Friday, May 21, 2010

Gluten Free Flax Seed Bread - Xanthan/Guar Gum Free

This is one of the results of my xanthan-free experiments. While the loaf did not rise large and fluffy, it was not heavy, and was moist and tasty. The flax seed forms a gum that replaces the need for any other binder.
I have been avoiding all yeast, sugar and simple carbs the past month in an effort to overcome a persistent UT infection - but I did have a couple of slices of this bread: toasted and spread with homemade sesame tahini. Wonderful!
So, health-wise, other than containing yeast, this bread is low in carbs (compared with other gluten-free breads that have a lot of starches added) and high in fiber. It does contain 3 eggs per loaf... so my egg-free friends aren't helped here. :(

1/2 cup warm milk or water
1/2 Tbsp. instant yeast
1 Tbsp. honey

Stir the honey into the warm milk or water. Add yeast and set aside to start foaming.

3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup flax seed, ground in blender
1/2 cup millet, ground in blender
1/4 cup buck wheat grouts, ground in blender

Beat eggs in a bowl until light colored. Add the flax and millet and mix well. Let sit a few minutes to absorb the moisture.
Stir the yeast mixture into the egg/grain mixture.

1 cup tapioca flour or starch
2 Tbsp sweet rice flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 to 1 tsp sea salt
1/4 -1/3 cup warm water

Sift these dry ingredients together. Beat into the egg/yeast mixture alternatively with the warm water. If the batter seems runny, add a little more rice flour. If it seems too stiff, add a little more warm water. It should be slightly thicker than muffin batter.
(Too runny of a batter will fall when baking and have a very course texture. Too thick of a batter will not rise and produce a "brick of bread" rather then a loaf).

Scrape batter into greased 9x3 bread pan.

Let rise in a warm place until the batter is level with the top of the pan (takes 25-40 minutes). When the loaf is almost done rising, preheat your over to 400F.

Bake loaf for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and lay loaf on it's side to cool on a wire rack. Slice when cool and enjoy.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Xanthan Gum Revealed

For years I have done all my gluten free baking with xanthan gum. It was expensive but I didn't need much for each recipe and the results were good.

However, my husband and two of the children were always having intestinal problems. It was not the same as if they had eaten gluten or milk, but it was still troublesome and annoying.

By *chance* one day when I was posting a recipe, I googled "xanthan" to make sure I was spelling it right and I came up with all sorts of information on xanthan gum that I never knew before. Lights started going on as I read and I began to wonder if xanthan was actually causing a reaction in some of my family.

I had been thinking that xanthan was a natural product - NOT SO! In fact, I learned that reactions are common and that the bacteria that produces the gum is grown on high fructose corn syrup (YUK!).

After sharing the information with my husband, he said he wanted me to eliminate xanthan gum from our use. I agreed, but inwardly I panicked! I have already eliminated all dairy, gluten, nuts and soy from my kitchen and xanthan is what holds all my baking together!

Well, the first step was to buy some guar gum. This stuff is a natural product - ground from the seed of a plant native to northern India and Pakistan. It can cause intestinal problems in large amounts (like when it was used in diet pills in large amounts to create a feeling of fullness in the stomach - it was banned as a diet pill after it was proven to cause intestinal blockages or damage when used in large amounts). In baking, I substitute it for xanthan gum in the recipe, using slightly more that the xanthan called for. The texture of the dough or batter is slightly different and I have trouble making a nice loaf of bread. :( But I am working on it and experimenting with different recipes. So far, I have gotten bread that holds together and is moist, but does not rise as nice or large as with xanthan gum.
I have included links to a few articles that you may find interesting on xanthan gum. Then you can choose if it is something you want to include in your baking or want or if you want to use guar gum.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blender Pancakes - Again

I know I have posted this recipe before, but here is an updated version with pictures:
This recipe starts with whole grains that are soaked for at least 12 hours (or up to 5 days). It is really one of my favorite recipes. I have given up eating almost all baked goods - except for Sunday dessert and these pancakes! With the soaked grains, they are very easily digested and full of goodness. I prefer when the grain soaks at least 3 days as I like the sourdough taste. I dry leftover pancakes to make canapes. I place them on the oven wrack on the lowest setting (I think my oven goes down to 150 degrees) and leave until crispy and dry. They are delicious dipped in garlicky olive oil and eaten with salmon and lemon. :)
You may want to thin your batter more then I have, depending on how thin you like your cakes.

1 cup whole brown rice
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1/2 cup millet
3 cups pure water
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Combine the grains (you can go ahead and substitute any other gluten free whole grain for the buckwheat or millet) in a 2 qt container (I use a 2qt canning jar). Mix lightly and cover loosely (I use a coffee filter over the top of the jar with a rubber band to secure it). Let sit in a warm place overnight or up to 5 days - it has been my experience that any longer and it tastes too sour. If you are not going to use it after this time, just pop it into the fridge for a few days.

3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
2 Tbsp honey
Combine with the soaked grains and liquid in the blender (depending on your blender, you may need to do this in two batches). Puree until smooth.

1 cup tapioca or potato starch
1 tsp guar gum
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Sift dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour the puree mixture over the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Spoon onto a hot, greased griddle. Flip when bubbles form and the cakes are golden brown. Delicious with blueberries.


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