blume

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 03:21 PM

Does anyone have experience with almond flour? This product gets good reviews and I'm tempted to give it a try for carb reduction purposes.

On sale for $19? I got a lb. at Yekta in Rockville for $5. If it's just blanched almonds ground into flour, and all almond flour is by nature gluten-free, don't bother ordering.

And yes, I've baked things such as delicious, chocolate-filled Sicilian sandwich cookies w almond flour.

#7 monavano

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 03:24 PM

On sale for $19? I got a lb. at Yekta in Rockville for $5. If it's just blanched almonds ground into flour, and all almond flour is by nature gluten-free, don't bother ordering.

And yes, I've baked things such as delicious, chocolate-filled Sicilian sandwich cookies w almond flour.

I think my Vitamix can handle that :)

#8 zoramargolis

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 04:49 PM

I think my Vitamix can handle that :)

If you are not careful, with the Vitamix's speed, you'll get almond butter instead of flour.

#9 monavano

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 05:09 PM

If you are not careful, with the Vitamix's speed, you'll get almond butter instead of flour.

Yes, I thought about the heat as well after I wrote that. Parmesan does not do well in the Vitamix.

#10 lperry

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 08:29 PM

You can make almond flour in the food processor. Just add whatever sugar is needed in the recipe and it will grind finely without making almond butter.

Jumping in with both feet, gougères.

I mixed up this g-f flour mix. (Scroll past the parsnips.) I used millet instead of sorghum, and potato instead of cornstarch. It looked like this, except it was in focus. Then again, pretend I'm not wearing my glasses, and it's perfect.

flour.jpg

I used David Lebovitz' recipe because I've made it successfully with wheat flour, and because it uses gram weights instead of cups. I substituted the g-f flour mix for the wheat flour and used pecorino romano and chêvre cheeses. I had garlic chives in the garden, so in they went.

Just for kicks, I measured out a half cup of the flour I mixed - it weighed 70 grams on the money, but I had just beaten the heck out of it with a whisk to break up any clumps. I haven't put my sifter through the dishwasher yet, so it's off limits.

I got these:

goug.jpg

gougnc.jpg

Crispy shell, shinier and more uniformly shiny than usual on the surface, so better texture with the bits of cheese on top (I did both, just to try it). The dough is more tender than wheat, and melts a bit on the tongue. Quite good, but I will change a couple of things on the next go.

What was different, and what I'll change next time:

1. The dough in the pot was more glutinous in texture than wheat dough, and it didn't form a skin in the pot quite like wheat dough. It formed a ball almost immediately, so I stirred it around for maybe 20 seconds just to make certain it was "done." The dough is also whiter in color than wheat dough.

2. When mixing in the eggs, they didn't want to blend in. After a couple of minutes of trying, I still had clumpy lumps, so I pulled out the regular beater and put in my beater blade with the fins. This blade smeared the dough against the sides of the bowl and incorporated the eggs with ease. I didn't want to use the whisk - too much air.

ka.jpg

3. The dough is softer in texture, so it fell more on the silpat than wheat dough, and, frankly, my piping skills could use some work. Because of these factors, I ended up with larger puffs with a more eggy interior. A bonus if you're an eggy interior sort of person, but we are more crispy exterior people, so I'll practice and go smaller next time.

4. The taste was eggier. This result could be due to the change in flour, or it could be due to the larger size and greater proportion of eggy interior mentioned in #3. Next time I'll use a sharper cheese, and I won't use any soft cheeses. I've used them with wheat puffs with no issue, but I think this dough needs a dry cheese to help keep it from spreading. I've got an aged gouda that I think will be fantastic.

5. It is possible that a different flour mix with a higher whole flour to starch ratio will work better for something like gougères where spreading dough can be an issue, and I'll certainly try more mixes as I go along. This mix behaved like I expect White Lily to behave.

Judgment: pretty good for a first try, and potential to be excellent with a few tweaks.

#11 weezy

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 09:12 AM

I don't know if any of you are Top Chef watchers, but seeing it on Bravo last night, one of the contestants used sweet potato ribbons (cut with a vegetable peeler) simmered in stock or water as a pasta substitute, and Colicchio thought at first he had actually made sweet potato pasta. I think the Bravo website has recipes or links to things made on the show. Anyway, watching the show last night made me think of this discussion.

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#12 lperry

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 07:48 PM

^ I do that a lot with ribbons of summer squash when the garden starts bursting. Great with pesto.

Everyone needs to make socca. Tonight was my first time making it, and I thought it could use some work, but it got rave reviews from my dinner companions. A traditional gluten-free dish and super easy to make.

Edited to add Bittman's take on socca. I used the recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook. I'll try Bittman's ratio of water to flour next time.

#13 zoramargolis

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 11:12 PM

Everyone needs to make socca.

