Archive | November, 2011

Gluten Free French Bread Recipe – Easy, Easy, Easy!

25 Nov
Today is supposed to be a very lucky day – 11/11/11.  And personally, I am inclined to believe it.  It was lucky for me and I think lucky for you.  I had a gluten free bread baking recipe breakthrough.

As a person who spends most of her time creating gluten free recipes you can imagine that I get my fair share of emails asking if I have a really good recipe for gluten free bread. Before going gluten free I made a few loaves of bread (with varying degrees of success) but I was by no means a bread baker. When I get these emails I think “Why ask me? Why not ask a bread baking expert?

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, I am probably the perfect person to ask. Why? Because:

1. I went for probably 15 years without eating bread so I know I can live without it – I would rather not eat bread than eat yucky, grainy, crumbly bread.
2. I love great food but I am also kind of lazy so I am always looking for the easiest way to make something.
3. I am not a person who finds it “relaxing” to knead dough by hand for 15 minutes. I wish I was that kind of person, but sadly when I do menial tasks for any period of time, my mind starts to wonder and that is never a good thing!
4. I am success driven, persistent and some might even say a little OCD – I will keep at something until I get it right.

So, I decided to put my mind to making great gluten free breads. I decided to start with French Bread. I did my homework, I studied first the traditional French Bread recipes and methods, then I looked at gluten free ingredients and studied how to make them work better and finally, I baked and baked and baked!

I played around with flours and baking times and methods until I got a gluten free French Bread recipe that was crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, beautifully browned, tastes like what French Bread should taste like and was easy to make. I threw away a lot of bread, enlisted everyone I came across (including a good number of whom are regular gluten-eaters) in blind taste testing and finally, I am pleased to say, came up with a recipe I am happy with!  And I think YOU will love!

And you want to hear the very best thing? It is actually EASIER to make gluten free French Bread than it is to make the gluten-filled kind! Yes, you heard right – EASIER! No kneading, no double rising (I tried, better without) no hours until bread is ready. You can actually have lovely, perfect gluten free French Bread in about an hour and a half, start to finish!

Ok… so here are some tips I discovered:

Equipment

You are going to need a mixer – it is going to do pretty much all the work for you. (Don’t have a mixer? Head over HERE to enter to win a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!) You also need a French bread pan – gluten free bread needs support when it is rising and baking. Fortunately you can get one for under $20.00 – considering the cost of decent gluten free bread, an investment so worth it! The pans come either perforated or solid, I used both in testing and it didn’t make a huge difference but I did like the results from the perforated pans slightly more. And finally, unless you are dead certain your oven is totally accurate, run over to the hardware or grocery store and grab an oven thermometer for about 4 bucks – you should have one anyway!

Kneading

Remember when the internet was all abuzz about no-knead bread? Ha! That’s old news to us gluten free bakers! 3 minutes in the mixer and that’s pretty much it, no kneading what-so-ever!

Yeast

I got the best result from Dry Active Yeast. It needs to be “active” so if you have had a jar sitting in your fridge since you can’t remember when, go get a new one – it lasts about 6 months refrigerated, after that it may not be good any longer. If you do store your yeast in the fridge then it will take longer for the yeast to “proof”. You want the yeast mixture to pretty much double in size and be all foamy.

Flours

After testing all sorts of different flour combinations, what worked best was a simple combo of white rice flour, sweet rice flour (also called glutinous flour) and tapioca starch. I used all Asian flours (Erawan Brand) which are more finely milled and cost a fraction of the flours you get in the health food store. I also tested this recipe using my own flour and it came out really great (well…dahaaa!) and the dough was a tad easier to work with.

Gum and Fat

I found that mixing the xanthan gum with the fat (olive oil) before adding it to the batter made it work better. I wish I could tell you why, just trust me on this.

Prep

Get all your ingredients out, mix your yeast, blend the xanthan gum with the oil and lightly beat your eggs before you start to mix, it makes it easier. Do the steps in order as I give you in the recipe.

The Dough

If you were used to bread making in a former pre-gluten-free life you will think there is not enough flour in the dough because it has a consistency more like a thick batter than dough. Resist with every fiber of your being from adding more flour! This is just the way gluten free bread dough is. You need to spoon the dough into the pans and shape it with a spatula – it won’t magically turn into pretty ovals unless you do this.

Slashing the Dough

Cutting 3 or 4 diagonal slashes into the top of the dough will help the steam escape while it is baking giving you a lovely, tender texture.

Prepping the Pans

Either spray your French Bread pans with gluten-free, non-stick cooking spray or brush with oil before putting the dough into the pans to rise. For a really authentic bottom, sprinkle a teaspoon of cornmeal on the bottom of the pans after you oil them up. It isn’t completely necessary but it does add that certain je ne se qua (fancy French term for “a certain something”). If using the perforated pans, place them on top of a baking sheet to oil and dust with cornmeal or you will have a mess to clean. Do not bake the bread on the baking sheet however, just put the French bread pan right on the oven rack.

