Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

A Selection of gluten free Breakfast Pastries - facing my nemesis for GBBO Pastry Week


Everyone has a baking nemesis right? Or is that just me? I have one for sure..... actually I probably have a few, but for those of us who are gluten free, this is a biggie! Once I cracked bread (a necessary staple), the next thing I really craved was pastry..... not just any pastry, but the light, crisp, flaky pastry that is 'Puff'.

Without Puff Pastry, we miss out on so much..... from amazing buttery, decadent patisserie to palmiers, airy pie-crusts and crispy turnovers, mille feuille and of course danish pastries.


If you eat gluten, but can't manage to make Puff Pastry, it's easy..... Nip down the supermarket and there it is, ready made, ready rolled and ready to buy and use. We gluten free folk do not have the same option. Whilst there are a couple of brands now offering ready made puff pastry, they are not really (in my humble opinion) up to scratch. Unless you can't eat dairy, puff pastry should be rich with butter..... this is not the case with shop-bought GF brands. I will be honest... I tried the Genius frozen puff pastry with great excitement only to be disappointed with its bland flavour, slightly bitter aftertaste and lack of rise. My very favourite ready-made GF pastry brand (Silly Yak), which is fab for making 'don't have time' quiches and pies, has a better flavour, but I would not describe it as puff pastry in the true sense that would be expected from a gluten-eater and I have yet to get it to achieve the light, flakiness and crunch that I seek.


Although there are now a handful of very specialist gluten free bakeries who do make the most amazing gluten free patisserie and puff-pastries, they are really hard to find unless you live in London or are lucky enough to have a serious specialist on your doorstep.... If we go to London, we always make a concerted effort to visit one of the bakeries and to return home with a stash of Danish Pastries, doughnuts and other treats. This is massively expensive..... I have been known to spend £30 to £40 on pastry treats alone in one visit, which is seriously excessive.....

It is time to face my nemesis and with this week being GBBO Pastry Week, I have decided now is the time to deal with it head on. So this week my GBBO-inspired offering is a selection of gluten free breakfast pastries.....

In the past, I have had a couple of fairly unsuccessful stabs at gluten free puff pastry. Whether it is a result of my anxiety that 'I can't do it', or whether the recipes I have used have been deficient, I cannot say, but the results have been bin-worthy and very disheartening. This time it is going to be different..... In the words of the lovely and very inspirational 2015 GBBO winner Nadia, "I am never gonna say 'I don't think I can'.... I can and I will".....


After much internet searching, I found a fantastic-looking recipe from an incredible gluten free blogger, Aran Goyoaga (Cannelle et Vanille). Aran was trained and working as a high-end pastry chef before her children were diagnosed with gluten intolerance..... Her foodie passion was subsequently diverted into the world of gluten-freedom and she has developed some of the most amazing recipes I have found.

Aran's Puff Pastry recipe comes complete with a video to show you how to make it and give you confidence that it really isn't that hard.... and can be found here. It is a lengthy process for sure, but the recipe makes a double-quantity of pastry, so you can either make loads and loads of stuff in one hit, or split the batch and chill the other half to use for something else, later.

For a first attempt at the recipe, I think it worked amazingly well..... I did mess up slightly when I encased my butter packet in the dough and so gave it an extra few layerings to try and compensate, but the texture and flavour of this pastry once baked is incredible...... crisp, light and perfectly buttery.


I used the dough to make my Custard, Cherry and Caramelised Pecan Danish (I adore Danish pastries with custard, fruit and nuts) and also to attempt some Pecan, Pear and Cherry Pinwheels. I used the leftover pecans from the Danishes, but I think I may have seriously overstuffed the roll, so some of the filling spilled out. There wasn't perhaps quite as much rise as I would have liked (I think I also rolled the dough too thin), but trust me.... that made absolutely no difference to the end result for the sheer delight of eating them....

