Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Reader's Baking Success and the Questions He Asked to Get There

I recently heard from a reader who is new to gluten-free bread baking and is really delving into it.  Eric from San Francisco had a lot of great questions for me about why I created some of my bread recipes the way I did.  He also asked me to flesh out some of the bread-making methods I use.  He had a couple of great photos he shared with me and he's been nice enough to let me show them to you!

Eric: Your recipes and methods work well! I cannot believe how well. GF Bread that actually rises and that is workable, who knew?! Thank you so very much for sharing your knowledge. I'm new to Celiac so this has been a really tough time. Baking calms me and your blog has really helped me accept my fate and inspires me to bake more!

I have a few questions, if I may:

1. Regarding baked and uncut bread. How long would it stay "fresh" on a counter? Do I need to cut, wrap and freeze it if unused in the same day? I was hoping to store some baguettes out, uncut for a few days.

Gina: Thanks for the photos!  Your bread looks really great!  I'm so happy you're enjoying my recipes, and that you've had so much success with them.  I'll try to answer some of your questions.

Uncut bread is usually good on the counter for about a day.  If you like the crust to be crisp, store it in a paper bag the first night.  After that, or after cutting it at all, it does better in a plastic ziplock bag.  The ends dry out quickly once cut.  Mine starts to grow mold after about 3-4 days once cut open if kept at room temperature here in slightly humid Oregon.  Baguettes, being skinnier, do dry out a little quicker than big loaves, so I wouldn't expect them to still be completely fresh after the first day, but they would still be edible.  You can usually refresh an older loaf by spritzing it with water and heating it up in the toaster or oven for a bit, whether sliced or uncut.  I do freeze sometimes, but it seems to get freezer burn pretty fast.

Sourdough bread stays fresh and springy quite a bit longer on the counter, maybe 3-4 days fresh tasting and 1 or more weeks without molding.

Eric: 2. It seems in general your bread recipes hydrate the flour around 100% or more. I've been getting better at measuring the water and watching the dough as I add that water taking into account air humidity, but my bread still has a slightly sticky crumb. Do GF breads just tend to be slightly sticky? The breads I bake are cooked to temperature and have good crumb structure, just a little tacky (even at room temp, day of baking.)

Gina: Stickiness.  Try baking the bread for an extra five minutes and see if the crumb is a bit less tacky.  Go by crust color and hardness rather than temp for checking doneness - sometimes the bread reaches temp before it's really done.  It should have a nice deep hollow sound when rapped on the bottom.  If it's still too sticky, reduce the water.  Measure water by weight to get consistent results. Lastly, it's possible that my recipes come out slightly wetter than wheaten bread - I didn't eat bread of any kind for a year after I went GF, so my assessment of the proper texture needed to be adjusted by having other people give me feedback.  Plus, if you overcook it or make it too dry it doesn't stay fresh as long, so that may have influenced my recipe making.  That being said, your crumb photo does look a little on the moist side.  I don't think your dough was too wet to function - the usual sign for that is when you see a layer of compressed, undercooked dough on the bottom of the loaf.  Your bread has great, evenly distributed, open crumb.  I say keep it like this if you want to save it for a day or two uncut, or cook it a little longer if you want a crisper crust and to eat within 24 hours.

Eric: 3. Will you still be posting your gf all purpose flour? I'm really curious what your mix is :)
Thanks again! Keep baking :)

Gina: I've not put a lot of time lately into the AP flour, and may end up reserving it for a cookbook or something if I do think one up.  However, in the mean time I've been using the "pancake flour" - basically the pastry flour mix without the xanthan gum - as an AP flour for gravy and where appropriate.  It seems to work pretty well.  I hope that helps!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Vegan Teff Sandwich Bread Recipe

Years ago I posted the very popular Best Teff Sandwich Recipe.  That recipe uses xanthan gum and eggs, which some people can't do.  Here I have developed a recipe that's xanthan gum free, egg-free, and vegan.  Check out the Artisan Teff Bread Recipe if you'd like to use my bread flour blend.

Vegan Teff Sandwich Bread Recipe

Mix time: 10 minutes
Rise time: 1.5-2 hours
Bake time: 45-55 minutes

In a medium bowl, mix together:

200g (1 1/4C) teff flour
100g (3/4 C) sorghum flour
75g (1/2 C) tapioca flour
75g (1/2 C) potato starch
24g (2 Tbsp) sugar
6g (1 tsp.) salt

Set this mixture aside and in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer whisk together:

520g (2 1/3 C) warm water
30g (1/3 C) whole psyllium husk
2g (1 tsp.) yeast

Set aside 50g (1/2 C) of the flour mixture and put the rest of the dry ingredients in the bowl with the wet ingredients.  Blend with a paddle or dough hook on your stand mixer, or blend with a wooden spoon, until the dry ingredients are incorporated.  The dough will be wet, sticky, and shaggy.