I've made socca numerous times, using Ana Sortun's recipe from her book Spice, which is full of interesting Mediterranean/Turkish dishes. I often combine socca with a spicy carrot puree, which has cumin, ginger and harissa in it, and dukkah,which is an irresistable blend of toasted nuts, seeds, spices and coconut ground together.

#14 monavano

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 08:42 AM

I've been using David Lebovitz's socca recipe. I'm just loving the stuff. It's so easy, yet substantial. I think there's so many ways to use it, from a crepe to a pizza....

#15 zoramargolis

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 11:11 AM

I've been using David Lebovitz's socca recipe.

I loved the comment: "In Britain we call it football."

#16 lperry

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 12:26 PM

On the page after the socca/farinata recipe in Jaffrey's cookbook is a recipe for panisses. They're on the list.

Brownies

I don't want "the world's best gluten-free brownies." I want the brownies Mom made for us when I was a kid, and the ones I've made since then. I want these.

card.jpg

The card looks as good as it does because I haven't had it out in years. I know this one by heart. Mom typed it out on my Dad's manual typewriter and then I inherited it when she got a new filing system. Remember choco-bake? :) We moved from that to Baker's at some point, and as I became more of a chocolate snob, I tried Callebaut and Valrhona. I also added in parts of various dark chocolate bars from the pantry on top of the 2 oz of unsweetened chocolate. Today I used about a third of a big espresso infused bar. More salt too.

To make these gf, I used 83 grams (note the newest note) of the gf flour mix linked above. I'm working with one cup of wheat flour as 125 grams, so 2/3 is 83 grams. The gf starches settle, and you can use too much, hence the weighing. The result:

cut.jpg

crumb.jpg

Indistinguishable. This is a semi-cakey semi-fudgy brownie with a shiny crust that crackles, and they tasted like they always do. This is how I want gf baking to be - I want to use the recipes that I've always used, because they are familiar and comforting to me. It may not work with everything, but it's safe to say that you can use your Mom's or Grandmother's brownie recipe just fine if you weigh the gf flour instead of using cups.

#17 lperry

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 04:05 PM

Key Lime Pie in a Coconut Crust

I combined two recipes. Here is the crust. Just use a couple of tablespoons of a GF flour mix or a single flour. It is just a binder, so it doesn't matter a whole lot. Next time I'll bake it a little longer, or toast the coconut a little more.

Crust.jpg

Here is the filling. I used three egg yolks and added a bit more zest after I tasted it.

klpie.jpg

kls.jpg

It's like a key lime pie over a giant coconut macaroon. :)

#18 ktmoomau

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 10:13 AM

Lperry you are such an invaluable new asset. Thank you so much for your postings! They are incredibly helpful and just cheer me up to read.

But I learned fast how to keep my head up 'cause I
Know I got this side of me that
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Fly the whole mess into the sea. The Shins
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#19 lperry

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Posted 23 March 2011 - 10:48 AM

Lperry you are such an invaluable new asset. Thank you so much for your postings! They are incredibly helpful and just cheer me up to read.

That cheers me up! Having a diagnosis of celiac is bad enough - nobody should have to eat awful food in addition to it.

I'm working on bread this week in our new Zojirushi bread maker. It's one of those things I never thought I'd have, but gf bread dough is really tough to handle, and the breads from the store are pretty awful and shockingly expensive. We bought bread three days a week prior to Mr. lperry's diagnosis, and that's a lot of time spent messing with a dough I don't quite understand yet. I got an OK multigrain loaf last night on attempt #1, but I think I can do better.

#20 lperry

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 05:12 PM

Sneak Preview. Chanel had 5 takes, this is 100 gram test bread #3. The boule, the cut, and the tear.

boule.jpg cut.jpg torn.jpg

#21 leleboo

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 06:36 PM

Sneak Preview. Chanel had 5 takes, this is 100 gram test bread #3. The boule, the cut, and the tear.

boule.jpg cut.jpg torn.jpg

The tear looks drool-worthy. Well done!

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#22 lperry

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 07:34 PM

Pie pastry

I used Ann Amernick's recipe from The Art of the Dessert, but any recipe you like will work fine as long as you use gram weights. I used a flour mix that is 50% whole flours and 50% starches, and the whole flours are rice and millet in equal amounts. I'm not using any gums. I did the usual mixing in the KA stand mixer, but when the "finished" dough was still really crumbly and dry, I added in another tablespoon of water. There's no sense in making it difficult for yourself - you can't make a tough gluten-free crust, so put in as much liquid as you need. Here's what it looked like after mixing.

mix.jpg

Then I did the fraisage thing. There are some nice videos on YouTube if you are unfamiliar with the technique. My hands were too dirty to get a photo. :) The nice thing about fraisage is you can immediately roll out the dough. Put rice flour in your shaker, flour the surface heavily, (gf dough is sticky), and roll. GF piecrust rolls like a dream.