The mini croissants that you can see in the photos are made using Vicky's (the Free From Fairy) Fairy Flour (wholegrain, multi-purpose rice free, gluten free flour blend) which you can buy via Honest Eats and her recipe for Danish Pastry which is found in her e-book : How to Make Gluten Free Pastry

This is the first time I have used Vicky's Fairy Flour and I can report a big thumbs up..... it had a lovely texture and blended really well into the mix..... none of the grittiness that you get with so many  commercial flour blends..... The flour is a carefully weighted mix of teff, sorghum, buckwheat, tapioca and potato starch flours, so you know that you are also getting plenty of good nutrition when you use it. The flour does have quite a strong taste to it (possibly from the Teff), but that is not a bad thing..... it has a sort of nutty undertone, but seems to adapt well to the addition of other flavourings.


The croissants look fab and Miss GF loved them, although I will be honest, they were by no means perfect.... I may have used the wrong type of pastry for making them..... I thought a yeasted puff pastry was the right way to go, but either I did something wrong (although I did follow the recipe to the letter, except for the addition of a little almond extract) or I over-baked them (more likely....). The uncooked pastry looked like it should layer reasonably well and it rose whilst proving successfully, but I found the croissants to be less than flaky and quite dry.

I will certainly give them another go, but I think I will use the remains of my Fairy Flour to test in a recipe that I am more familiar with...... When I do this I will come back with a post devoted to Vicky's amazing blend..... I thoroughly recommend that you check it out!

Now.... back to breakfast.... gluten free continental style anyone?

I am sharing my selection of gluten free breakfast pastries with the following linkies :


Treat Petite with The Baking Explorer and Cakeyboi.

The Great Bloggers Bake Off with Mummy Mishaps : Week 5 : Pastry



Bake of the Week with Casa Costello

The Bake Off Bake Along with This Particular and Rhyme & Ribbons




#TheFoodCalendar with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen.... next week on the 30th September is the Macmillan Coffee Morning..... these would go down perfectly if you have plenty of time to knock some up!

Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse



Cook Blog Share with Hijacked by Twins

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too



Puff Pastry - a recipe from Aran Goyoaga (Cannelle et Vanilla) - double batch

Ingredients

105g potato starch flour
105g tapioca starch flour (+ extra for dusting)
60g sorghum flour
60g fine brown rice flour (+ an extra tablespoon for dusting)
60g Mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
330g unsalted butter - cold - divided 110g (cubed) and 220g (block)
175g iced water

Method

  1. Weigh and mix together the flours, xanthan gum, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add 110g cold, cubed butter and rub in with the finger tips until you have the texture of coarse sand.
  3. Add the iced water and mix with your hands until a dough has formed.
  4. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it is smooth and hardly cracks (if the dough is too dry, add a dribble more water).
  5. Shape the dough into a square block (2 inches/5 cm thick), wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  6. Whilst the dough is chilling, make a butter packet : cut the remaining butter into two rectangles, lay out a sheet of clingfilm and place the butter in the centre. 
  7. Dust the top of the butter with a tablespoon brown rice flour, cover with another sheet of clingfilm and use a rolling pin or the ball of your hands to press down and flatten. 
  8. Unwrap the butter and fold it over on itself. Gather up the remaining rice flour and re-dust the top. Cover with the clingfilm and flatten again. 
  9. Repeat the folding and flattening process until you have a smooth, 5x5 inch/13x13 cm butter square. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  10. Lay two pieces of clingfilm (overlapping) on your work surface and dust with tapioca starch.
  11. Place the dough on top and roll out to form a '4-flapped' square (the shape of an unfolded envelope). The centre of the dough shape should be about the size of the butter packet, with flaps that are long enough to fold over the butter completely.
  12. Place the butter packet in the middle of the dough and fold all four flaps over. Pinch any gaps and cracks. The butter needs to be completely encased. Brush away any excess flour.
  13. Roll out the dough into a rectangle-strip - approx 20 cm by 50 cm (three times long as wide).
  14. Fold the top third over the middle third and then the bottom third over the top of that.
  15. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat the process of rolling and folding as in 13 & 14 above.
  16. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
  17. Take the dough from the fridge and let rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  18. Lay a sheet of clingfilm on the surface and dust with tapioca starch. Repeat the rolling and folding process as in 13 & 14 above (starting at 90 degrees turn from the last roll) a further two times, then re-wrap and chill for a further 2 hours.
  19. Repeat 17 & 18 above one further time.
  20. Place the dough back in the fridge tightly wrapped in cling film until you are ready to use.

