Sourdough Can be Gluten Free!

Recently someone said in my hearing that sourdough is safe for gluten avoiders to eat. I thought, nope. Then I heard it again from a neighbor. I asked a few questions. This very nice neighbor and I share gf baked goods with each other. It turns out she has tummy issues that are causing wheat intolerance. I have celiac. She finds that sourdough bread is very digestible for her. I had to explain that if I ate regular sourdough it would not be at all safe for me. The sourdough process does not remove or magically inactivate the gluten in the wheat based flour. Sadly nope. Would be nice if that were so.

But I do have to say that I have been making some gluten free sourdough baked goods and find that they are delicious and not crazy difficult. The scones I posted a couple of weeks ago come to mind. So tasty, what great texture and flavor! And I have twice made delicious gf sourdough breads; one using white flours that I added oats and oat flour to base flour as well as seeds like poppy and fax seed. Makes such incredible toast. The other bread success has been the raisin bread; a fruited version of a plain sourdough loaf. Both recipes came from a facebook group for gluten free sourdough bakers who want to help each other bake gf sourdough foods. If you are on fb; put in that topic and you should find them. This awesome group has lots of recipes in their home page top right at “files”. And folks answer your questions when a bake turns out less than optimal.

I feel that sourdough breads have a better crumb and texture than regular gf breads. They toast up simply amazing, sort of like an English muffin bread. Makes great sandwiches. Lovely for us celiacs who miss good bread in a deep and fundamental way. I actually have eaten a lot less bread since going gf, its expensive and sometimes very disappointing so I just kept finding ways to avoid it. Baking bread that is worth the time and ingredients can be very hit or miss. My French baguettes are delicious, and my Italian fennel and golden raisin wide loaves are wonderful but I have also made many subpar loaves of gf bread over the past 9 years. Gummy, heavy, grainy and poor flavor plus they often only taste good the day you bake them. I strongly urge you just take a minute and check out this gf sourdough group on fb. Another recent and strong source for possible gf bake recipes are the two cookbooks out by Aran Goyoaga. Last month I bought Cannelle et Vanille in hardcover which is mostly very interesting components of a healthy meal using lots of flavors and lots of vegetables and I just got Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple on kindle. I haven’t baked much yet from either book but I hear a lot of good buzz in social media from gluten free bakers. Folks on fb call her CV as a nickname, now you are in the know too! I will report in this blog on how bread turns out when I use her recipes.

As I wrote above, the ones out of the gf sourdough bread bakers on fb are pretty tasty, the raisin and current loaf was amazing fresh and delish toasted a couple days later. I froze a lot of it and it defrosts quickly in my microwave before toasting slices to give it all those golden nooks and crannies. The seeded one makes awesome avocado toast and I love it toasted along with a couple of eggs in the morning. Just know that these gf sourdough breads take several hours to rise, can’t be rushed. AG’s Bakes Simple has several non sourdough bread recipes. Also other kinds of baked goods. They are much quicker than sourdough; use yeast from the store. Enjoy!

The other book by her is all bakes cookbook but is is pretty much sold-out hence I bought it as a kindle.

Meanwhile, join that gf sourdough group on fb (who would have ever thought that such a group exists!) and make a starter; takes about 7-10 days. I used CV’s recipe that is made with brown rice flour. It’s not that difficult to stir up a loaf if you have a stand mixer and you might really enjoy watching the slow rise of a tasty loaf of gf sourdough bread.

Raisin bread before I cut into it. Incredible scent and flavor. Mmmmm best raisin bread ever!

I feed my starter most every day; just a little bit and try to discard some each week. I guess it is time for some scones this weekend! I made some interesting chocolate chip sourdough cookies the other day; uses just almond flour so it is a bit grainy to me, made also with coconut sugar and coconut oil so kinda healthy but just not quite the texture I am dreaming of. My favorite CC recipe is King Arthur’s recipe. I love how you can form and freeze the cookies in a ziplock bag and bake just as many as I like. I guess I will live without sourdough in them! Back to the sourdough scones; there is nothing going less than perfect with them. Incredible flavor and impeccable texture. This weekend it is raspberry time!

Chocolate chip and walnut sourdough scones. My dieting downfall…

Not My Grandma’s Rice Pudding

I always loved rice pudding as a child, creamy custard studded with raisins and topped with a good sprinkle of cinnamon.  But the rice itself was kinda drab.  A few years ago, I found a recipe that caused a rice pudding revolution in my kitchen: it used sweet rice which is a white short grain oriental rice.  You could substitute Arborio rice if you like, what I have used in my most recent batch. I buy sweet rice in oriental grocery stores but I think Wegmans may carry it too.  Each grain absorbs the milk as it cooks and releases a lot of creaminess as well as providing a soft squishier rice that gives the pudding a more blended feel than my mom’s usage of long grain rice that stayed firm and separate from its pudding surrounding.

