Saturday, July 9, 2016

Experimenting with Gluten Free Baking

Recently one of my family members was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, so we had to make some changes in our meal planning. We found a gluten free bread from a bakery that was very nice; delicious tasting and very bread-like. However, upon closer inspection, I found this bread was mostly made from tapicoa/arrowroot flour, rice flour, maize (corn), potato and soy flour. Depending on who you talk to, these can be considered the "bad" gluten free flours as they can make your blood sugar spike after consuming them. I figure this bread will be okay to eat sometimes, but not all the time.
I have always enjoyed baking, so I was very interested in seeing how I went baking with gluten free flours, which do not act the same way as wheat, and require different liquid to dry ratios.
So far, I've been fairly successful with biscuits, muffins, and cakes, but when it comes to bread and scones, I am failing miserably.
But, not to be defeated, I've been reading a lot of different recipes and articles on baking gluten free bread. I went to my local health food store and bought all sorts of flours -- teff flour, buckwheat flour, coconut flour, almond meal and chia four. Let the experimenting begin!
Yesterday, I attempted a buckwheat and chia bread, which completely failed miserably, though I forgot to take a picture of it. I had read that chia flour will soak up the liquid, but I think I over compensated a little too much, and the bread remained doughy no matter how long I cooked it. The non-doughy bits were only so-so in the taste department, buckwheat having quite a distinctive flavor.
Today I have tried a teff and coconut flour bread, with a touch of almond meal. In the taste department, this bread ticks all the boxes. Its really delicious, but the coconut flour gives it a dense, again somewhat doughy texture. I used yeast, baking powder and eggs to get it to rise, but this wasn't very successful. I put it straight on to bake, but wonder if I should have let it warm for an hour first to get the yeast to activate more.
At least I won't be throwing this bread out. Its a little flat, and yes denser than I'd hoped, but its very definitely edible.
Next time, I think I'll try less coconut, maybe add a small amount of buckwheat, and give the dough an hour to rise before baking. If I ever do manage to nut out a successful recipe, I'll definitely post it here to share.

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