Custard, Cherry & Caramelised Pecan Danish Pastries (makes approx 18 small or 9 large pastries)

Ingredients

one batch of puff pastry (half of quantities above)
large handful pecans
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons light soft brown sugar
candied cherries (as from this recipe) or substitute with preserved or glace cherries
1 pint thick custard (I made mine using custard powder, adding an extra couple of teaspoons for a thicker result)
beaten egg or milk to glaze
apricot jam to glaze
icing sugar and water to decorate

Method

  1. Make your custard ahead of time to allow to cool completely.
  2. Prepare your pecans, by heating the coconut oil in a small saucepan. Add the pecans and gently sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the brown sugar and stir through for a further couple of minutes over a low heat to dissolve and coat the pecans.
  3. Remove from the pan on to kitchen paper for a few seconds (to remove excess oil) and then set aside.
  4. When ready, roll out your pastry (I did this in small batches to make it easier to work without getting too warm) to 3 to 4 mm thick. Cut into squares (approx 10 cm (4 inches) for large and 7 cm (3 inches) for small pastries).
  5. Drop about a teaspoon of custard into the centre of the dough square (a teaspoon and a half for larger pastries), top with a cherry or two and a few pieces of broken pecan.
  6. Roll-up the four pastry corners into the middle (to surround the filling) and then roll in the four remaining sides to create a small basket for the filling.
  7. Place the uncooked pastry onto a large baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  8. Repeat the filling and rolling process until you have used all your squares.
  9. Place the uncooked pastries on the tray into the fridge for 30 minutes (it is important for the dough to be chilled before it goes in the oven).
  10. Pre-heat the oven to 220 C/425 F/Gas 7.
  11. When chilled, glaze the raw pastry edges with either beaten egg or milk and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until crisp and golden.
  12. Remove from the oven and whilst still hot, take a couple of teaspoons of apricot jam, warm in the microwave (or over a bowl of steaming water) and brush each baked pastry with the jam to glaze.
  13. Set on a wire rack to cool completely.
  14. Once cool, mix about 3 heaped teaspoons icing sugar with a dribble of water to make a drizzleable icing. Drizzle across the top of each of the pastries.

Pecan, Pear and Cherry Pinwheels

Ingredients

one batch puff pastry (half of quantities above)
handful of caramelised pecans (see recipe above)
60g dried Pear
approx 8-10 candied cherries - chopped or use dried or glace cherries
small handful dried cranberries
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil - melted
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (dependent to taste)
approx 1 tablespoon light soft brown sugar
apricot jam to glaze

Method

  1. Make the Filling : Mix the pecans, fruit, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and cinnamon in a small bowl - set aside.
  2. Cut your pastry block in half and roll out to form rectangle sheets approx 3 to 4 mm thick.
  3. Spread the filling across the whole sheet evenly and then roll the sheet up from the longer side to form a spiralled sausage shape.
  4. Place the whole length in the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes (this will make is easier to cut).
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 220 C/425 F/Gas 7.
  6. Once chilled, take a sharp knife and cut lengths approx 2 cm/just under 1 inch and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. 
  7. Lightly sprinkle the uncooked pastries with a little brown sugar and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp and golden.
  8. Whilst the pastries are still hot, take a couple of teaspoons of apricot jam, warm in the microwave (or over a bowl of steaming water) and brush each baked pastry with the jam to glaze.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sweet Autumn Dessert Yorkshires with Vanilla Sautéed Pear & Walnuts and Blackberry Coulis (gluten and dairy free)


What a week! We got news that Mel and Sue will be leaving the tent...... I got a promotion at work...... I got nominated for an Allergy Blog Award...... and then I ended the week in bed with the flu. I am still coughing, spluttering, sweating and freezing, but hey...... I figure it is better to get it out of the way now!

Most important things first though...... I have been nominated for an Allergy Blog Award! What me? Really?  Did they get that right?
I really never expected that would happen..... ever! So thank you to whoever nominated me..... you absolutely made my week!


I always think of my blog as quite a 'tin pot' affair. My motivation for writing stems from my daughter's Coeliac diagnosis 5 years ago and my absolute determination that she would be able to enjoy all the traditionally wheat-filled delights that her friends enjoyed, but in gluten free form. Although I subsequently established that I too am gluten-intolerant, I still see the blog as the recipe book for her future.

