Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gluten-Free Holiday Breads

I've had great luck with gluten-free goodies this year. The new flour mixes in Bette Hagman's "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread" are great for baking quickbreads and cookies as well as bread, and the recipes in Rebecca Reilly's "Great Gluten-Free Goodies" have let me add muffins to my breakfast repertoire again. Well, sheet muffins, the 9x13 pan's gift to the lazy. :-)

Rebecca Reilly has gone on to write a full-length book called "Gluten-free Baking", but what I have is a little small-press paperbound book from 1997 which seems like the precursor to her later work. The muffin recipe is easily adapted to blueberry, cranberry-orange, and banana breads, and I've had good luck baking in a sculpted braided pan as well as a glass sheet pan.

I haven't tested this yet, but the claim is that Bette Hagman's 4-flour mix can be substituted cup for cup in recipes calling for ordinary white wheat flour. You just have to add xanthan or guar gum to provide the elasticity, and possibly a little extra leavening. The 4-flour is 3 cups tapioca flour/starch (Asian market!) 3 cups cornstarch, 1 cup sorghum flour, 2 cups garfava bean flour. If you decide to grind your own garbanzo/fava flour, well, I hear you'd better have a fairly bronto stone-burr or steel-burr mill that's rated for tough jobs. The little tabletop mills may not cut the mustard. Ooh, mustard flour, that might be a neat addition to a cornbread. But I digress.

Bob's Red Mill has started selling the latter two in Whole Foods and other natural food stores. I find ordinary (Banned from) Argo cornstarch works fine, and get the tapioca flour from various large Asian markets for about half the cost of the stuff available at Whole Foods (sorry, Bob).

RR is a Cordon Bleu graduate, and apparently in her new book has taken the BH flours to a new level with arrowroot, coconut, and other specialty flours, but I find the BH stuff works for me.

Rose's Modified Muffin Mix
based on Rebecca Reilly's "Basic Muffins"
1.25 cups 4-flour gf flour or Bob's Red Mill GF Baking Mix
.25 tsp sea salt (round it a little)
2.25 tsp baking powder, aluminum-free please
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp xanthan gum (no magic, centaurs, or puns)
2 eggs, large or jumbo
1 cup milk (I use 2%, any kind ok)
2 Tbsp olive oil (little extra if FF milk)

Mix the wet ingredients together and blend well. Put the dry ingredients into a sifter and sift in one big batch into the wet ingredients. Stir in the dry by hand or with a mixer. Add the FLAVOR ingredients and stir or mix in. Pour into a greased pan and bake. 9x13 glass pan, about 40 minutes at 375F. 8x18 metal decorative loaf pan, 40 - 45 mins at 400F. Metal knife will come out clean but damp when done.

Note that these breads are not as sweet as commercial mix or grocery-store-bakery breads. Try making a loaf before adding or removing sugar, though, you might like the flavors shining thru better.

* substitute half-cup water, half-cup pulpy OJ for the cup of milk, add in WET stage
* generous quantity (1-2 tsp) grated orange zest
* 1 - 1.25 cups loosely chopped fresh cranberries (freeze for easier handling, and add a bit to baking time)
* optional 3/4 cup loosely chopped pecans or walnuts
* .25 tsp each of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves (or a bit more if you like it really jazzed up)
* mash 2 ripe bananas in the bowl and mix well at WET stage; do not subtract anything else!
* .5 tsp nutmeg, .25 tsp cardamom, dash of pumpkin pie spice mix
* 1 cup loosely chopped pecans or walnuts
* 1 cup frozen blueberries (big huckleberry type)
* 1.25 cup frozen small wild blueberries
* dash of pumpkin pie spice, .5 tsp nutmeg, .5 tsp cardamom
* nuts don't work so well here, but I have thought about adding a half-cup of almond meal for extra protein and to hold the blueb's together better. Hmmm. :-)

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