This recipe is naturally gluten free.  No one eating it will think, “Oh, darn, another of those weird GF recipes!”  They will just think, “I wonder if she will think I am piggy to want seconds of this?

I think in a pinch you could skip the second part where you briefly bake the pudding but I never do, I think it helps the pudding form the best texture.  Do sprinkle the top with cinnamon unless it is something you despise.  I recommend whole milk as it makes pudding taste so good but if you prefer two percent that will work.  I do not recommend skim milk for pudding. Ick on the texture and flavor of such a mutant pudding!  And this recipe is great with chopped dried apricots, dried cherries, golden raisins, or even currents or in it instead of raisins. My original recipe had lemon peel and apricots in it. Recently I put a few long orange peelings in it and a cinnamon stick while it cooked on the stove top which gave it a delicate orange flavor which played well with the raisins. So, you can alter it to suit your mood and your ingredients. I made it last week in the “classic” form; with raisins and sprinkled with cinnamon. So good I didn’t share it with my dude when he was here Saturday; he got my shoo fly pie and was super happy with that.

rice pudding

These cold days make pudding such a treat.  What could be more comforting after a chilly time shoveling or a cold walk with the dog than a bowl of wickedly creamy homemade rice pudding.

Creamy Rice Pudding

Ingredients

¾ cup sweet or Arborio rice

1 quart whole milk

1/3 cup raisins

1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar, depending on your sweetness needs! I go with 1/2 cup

2 egg yolks

2 whole large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla

A good sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

Rinse the rice in a strainer briefly, (I forgot to do this last week!)  place in a heavy bottomed 1 ½ quart saucepan, pour in the milk (4 cups) and stir frequently as it heats on medium to a bubbly simmer.  Add the raisins and turn down the heat to low, cover and cook 25 minutes.  Be sure to stir it every 5-7 minutes to separate the rice and keep it from scorching on the bottom.  Add the sugar, stir well.  Mix up the egg yolk and whole eggs in a bowl with a whisk and add in some of the hot mixture; maybe 1/3 to ½ cup.  Dump it all back in the pot and stir well.  Turn off the heat and add the vanilla.

Heat your oven to 300 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a low ceramic or glass baking dish. I like an oval myself, that shape is what my mom usually used!  Pour in the pudding, removing any lemon or orange peel and the cinnamon stick if you used such and sprinkle it well with cinnamon to dust the surface.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Often,I put it in a hot water bath created with a 9×13 cake pan and some hot tap water. Did this last week.  This method produces a lovely delicate custard, worth the extra fuss.

It is tasty warm and wonderful the next day.  Some people guild the lily with toppings of whipped cream, grated lemon or orange peel or even whipped mascarpone cheese.  Up to you how you dress it up!  I occasionally serve a homemade cookie on the side for added crunch value.  Enjoy!

Originally published in 2015; minor text changes made.

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits: Guilty Pleasure

I don’t buy redi-made mixes that often, in fact I have never bought a gf biscuit mix except these. From Aldi’s; a fav hangout! Cheddar cheese biscuits in the orange and blue box. This was my fourth or fifth time making them.

You add water, quarter cup oil and a third of a cup of grated cheese, stir and it becomes this slightly weird fluffy white stuff that looks more like cotton batting than anything else. Next, plop big clumps of this fluffy mixture onto a parchment paper lined (or baking oil sprayed) baking sheet and pop them into the hot oven to bake.  After about 16-17 minutes out comes the pan.  Each biscuit gets brushed with a buttery mixture you create with an herb/garlic powder that is blended with fresh melted butter. Super easy to make and definitely popular at my house.

cheddar cheese bisquits

They are nicely browned on the bottom and very tender. The buttery flavor definitely has a garlic vibe going on. We had them with sausage lasagna I made for supper.  My guy took home a container of lasagna and two biscuits. He left happily clutching his treats including those biscuits.   That should tell you they are tasty; Joe does not need to eat gf and he is fairly picky about his bread.  If it passes the Joe test; it is pretty tasty! This time I used colby cheese; mild cheddar and a great choice for them.cheddar cheese bisquit

They were a couple bucks and the add ins are minimal. I made 10 decent sized biscuits. I froze two which were destined for consumption in future weeks of February and March. Totally yummy even if not particularly healthy, white gf flour, sugar, cheese and butter as major components.  Not gonna tell you how many calories are in them, but frankly regular rolls have lots of calories. If it tastes buttery it gonna have calories…. Still, not often I find something this easy to make and this tasty.  I put this in my win win column. Enjoy!

Reposted from 2020 with minor changes.

Almond Flour Chocolate Cake

My guy wanted chocolate cake for Valetine’s Day. With chocolate icing. I don’t care for chocolate icing and was kinda tired of cake after the holidays. This cake has a more distinct crumb due to the almond flour…. the only other flour in it is tapioca starch so it is gluten free which I need. It is easy to make; no tricky process here plus it is dairy free which can be helpful to some folks. I made it but used half peanut butter icing and half chocolate: just made a half batch of each. It was a big it with my man; he took home the chocolate iced portion and I feasted on the peanut butter iced half.