At the time when I first started the blog, the range of gluten free baked alternatives on the supermarket and internet shelves was woefully poor. What was there was dry, crumbly, stuck in the throat and needed 'refreshing' before you could eat it. Sure things have much improved and there are some fantastic contemporary products with new companies innovating all the time, but I grew up on home-cooked food and with expectations that learning to cook was an essential life skill..... Passing these basic values on to Miss GF and ensuring she has a family gluten-free cook-book in blog form seems only right.


It is also important to me that she has good instruction on blending flours to achieve the best results. Most commercial flour blends are over-dependent on rice, tapioca and potato flours, with rice being the primary ingredient, making them gritty and lacking nutrition. Their results for bakes are incredibly variable and rarely do they mimic the texture and flavour of traditional wheat-based products. I have yet to find a single flour blend which is truly all-purpose (although I have yet to road-test the Free From Fairy's flour-blend, for which I have high hopes).

I often worry that readers may see my recipes as complicated and off-putting, but the flour-blends I test and re-test are specific to the bake I want to achieve and to get the best from. I have every intention of working on a couple of alternative 'general' blends (in addition to my mix A) that will work well for specific groups of bake, but there is never enough time.....


I am however, just happy to share whatever wisdom I can as I journey through our gluten free experience and if just one person benefits, then that is good with me (regardless of how great or rubbish my stats are on any given week)!

Anyway...... back to GBBO and the latest set of challenges in Batter Week. As luck would have it, I have been wanting to make dessert Yorkshire Puds for ages (ever since I saw Bananas-in-the-Hole over at Belleau Kitchen). Okay..... I know that the GBBO contestants made savoury filled Yorkies, but this was my best excuse for trying something a little different.....

The Yorkie recipe that I developed specifically for dessert (and made a couple of times to tweak to happiness), has a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup and some vanilla for a hint of sweetness. I have also added an extra egg-white to give lightness and extra rise and used dairy free coconut milk alternative to allow for a wider sharing with intolerant diets. You could of course use usual dairy milk or another dairy free alternative, but I picked the coconut version for it's lightness (to compensate for any additional 'weight' to the batter from the maple syrup) and if you use a thicker milk, you may want to use a ratio of milk to water of 2:1.


Don't they look amazing? They are filled with the most amazing seasonal British pears, lightly sautéed in coconut oil with vanilla and English walnuts and then coated with a brown-sugar syrup. The smell when they were cooking was incredible and the flavours and textures are divine..... fresh and perfectly offset against the soft pillowiness of the Yorkshires.

The crowning glory is the tart, purple coulis, made with Autumn blackberries picked from local hedgerows and poured over the top. Amazingly delicious! Serve with ice cream for extra decadence......


I am sharing my Sweet Autumn Dessert Yorkshires with the following linkies :


Great Bloggers Bake off over at Mummy Mishaps - Week 4 : Batter

The Bake Off Bake Along with This Particular & Rhyme & Ribbons


Treat Petite - this month hosted by Kat over at The Baking Explorer (and Cakeyboi).

Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse








Bake of the Week with Casa Costello

#FoodCalendar with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - celebrating British Food Fortnight







Simple & in Season with Feeding Boys - Pears and Blackberries are perfect right now

Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation





I am also Sharing them with Delicious Alchemy for their 2016 Gluten Free Magic Bake Off.


Sweet Autumn Dessert Yorkshires with Vanilla Sautéed Pear & Walnuts and Blackberry Coulis (makes 12 Yorkshires)

Ingredients

Dessert Yorkshire Puddings 
30g sorghum flour
20g tapioca flour
50g corn flour
3 large eggs
1 additional large egg white
160 ml coconut milk alternative (I used Koko Dairy Free)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
sunflower oil to roast

Vanilla Sautéed Pear & Walnuts
3 firm fresh pears - peeled, de-seeded and cut into cubes
80 g walnut pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
2 tablespoons light soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Blackberry Coulis
250g blackberries (fresh or frozen)
65g golden caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
Cassis to taste (optional)

