Showing posts from June, 2013

Chia, Flax, and Psyllium as Binders in Gluten-free Bread Making

Xanthan gum and guar gum have been the default binders for gluten-free baking in the United States for years.  However, these substances have their limitations.  They have no nutrient value, for starters.  Then there's the fact that they don't give you much in the way of flexibility or strength in your final baked good.  Did you ever make a gluten-free cupcake that tasted like cardboard and crumbled apart in your hand as you tried to eat it?  Even though you put twice as much liquid into the recipe than you would have for "regular"flour?  You can blame xanthan gum for that. The best binders out there for your gluten-free baking may not be what you thought they were.  Chia, flax, and psyllium are the "it" girls of gluten-free bread baking right now.   I'll tell you why and how. Chia Seed  Origin: Mexico and Central America Remember the Chia Pet?  The same seeds that you might have used to coat a clay doll to grow green "hair" is

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes

I like this recipe because it doesn't rely too heavily on the flour.  Any recipe that has as much chocolate and butter as it does flour is okay by my.  This method of making cake batter results in a spectacular spongy structure.  If you would like to make this with regular gluten-ful flour, simply substitute it out by volume and omit the chia seed if desired. I adapted both of these recipes from the Joy of Cooking , which I use constantly for recipe inspiration. Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe Makes 9 large or 12 small cupcakes Have all ingredients at room temperature.  Heat the oven to 350 F. Whisk together in a medium mixing bowl, then set aside: 1/2 cup gluten-free cake flour,  pastry flour , or 1:1 gluten-free flour 1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa 1/4 tsp salt + a pinch 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp chia seed, very finely ground In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream with the paddle attachment for 30 seconds: 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter With the mixer running o

DIY Rhubarb Infused Vodka

Making your own DIY rhubarb-infused vodka isn't tricky at all.  All you need is two ingredients: rhubarb and vodka.  The only hard part is waiting the five days until it's ready before drinking it. Preparation: 1. Have handy a large mason jar or sealable glass container large enough to accommodate the amount of vodka you have.  Chop rhubarb in 3/4-inch pieces to almost fill it, leaving about an inch or two free at the top of the container. 2. Pour the vodka over the rhubarb in the jar and fill to the top. 3. Seal the jar tightly. 4. Shake it. 5. Place the jar in a dark spot in your cupboard for five days.  Shake the jar occasionally to get everything stirred up. 6. When the rhubarb has infused the vodka sufficiently, the color of the liquid will be pink.  Taste the infusion to see if it's to your liking.  Leaving it for a few more days will make it stronger. My jar lost a little volume during the tasting process. 7. Strain the vodka through a fine-mesh sie