Tag Archives: Baking

Gluten Free Ratio Rally: Chocolate Chip Mocha Quick Bread

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Gluten Free Ratio Rally

Baking with a cause: YOU!

It’s on again!  The Gluten Free Ratio Rally – baking gluten-free using ratios….  and it SO works!  The inaugural rally posts were focused on pancakes.

This time around we are tackling quick breads or muffins.  Both of which are basically the same recipe, just different baking times.  Personally, I’m a fan of the loaf method.  Saves time, ya know.  And, it’s easily transported to work and left in the main office for others to taste test, share and enjoy as well.  The muffins are great – when I have the time to make them, I do.  Lately, however, I’m noticing that I’m forgetting to set the timer or some other meaningful-yet-missed-due-to-sleep-deprivation task while the evening hours are upon us.

Working full-time means baking time comes in the evening and only if I’m lucky.  These last couple of weeks, I’ve fallen back on to some standards/fail-safes that are quick to whip up (lavash bread, brazilian cheese bread,, cookies (!),) and best of all:  QUICK BREADS!  Without time to have a loaf rising, it’s perfect to get a quick loaf of bread in.  Depending on your mood, you can make a million varieties.  Really.  I’ve been reading just the TITLES of the quick breads that the other GF Rally bloggers are creating and my head is spinning with ideas and my taste buds are completely craving a buffet-table of GF breads and muffins.  (OH MY – wouldn’t that be heaven??)

There were a dozen of us who blogged about pancakes – and baking GF with a ratio of ingredients.  Spin back a bit to Ruhlman’s book about “Ratio“, initial conversations about ratios with gluten free baking, and a rally was born.  That book is really much more of a reference point.  As for GF ratios, the only hurdles/variables are the starch – to – flour ratio to make up the flour called for within any given ratio.

The Gluten Free Flour : Starch Ratio

And let’s be honest:  we are SO lucky!  In reality, there are so many flours for us to choose from:  sorghum, millet, brown (or white) rice, teff, buckwheat, corn (flour not starch), almond, hazelnut, coconut, amaranth…. and THOSE are just the ones I like.  Surely I am missing some of the ones you enjoy?

As far as starches go, these are my favorites:  tapioca, potato starch (not flour), cornstarch, arrowroot, and sweet rice flour.

For most of my baking (anything non-yeast bread), I rely on a ratio of 65-70% flour to 30-35% starch.  Any greater percentage of starches and the breads/baked goods tend to be too pasty/chalky to me.  And that isn’t even talking about the lack of positive nutritional contributions to the baked good.  I choose the best, whole grain flours I can (typically millet, sorghum and finely ground brown rice) with the starch that will best impart the texture I’m looking for (tapioca = slightly sweet with a little chew; potato starch makes things more moist, but also more dense; cornstarch creates a lighter texture, but with a chalky aftertaste, etc).  I really like using tapioca starch (also called tapioca starch flour) because it’s cheap too – and easier to find in large quantities at local Asian markets.  (That’s a definite bonus!)

Baking by Weight/Ratio

While I’ve had my kitchen scale for several years, I really only used it for two reasons:  (1) complete curiosity about weights in regards to different flours and serving portions, etc and (2) to bake something from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, etc that was written in grams, rather than cups.

Since the get-go, I’ve been surprised at the wide-variance of weights.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I KNEW the flours were different densities, etc, but I was definitely surprised that the measurements were off by SIGNIFICANT grams.  It makes a difference when baking.  It is helpful to have the weights.

But since we are a cups-and-ounces crew/country, I’m posting my recipe both ways.  Sometimes, as in without a scale on hand or while baking the same way our mamas did, we reach of the measuring cups.  However, if you have the inclination, I would suggest that if you really are a GF household/baker, you should consider a kitchen scale.  You will have a whole world of recipes (literally..the rest of the world!) open up to you in grams.  And you can play around with your scale measuring out random foods just to befriend that scale and really see its value for you. (FYI: This is the one we have.)

But until you are ready to make the leap, keep baking.  And check out these other Ratio Rally Bloggers and their Gluten Free Quick Bread/Muffin recipe.  Once you see the tons of varieties that I have been eyeing lately, you will truly be considering a scale.  The variety and ratio works because of the scaling.

