Let’s not get into a big debate about gluten hype. You all know I adore the stuff. But my daughter, who I love more than bread, has recently become (thanks to a nasty virus), gluten intolerant. We are all hoping it is temporary, but in the meantime, life, and a delicious one, must go on.
My baking adaptations have been…uneven. I have determined that the best two “all-purpose” gluten-free flours are Bob’s Red Mill BLUE LABEL (the red label one is pretty icky), and Maison Canelle All-Purpose.
So far, I can say that both flours can be used exactly as my regular wheat AP, and things turn out ok. Anything cakey is perfect the first day, but gets gritty if it sits around. Cookies are fine.
This week I have decided to make Gluten Free Hamentashen, Challah, and Sticky Toffee Cake. The cookies and cake are regular recipes, and the “Challah” is one specifically for Gluten Free flours.
I am intrigued to see how restaurants adapt to this food restriction. Whether it is to beat wheat bellies, or to accommodate true allergies and intolerances, many restaurants and bakeries are offering “glutard” options (no, it isn’t politically correct, but come on, it is kinda funny). A few weekends ago in NYC, we noticed Les Halles offers a gluten-free (I will just use GF, ok?) menu. Great – we sat down, and looked at the breakfast selections. Eggs and toast. French toast. Um, server, are we missing something? “You can have a fruit cup”. NEXT…
Friedman’s Lunch (one in Chelsea Market and one on W. 31st.) does it right. Can you say chicken and waffles? Pancakes? GF reuben sandwich (yes, the toast did crumble).
Want something a little less sinful? Bistango offers a full selection of Italian-esque GF deliciousness. Meatballs without breadcrumbs, great GF pastas, and yes, desserts. All choices were seriously good, on their own merits, and not just because they had GF options.
If budget is not a concern (to put it mildly) , 11 Madison Park (3 Michelin stars) makes GF adaptations of everything they serve.
my baking report: the hamentashen were ok, but not easy to fold. Nice thought, not worth redoing. Or taking a photo!
The sticky pudding cake recipe is a winner – gluten free or not. Here is the original recipe from Bonnie Stern:
STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING WITH BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE
3/4 lb pitted dates (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
The recipe mentions serving it with additional whipped cream, but I never do!
Butter a 9″ springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, or bake individual cakes in 12 muffin pans
- Combine dates and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add baking soda and let rest 5 minutes. Puree. Let it cool.
- Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs one at a time. Whisk flour with baking powder and salt. Gently fold into batter alternately with dates, starting and ending with the flour. Transfer to prepared pan.
- Bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. (Muffin sized ones usually take about 25 -30 minutes.)
- Meanwhile, while cake is in the oven, make the sauce by combining sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer gently 5 minutes until slightly thickened.
- When the cake comes out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes, then prick holes and drizzle half the sauce over the top
- When serving, drizzle with remaining butterscotch sauce and if you want to, some whipped cream.
Makes 10 to 12 servings
The following recipe is courtesy of www.glutenfreegirls.blogspot.ca so thank you.
The Challah is worth tweaking – next time I will replace some of the sugar and water with honey, just so it tastes a bit more like my “standard”. That said, it is probably the tastiest “white bread” I have eaten in a long time. It is delicious toasted, and incredibly, it is NOT crumbly!
2 cups rice flour (I used almost half and half brown and white rice flours)
1 3/4 cups tapioca flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
sesame seeds, poppy seeds or my favourite, pearl sugar (optional)
- In mixer, combine the flours, 1/4 c sugar, xantham gum, and salt.
- Dissolve the 2 tsp sugar in the 2/3 cup of water and mix in the yeast. In a separate bowl combine the butter with the additional 1 cup water and vinegar.
- With mixer on low speed, blend the dry ingredients. Slowly add the butter/water mixture. Blend in the eggs, 1 at a time. The dough should feel slightly warm. Pour the yeast mixture into the ingredients in the bowl and beat at the highest speed for 2 minutes.
- Place the bowl in a warm spot, cover with greased plastic wrap and a towel, and let rise approximately 1 hour.
- Return the dough to the mixer and beat on high for 3 minutes. Spoon the dough into a greased, floured loaf pan. Fill 2/3 full, you may bake the remainder in greased muffin tins, etc. (or make all rolls~about 18). Sprinkle tops with sesame seeds. Let the dough rise until it is slightly above the tops of the pans, about 45-60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and bake the large loaf for approximately 1 hour. Bake the rolls 25 minutes.
Personally, I think the bigger loaves taste much better, but try it out and see!