roll.jpg

Putting the pastry in the pan is tricky because it is so delicate. Rolling it onto the pin worked for me. I did take a picture of the quiche I made, but it was either out of focus or the steam fogged the lens. I parbaked to make sure it would be crisp. Here is the finished crust from a scrap that I broke open and turned on its side.

tex.jpg

The crust is crisp, brittle, and incredibly tender, but not flaky like a wheat crust. It is very similar in texture to a pastry made with whole wheat pastry flour. The biggest difference, and this is a huge plus as far as I'm concerned, is the flavor. This pastry has an incredibly delicious flavor. I would call it nutty, but I'm sure it is actually toasted ricey and millety. This was an excellent surprise because I usually consider crusts to be more of a textural element, albeit with a butter flavor, than something that can really add to the overall flavor of the dish.

Advantages to the gf pastry: There was nearly zero shrinkage in the crust, you can't overwork the dough, and the flavor is fantastic.

Disadvantage to the gf pastry: This is a semi-tricky dough to handle once it is rolled out. If you have made a piecrust with whole wheat flour, it is very much like that - the crust broke off at the edges of the tart pan before I could ease it in. That said, you can patch it really easily, and I really think you can probably press the entire crust into the pan after the fraisage step. I rolled it because I'm used to rolling pastry, and I wanted to see how much flaking there would be. Since there isn't really flaking, a press crust will probably work fine.

Disadvantage to my flour mix: The fine brown rice flour leaves a little sandy texture on baked goods with a crust. I made some drop biscuits the other day and did not post because, even though the inside crumb was like a cloud, there was the sandy rice texture on the crust. It is a little like fine cornmeal. It's a difficult trade off, because the rice flour has a lovely flavor. Mr. lperry was very happy, but at two weeks without bread, I think he is too deprived to be a decent judge. :) I'll continue to experiment with flour mixes.

#23 lperry

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 01:28 PM

To all GF bakers who want to make bread, go out and buy yourself a package of psyllium husk or powder, then do an internet search for glutenfrei brot. You can run the pages through a translator if you can't read the language, but just as an example, the very first hit off Google has nearly 80 recipes. Apparently, German and northern European bakers have been using psyllium as a replacement for gluten for quite some time. It is the same stuff that is in Metamucil, but if you can get past that, you can bake bread with no eggs, no gums, and no nastiness. I only wish I had found this earlier - a large loaf of bread #9 (with 3.08% psyllium) is proofing right now after a successful 50 gram test last night. Just like an academic, I went to the journals first and calculated percentages of components. :) Now just like a lazy person, I'll use the recipes off this woman's site. No sense in reinventing the wheel. :)

Also figured out this week - the weird gf taste that's in most of the commercial products is tapioca starch (Manihot esculenta, AKA cassava, manioc, yuca). If you don't like that weird flavor, you don't have to use this starch in your baking - I've been using sweet potato flour and it's working just fine, and any other starch (potato, corn etc.) will probably work as well. Don't feel that you have to follow a recipe exactly - just use the same amounts of whole flours and the same amounts of starches.

#24 goodeats

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 02:18 PM

I have this urge to have a gf-baking/potluck gathering -- thanks for the inspiration lperry!!
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#25 ktmoomau

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 02:30 PM

To all GF bakers who want to make bread, go out and buy yourself a package of psyllium husk or powder, then do an internet search for glutenfrei brot. You can run the pages through a translator if you can't read the language, but just as an example, the very first hit off Google has nearly 80 recipes. Apparently, German and northern European bakers have been using psyllium as a replacement for gluten for quite some time. It is the same stuff that is in Metamucil, but if you can get past that, you can bake bread with no eggs, no gums, and no nastiness. I only wish I had found this earlier - a large loaf of bread #9 (with 3.08% psyllium) is proofing right now after a successful 50 gram test last night. Just like an academic, I went to the journals first and calculated percentages of components. :) Now just like a lazy person, I'll use the recipes off this woman's site. No sense in reinventing the wheel. :)

Also figured out this week - the weird gf taste that's in most of the commercial products is tapioca starch (Manihot esculenta, AKA cassava, manioc, yuca). If you don't like that weird flavor, you don't have to use this starch in your baking - I've been using sweet potato flour and it's working just fine, and any other starch (potato, corn etc.) will probably work as well. Don't feel that you have to follow a recipe exactly - just use the same amounts of whole flours and the same amounts of starches.

Can I ask where you found the psyllium husk or powder?

But I learned fast how to keep my head up 'cause I
Know I got this side of me that
Wants to grab the yoke from the pilot and just
Fly the whole mess into the sea. The Shins
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#26 lperry

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 02:44 PM

I have this urge to have a gf-baking/potluck gathering -- thanks for the inspiration lperry!!

