Category Archives: Breads

Say: Breadmaker!

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So… my Love bought me a shiny new bread machine.  I’ve had a really hard time getting TIME to bake bread like I used to.  Between teaching (grading papers, planning, etc), playing with the Imp, and trying to maintain some type of order to our lives, I just don’t bake bread anymore.  BUT, I have been buying bread.  And unhappily at that.  Homemade GF bread beats the *socks* off any frozen or other form of GF bread available in the markets. And let me just say this:  I’ve tried them ALL.

I think baking my own bread for this many years has spoiled me.  When I get a load that just doesn’t turn out as light, spongy and fabulous to which I am now accustomed, I just turn it in to garlic bread, crostini, bruschetta, or some other such thing.

But people!  I need my bread!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the bread machine.  It gets RAVE reviews and it beats the GF bread perfectly (unlike my last bread machine which made me mix the batter BEFORE putting it in the machine.. umm… NO!).  I asked for this particular machine because of the reviews – and it’s quiet too!  It even makes a “normal” looking loaf of bread.  (Meaning:  the same shape as a “traditional loaf” pan does.)  Gotta love that.  The paddles didn’t leave a giant hole (or holes… as there are two on this machine) either.  Genius, I tell you!  So really – it’s not the machine!  It is completely it’s operator.  :D

So, when my Love got this fabulous bread machine, I thought I would take it on its maiden voyage with a proven recipe that I LOVE.  I made my Pepita-powered bread which has never failed me… until I stuck it in the bread maker.  Believe it or not, there was NO issue with the mixing.  I think the problem came with the rising time.  Maybe it didn’t have enough time to rise sufficiently?  What I am now eating for my bread this week is a dense loaf (a la old school rye bread) of  Pepita Bread.

To be perfectly honest, my heart sank along with the loaf.

I thought about playing around with the moisture level, the programming of the machine to allow more rise time, etc. But then – DUH!  I have a whole group of people I can ask!

So I’m asking YOU!

  • Have you converted any of your bread recipes to be used in a bread machine?
  • Do you use a bread machine for your GF bread?
  • Got any tips to share?

In the meantime, I am making Cheesey Bread (Faux Chebe Bread) that whips up and bakes in less time than it takes the Midge to read a couple books at my feet.  (PERFECT!)  The bonus part:  she loves to “help” by standing on a chair and dumping in the cheese for these tasty buns too.  There is nothing more beautiful than having your own personal baking assistant who makes you laugh when you hit the switch too high and the tapioca flour F—–L——-I——-E——-S!!  Life is good!

But, surely I’m not the only one asking for help with bread machine conversions, am I?
Thanks for your ideas and input, everyone!
My bread-craving tummy thanks you too!
xoxoxo!
~Kate

A slightly more decadent Calas: Cocoa Calas

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So the Chicklet has been home with a bit of a toddler-style, No-Day-Care allowed cold for the first couple days this week. I didn’t realize how tired *I* was until I decided to follow HER sleep schedule these few days at home. BOY! We slept until 10:00AM and took naps in the afternoon, even! I swear I felt refreshed…. that is until last night when she went to bed at 8:30PM and my husband sacked out next to her. There was NO WAY I could stay in bed any longer. It gave me a whole two hours of down time…. no baby latched to my leg as I attempt to walk, to dishes to do, lunches all packed, checkbook balanced (yes, we do that!), etc. TWO HOURS! Lord, have mercy!

So… what did I do? I sat on the couch and watched Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (re-runs, at that!) with a complete lack of brainwaves. Pitiful, right? Yes, but completely delightful too. Sometimes I think a little mellowed out time is good for all of us. I’m not so sure the TV is a necessary component of that, but it was nice to watch someone else’s chaos for a bit rather than muddling through my own. (Ah… if only there were little elves and fairies who graded papers and tests at night…….)

To make the Chicklet feel a little better, I have been back in the kitchen backing and cooking. Tuesday, I had just put some rice in the rice cooker (my mommy-doesn’t-have-to-watch-it-boil gadget) when my husband walked in the door and announced that he was taking us out for dinner. Hey! Who am I to argue? I was up and prepping the diaper bag before he could change his mind. The only “problem” was the cooking rice. I knew we could leave the rice cooker on as it would just switch to “keep warm” mode once the rice was done…. but what to do with that “leftover” rice?

What do you do with leftover rice?

At our house, the leftover rice is most frequently used up by:

  • packing it in lunches with leftover stir-fry
  • served up for snacks (or packed in lunches) as onigiri (even the Chicklet likes her onigiri!)
  • compressed in to a gluten free version Spam (or sometimes ham) Musubi mold the next day
  • made in to fried rice
  • converted into a quick rice porridge (although to be honest, it’s not as good as when made with fresh rice grains)
  • Calas - we use a variation on this recipe, but we add more vanilla, some cream cheese and cinnamon and then we fry it up a little longer so the outside bits are a bit crunchy too.