The Recipe

The Quick Bread/Muffin Ratio is as follows:

2 : 1 : 2 : 1 : 1
flour : sugar : liquid : eggs : butter (fat)

What does that mean?  It means simply this:

230 grams gluten free flour mix (170 grams sorghum + 60 grams tapioca starch flour)
115 grams of sugar
230 grams of liquid
2 eggs
115 grams of butter (1 stick)

GF Chocolate Chip Mocha Quick Bread 3

Gluten Free Chocolate-Chip Mocha Quick Bread
Recipe makes 1 loaf OR 18 – 24 muffins
You can find a printable copy of this recipe here.

Ingredients:
115 grams (1 stick – 1/2 cup) butter
115 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
170 grams sorghum (about 1 1/4 cup)
60 grams tapioca starch (about 1/2 scant cup)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
115 grams – 4 ounces (1/2 cup) milk or half and half
115 grams – 4 ounces (1/2 cup) prepared (not hot) coffee
2 eggs (large)
115 grams (5 ounces / 1 cup) dark chocolate chips (OR sliced almonds OR chopped walnuts OR chopped dried cherries)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.  Butter a bread-loaf pan.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until light yellow and fluffy.
  3. While creaming (thank you, stand mixer!), whisk together sorghum flour and tapioca starch.
  4. Add eggs to creamed ingredients.  Mix together.
  5. Add remaining ingredients (sifted flours, baking powder, salt, instant coffee, xanthan gum, milk, coffee) to the mixing bowl.  Mix together for 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in add-ins (chocolate chips, nuts, dried cherries, etc) if using.
  7. Pour into your loaf pan.  Bake for 45-55 minutes until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean (or at least only with melted chocolate) AND/OR your bread internal temperature reaches 200F – 205F.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool in the loaf pan until cool enough to touch with your hands (30 + minutes).  Flip onto a cutting board.  Slice and serve.

We enjoyed this bread with sliced strawberries and homemade lattes this morning.  What will you eat yours with?

Happy GF Baking!
~Kate

PS.  Don’t forget to check out the other Ratio Rally Recipes!  You can find a list of all of our posts on our hostess’s site:  Silvana of Silvana’s Kitchen.  Here’s the page with her recipe and the links to the other THIRTY-SIX Gluten Free Ratio Rally Participants! THIRTY-SIX!  WAHOOO!

The Gluten-Free Ratio Rally: Pancakes!

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Gluten Free Ratio Rally

Baking with a cause: YOU and getting you back in the kitchen too!

I’m a language teacher, so let me start this the right way:

What is a rally?

  • Noun:  a demonstration, a sequence of strokes between serving and scoring a point (as in tennis or squash).
  • Verb:  to come into orderly arrangement, to renew order, or united effort, as troops scattered or put to flight; to assemble, to unite, to collect one’s vital powers or forces; to regain health or consciousness; to recuperate.

There are so many ways to take this initiative.  So many definitions that ring true for people who are newly diagnosed with Celiac Sprue – or Gluten Intolerance.  So many different reasons why even those of us who have been diagnosed for a while still manage not to bake any more because of the initial fears of failure, or wasted ingredients (expense!), or downright disappointment with the results.  But here is the reality:

We need each other.

Those of us in the gluten-free world really need each other.  Together we have created a community where we have pushed each other to develop new recipes, answered questions (even those unfit for food blogs!), supported each other through the isolation that it feels like – and can often still be, and pushed our local markets and economies in to providing gluten-free food options in many, many places. Oh, yes.  We need each other to keep it all.

But this rally?  This one is for YOU.  That little part of you that is fearful of getting in to the kitchen and trying your hand at baking again.  It is intended to quell the little voice of doubt in your head that prevents you from just tossing what you have into a bowl and making breakfast for yourself and your loved ones without fear of failure or the sense of disappointment.

I know that feeling very well.

You see, I was diagnosed in 2000.  But I truly didn’t start cracking open my family recipes until nearly 4 years later.  Up until that point, I stuck to some Bette Hagman or Rebecca Reilly books.  Bette was an amazing pioneer and was my only resource upon diagnosis beyond the random (and at that time – hard to find!) internet source.  Rebecca Reilly’s cookbook became a beacon of hope for me.  She is a trained culinary artist who provides recipes for classic and delicious cakes, pies, tortes, etc.  All the things I needed to feel like I could make a birthday cake and actually *enjoy* it.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that these women were also giving me the courage to keep baking.  To keep trying new recipes.  My Love encouraged me to make my old favorites, but I always denied their possibilities.  I mean really.. who would have thought that I would be making batches of gluten-free goodies to share with friends and have for ready for my girls?  Potstickers?  Croissants? Thin crust, non-bready pizza crusts? Soft, pliable wrap bread?  Oh yes.  All of these and more.