:)

Can I ask where you found the psyllium husk or powder?

I bought a jar of plain powder at MOMs, but I think you can probably get it at drugstores or places like GNC. Most people buy it for reasons other than bread making. I'm also betting it will mimic gluten in pizza dough and fresh pasta. Maybe even puff pastry...

#27 ktmoomau

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 04:06 PM

I have this urge to have a gf-baking/potluck gathering -- thanks for the inspiration lperry!!

I get so nervous about baking I would love to do this! I would love to be able to make that bread in lperry's picture with confidence. So if you ever want to do this, know that I would love to join you!

But I learned fast how to keep my head up 'cause I
Know I got this side of me that
Wants to grab the yoke from the pilot and just
Fly the whole mess into the sea. The Shins
www.rrbmdk.com
www.katelintaylor.com


#28 lperry

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 05:01 PM

If it makes you feel any better, ktmoomau, I've been feeding the birds and squirrels more than us with my bread experiments. You just have to go for it, and if it doesn't work, have a glass of wine, wait until you can laugh about it, then give it another try. Here's an early fail in the breadmaker when I didn't know to let it go for only one rise. The texture is not unlike Turkish delight. It wouldn't look quite so awful if I had used the flash, but it's still pretty bad. This one was rice and millet flour.

fail.jpg

Here is the bread I made today in the oven. It is a teff mixture, and I added the psyllium into the water before mixing. Apart from creating a measuring cup full of what looked like the product of a nasty sneeze, the crumb is much tighter than I want. I'll go back to mixing the psyllium into the dry ingredients.

teffbr.jpg

Lessons learned about bread:

1. You can't really cut and eat gf bread while it is hot (serious bummer).

2. You have to give it time enough to rise to double in size, and sometimes that takes two hours. If we got some decent weather, I'm sure it would be faster.

3. GF bread only needs one rise, so if you want to use a breadmaker, make sure your machine has a program or setting for a single rise bread.

4. If you do use a breadmaker that is set for more than one rise, there will not be good results. The psyllium bubbles don't collapse like gluten bubbles when the machine turns the little mixing paddles to "punch it down," so you end up with something spongiform and weird (see above.) If you use the oven, you can go more than one rise because you will really punch it down and knead it together, but it isn't necessary.

5. Although they are components of nearly every recipe for gf bread I could find, vinegar and eggs are not necessary.

If you like sourdough, the literature indicates that a lactic acid fermentation of gluten free flours will make a nicely structured bread that stays fresh longer. It also increases the bioavailability of some nutrients, so it may make a more healthful bread, if that is a concern for you. When I have a little time, I’ll try a starter using gf flour and some grapes or blueberries.

#29 squidsdc

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 12:54 AM

Can I ask where you found the psyllium husk or powder?

check out Amazon...my husband said they have it for a very good price.

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"--The Great Oz


#30 lperry

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 08:42 AM

Bread (lperry's basic recipe)

Dry ingredients

500 g flour
1 tsp psyllium powder
2 tsp salt
1 scant Tbs yeast

Wet ingredients

400 ml warm water
20 g milk powder
1 Tbs oil
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs vinegar (optional - see below)

I dissolved the milk powder in the water before mixing everything together. Mix the dough thoroughly for about five minutes. I liked the results better out of the KA mixer than the food processor. The dough was a little thicker because the psyllium strands developed better, and it could be shaped a little more in the pan.

dough.jpg

Put the dough in the pan, then let rise until doubled. The proofing time will vary depending on temperature and acidity, so watch it the first time you make it. Do not fill the pan more than halfway - the dough is soft and will spill out over the top as it rises rather than puffing up and holding together. Do not overproof - this dough will collapse just like wheat doughs, so let it get to double, then bake it. Trust me - I did both. B)

proof.jpg

Bake at 400 for about an hour, but start checking at 50 minutes or so. Unlike yeast breads, the dough will not expand a whole lot during baking, especially if you are using heavy whole grain flours. Pull it out at 190 or higher on the instant read if you are not sure it is done.

thermo.jpg

This is the crumb of a 25% teff loaf.

crumb.jpg

The recipe is a basic ratio. You can double it, halve it, go 1 1/2 times, etc, just keep the proportions the same.

Notes on ingredients: I used psyllium powder, not husks, and I imagine you will need more than a teaspoon if you buy the husks. You can put more psyllium in if you want the fiber - there is no difference in flavor, but a teaspoon per 500 grams of flour seems to be the minimum to get a decent rise and crumb structure. Edited to say - if you do add more, keep in mind that it absorbs water, so you may need to adjust water volumes.

You can leave the milk powder out, but it does help with browning.

I used Red Star yeast from the two pound package. It doesn't really matter which type you use, just watch the proofing the first time so you know how long it takes. I never proof yeast before mixing it in - I think it's only necessary if your yeast is old and you are not sure it will work.