Method

  1. Yorkshire batter : Put all the batter ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and whisk until well-blended, light and very airy. Set aside to stand for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Blackberry Coulis : Put the blackberries, sugar and water into a small saucepan and gradually bring to a simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently and crushing the blackberries against the side of the pan with the back of a wooden/silicone spoon to release the juices.
  3. Continue to gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Once the blackberries are soft and disintegrated and the liquid has reduced slightly, take off the heat.
  4. Use a sieve to drain and push through the liquid and pulp into a jug (discarding the pips and fibre) and allow to cool. 
  5. If adding the cassis, do this to taste once cool.
  6. Vanilla Sautéed Pear & Walnuts : Put the coconut oil into a medium pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the pears and walnuts to the pan and toss in the oil. Continue to cook, tossing occasionally for about 10 minutes, until the pears are cooked to a firmness that you are happy with. 
  7. Add the vanilla powder part-way through the sautéing process and stir through thoroughly.
  8. Finally add the brown sugar and stir through thoroughly so that it dissolves and coats the pear and walnut in a sweet syrup.
  9. Baking the Yorkshires : When you are ready to bake the Yorkies, pre-heat the oven to 220 C/425 F/Gas 7 
  10. Pour a dribble of oil into the bottom of a 12-hole non-stick muffin tin (you want enough oil to cover, but only just) and place the cake pan in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to get the oil really hot.
  11. Whilst the oil is heating, give the batter a final whisk through and then remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter evenly (but quickly) into the muffin holes (about half to two-thirds full). - It should spit and sizzle. 
  12. If you have any batter left, set aside and repeat stages 10 and 11 with a separate pan (but only once the first batch is safely out of the oven. Do NOT open the oven door once the first pan is in).
  13. Bake the Yorkies for 20 to 25 minutes. Do NOT open the door whilst they are cooking until at least 18 minutes have passed (use the oven light).
  14. Once the Yorkies are well risen, crisp and golden, remove from the oven and gently ease out of the pan using a mini-silicone spatula or knife. Place on a wire rack to cool, or if using straight away serve onto plates. (If the bottom feels a little oily, then stand the cooked hot Yorkies on kitchen paper to soak up for a few seconds).
  15. When ready to serve, fill each Yorkie with a good spoon of pear and walnut filling and a drizzle of blackcurrant coulis.
  16. Serve with your favourite dairy free ice cream (or dairy if you can eat it).
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Frozen 'Pina Colada' Lolly Folk (gluten and dairy free) - non-alcoholic


Summer isn't done yet! We are now well into September and although there is a distinct Autumnal feel and smell to the air, we are still being treated to temperatures way up into the 30's down in the South-East. How amazing is that? Sure the grass is brown and we have giant crevasses in the lawn where the clay has dried and retracted as the weeks have passed, but it is so good to be able to continue to feel the warmth on skin and to eek out those last garden weekends before the cold sets in....

With all the heat, it has been great to make something icy to cool down with. These 'Pina Colada' Ice-Lollies are so refreshing and absolutely what we need right now!


In usual preparation for the winter months, I recently had a clear out in the larder and decided that any ingredients found hidden or lurking..... forgotten within, were to be placed in a box in the kitchen as a prompt to prepare food that would get rid of them. Whilst I hate waste, I am also terrible for buying ingredients with every good intention of using them in something tangible and then failing to remember they are there..... We now have a large stash sat on the kitchen table which is inspiring meals and acting as a weekly 'invention test' for anyone who dips in.


Amongst the many weird and wonderful jars and packets (including spice and curry pastes, a whole selection of noodles, and even a tin of apples (really?)), I found a packet of pineapple jelly granules that we brought back from Greece the visit before last (yep..... now three years old).

With the continued heat, I wanted to use it for something other than boring old jelly and decided to try making some frozen jelly lollies instead.

Hoping for more of a milky ice-pop but also wanting it to be dairy free, I added coconut milk and coconut cream as a base to the jelly and also threw some fresh pineapple into the mix for extra texture. The combination of pineapple and coconut is perfect for the heat..... very tropical and utterly thirst-quenching.


Last year I bought some really funky ice lolly moulds with sticks that had arms and legs to make lollypop men....... As with the jelly, I had mindlessly shoved them into a cupboard as the weather cooled and forgotten all about them. It was Miss GF that had reminded me a couple of weeks back that they were there.....