Why?  Because it works.  And it is so, SO much less difficult that I imagined (or feared) that it would all be.  In fact, apart from a standard loaf of bread, I have found gluten-free food items and baking to be rather forgivable.  In fact, it was within the last two years or so (since the Chicklet’s arrival) that I have begun to cook and bake like my grandma’s recipe box:  handful, pinch, dash, etc.  And before this?  All of those measurements would drive me batty.  I mean really:  a pinch?  Come on now.  But – yes – a pinch!  It makes sense to me now.  Duh!  Everything is a ratio or percentage and it works.

Shauna and I bantered briefly a while ago about the ratio of whole grain flours to starch when we bake.  We each felt that there are far too many starches in standard gluten-free baked goods and we were working to reduce how much starch we were using.  Not surprisingly, we were close in our ratios.  Both of us were using about 70% whole grain flours and 30% starch.  With these measurements, I can make a batch of basic gluten-free flours for making cookies or muffins, etc.  (Not bread however – that’s a different story.)

Recently, she emailed a bunch of us to start a rally.  A rally to teach that ratios really are the key to taking off in the kitchen.   Michael Ruhlman published his book “Ratio” which explores all of the ratios in cooking and baking.  Many of us have read his work (it reads much more like a notebook than a cookbook – which is great for me) and have wondered about the exact ratios we have found to be successful as well.  Thus the beginnings of a rally.

And where best to begin but with breakfast?  And pancakes.  :)

gluten free hazelnut & dried cherry pancakes
Gluten Free Hazelnut and Dried Cherry Pancakes Photo by Kate Chan

The only problem with pancakes?  Once you start recipe testing, you can’t stop.  Trust me.  Even my non-bread-eating Chicklet is now asking for mini-pancakes and “dip-dip” (maple syrup or melted peanut butter with apple “fries”) for her breakfast.  She doesn’t want the ones from a restaurant, nope.  She wants “Momma’s”.   (Oh, I love that.)  I’ve made pancakes often before, but honestly… I don’t always measure.  There is something about having grown up with pancakes that made the batter intuitive once you know the parts/pieces involved.

I suppose it is much like my sister who with her artist-trained eye can see the different layers of color in paintings and the world.  It helps her recreate what she sees or wants to see.  For me?  It’s about the texture, the mixture, the consistency and the flavor.  Those are my artist’s colors.  They are the paints I play with.  Beyond that?  The ingredients are just the components to the paints.

My friends and I were talking at work the other day about gluten-free eating.  They were sincerely curious about what kind of baking and cooking I do at home.  For teachers, we were experiencing a rare event:  lunch off campus with adults only and for more than 25 minutes.  It was a slice of heaven.  I knew lunch was going to be at a restaurant near the school we were visiting, so I had done my leg work.  I had found the restaurant with a gluten-free menu and when the question of “Where do you guys want to eat?” popped up, I was assertive enough to request we ate at “X” because they have a gluten-free menu.  Armed with my reasoning (and the fact they could eat vegetarian there too), we were off.

But once the food was served,the questions began.  I’m sure it is because my GF option looked just like the rest of their plates.  And so the conversation ran through the usual topics: what do you eat?  where do you get it?  how often do you bake/cook? etc. I mentioned how lucky I felt to be so empowered with my own food choices and experience new things.  I told them how hard it is at first and how socially isolating it can be no matter how much experience we have.  And we talked about these pancakes.

None of them had ever made pancakes from scratch.  I told them how.  One woman quickly calculated the cost of her pancake mix and the cost of the ingredients and just about kicked herself.  Yeap, I said.  And you’re not even gluten-free.  Just imagine what those prices are like.  (OH!  I wish I had a photo of her eyes when she calculated that cost out for you! LOL)

Anyway, here’s the deal.

PANCAKES ARE GOOD.

PANCAKES ARE COMFORTING.

PANCAKES ARE EASY.

Just go in your kitchen and try it.

There are a dozen of us gluten-free bloggers participating with this Gluten Free Ratio Rally about pancakes.  We have plans for more rallies in the future.  But the fun part is just how we all took a ratio (4:4:2:1) (flour, liquid, egg, fat) and what we did with it.