Browning

I tested everything I could think of to get the perfect brown on the French Bread and what I found gave the best color came from brushing the loaves with melted butter just before baking. The good news is that they also came out beautifully browned with a brushing of melted Earth Balance as well – keeping the bread totally dairy free if need be.

Humidity

To get that crunchy crust and tender inside so characteristic of good French Bread it should bake in a humid environment. This is easily created by putting a pan of hot water into the oven while it preheats and just leaving it there while the bread is baking. You can also spritz the oven occasionally with water from a spray bottle but then you have to remember to do it whereas the pan of water just sits there and does its job.

Gluten Free French Bread

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Dry Active Yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1½ cups warm water (it should be pretty warm to the touch but not hot)
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 tablespoons olive oil
*1½ cups super fine or Asian white rice flour
*½ cup superfine or Asian sweet rice flour
*1 cup tapioca starch
1½ teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons cornmeal – optional
2 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance, melted

*in place of the flours and starch you can use 3 cups of a good, pastry quality gluten free flour blend

Directions

Combine the yeast, sugar and warm water in a bowl about twice the size of the mixture and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Let sit for 5 -6 minutes (10 if the yeast has been in the fridge) or until it is foamy and doubled in size.

In a small bowl stir the xanthan gum with the olive oil until the xanthan gum is dissolved.

Combine the flours, tapioca starch (or gluten free flour blend) and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or just the regular beaters – don’t use a dough hook) and mix to combine. Add the yeast mixture, xanthan gum mixture, eggs and vinegar and mix on low to combine. Scrap down the sides of the bowl once. Turn the mixer to high and mix for 3 minutes.

Spray a French bread pan (with 2 forms) with gluten-free, non-stick cooking spray or brush with more olive oil and sprinkle a teaspoon of cornmeal onto the bottom of each pan.

Spoon the batter into the forms and shape into an oval with a spatula. Using a razor blade or sharp knife cut 3 or 4 diagonal slashes on top of each loaf. Cover the loaves with a clean kitchen towel and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise. Let rise for 30 minutes or until the loaves have doubled in size.

Place a baking pan on the floor of your oven (or on the bottom shelf) and fill it with about an inch of really hot water. Position the rack you are baking the bread on in the middle of the oven. Turn the oven on and preheat to 400 degrees.

Brush the top of the loaves with the melted butter or Earth Balance and bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

You can also make crusty rolls by scooping the dough into 2 standard sized muffin tins, letting them rise 30 minutes and baking for about 20 minutes.

A gluten free recipe that makes 2 loaves of French Bread or 24 Crusty Rolls.

Want to know more about your favorite Gluten Free Recipe or how to avoid being bothered by Celiac with our range of Gluten Free Recipes which are made from Gluten Free raw material feel free to visit us at: http://www.simplygluten-free.com

Salmon Cakes Recipe with Two Quick Sauces – Gluten Free

22 Nov

I know that at this time of the year many of you are scouring the internet for gluten free recipes for Thanksgiving or other upcoming holidays. But may I just point out that Thanksgiving is only one meal in a whole month of dinners! Yes, the truth is that we do need to eat every day, even when those days are getting more hectic by the second. And the reality is that if we have children, we are sort of obligated to feed them!

This is a quick recipe you can throw together in less than half an hour that is also tasty and even a little sophisticated. It also contains items that are always in my pantry such as Panko Style Gluten Free Bread Crumbs from Kinnikinnick and canned salmon – yet another demonstration of how having a well stocked pantry can be a life saver. OK – maybe not a “life saver” but certainly a dinner saver!

I made two quick sauces for these salmon cakes, one a sour cream dill sauce and the other a dairy free quick tartar sauce. I think nothing goes as well with salmon than dill and the hubby is a staunch tartar sauce supporter – so yes… two sauces.

As with any recipe, you have the freedom to change it up to your liking; add some chopped bell peppers and chilies for a Mexican spin or toss in some cooked potatoes for potato fish cakes or…well you get the idea.

Gluten Free Salmon Cakes

Ingredients

1 – 15 ounce can salmon, undrained
1 cup Kinnikinnick panko style gluten free bread crumbs
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 – 2.5 ounce can sliced black olives
3 scallions (green onions) green and white part, thinly sliced
2 heaping teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning (if you don’t have Old Bay Seasoning, than season with salt, pepper, paprika and a few dashes of hot sauce)
3 -4 tablespoons cooking oil

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, flake the salmon with a fork. Add the bread crumbs, eggs, Old Bay seasoning, olives, corn and green onions. Mix well and form into eight patties, each about ½ inch thick, compacting firmly.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Fry the patties in batches (do not over crowd the pan) for 3 – 4 minutes per side or until nicely browned.

