Friday, April 30, 2010

My first bread experiment.

So I did it. I made a loaf of bread.

It actually turned out better than I was expecting, and really, it was easier than making my normal bread. No kneading or shaping into a loaf, just dump in a pan like cake batter. Now I will warn you, this bread is really good for the first few hours out of the oven, but after that it gets very crumbly. I sliced it and put it in the freezer, hoping that would help, but no. Still, this bread tastes pretty good, and Sam eats it. I just have to have a vacuum out during meals.

(the Gluten-Free Goddess uses a bread machine, which I don't have. So if you have a bread machine, follow the first instructions; if not, scroll down and she tells you what to do for the oven version.)

Delicious Gluten-Free Bread Recipe

Most gluten-free bread recipes rely on eggs for texture and rise. Not this one. This gluten-free bread is tender, crusty, vegan, dairy-free, rice-free, and egg-free. I baked it in my Breadman bread machine.

First- whisk together your dry ingredients and set aside:

1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup potato starch (not potato flour!)
1/2 cup millet flour (I used quinoa flour b/c I couldn't find millet flour)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/ 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon rapid dry yeat

You'll need sesame seeds for the top; set aside for later. Or omit.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the bread machine pan:

1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cup warm water (at 110 to 115 degrees F)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey- or raw agave nectar to keep it vegan
1/2 teaspoon mild rice or white wine cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 4 tablespoons warm water till frothy

Gently pour the mixed dry ingredients on top of the liquid.

Set your bread machine program for 1.5 loaf medium crust. I used the gluten-free cycle on the Breadman; if you don't have a gluten-free cycle, I believe a rapid rise cycle will also work.

Check the dough after a few minutes of kneading- it should be closer to a muffin batter than bread dough, soft but not too wet. Adjust dry to wet ratio with a tablespoon of flour or warm liquid, as needed. Humidity influences the dough. As does temperature (your bread will rise higher on a hot day).

If you like a crusty loaf, remove the bread from the pan and place it in the oven at 350 degrees F for an additional 10 minutes- keep an eye on it and don't let it get too brown. It should be a light golden color.

Cool the loaf before slicing for best results.

Enjoy fresh from the oven- the first day (as with most gluten-free baked goods) has the best texture and taste.

Store the leftover bread as slices, wrapped in a paper towel and bagged in freezer bags; freeze. Thaw and toast or grill for best results.

Karina's Notes:

This yummy bread was not only the most successful egg-free yeasted bread to date- the taste, texture and tenderness make it one of my all-time top faves in gluten-free bread land. It didn't crumble. And it didn't taste ricey (well, duh...there's no rice!). The combination of sorghum and millet with potato starch imparts a springy bread texture that reminded us both of our favorite ciabatta bread recipe from our pre-gluten-free days.

Karina's Baking Tips for Fabulous Gluten-Free Bread

Have all the dry ingredients at room temperature.

Water should be 110 to 115 degrees F (too cool and the yeast won't rise; too hot and the yeast will die).

Yeast should be fresh- check the expiration date.

After a minute or two of mixing, open the machine and scrape down the sides of the pan with a soft spatula to help incorporate the bits of flour on the edges; I had to do this twice.

Immediately after the mixing/kneading cycle was finished I reached in and removed the paddle; then smoothed and pressed the dough and with wet fingers to even out the shape. It's not necessary to do this; I just prefer removing the paddle from the loaf ahead of time.

When the dough was resting I sprinkled a generous tablespoon of sesame seeds all over the top.

When the machine beeped "done". I immediately removed the pan from the hot machine, and within a minute released the bread from the pan (if you don't do this, it steams and gets a bit soggy) and placed it on a wire rack to do the thump test. It should sound hollow when tapped. And the loaf should feel firm (not squishy).

I thought the sides were a tad soft so I placed the naked loaf directly into the oven- on the center rack- and turned on the temp to 350 degrees. I baked it for another 12 to 15 minutes, keeping an eye on it. When I tapped the bread it sounded hollow. The crust was crusty. Done.

Cool the loaf on a wire rack. Slice when cooled with a sharp serrated knife. (If you don't wait for the loaf to cool the bread will not slice evenly.)

I am thinking this bread would make fabulous burger buns and pizza crust.

A note regarding altitude. At high altitude- you may only need one egg's worth of egg replacer. Experiment.

Readers sometimes ask if they can lessen either the oil or the sweetener in a recipe- in this case, I'd suggest, no. What really makes this bread tender and not crumbly is the give it gets from the honey and oil. When you don't use eggs or butter, you need to boost the stickiness factor- and flavor. That's why I use good tasting olive oil and honey (agave would work).

Yes, you could use real eggs in this recipe- I don't see why not. Beat two large organic free-range eggs.

If you find the center sinking, the dough may be too wet. Use less liquid- start with a tablespoon or two less liquid. If you use milk or non-dairy milk instead of water this could produce a denser loaf as well.

If the bread is gummy in the center use less honey or agave; both are humectant. If you use flax seed gel as an egg replacer, this can also create a gummy dough.

If you don't have a bread machine:

Follow the instructions for whisking together the dry ingredients.

Proof the yeast in the warm water (110 to 115 degrees F) and a teaspoon of the honey/agave (add the yeast to the water and honey stir; allow it to get poofy).