I tried loaves with and without vinegar, and the only difference I found was with rise times. The vinegar loaves rise much faster, which is an advantage if you are using an oven, but a disadvantage if you are using a bread maker. I can see it collapsing if it's not watched.

Notes on flour mixtures: The mix I used for this loaf was half whole grains and half starches. The whole grains were equal parts brown rice flour and teff, and the starches were sweet rice flour, sweet potato flour, and potato starch. The flavor is quite good, I am not regretting leaving out the tapioca starch, and the teff is a lovely flour - silky and fine - that makes for a denser product. It was fantastic in brownies with sweet rice and sweet potato flour, and I'm working on it as a component of a basic cake flour, but I think I'm going to use something a little lighter next time in the bread. A heavy, whole grain loaf is nice sometimes, but not every day. Next time I'll try brown rice and sorghum or corn flour for a lighter loaf.

Happy baking!

#31 lperry

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 03:25 PM

Is a cake flour test a success or a failure if you don't have any cake left to see how it is the next day?

caketest.jpg

#32 mame11

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 01:03 PM

Just saw this post on Saveur and thought y'all might be interested in it: Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

#33 lperry

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 06:12 PM

Sourdough Starter / Levain

It's been a while since I posted because I've been experimenting with this levain.

Levain.jpg

To make a wheat levain, most people use volume measurements. For gluten-free, you need to use grams and/or milliliters. One milliliter of water weighs one gram, so you can use a scale if you don't have a cup that measures in metric.

Into your jar, place:

100 grams sorghum flour
100 grams brown rice flour
300 grams/milliliters filtered, warm (no higher than 110 degrees) water

This is a 1:1.5 ratio of flour to water, and you can feed your levain with any permutation thereof. For example, if you only have 75 grams of flour, add it with 112 ml of water. Filtered water is important because the chlorine will kill the microbes that will raise the bread. The starter will ferment, bubble, and fizz.

Fizz.jpg

Leave your jar on the counter at room temperature for about 24 hours, then feed the levain every 12 hours or so for another 24 to 48 hours. It should look something like the picture at the top when you are ready to go. It will smell pretty sour, and not the same smell as a wheat starter if you are familiar with those. If you have to leave to go somewhere for a few days, put it in the fridge. When you are ready to use it, take it out, feed it with flour and warm water, and let it ferment until bubbly again.

If you are wondering why you would bother with sourdough, here is a little test bread that has nothing in it to make the structure other than the sourdough starter.

Test.jpg

The starter has a permanent spot in the fridge now, and will until someone finds a cure for celiac. B)

Note on teff: At the start of my experiments, just to make sure I had something that would ferment, I replaced a little of the sorghum with about 10 grams of teff flour. I knew teff would spontaneously ferment in a very nice way, and, sure enough, the levain was fizzing within 6 hours. The teff is not necessary, but it is a bit of a boost at the start.

#34 lperry

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 06:40 PM

Sourdough Bread

Once you have your levain ready, gather the following ingredients.

500 grams of levain, stirred together until everything is blended evenly
100 grams sorghum flour
100 grams brown rice flour
200 grams potato starch
125 grams cornstarch
300 grams/milliliters warm, filtered water
1 1/4 tsp psyllium powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

Mix the flours and psyllium together with a whisk, breaking up any starch lumps, then mix them with the levain and water. I used a spoon one time, and the KA the next. The KA does a nice job and makes things a little easier, but it's not necessary. Once everything is mixed, let it sit about 15 minutes to hydrate. Now mix in the salt.

Because the starter contains 200 grams of flour and 300 grams of water, at this point, you have a very soft dough at about 83% saturation (725 g flour, 600 ml water). The texture is like quicksand, and it will seem way too wet for bread dough. Pour it into your cast iron container or dutch oven that you have lined with parchment. (I know this is a terrible photo, but it's the best I have of the texture.)

Dough.jpg

Set the pot aside, covered with plastic or the lid, and let the dough rise. I don't have a photo of the risen dough because it went really fast the last half hour and I feared disastrous results. To prevent my mistake, don't let the dough rise more than about 1 1/2 times the original bulk, especially if you have a really good starter going. You'll be using a cold oven, and the final rising will happen then. You can make a mark on the parchment when you pour in the dough to know when it has risen properly.

Once the dough is risen, place the pot, cover on (phenolic knob off B)), into your oven, and set the temp to 450 degrees. Bake for an hour from the time you start the oven, not from the time it reaches temperature, then take off the lid and let the crust brown some more. Here's mine from tonight. It could stand to be browner, but we were hungry.

Pot.jpg

As you can see, the dough fell a little because I overproofed it, but it recovered and domed up because of the cold oven, and especially because levain is much more forgiving than yeast. So here's the money shot.