Let the dough rise, covered, for about one hour.

After the first rise, blend in the rest of the flour that you set aside.  Pat the dough out into a square or rectangle. I usually place it on parchment paper or wax paper for this step for easier handling.

Roll the dough into a log.

Tuck the edges of the log under and place it in a greased bread pan or pullman pan.

Let the dough rise, covered, for 30-45 minutes, or until a finger dent stops filling in quickly.  Pre-heat your oven to 450° F mid-say through this last rise.  Bake at 450° for 45-55 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when tapped with the knuckles.  Turn the bread out to cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Molten Mug Cakes in 30 Seconds

Sometimes you just need a chocolate treat.  This recipe, adapted from a recipe on A Beach Cottage, was just what I was looking for: used ingredients I already had, was easy to whip up in one cup, and had single serving portions.  The molten center didn't hurt.

To make it quick and easy, I have given the ingredients in volume measurements.  It mixes up really fast, then cooks even faster.  It's the perfect recipe for one or two people (full disclosure: I made one for my boyfriend, then ate both servings myself.  Then I made another one later that night.)

Molten Mug Cake Recipe

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Artisan Teff Bread Recipe

One of the most popular recipes on this blog is The Best Teff Sandwich Bread Recipe.  This was one of the first bread recipes that I ever created.  I thought I'd follow that up with a recipe for a rustic, artisan loaf with teff flour using all the bread-making techniques I've learned since the beginning.  This bread is really soft and spongy.  It's a little more dense than the regular bread, but in a nice, substantial way as whole grain breads often are.  Check out the boule bread recipe for more tips and photos of the process.

Artisan Teff Bread Recipe

makes one 2-lb round loaf
Mix time: 10 minutes
Rise time: 2-3 hours
Cook time: 35-45 minutes

Mix in the bowl of your stand mixer or whisk together by hand:

520g (about 2 1/4 cups) warm water, 110-120 degrees
30g whole psyllium husk (or 20g ground psyllium husk)

Monday, August 24, 2015

I Love Book Lists!

Did you know that Gluten-free Gourmand is a huge sci-fi fan?  I've been seeing a bunch of interesting book lists floating around the internet lately, and decided to create one of my own.  Enjoy my picks for Top 33 Science Fiction Classics!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

5 Best New Gardening Tips

These gardening ideas might not be strictly new - but they were new to me this year, and my garden is happier for them!  They save my soil, my back, and my time.  This year my garden is better than ever.  Here is what worked for me:

1. I got a long-handled trowel.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Earliest First Tomato of the Year!

I try to record the first ripe tomato in my garden every year.  This year is a record - June 30th!  It's not even July yet, according to the calendar.  The thermostat on the other hand says differently.  It has been blazing hot in Portland, and it's not looking to let up any time soon.

To put this recent heat wave in perspective, I'm usually craving some sun and a hot day on June 30th.  It's usually still reliably 65°f and rainy right about now.  Fourth of July weekend is the first moment a Portlander can expect to see the sun - and she really looks forward to it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cochinita Pibil in the Slow Cooker

One of the things that I promised myself after returning from Hiatus 2015 was that I'd figure out how to make Cochinita Pibil.  It's kind of a regional specialty in the Yucatan and all the restaurants compete for the title of "Best Cochinita."  So I made it yesterday for the first time.  Here's the method:
Chicken Pibil
1. Go to a cute Mexican store.  I chose Mercado Don Pancho on Alberta because it's like a portal to another world.  Why spend so much money on a plane ticket when you can just go to the Mercado and be instantly transported to another country?  There I purchased a small package of Achiote for

Monday, March 16, 2015

Deluxe Pastry Flour Blend

Use this pastry flour blend for all pie crusts, pastries, and waffles, or as an all-purpose flour.

GF Pastry Flour Blend

150g white rice flour
50g sorghum flour
25g tapioca flour
25g potato starch
4g (1.5 tsp) xanthan gum

Mix thoroughly.

Total: 254g or a little less than 2 cups

If you want a different amount of flour, you can multiply the amount or use these percentages: