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Volume 11 Issue 6
March/April 2006

Want to Create Healthy and Sustainable Communities?
Welcome to the Regina EcoLiving Project

Baking Gluten Free and Why!

Living Your Great Story
A Journey of Discovery

Yoga: A Practice and a Way of Life

Spirit Messages - What If? We Owe it to Ourselves to Question

Editorial

Baking Gluten Free and Why!
by Paulette Millis
Paulette Millis


Why would anyone want to make the extra effort to learn to make baked goods without gluten? Several reasons, the most common being a gluten allergy where the individual must avoid any grains and foods that contain gluten. For those who are blessed with the ability to handle gluten it is wise to vary the grains in your diet. Different grains have different nutrients, so there is the benefit of a more balanced intake of nutrients. Some grains are much higher in amino acids, for example, than others. These amino acids contribute to a higher quality of protein when combined with other essential amino acids, such as legumes. Varying the diet with gluten-free grains and/or flours protects our bowels, in particular, from many diseases that are possibly worsened by the flattening of the cilia caused by gluten. We also protect ourselves from future allergies by giving our bodies a break from continually ingesting the same food such as wheat, for example. Grandma was right when she said, “All foods in moderation.”

For more information on gluten and wheat please see the July/August 2005 WHOLifE Journal as it contains my article, “Bread: The Staff of Life, or Not?” Because I have already published articles in WHOLifE on gluten-free whole grains—quinoa, millet, wild rice, and one on cooking whole grains—in this issue I will focus on using gluten-free flours for cooking and baking products other than “bread”.

As a reminder, gluten-free grains are brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, millet, corn, buckwheat, amaranth, and teff.

BUYING, COOKING, AND STORING WHOLE GRAIN FLOURS

Stock your freezer with several different non-gluten flours such as brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa, preferably organic. Purchase these in small quantities from the fridge only at your health food store, as the vitamin E in ground flours sitting on the shelf will become rancid, as well as lose nutrition the longer they sit. Be sure the flour is whole grain and has not had any part of it removed, for example, white rice flour or sweet rice flour may be the white part of the grain only.

Ideally you would grind your own whole grains with a kitchen flour mill just before you use it. The blender works too, as long as you sift out any small chunks of unground grains.

If you do not need to be gluten free entirely, you may choose to mix one-half whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour with one-half gluten free flour to gradually introduce other tastes and textures.

Sometimes a combination of flours is more pleasing. My favourite is buckwheat mixed with brown rice, millet, or quinoa. The lighter buckwheat flour is more pleasing to the eye than the darker gray colour. Coarser flours will not rise as well as white wheat flour and usually I have not found this to be a concern with muffins and other quick breads, unless one wants a light fluffy product. You may try adding a little more baking powder (gluten-free is available at health food stores). Try adding a little more liquid if you find the product too dry due to the presence of bran. Westpoint Distributors suggests refrigerating dough or batter for one-half hour before baking, baking small portions at lower temperatures for a longer time, and placing a pan of water in the oven during baking to increase moisture.

To thicken sauces, pies, gravies, etc., gluten free, experiment with using brown rice flour, or arrowroot powder, or tapioca starch mixed with a little cold water.

Bean flours such as garbanzo bean flour are great additions to muffins and quick breads as, combined with the grain flour, they make a higher quality protein.

Try grinding flax seeds and desiccated coconut in a coffee grinder and using this in place of flour for “breading” of fish or chicken pieces.

My general rule for substituting gluten-free flours for white flour is 1 cup for 1 cup, plus 1 tbsp guar gum. Guar gum helps to hold the product together as gluten-free flours tend to be more crumbly. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of white wheat flour, I would use 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, 1/2 cup brown rice flour, and 1 tbsp guar gum. Some sources say substitute 1 cup white flour with 7/8 cup rice flour; 3/4 cup buckwheat flour; and/or 7/8 cup cornmeal.

I have experimented with pastry using buckwheat and millet flour. It is okay but crumbles easily. Try the ideas suggested by Westpoint. I prefer to use a coconut or ground nut crust for desserts. Dumplings work best with buckwheat as well, but experiment to see what your family likes.


 RECIPES

MAHAGANY CAKE*
(A great birthday cake)

2-1/2 cups buckwheat flour, or a combination of buckwheat, brown rice, millet
2-1/2 tbsp guar gum
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup milk (use rice or almond for dairy-free)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter (use ghee for dairy-free)
1 cup honey or maple syrup
2 eggs
1/2 cup sifted carob powder
1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour three 8-inch layer pans. Sift flour, soda, and salt. Stir vinegar into milk and save. Cream butter, add honey and cream well. Blend in eggs one at a time; blend in sifted carob. Add sifted flour and milk mixture alternately to butter mixture and blend until mixture is smooth. Stir in hot water and vanilla. Bake at 350ºF for 40–50 minutes.
Note: try tofu pudding for a healthier version of icing.

