Confessions of a Recovering Bread-aholic (more about gluten free baking)

Gluten Free Flours 2Hi everyone. My name is Heather and I’m a breadaholic.
(Hi Heather)
My love affair began with the first hot loaf of bread I remember my mother taking out of the oven, slicing it while it was still too warm to slice but not caring that I was smooshing the bread, and watching the butter slowly melt over the steaming bread. That yeasty smell. The way the butter pools in those little pockets in the perfectly raised dough. wow
And then there’s Wonder Bread. Did you ever make little dough balls out of Wonder Bread? You roll it into little balls and chew it like bread chewing gum. Of course, my tastes evolved and I started on the hard stuff: sourdough, artisan bread, whole grain bread. I was in deep. I wanted more, all the time.

Okay, I have to admit that when I first started going gluten free, I didn’t think I could actually do it. Give up bread? Seriously? Eat this mealy, crumbly dry excuse of a bread FOREVER?? ugh….

Another confession is that I don’t miss bread, surprisingly. I don’t even crave it. I used to crave carbs, a lot. I don’t crave carbs any longer. I don’t know if there are any studies out there about being gluten intolerant and craving carbs, but I know that going gluten free totally changed that for me, and changed it almost overnight.

Thinking about my last post on gluten free flours, I realize that I only scratched the surface of gluten free baking. The first place I started was using a recipe that I always used with wheat flour and substituted brown rice flour for the wheat flour. I add xanthan gum to the mix because it helps the rice flour to act like it’s wheat flour. The mix will look like this:
For every 1 cup of wheat flour, substitute 1/2 Cup of brown rice flour, 3 tablespoons potato starch, 1 tablespoon tapioca starch, and 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum.
That should give you a good jumping off point to go with. The flour acts a little like flour. The starches give it a lightness and makes the final product less crumbly and gritty. On the King Arthur website, there are gluten free recipes and also a recipe for an all purpose flour that you can mix ahead of time and scoop out when you’re baking.

Once you get a little comfortable baking gluten free, you can try a mixture of flours to get a nice taste. My favorite flour to use in bread is teff flour. It’s not easy to find, though and it’s expensive. You can shop around. Amazon.com has been a good tool for me because I live in a small town and it’s not alwasy economical to find things like teff flour. Teff flour tastes a lot like wheat flour, only better. It has a nice texture when it bakes and has a nice taste. I’ve also found that coconut flour and sorghum flour both bake well and have a good texture when baked. Almond flour works really well for making crackers with, but I’ll post that recipe another time.

Overall, you won’t be disappointed in making your own baked goods. It’s actually easier than baking with wheat flour. One hint: don’t under cook gluten free baked goods because they will fall flat. Gluten gives flour a stiff structure that helps it to maintain that puffy shape. If you under cook gluten free flours, they won’t have the stiff structure to keep the poofy shape.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but bread isn’t the end all and be all of eating. There are a lot of gluten free things out there in the world that don’t require baking. Starches like rice, millet, quinoa, potatoes are all naturally gluten free. I love rice pasta. What I’ve been doing in my life is adopting the philosophy that if God didn’t make then I shouldn’t eat it. I’ve been eating pretty clean, no preservatives. I’m trying to eat more organic things, although I don’t always quite have the budget for doing that so I pick and choose wisely. Hope this all helps. Happy exploring.

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My experiment in trying to go gluten free.

Well, after prompting from my husband, I’m starting a gluten free blog.  Let me tell you up front that I’ve not been diagnosed with celiacs and I haven’t been tested for gluten sensitivity.  After the birth of my first son, I got sick:  really sick.  At first I was having trouble with even going down the stairs.  I just couldn’t get my legs to bend that far.  When I picked him up from his crib in the morning, I would sit on the stairs and slide down so I could get downstairs.  Seriously.  After about 3 months of that, plus several intestinal issues, I finally went to the doctor.  Every joint in my body hurt.  He tested me for several rheumatic issues and all came back negative.  I cut out dairy and found a slight relief.  For the next 12 years I varied from feeling slightly lousy all of the time to just laying in bed and not being able to do anything.  I tried different things, like the dairy free thing, which seemed to help a bit, and several herbal rememdies for pain, none of which completely helped me.  I prayed for healing.  I prayed for wisdom on how to take care of myself.  Then, I read somewhere back this spring that gluten tends to cause inflamation so I thought I’d try it.  I really didn’t have high hopes for it, but I thought it couldn’t hurt.  Within a week of going gluten free, my energy increased.  Within two weeks, my joint pain disappeared and I would wake up in the morning feeling like I had actually slept.  Within three weeks my intestinal issues had disappeared.  Well, that was about six months ago and I’ve never turned back.

NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS HEALTHY FEELS!

I’m a cook at heart.  I love to experiment with cooking.  I love to come up with my own recipes.  My family thinks I’m the best cook in the world (of course, they’ve never been anywhere else in the world, so don’t tell them I’m not).  My first forays into gluten free baking were a total fail.  I had to take every assumption I had from almost 40 years of baking and totally throw them out the window.  I started to read and experiment more.  I started to become more aware of the cross contamination issues.  I started to find the odd places where gluten hides in foods.

So, here I am:  starting a blog of my wins of recipes.  I may even share some of the losses too.  After all, it took Edison a lot of trying before he got to the lightbulb we know today……