Mine sunk a little in the middle; I think my 4 eggs were all kinda large; there is variation in a dozen eggs; try not to get the 4 largest from the box, live and learn. I did bake it the full time. The center was like fudge; quite yummy if squishy. The peanut butter icing was the bomb!!

Chocolate cake ingredients:

1 1/2 cup almond flour (not almond meal)

1/2 cup tapioca starch

1 1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup canola oil

4 large eggs at room temp

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions: mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl; I used a whisk. Spray a 9 inch cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, shelf for baking set in the middle. In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs until well blended, blend in the oil and vanilla until smoothly blended. Add in the dry ingredients 1/3 of it at a time; blend in and do the next third and then the final third. Pour into the cake pan. Let stand 5 minutes. Bake 30-34 minutes until tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before turning out onto a drying rack. Ice when completely dry.

Chocolate icing (this is a half recipe)

1/4 cup room temp butter

2 tbsp. cocoa

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

a pinch of kosher salt (about 1/8 tsp)

1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. milk (may need another tsp)

Beat the butter with your mixer until fluffy, add the other ingredients and beat until fluffy; add extra milk if too stiff.

Peanut butter icing (half recipe)

1/2 cup creamy peanut btter

2 Tbsp. room temp butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. milk (may need another tsp or two)

Beat the peanut butter and butter until fluffy; add the rest of the ingredients and beat until fluffy; add extra milk if too stiff.

Ice half the cake with the chocolate icing and the other half with peanut butter. Enjoy!

Apple Pan Dowdy, a Really Delish Dessert

If you don’t have quite enough apples for a pie you can make this quick and delish apple pan dowdy. It sounds very old fashioned and I think it is just that: old school yummy.  I believe the name comes from the messy way you create the final look; turning the crust under the hot fruit and baking again so that crust get finished as it soaks in the juices and your dessert becomes a bit more like an apple crisp than a pie. I believe my recipe came originally from a very old Betty Crocker cookbook.  I have adapted it to make it gluten free. Its one of my favorite quick fruit desserts for cold winter nights.

Dowdy means not very pretty, drab and this is a bit of a hot mess in its looks but the flavor is spicy, fruity and far more exciting than a plain apple pie. I think it has spoiled me from apple pie. Definitely worth a try.

I have made it with golden raisins, regular raisins or currents which are tiny raisins. All work great.

Please use a firm baking apple that will hold its shape for a decently long bake. I used yellow delicious this time. I have used a number of different baking apples for this; Rome, Braeburn work fine; just don’t use red delicious which is an eating only variety. Green granny smiths tend to be a bit too firm for this recipe while Empire apples get a bit too squishy and applesauce like. Most any other type of apple will do.

This might be my second favorite apple dessert; after my French apple tart that I make regularly; easy, fairly low sugar and oh so delightfully cinnamony and lemony at the same time.

apple pan dowdy

Messy but oh so tasty!

Apple Pan Dowdy

Crust:

1 c plus 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Butter the inside of a glass baking dish: I used a 9 inch glass pie pan.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

1/3 cup golden or regular raisins

2 Tbsp. peach schnapps

5-6 large Golden Delicious apples

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

Heaping ½ tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Sprinkle ground cloves

1 tsp. lemon zest if you like

1 -2 tsp. softened butter

Directions: Put raisins in a small glass dish, add schnaps, microwave one minute on high. Let stand so the booze soaks into the raisins. Peel apples, cut in quarters, remove cores, cut each quarter into 4 or 5 slices. Place in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice.  Mix the dry ingredients in a cup; pour over the slices, toss with a big spoon; sprinkle with lemon zest if desired.

Pour the apple mixture into the glass pie pan that you had rubbed with soft butter. Get out the crust and roll it out; just slightly bigger than the top of your baking dish. Lay it on top of the apple slices and tuck in the edges so nothing hangs down over the edge.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Remove from oven, use a sharp knife to cut a cross hatch into the top (4 big cuts) so you end up with 9 pieces. Use a big serving spoon to gently tip up the crust and get it under some of the hot apples.  Don’t worry if it breaks up further or looks like a mess.  That’s part of its charm! Let bake 25 to 30 more minutes.  The crust (whatever peeks out of the messy fruit pieces) should be very lightly browned and the apples are bubbling. Let it rest a bit; don’t serve boiling hot but warm will be awesome.  Slice and top with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream, crème or yogurt if you like that sort of thing.  We ate it with ice cream and then the next time I had some plain – just my favorite way to appreciate the flavor and texture of this spicy treat. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur basic gf blend)

2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch – not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

The crust recipe is from Annalise Roberts great cookbook, GF Baking Classics, Second Edition.