Crumb.jpg

This is fantastic bread. Not great gluten-free bread, great bread in its own right with sourdough tang and a nice crust from baking in the cast iron pot like no-knead bread. I could serve this to guests and I would be really surprised if anyone could tell that it is gluten free. Plus, its more than half whole grain, which means we're eating more healthful bread than when we ate wheat bread.

Just like the yeast bread, this formula above is a ratio, and you can change it around at will. Just remember that the levain is 40% flour and 60% water, and keep your final ratio at about 83% hydration with a little less than a teaspoon of psyllium per 500 grams of flour. I'll experiment with some other starches, but the bread seems to need these light ones for lift.

Edited to add - the hardest part about GF bread is that you really do have to wait for it to cool before you cut it. This loaf cooled about a half hour and cut OK.

Happy bread making!

#35 lperry

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 07:07 PM

Here's a pic of today's sourdough loaf that didn't overproof. It's still in the LC pot with the parchment.

SPBread.jpg

This is the crumb - I used 100 grams of sweet potato starch in place of half the potato starch. The crumb is a little sticky when first cut, but dries out fairly quickly after cutting. This one makes great toast. Crispy on the outside, meltingly tender on the inside, with nice flavor.

spcrumb.jpg

#36 lperry

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 09:49 AM

Drop Biscuits

I learned drop biscuits as a ratio, and have made them so many times for so many years that I can make them using any size vessel as a "cup." In the field, I often use a mug because that's all we have. It's taken a while to post this recipe because I had to convert to gram weights, and I tried many combinations of flours because I wanted them to have the texture of a White Lily biscuit. Our dinner guest last night ate three and said she would never guess they were gluten-free, and we were pretty happy, so here it is.

Preheat your oven to anywhere between 400 and 450. These will bake with other things in the oven without an issue.

Whisk or sift together:

75 grams brown rice flour
75 grams teff flour (I used the dark flour, but the ivory is fine)
100 grams potato starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
Salt to taste - maybe a teaspoon
1 - 2 tablespoons of sugar, depending on if you want them brown with a crispy crust

Then pour in

2/3 cup milk / half and half / cream
About a tablespoon less than 1/3 cup of oil. I usually use a one cup measure and fill it most of the way from the top of the milk to the one cup line.

Mix it up until it's combined, like you mix muffins, and after you've decided that I'm crazy because the dough is much too wet, gather it in the bowl and let it sit a minute for the starch to saturate. Now pull out your ice cream scoop and put it on a silpat or parchment. The unfortunate color is from the teff - they look like scoops of tuna salad. B)

Raw.jpg

Bake until they are as brown as you like. This can be anywhere from 10 minutes if your liquids were at room temperature and the oven's been on a while to 25 if the liquids were straight from the fridge and the oven has just heated.

Cooked.jpg

Here's the crumb. It's hard to tell from the picture because the teff is so dark, but it is like a soft, fluffy pillow. Half and half makes the nicest texture, I think. The dark flecks are garlic chives.

Crumb.jpg

These biscuits lend themselves to mix-ins, and I usually toss them into the flour for even distribution. Green garlic and feta is nice, jalapeño and cheddar, chive, etc. You can also use flavored oils if you want. Olive oil and rosemary would be nice, I think.

Happy baking!

#37 lperry

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 11:08 AM

Here is what looks like a lovely gf coconut and chocolate ganache dessert at Leite's Culinaria. I wish I had a reason to make it, but I got tasked with a side dish for tomorrow!

#38 ktmoomau

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 10:22 AM

Would anyone be interested in getting together before the Spring picnic to bake some different things- some of which we could devour straight from the cooling racks and some to take to the picnic?

But I learned fast how to keep my head up 'cause I
Know I got this side of me that
Wants to grab the yoke from the pilot and just
Fly the whole mess into the sea. The Shins
www.rrbmdk.com
www.katelintaylor.com


#39 lperry

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 12:58 PM

Would anyone be interested in getting together before the Spring picnic to bake some different things- some of which we could devour straight from the cooling racks and some to take to the picnic?

Yikes - no takers? I would really like to learn from people who have been dealing with GF for a while and know more than I do.

#40 ktmoomau

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 02:14 PM

Yikes - no takers? I would really like to learn from people who have been dealing with GF for a while and know more than I do.

GoodEats is willing to do it with me for the scientific study of it, but would love to have more! Am keeping the offer open. I also have a friend who I am not sure if he is on here that might be interested.

But I learned fast how to keep my head up 'cause I
Know I got this side of me that
Wants to grab the yoke from the pilot and just
Fly the whole mess into the sea. The Shins
www.rrbmdk.com
www.katelintaylor.com


#41 lperry

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 04:29 PM

Muffins and Quickbreads

For any existing recipe, substitute a GF flour mixture of 1/3 teff, 1/3 millet, and 1/3 potato starch. If you are one of those people who can taste the potato, you can use something else, but I think it makes things lighter. One cup in a wheat recipe equals 125 grams of GF flour mix.