Since I chose to use nut flour (either hazelnut or almond), I had to bump up my liquid a bit more.  There is something about nut flours that always requires a splash or so more of milk than other flours.  Regardless, if you have ever made pancakes before, you will know the batter texture when you see it.  It should be thick enough to coat spoon generously and yet thin enough that it will ooze off the spoon and back into the rest of the batter.  And then… you can make pancakes like these:

gluten free whole grain pancakes with strawberries
Gluten Free Whole Grain Pancakes with Strawberries Photo by Kate Chan

My pancake ratio is this:

  • 200 grams gluten-free flour mix (whole grains + starch)
  • 240 grams of liquid
  • 100 grams of eggs or 2 eggs
  • 50 grams of butter

NOTES about this ratio:

  • The gluten-free flour mix is 160 grams of whole grains, 40 grams of starch – a mix of 4:1 whole grain to starch.  For the flours I chose, this meant 1 cup of whole grains + 1/4 cup of starch.
  • The liquid is increased due to nut meals being used in the flour mix. Use less if not using not meals (200 grams = 3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon of buttermilk)
  • You can use less fat (butter) successfully, but don’t omit it completely or your pancakes will be “dry” in texture.

Gluten Free Hazelnut and Dried Cherry Pancakes
(Printable recipe can be found here.)
Makes 12-24 pancakes, depending on your preferred size

Ingredients:
130 grams (3/4 cup) millet flour
30 grams (1/4 cup) hazelnut or almond meal
40 grams (1/4 cup) sweet rice flour or tapioca starch flour
75 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
5 grams (1 teaspoon) baking powder
5 grams (1 teaspoon) baking soda
3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) salt
100 grams (2) eggs
240 grams (1 cup) low-fat buttermilk
50 grams (3 Tablespoons) butter, melted
30 grams (1/4 cup) dried cherries
30 grams (1/4 cup) chopped pecans or walnuts or sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Mix together all wet ingredients (buttermilk, eggs, melted butter) in your blender. (Or use an immersion blenderor mini blender which is what I do.)
  2. Add your dry ingredients (feel free to just dump them in OR mix them in a separate bowl together and then dump them in).  Mix until there are no dry lumps.
  3. Preheat a griddle over medium heat.  (I used a non-stick griddle, so no additional oils were needed).
  4. Pour 2-4 Tablespoons of batter onto the griddle.  Sprinkle the tops with chopped nuts and dried cherries.
  5. Leave undisturbed until bubbles form and pop on the edges and form in the center.  The edges will turn slightly golden brown.  (See this photo.)  Then gingerly slide a spatula underneath and flip the pancakes.
  6. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes (the second side takes less time).  Adjust the temperature (medium-low?) for the next batch as needed.
  7. Keep warm until serving in a covered dish in a preheated/warm oven.
  8. Serve with your favorite “dip-dips”.

To Make the Gluten Free Whole Grain pancakes, omit the dried cherries and the chopped nuts. Serve with chopped fruit, powdered sugar (not pictured as the Chicklet doesn’t like her pancakes with “powder”), your favorite marmalade, melted peanut butter, etc.

Happy pancake making, all!
~Kate

gluten free hazelnut & dried cherry pancakes - take 2

You can find the other Gluten Free Blogger Ratio Rally pancake recipes here:

Tara at A Baking Life :  Supper Pancakes (with bacon inside!)

Lauren at Celiac Teen : GF, Egg-free, Dairy Free pancakes

Karen at Cooking Gluten-Free : Buckwheat Pancakes

Silvana at Dishtowel Diaries : Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes

Irvin at Eat the Love : Quinoa-Cornmeal Pancakes with honey and rosemary

Britt at GF in the City : Spiced Teff Pancakes

Shauna at Gluten-Free Girl :  Pancakes with cinnamon and cardamon

Jenn at Jenn Cuisine : Hazelnut and Coconut Pancakes

Erin at The Sensitive Epicure : GF Oatmeal and Buckwheat Pancakes

Carol at Simply Gluten-Free : Maple and GF Oat Pancakes

Plus, as an added bonus, Lisa at Gluten-Free Canteen created a GF Potato Pancake

And a special note of thanks to Anile Prakash of GirlFriday.ca for creating our fabulous Gluten Free Ratio Rally logo. It’s a fabulous way to unite the effort and RALLY us all to better health together. Thank you.  (And for any of your interested in her work, please check out her site here or send her an email.)

…………

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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!