Add the proofed yeast to the dry ingredients; add the olive oil, remaining honey/agave, cider vinegar and mixed egg replacer (or egg); beat until a smooth batter forms. I use the word batter because gluten-free bread dough is more like muffin batter than wheat based bread dough.

Scrape the dough into a 1.5 pound loaf pan (or 7 to 8-inch round cake pan for ciabatta style) and smooth evenly (I use wet fingers). Top with sesame seeds. Loosely cover the pan and allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot. (I forgot to let it rise, and it still rose in the over.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. When the oven comes to temperature bake the bread until it sounds hollow when thumped. This might be anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes, and even up to 60 minutes if you're at higher altitude. Lower style round pan loaves will bake at 30 to 40 minutes, usually.

If you like a crusty loaf, remove the bread from the pan and return it naked to the oven at 350 degrees F for an additional 10 minutes- keep an eye on it and don't let it get too brown. It should be a light golden color.

Cool on a wire rack.

My first day of baking.

So this was my first allergen-free recipe. Well, to be honest it was my second. I tried making up my own pancakes for Sam for breakfast, and they turned out not so great; crisp and golden-delicious-looking on the outside, and mushy-like-applesauce-would-not-set-up on the inside. Sam ate a few bites, bless his heart, but then when he saw fresh fruit on the counter he was done trying.

So this cookie recipe is actually delicious, and my two older boys (and me) keep snitching them while they are cooling on the rack. However, I don't know if Sam likes them. I am LOVING the Gluten-Free Goddess, all of her advice, tips, information, and yummy-looking recipes. Like I said, this was my first one, but I think I will be trying a lot of her recipes. Next today is bread. I'm nervous.

Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients:

3/4 cup Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes
1/2 cup Organic Quinoa Flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour or potato starch (not potato flour!)
1 2/3 cups organic light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a large measuring cup blend:

2/3 cup light olive oil
3 tablespoons real maple syrup (I didn't have pure maple syrup, so I used molasses, so it was more like a gingersnap)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the wet and dry ingredients with a sturdy wooden spoon until you get a thick, sticky batter.

Make your egg replacement:

1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
4 tablespoons warm water

Whip the egg replacer ingredients till foamy and frothy. [If you are adding eggs instead, beat two large free-range organic eggs; and omit the egg replacement formula.]

Add the egg replacer to the batter and combine well. The dough should be thick and rather sticky.


3 to 4 tablespoons of warm water, as needed to achieve a cookie style dough that sticks together when you pinch it.

Stir in:

1 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips

Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Cover and chill the dough for 30 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or lightly greased parchment.
(at this point I changed the recipe to make smaller cookies, which cooked in a lot less time)

Roll about two teaspoons of dough between your palms to form small balls. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet and press down a bit to flatten slightly- not too much. Place the pan into the center of a pre-heated oven and bake until golden and set, about 9-10 minutes. The cookies will still have a little give to them while hot; as they cool they will crisp up.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes; then carefully remove the cookies with a thin spatula and place them on a wire rack to continue cooling.

Lovely warm and melty. Store in a covered container for up to a day or wrap cooled cookies in recycled foil, bag and freeze for longer storage.

Makes 55 cookies.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our Journey with EE begins.

This is Sam.He is the sunshine of our home, a sweet, smiley, cuddly little guy who stopped growing at about 9 months. He has gained about 2 pounds in the last year, has gone through a lot of testing, and finally at almost 20 months we are getting some answers.

Sam had his scope today, and the doctor said it looks like classic eosinophilic esophagitis. He has ridges in his esophagus with white plaques (which is the actual eosinophils you see). Of course we have to wait for the biopsies to come back before an official diagnosis, but I think it's a for sure thing. I asked if we could keep the adorable get-up. They kindly said no.I was prepared for this, our primary doctor and the two GI doctors and allergist and new-found friend up the street had told me about it, said he looked like he had it, and wouldn't be surprised if he did. I did my research (which there's not much out there), and kind of knew going in what we were facing. In fact, I think I would have been disappointed if it came back showing everything was normal. This is something we can deal with, get under control, and help Sam live a normal happy life once we figure out what he can eat safely. It's an answer, and I am grateful for it, whatever it is.

Now I won't say that answer didn't come with some emotion, anxiety, tears, and feelings of inadequacy. Following an allergen-free diet is overwhelming, even with a background in dietetics, and it was hard to decide where to even begin. Sam might eat a lot of food, but not a lot of types of food. He is picky. All of Sam's favorites are out: chicken nuggets, fish sticks, salmon burgers, noodles, sugar cereals, cookies, ice cream, yogurt, and my homemade wheat bread. And all of his dislikes were in: chicken, hamburger, potatoes, and veges. He does like rice and fruit, but after the first day he is already sick of it. He is DONE with rice chex. And I have not found any allergen-free sweet cereals.

So I've been scouring the web. That was even more overwhelming, so I decided to dedicate a blog to all my favorite recipes, tips, and blogs I have found, so I don't have to try and remember where I found this or that. I hope this compilation can help others who are diagnosed with EE, as well, because there's not a lot out there on this disease. And it's hard to find recipes that are gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and nut free. Hopefully we will soon be able to cut that list down, but for now that's what we're doing.

It's a roller coaster ride, and I'm sad and happy all at the same time. Sad for my poor little Sammy that's been suffering and can't have the foods that make him smile, and happy that we now know what's wrong and {kind of} what to do, and Sam will soon be a healthy little boy who might finally be able to face forward in his car seat!