Two days ago I made the whole wheat banana bread recipe from a Williams Sonoma quickbread cookbook, and we ate it before I could photograph it. Today I made Dorie Greenspan's cocoa-nana bread. I've always made quickbreads like I make butter cakes (creaming the butter and sugar until the sugar is dissolved), so I get more cake-like results. With GF flour, I get even more cake-like results. If you want it breadier, mix the butter and sugar less than I did.

Any recipe that fits a large 9 x 5 loaf pan will work in a 10 cup bundt. That's a little piece of melted chocolate on the side.

cpan.jpg

Here it is unmolded. I buttered and rice-floured the pan because I was worried about stickage. Cocoa next time.

cstand.jpg

Here's a slice. If you are thinking the crumb looks a little like I cut it before it cooled, I did. Moist, tender, delicious. This is a great recipe, and if you like banana bread, try macerating the smashed banana with a couple of tablespoons of bourbon while you get the other ingredients together. Banana, bourbon, and dark chocolate. Yum.

ccrumb.jpg

This flour mix will work in cakes too. If you are making a cake that has no flavorings other than butter and an extract, keep in mind the flour flavor will come through. I like millet and teff, but you may not, so do a little test shortbread to make sure before you go with a big project and wish I hadn't told you to use this combination. B)

Happy baking!

#42 lperry

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 08:53 PM

Crackers

Crackers are easy, and you can use any recipe as long as you substitute gram weights for the flours. I created this one using several recipes from the web.

150 g flour
75 ml water
2 tbs or about 23 grams oil
1/4 tsp or so psyllium (possibly optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp of interesting spices (optional)

Mix your flours, salt, psyllium and spices together, then mix in the oil with a fork or in a mixer. It will look like sand. Put in the water, mix it all up, let it rest a few minutes, and roll or press it out onto a silpat or parchment. Those little flecks are curry powder. I make one giant cracker, but you can make them as complicated as you want.

cr2.jpg

Bake. I baked at 425 degrees, but the LA Times says go at 300 degrees for a while, then 350 for the remaining time to brown. So it pretty much doesn't matter, but you do want to get them brown all the way through. Baking time will depend on if you use a silpat or parchment - start checking at about 10 minutes with parchment, later with a silicone mat. If you are lazy (like me) and don't dock the dough, it will puff up and twist a little. With 100% whole grain, un-docked dough will puff in odd ways and break like a jigsaw puzzle. It will still be tasty, though. Oddly enough, the cracker I pressed out the first time stayed together better than those I rolled. An untested hypothesis is that a bit thicker is better if you make the giant cracker.

cr3.jpg

If you took the time to roll, dock, and cut, or cut with a pizza wheel or pastry cutter or even a knife, you will have pretty little crackers. I break the big one into pieces. Here is cracker #1 (1/3 brown rice, 1/3 millet, and 1/3 potato starch) with boucheron and chive flowers.

CR1.jpg

That was attempt #1 with an untested ratio. I really don't think you can mess these up, and they are so nice freshly baked with a nutty whole grain flavor. I used the psyllium because I was worried that a GF cracker might not hold together like a wheat one, and because many of the GF recipes use ground flaxseed, a binder. If you're up for testing, give it a try without.

For the flour, you can use anything. I did 1/2 millet 1/2 brown rice, no starch, 20% starch, 30% sweet potato starch, you can grind up nuts and seeds, you can put in curry powder or smoked paprika, use flavored oils and herbs, and so on. Even if it breaks up oddly, it will be delicious as long as you let it brown all the way to the center.

Did I mention this is fast? And really easy? I've done crackers three nights in a row and this has been a really heavy work week. It's nice to have something homemade to go with fruit and cheese.

#43 squidsdc

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 03:37 PM

calling lperry....I could use a GF consult! Unfortunately I have to consider other allergies in addition to the GF. I'm trying to come up with a recipe for a dessert.

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"--The Great Oz


#44 ktmoomau

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 05:15 PM

calling lperry....I could use a GF consult! Unfortunately I have to consider other allergies in addition to the GF. I'm trying to come up with a recipe for a dessert.

I just made a gluten free, lactose free berry cobbler, I wanted to tweak (yeah I know I said I wouldn't do this, but I am tweaking the flours, I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose and think changing it up might help with the crispiness) the recipe a little bit to retain the initial out of the oven crispness, but it definitely tasted good. What other allergies are you dealing with? This only has gf flour (calls for self-rising so I added the baking powder and salt), sugar, milk (or milk substitute-lactaid) and fruit? It is a 1,1,1, 11/2 cup ratio. I normally double it and bake it in a cast iron dutch oven at 325 for an hour, or more if it needs to get golden and firm up, if you double it and the edged are getting burnt but the middle isn't done, I just turn the oven off and let it sit in there.