Inspired by my little moulds, I rushed out to the supermarket and sourced some fab gummy lips, teeth and mushrooms (for hats), which I combined with some candy eyes (left over from making Halloween Cake Pop Spiders two years ago) for fun faces.

Aren't the great? Not only do they taste amazing, but they look cute too!


I am sharing my Pina Colada Lolly Folk with the following :


Treat Petite with The Baking Explorer and Cakeyboi.


The No Waste Food Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.


Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too.


Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation.





Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Cook Blog Share with Sneaky Veg.



Frozen 'Pina Colada' Lolly Folk - Non-Alcoholic (makes approx 8 popsicles)

Ingredients

220 ml coconut milk
1 pack granular pineapple jelly
1 to 2 tablespoons caster sugar (optional/to taste)
1 teaspoon freeze dried cherry powder (optional)
250 ml coconut cream
handful chopped fresh pineapple
edible candy eyes/chocolate chips
gummy lips and teeth
gummy marshmallow mushrooms
make sure decorations are gluten and dairy free if necessary

Method

  1. Heat the coconut milk until it is boiling (either in the microwave or in a small saucepan).
  2. Place the jelly granules, sugar and cherry powder in a measuring jug and pour in the boiling coconut milk. Stir well until the jelly and sugar have completely dissolved.
  3. Add the coconut cream and stir through.
  4. Allow the mixture to start to cool and thicken (stirring intermittently). It is fine to place in the fridge to speed the process, but be sure to keep an eye and stir regularly.
  5. Once the mixture has cooled enough that it is beginning to thicken very slightly, add the chopped pineapple and stir through. 
  6. Prepare your lolly moulds and pour the mixture into them.
  7. Freeze.
  8. When completely frozen, remove the lollies from the moulds and decorate with sweets to make eyes and mouths and hats (upturned mushrooms). To stick the sweets to the lollies, lay them on a sheet of baking paper (on a baking tray) and take a hot skewer and gently touch the surface where the sweet is to stick, to melt a small dot. Press the sweets over the melted dots and re-freeze to set. 
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Beautiful Gluten Free Bread Bouquet (with my new Oat,Teff & Millet bread) - GBBO Week 3


Unless you've had your head in a hole for the last couple of weeks, you will know that the annual GBBO shindig is now in full swing. We've done cakes and also biscuits, so this week must be Bread Week!

For all the gluten-eating bread-bakers out there, this is the week where gluten really comes into its own, as you pummel, pull and contort your dough to develop its stretch and turn it into all sorts of wondrous creations. Good luck all!


For us gluten-avoiders, it is the week which spells trepidation and leaves us watching from the sidelines. With gluten free bread being such a tricky beast, I usually look on with envy at the one thing I can't 'do' with flair and artiness.

Sure, there are plenty of gluten 'replacers' we can use to help bind and hold together our bakes (xanthan gum, guar gum, chia, psyllium, etc), but none truly give gluten free bread dough comparable properties...... and this leaves me a tad frustrated.


Whilst I have developed some amazing gluten free loaves..... my Brown Bread being the one we swear by (and live off) in GF HQ, the opportunity to get truly creative and 'pretty' with bread has been elusive....... until now!

A few weeks back, I set about tweaking my old fave a little to develop a new loaf using a different blend of flours. Nothing dramatic, but the tweaks have produced a gorgeous bread with a slightly lighter flavour, yet still made with a healthy wholesome flour blend incorporating Teff flour (a great source of fibre, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin and vitamin C (and lots of other good stuff)), Oat flour (great for lowering cholesterol, stabilising blood sugar, and packed full of essential vitamins and minerals), and Millet flour, which acts as a prebiotic and is good source of magnesium (supports a healthy heart),and other essential nutrients.


Not only is this bread good for you (and way better than your average shop-bought loaf), but it also has an amazingly soft, bready, pliable, hold-together texture, which makes for great sandwiches that can most definitely be eaten 'on the run' without fear of heading gutter-ward due to disintegration.

This is a recipe which also makes delicious bread-tin baked loaves, a fantastic soft baguette, and perfect mini rolls.

