Monday, January 10, 2011

Gluten-Free Baking

Well, I am officially trying something new.  I think I have shared a bit about my oldest daughter and her stomach issues.  We had allergy testing done on her and discovered that she is definitely allergic to dairy, confirmed that she is allergic to pork as well as possibly being allergic or sensitive to many other foods.  She has decided to "go with her gut" and cut out a lot of different foods from her diet.  She is feeling SO MUCH BETTER, so she is very determined to be disciplined in this area.  She cut out dairy and mourned the loss of cheese. She also eliminated all meat, and eggs.  This helped a lot, but she realized that there was still something bothering her.  It seemed that her beloved bread was giving her stomach aches.  So, she decided to try cutting out gluten.

You may wonder what is left, what in the world DOES she eat.  Plenty of rice, fruit (fresh and dried) and veggies.  Back in November hubby and I decided to eat better and started to follow the Hallelujah Diet which is a plant based diet consisting of 85% raw food.  This fits very well with the way that Elizabeth has been eating already.  However, she has been complaining that she is craving crackers and bread.  Santa tried to buy her some for her stocking, but couldn't find a single store-bought gluten-free cracker that didn't have any dairy or eggs.  Store-bought gluten-free bread is ridiculously expensive and I have been told is not very tasty.  So, I decided that I had to find all the strange ingredients required and make my daughter some gluten-free goodies.

Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious MealsA friend who is going through the gluten-free thing with her son, told me about a book she found called Cooking for Isaiah.  In it, the author has a recipe for for a gluten-free all-purpose baking mix that she uses for all of her recipes (which are also dairy-free).  I decided to mix some up and create some crepes.  I suppose this was pretty adventurous since I have never done the gluten-free thing OR ever made crepes.  They were delicious!  We stuffed them with fresh apples, raisins, honey and cinnamon.  My only complaint was that they took forever to make.  That was only because I had one pan to make them in and had to do them one at a time.  That was a s-l-o-w process when cooking for a family of eight.  Next time we will stick with pancakes and put the fruit on top because I can get a couple of griddles going at once so we aren't cooking all morning.

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free IngredientsNext I decided to tackle gluten-free bread.  I have shared before that I have been making bread for the past couple of years using the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day technique.  Their newest book includes several gluten-free recipes.  I picked one that the main ingredient was corn starch of all things.  Although the dough does not behave like traditional bread dough, the bread came out very good with a heavy yet springy texture.  My daughter was thrilled to have bread once again!  Next time I may try this recipe and compare it.

 Both of these recipes I used called for eggs.  My daughter has given these up too, so I had to get creative.  I remembered reading years ago in the Tightwad Gazette that you could substitute 1 tablespoon of soy flour plus 2 tablespoons of water for 1 egg in a recipe.  There it was done for frugality, I decided to try it for health restrictions.  It seemed to work just fine.  I have never tried the egg versions of these recipes to compare, but we were very satisfied with how things came out.  I think you can by a soy-based egg substitute, but I am sure it costs way more than this method.

So, I would have to say that my initial attempts at gluten-free baking have not scared me off.  I think I will continue to experiment with it.  The gluten-free ingredients are definitely more costly than wheat flour, so I will probably not bake like this for everyone in the house all the time.  I will have to come up with some sort of balance.  Perhaps I will try baking several things, cutting them into single serving sizes and freezing them. Then when we are eating something that my daughter can't have, we can pull something out of the freezer for her and thaw it in the microwave.

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