But I learned fast how to keep my head up 'cause I
Know I got this side of me that
Wants to grab the yoke from the pilot and just
Fly the whole mess into the sea. The Shins
www.rrbmdk.com
www.katelintaylor.com


#45 lperry

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 10:10 AM

Waffles

File this one under foolproof. I used the recipe from the checkerboard cookbook and used 125 grams of GF flour for one cup of AP flour. Their recipe called for milk, but I tried half and half, yogurt, and a combination of both, all three with excellent results. The flour mix I like is 1/3 teff, 1/3 millet, and 1/3 potato starch. Sweet potato worked fine too, and you can be heavy on the whole grains. If you want to be more decadent, throw a few pecans onto the iron and toast them before pouring in the batter.

WF1.jpg

The batter keeps in the fridge for a day or two, so you can have a quick and easy breakfast without having to take the time to mix. I found they mixed up in about five minutes, but sometimes in the AM, that five minutes is really important.

WF2.jpg

Crispy and tender, more tender than wheat waffles, and super easy. Use any recipe you have on hand and sub out using gram weights, and breakfast will be fantastic.

#46 lperry

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 02:50 PM

There is a class on GF baking at Williams Sonoma on August 28, and they are supposed to have recipes from Baby Cakes in New York. I've never had their baked goods, but I figure it's worth an hour or two of my time. Calendar here. I signed up at Pentagon City. Anyone else in?

#47 lperry

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 06:25 PM

If anyone remembers way back when, the GF class at WS ^ was cancelled due to hurricane.

It's getting cool again, so the oven is in working mode. Has anyone been experimenting with piecrust? I used Anne Amernick's pâte brisée ratio tonight for a quiche and threw in a half teaspoon of psyllium and another half teaspoon of baking powder (after watching Jacques Pépin do so with a wheat tart dough) just to see how it would work. It came out delicious and exceptionally tender. So tender that, after a few bites, it turned to sand on the plate. Mr. lperry commented on the nice flavor, but I'd like it to hold together a little better. Hints gladly accepted.

Edited to say, doh! I should have used egg. I bet it would work wonderfully.

#48 lperry

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 06:33 PM

Chocolate cake

This recipe is an adulteration of Ann Amernick's DeMayo chocolate cake from the Art of the Dessert. The recipe as originally written is more of a devil's food, and I wanted more dark chocolate.

What I did differently:

Instead of water, I used cold-brewed dark roast coffee. This change is optional.
Add 1 tsp of psyllium to the dry ingredients. This change is necessary for cohesion.
Add in 2 ounces of melted dark chocolate (I used 90%) to the batter at the end. Just stir it into the melted butter. This change is optional, but why would you want less chocolate?
Edited to add that I also threw in a little more salt. Salt + chocolate = happiness.

For your GF flour, you can go heavy on the whole grains as this cake seems to be pretty sturdy. I used my usual ratio of 1:1:1 millet:teff:potato starch and expected a semi-fail, but it came out beautifully on try #1. That NEVER happens with cake. GF cake usually needs a higher amount of starch to rise high without falling at the end of the baking time. Here's the cake out of the oven with the parchment peeled off.

dmc1.jpg

I filled it with some black cherry preserves that Mr. lperry bought somewhere along the Blue Ridge. I frosted with a quick dark chocolate buttercream because I was expecting a fail and didn't plan anything nicer. Here's the crumb, the best I could shoot it closely enough to get a good look. That shiny stuff in the middle is the layer of preserves.

dmc4.jpg

I didn't adjust the saturation - the cake is this black, super-moist, and has a wonderful crumb that holds together and doesn't turn to dust on the plate. It looks small because it was a test run. The recipe is for three eight-inch layers, but I halved it and made two, so it's a little thin. That said, this cake is, bar-none, the best GF cake I've ever had, one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever had, and I won't take any of the credit because I made this cake with wheat flour about thirty times before I ever imagined I would need to make one without wheat. A huge thank you goes to Ann Amernick for including gram weights for the key ingredients in the recipes in this book, and for publishing recipes that simply work. I'm now ready for the holidays! Happy Baking!

#49 qwertyy

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 07:14 PM

I'm not a gluten-free person, but I saw this bit about Thomas Keller's new gluten-free flour on New York Magazine's website and thought of you all. (And the rest of the story reminded me of how freaking awesome Thomas Keller is.)

#50 ktmoomau

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 11:08 AM

Does anyone here have the recipe for the sables brought to the picnic? Those were great.

But I learned fast how to keep my head up 'cause I
Know I got this side of me that
Wants to grab the yoke from the pilot and just
Fly the whole mess into the sea. The Shins
www.rrbmdk.com
www.katelintaylor.com





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