19 January 2012

My gluten free all purpose mix & some yum yum yummy cheddar dill biscuits

So I've been asked by more than one person on more than one occasion what "all purpose" gluten free flour I am using these days.  Since embarking on this "gluten-free journey" I'll call it, I've learned SO much about what's out there and available, what's not out there (yet), and how we can adapt our "normal" life to be more gluten free friendly, if you will.  

When I first started gluten free baking, I posted about an all purpose flour mix that I found the recipe for at glutenfreegobsmacked, and celiac.com.  Then, as my reading and researching continued, I learned more about flours, and how to use them to recreate our normal recipes, as close as I could, but using the gluten free substitutes.  The most notable source of my knowledge about how flour works in a recipe would probably have to be the posts that I've read that are part of Shauna's (from a gluten free girl) brain child, the Gluten Free Ratio Rally.  

***The Ratio Rally is a group of gluten free bloggers who have been experimenting with replacing wheat flour with gluten free flours, based on WEIGHT, not volume measures, under the premise that every good recipe is based on a solid ratio that will create a good product, no matter whether you are using wheat flour or not.  Follow the ratio, and your results are almost guaranteed.***

As said by Tara over at "a baking life:"
"Baking by ratio is not an entirely new concept, but it's been spotlighted lately by Michael Ruhlman's book Ratio. It's an enormously helpful way of understanding traditional cooking and baking, but I've noticed some hesitation about applying it to gluten-free baking. Would it even work with all our crazy flours? Would a good gluten-free ratio be adaptable to a variety of flours? Would it make gluten-free baking even more daunting to the uninitiated? 
Yes, yes, and thankfully, no. It really works. And it's easier than you think."

That said, I have yet to try out any of the GFRR recipes.  :O  I know.  Here I am saying how great it is, and I haven't tried the fruits of their labours.  Okay, so I haven't tried the recipes, but the whole WEIGHT thing is a nugget that is stuck in my head - and that is a good thing.  Kate (at gf gobsmacked) also mentioned weighing flours vs. measuring them, in fact, most gf bakers recommend it.  

This is due to the different density in the different grains.  Corn has a different density to millet, to chana, to rice, to the starches.... you get my point.  But when we're baking gluten free, we have to mix these flours, and try to get a flour that will mimic wheat as best we can.

Another thing I've learned, that while brown rice flour is the closest match to wheat in taste (yet still SO far), there are so many other flours that give amazing texture, flavour and NUTRITION to your baked goods.  So combining these flours to create a whole- and multi-grain flour gives great texture and flavour, and beats wheat flour hands down in the nutrition aspect.  (Just don't eat the batters or doughs raw... ummm, grossness.)

I don't use that multi blend mix anymore.  Ha ha.  It's funny but it's not.  This is a learning experience for me, as it is for ANY person taking on the task of learning to bake (and cook) gluten free.  I only used the multi blend mix for a couple of months... before the reading and research convinced me that I should be putting more whole grains in.  For the first couple of times that I made my own mix, it was just a hodgepodge of flours, to make up the 70% flour and 30% starch by weight.  I made it in 1 kg batches, and was using it in place of the multi blend mix. But, because as I said above, more than one person on more than one occasion has asked me for the mix I'm using now, I ACTUALLY wrote it down when I made it last weekend.  :)  Stoked.

Dinnae's all purpose multi-grain flour mix

350g brown rice flour
150g corn flour (NOT corn meal or corn starch)
100g millet flour
100g chana flour
100g tapioca starch
100g cornstarch
100g sweet rice flour
2 TB guar gum

Mix together with a whisk or seive, store in an airtight container.  Use in place of wheat flour in your recipes.

Use as is for cookies, waffles, pancakes, etc.  If making cakes, sweet breads, muffins or cupcakes, add 1/4 tsp of guar gum per cup measure of flour in the recipe.  (This addition of guar is based on the addition of guar to the Multi-blend mix - I'm just continuing that.)  I wouldn't recommend this mix for baking bread, as your ratio of flours to starches is one that needs to be more specific.

And now, my latest gluten free adaptation was a recipe that I got from the lady who actually trained me to cook for treeplanters, Kara.  Her mum was (is?) a camp cook for a summer camp, and I do believe that this recipe for Cheddar Dill Bread was originally hers.  Using the gluten free flour makes this bread very scone-y, so I'm calling them scones.  I made them in muffin-top pans, so they even look kinda like scones too.

Sorry, HORRIBLE photo, but it was taken at night.  And they're still yum!
 Cheddar Cheese Dill Scones

4 c all pupose gluten free flour blend
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 c sugar
4 tsp onion or garlic salt
1 tb dill
1 tsp dry mustard
2 1/2 c grated cheddar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/4 c milk
2 tb veggie or canola oil

1/4 c water IF NEEDED

Oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients, including cheese.  Mix well.  Add remaining ingredients, stir until just moist.  Batter/dough will be tough, but if needed, add another 1/4 c of water or milk and mix in thoroughly.  Using an ice cream scoop, scoop into greased muffin top pans.  

With wet fingers, "smoosh" down the scoop of batter/dough so that it is fairly flat in the pan, wetting fingers anew before each smoosh. (I keep a small bowl of water next to where I'm working so I don't have to keep the water running, or keep walking over to the sink.)

Bake for 12 - 14 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Best when eaten fresh.  ;)

Makes 40 muffin top scones.  YUM.

*** Notes: this recipe halves really well, and makes the PERFECT size batch to accompany dinner. ***

Now, I know I am going to get this question, because *I* would ask if I were you!  What kind of ice cream scoop do I use?  It is a COMMERCIAL one that I got when my mum owned a caf√©.  You should be able to find this same kind, in varying sizes, in any commercial kitchen supply store.  They are INDISPENSABLE for muffins, cookies, etc, keeping your baked goods equal in measure, and uniform in shape too (ie with no bake/boiled cookies).  If memory serves, it was about $10 (give or take) about 15 years ago.  If you find a place to buy one, especially online, let me know!  I'd love to be able to pass the info on.  ;)

The ice cream scoop I use for scooping muffin batter and cookie dough.
I believe it is a 1 oz size.

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