Quick Dill Sauce

Ingredients

6 ounces Greek yogurt (full, low or non-fat)
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced or grated
juice of ½ lemon
salt and pepper

Directions

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or store, covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Quick Tartar Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup mayonnaise
¼ heaping cup of sweet pickle relish
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Want to know more about your favorite Gluten Free Recipe or how to avoid being bothered by Celiac with our range of Gluten Free Recipes which are made from Gluten Free raw material feel free to visit us at: http://www.simplygluten-free.com

Article Source: http://simplygluten-free.com/blog/2011/11/gluten-free-salmon-cakes-recipe-with-two-quick-sauces.html

Gluten Free Honey Fig Ricotta Flatbread

18 Nov

There are three things about this gluten free recipe I would like to mention. In no particular order, here I go:

Figs

They are in season now, they are tender, sweet, plump and jammy. While most of the other fall fruits are crisp and cold, these babies are kind of contrary with their soft, warm, downright sexy lusciousness. I can’t get enough of them. So head on out to the market and grab some of the beauties while they’re still in season. Seriously. Don’t dawdle.

Almond Flatbread

This gluten-free recipe which is also grain-free, egg-free, dairy-free, and vegan for flatbread crust is a fabulous base for all sorts of ingredient. Really, anything you can imagine can go on to this versatile canvas. For this recipe I add some minced rosemary for a woodsy, herbal undertone that goes great with the figs and rosemary honey but you can add any kind of herbs and spices, garlic, a touch of agave for sweetness – the list goes on. Your imagination and pantry are the only things holding you back. Eggs are not an issue for me personally but I decided to make this egg-free because I love the addition of extra fiber in this high protein dough, but if you prefer you can use 2 large eggs in the recipe instead of the flaxseed meal and warm water. Don’t you just love recipes as versatile as this?

Rosemary Honey

Start with some fabulous honey like Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Fair Trade with its caramel, floral notes and gently heat with a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary – the rosemary infuses into the honey and the result is a rich, warm, thick syrup that is not only terrific for pan roasting the figs in this recipe but can be used alone drizzled over fresh figs, apricots or cheese; it is a great addition to your autumn cheese platter. Imagine it drizzled over polenta cake or brushed onto chicken as it roasts. Ah, the sweet possibilities are endless.

Combine all these elements into a flatbread and it is the perfect autumn treat that can be served as an appetizer, dessert or with a salad for a sophisticated weekend lunch. And since it is the weekend, maybe you can add a glass of crisp white wine to go along with that lunch.

To keep this recipe vegan just use Raw Blue Agave instead of the honey and leave out the cheeses; you can substitute the ricotta with some vegan cream cheese or cashew cream like this recipe from my friend Amy.

Gluten Free Honey Fig Ricotta Flatbread

Ingredients

Crust
*2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
6 tablespoons warm water
3 cups almond flour
1 ½ teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
¼ cup olive oil (or any kind of oil you like)

*If you prefer use 2 large eggs instead of the flaxseed meal and 6 tablespoons of warm water.

Toppings
½ cup Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Fair Trade Honey
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 pint fresh figs, stems and tough ends removed – quartered and diced
1 – 15 ounce container part skim or full fat ricotta cheese (or fresh ricotta), at room temperature
1 cup baby arugula
Course sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese – a few shavings as garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl stir together the flax seed and warm water and let sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture gels up.

In a large mixing bowl combine the almond flour, 1 ½ teaspoon of salt, baking soda and minced rosemary. Add the flaxseed meal mixture (or eggs) and oil and stir to mix. The dough with be kind of wet and sticky. Dump the dough onto a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover a baking sheet. Top with another piece of parchment and roll until you have a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown and firm.

While the crust is baking heat the honey with the rosemary springs over medium heat. Add the figs and stir, continue to cook for 4 -5 minutes or until the figs are warmed and the honey has thickened slightly. Take off heat and reserve. Leave the rosemary spring in to infuse the honey.

When the crust is done, spread with the ricotta and then layer on the arugula. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the figs over the top of the flatbread then drizzle the honey over the figs. Sprinkle with some sea salt and black pepper and a few shavings of Parmesan cheese. Cut or break into pieces and serve.

Want to know more about your favorite Gluten Free Recipe or how to avoid being bothered by Celiac with our range of Gluten Free Recipeswhich are made from Gluten Free raw material feel free to visit us at: http://www.simplygluten-free.com

Article Source: http://simplygluten-free.com/blog/2011/11/gluten-free-honey-fig-ricotta-flatbread.html

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18 Nov

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