I should be ecstatic..... Another gluten-free loaf which tastes amazing and is real bread! But it's Bread Week and I want to be part of it too! Which got me thinking........ How could I make a gluten free bread show-stopper that would not look ridiculously pathetic alongside all the others in the Bake-Off tent?

3am, two nights later (you know those sleepless blogger nights, dreaming of foodie creations and conundrums and hoping the quiet darkness will bring inspiration)....... I got it!


Most gluten free dough cannot be 'moulded' maybe, but being more like a paste, it would be perfect to pipe.....

I was desperate to get down to the kitchen to test the idea, but Mr and Miss GF would be less than impressed if I disturbed their sleep in the middle of the night to bake..... I had no choice but to wait until morning.....

I am so thrilled with the results...... My first batch was a selection of letters, hearts and flowers. I even tried a snail, but by the time it had risen, it looked like a deformed slug (no photos of that one then!).... As we munched through a selection of shaped rolls for lunch, both myself and Miss GF (almost in unison) declared.... 'these flower balls would be great for dipping in garlic butter.' For sure.... they make brilliant tear and share mini rolls and could be dipped in any number of things, from olive oil and balsamic vinegar to houmous, salsa and yoghurt-based dips.


Which got me thinking again...... to make a bouquet of bread-ball flowers, perfect for an edible table centre-piece to accompany soup at a special dinner...... to be shared with friends at a party..... or even to enjoy with dips, cheese or spreads whilst watching a favourite film.

It may not be plaited and it may not be quite as stunning as Kate's Corn Maiden or Benjamina's Braided Bread Heart, but on the plus side, my bread has no less than six flours in there (twice as many as required by Paul and Mary). And whilst I don't like to blow my own trumpet too often..... I can honestly say this is the most unusual shaped gluten free loaf I have ever seen (and possibly the best bread I have ever made).

And here it is...... my beautiful Gluten Free Bread Bouquet...... fit for a banquet or even the Bake Off Tent.


I am sharing with the following linkies :


Tea Time Treats with Travels for Taste - this month celebrating savoury treats (with Lavender & Lovage & Jo's Kitchen).

Cook Blog Share - this week with Easy Peasy Foodie



Great Bloggers Bake Off over at Mummy Mishaps


Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum




Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma

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Oat, Teff & Millet Bread (makes 2 x 1 lb loaves, approx 15 individual mini loaves/rolls or can be piped into rolls/shapes of your choice)

Ingredients

80g white rice flour
80g white teff flour
100g oat flour (easy to make as in this post)
40g millet flour
50g potato starch flour
60g tapioca starch flour
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
7g gelatine/4g vegegel
3 tablespoons milk powder
11g easy bake yeast (I used Allinsons)
3 large eggs - room temperature
1 tablespoon runny honey
370g warm water (at 46 C/115 F)
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons sunflower oil

milk or egg to glaze
seeds/oats/nuts for decoration

Method

  1. Weigh and mix together all the flours, xanthan gum, salt, bicarbonate of soda, gelatine/vegegel, milk powder and yeast (I weigh all into an airtight container, seal and shake to get an even blend with no lumps). Set aside.
  2. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and add the honey and warm water (at 46 C/115 F). Beat with a whisk until well blended and airy.
  3. Add the lemon juice, sunflower oil and dry ingredients and mix together well with a dough hook mixer attachment or wooden/silicone spoon until even. Continue to mix for a couple of minutes to allow the ingredients to amalgamate well.
  4. Spoon your dough into your base-lined bread tins/moulds (about two-thirds full), or into a piping bag with your desired nozzle attached.
  5. If you are piping, pipe your design onto a tray lined with baking paper, leaving a very slight gap between elements to allow room for rising (at which point the dough will join to form one piece).
  6. Cover with clingfilm and place the trays somewhere warm for about 40 to 50 minutes to rise (they will almost double in size) - I put mine in a very low oven with a bowl of steaming water.
  7. Before baking, brush the tops of the dough with egg/milk to glaze and if using seeds/oats/nuts, sprinkle them on top.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and bake the bread - 15 minutes for small rolls, 15 to 20 minutes for a bouquet or piped pieces, 30 to 40 minutes for larger loaves.
  9. Remove from the oven when baked golden brown and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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