It’s that last one that might be new to some of you.  Calas are great and really rather easy (if you don’t mind frying things in oil).  While the recipes you find online will vary with the amount of eggs (sometimes 2, sometimes 3, etc) or the amount of flour required (sometimes as little as 6 Tablespoons or as much as 1 cup) even though they have the same amount of rice (typically 2 cups of leftover rice), it’s easy to convert the recipes to gluten free.  Select the one that has less flour in it as that will make it easier (we really like the one linked about), and have a go.  Once you see how easy and delicious, start changing that recipe to match your tastes!  For example, for the recipe linked above, we do the following now:

Cinnamon Calas
Makes 12 Tablespoon sized Calas
Ingredients:
1 cup leftover cooked rice
3 Tablespoons GF Flour Mix
3 teaspoons of sugar or 2 teaspoons of agave nectar
2 Tablespoons whipped cream cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
vegetable oil for frying
powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar for coating after frying or honey for drizzling after frying

Directions:

  1. Mix together all ingredients (minus vegetable oil and topping of choice) in your mixer well.  (OR … if the presence of rice kernels in a doughnut are enough to make you cringe, then mix it together in your food processor as the blade will chop those bad-boy rice kernels in to smitherings.  You may want to watch this as when I’ve done it in the past, I have added a 1/4 cup more of leftover rice to the mix just to make sure it’s not to mushy to form blobs for frying.)
  2. Heat your frying oil to 350F.  Drop (carefully!) the calas by the tablespoon into the hot oil and fry until deep golden brown on the outside.  (A tad longer if you like to have a little crunch… oh-so-good!).  Drain on paper towels after removing with a slotted spoon.  Dust with powdered sugar or shake in a bag with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar or drizzle with honey.
  3. Enjoy while warm!

See?  EASY!

To make COCOA Calas: add 1/4 cup of unsweetened dark cococa powder to your mix.  And keep that cream cheese there – it adds to the yummy goodness and smooth taste of the calas.

Yes, I know.  Cream cheese is NOT a standard calas ingredient.  But, go with me, will ya?  It’s DELICIOSO!

Hey Steve (who happens to have a different doughnut recipe posted as I peeked today too) - this is SO worth cracking out that Fry Daddy to try! :)

Happy GF eating!
~Kate

GF: Pao de quejo (aka “Brazilian Cheese Bread”)

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GF:Pao de quejo, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

I have to admit this. I love Brazilian Cheese Bread – but I really am working hard to save some money for us. So buying the different mixes is completely out. It’s been a long time since we’ve purchased the mixes. But, I’ve rather missed the quick and easy cheesy bread balls. Soo… I decided to try to make my own.

I think you will agree that the recipe isn’t complicated. The things required beyond the dry ingredients (eggs, cheese, butter and seasoning) are about the same as what is required from the mix you can buy. But this time, you can vary it enough for your own tastes and not worry running out to get the mix or spending the money for it!

I suppose one reason why this is easy for me is because I *always* have tapioca flour (same as tapioca starch or tapioca starch flour) on hand for my baking. I like the texture that it gives baked goods and it is cheap to buy (especially at the local Asian markets).

On New Year’s Day, I made a batch of these cheesy biscuits for my parents who had never had them before. As the bread baked, I laid out the leftover Jalapeño Popper dip, some ham and turkey slices, some sprouts and spinach, some cucumber slices etc. Basically whatever would make for great sandwich fixings. None of us were too hungry (we had a late lunch) but we could all stand to nosh on something – so this was perfect.

And let me just say this: This cheesy bread + jalapeño popper dip + cucumber slices is like HEAVEN in mini-sandwich form. My husband told me that his favorite was definitely the same but with ham in lieu of the cucumber slices because it reminded him of Jalapeño-Cheddar bread that we so adore. But heck! That bread takes an hour – and this took 15 minutes!

Okay… enough of my prattle. Here’s the recipe. We’re off to make Jambalaya for dinner… and I think I’m going to make some of these to accompany it as well. I just can’t get enough of them.

OH WAIT! I forgot to tell you something else important. You can EASILY adjust the seasonings to make this as a pizza crust (or pizza flavored sandwich bread, etc), or whatever. We used dried chives and dill to make it perfectly delish for us/our purposes. What seasoning will you use?

Gluten Free Pao de Quejo ~ Brazilian Cheese Bread
Makes 12 – 1 1/2 inch wide biscuits/rolls
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups tapioca flour (same thing as tapioca starch)
2 cups shredded cheese (we used an Italian blend)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons dill
2 teaspoons dried chives

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450F.
  2. Mix together all ingredients in your mixer well.
  3. Form in to balls (about 1 1/2 inches or 2 inches) and slightly flatten. (Almost make them in to small disks, if you want them to look like what is in the picture… or leave them as puffed balls! You decide!)
  4. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve warm with sandwich fixings or your favorite soup.

Enjoy!
~Kate

UPDATED TO ADD:

Last night we made our favorite potato pizza for the first time in a VERY long time.  The toppings are heavy so my usual pizza crusts (this one and this one) don’t really hold up to the weight of the toppings.  So.. last night I made this recipe.  I doubled it (for two pizza crusts) and only used 2 cups of shredded cheese.  (We were putting more cheese on top… so why kill ourselves with even MORE? LOL)  I formed the crusts by rolling it out on parchment paper.  Then I prebaked the crust alone for about 15 minutes on a preheated pizza stone.  We used one crust for potato pizza and the other for regular cheese pizza.  It was a HUGE hit with our two non-gluten free pizza fans.  This was their first gluten free pizza – and they were happily munching away.  :D  Hooray!