GLUTEN FREE
BLENDER PANCAKES*

1 cup milk (rice or almond for dairy-free)
3/4 cup buckwheat groats or a combination of wild rice, buckwheat, brown rice
2 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1-1/2 tbsp baking powder (gluten-free)
1/4 tsp baking soda.

Blend milk and whole grain in blender for 4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend for a few seconds to make a batter. Pour small amounts on a lightly oiled medium hot griddle. Serve with eggs or organic preservative-free bison sausages, or a nut butter spread with fruit topping. Yogurt and fruit sauce is nice if the diet can handle dairy products.

Note: may use a small amount of quinoa and/or millet but limiting amounts of these keeps the pancake holding together better in the pan.

HOMEMADE MUSTARD*

2 tbsp buckwheat flour or 1 tbsp brown rice flour and 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
2 tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp celtic sea salt
1 tbsp honey or one half tsp stevia powder or to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

Whisk dry ingredients together in top of double boiler. Add vinegar and water and stir, simmering until thick. Add a bit more water if a thinner consistency is desired. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.

SPINACH SQUARES*

1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and moisture squeezed out
8 ozs cheese of choice, shredded. Sheep or goat feta is great. For non-dairy version, use Vegan cheeses made from rice or nuts. One-half feta and one-half Vegan is great.
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt (omit if using feta)
1/2 tsp baking powder (gluten-free)
1/2 cup organic millet, brown rice,
or buckwheat flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp melted butter (use ghee for dairy-free)
1/2 cup milk of choice (use rice or almond for dairy-free)

Mix spinach, cheese, and onion together. Stir in dry ingredients. Beat eggs, butter, and milk. Mix in with spinach mixture. Brush a 9 x 9 pan with Lecithin Pan Coating or butter or olive oil. Bake at 350ºF approximately 25–35 minutes, testing with a knife for doneness. Good hot or cold.

ORANGE MUFFINS**
(Easy to make and so good!)

In a blender add the following and blend until smooth:
1 organic orange with peel cut into chunks
1/2 cup orange juice

Add the following to the same blender and blend until smooth once more:
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 egg
1/2 cup butter (use ghee or coconut oil for dairy-free)
1 tsp vanilla

In a separate bowl measure:
1 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup millet flour
1-1/2 tbsp guar gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free)

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until blended.
Place in greased muffin pans and bake at 350ºF for 20–25 minutes.

VEGETABLE APPETIZERS**
(A nice change for breakfast!)

1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups finely chopped carrots, broccoli, celery, zucchini and/or mushrooms (you choose)
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (use rice parmesan for dairy-free)
1/2 cup grated old cheddar (optional) or use Vegan rice cheese for dairy-free
2 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp dill weed
1/2 tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 eggs, slightly beaten

Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 inch square pan. Mix all ingredients together and spread into pan. Top with sesame seeds. Bake until golden brown. Cool. Cut into squares. Good with soup or salad or for breakfast.

GLUTEN-FREE FLAX CRACKERS*

1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (gluten-free)
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
4 tsp softened butter or ghee for dairy-free
1/2 cup rice or almond milk
1–2 tbsp extra milk if needed

Optional: 1–2 tbsp powdered onion soup mix or 1 cup grated cheese of choice (use Vegan for dairy-free)
Mix flax seed, ground flax seed, flours, baking powder, salt, and butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal. May use a mixer. Stir in the milk until mixture forms a soft dough. Wrap dough and chill 10 minutes. Divide the dough into quarters. Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Roll out very thin, about 1/16 inch and cut in 2-1/2 inch squares. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with rest of dough. Bake at 325º F until crisp and golden, approximately 15 minutes.

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA LOAF*

1 cup plus 3 tbsp buckwheat flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1-1/2 tbsp guar gum
2 tsp baking powder (gluten-free)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (pure, no additives, and preferably organic)
1/2 cup melted honey
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups mashed bananas (may use frozen bananas, mashed)

Set oven for 325ºF. Mix first five ingredients. Mix oil, peanut butter, and honey and cream thoroughly. Add eggs, beat well. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with mashed bananas; mix well, but do not beat. Spoon batter into two well-greased loaf pans. Bake 1 hour or until tester comes out clean.

*taken from Eat Away Illness, Paulette Millis.
**taken from Nutrition, Cooking and Healing, Paulette Millis.

The above information regarding nutritious food is not intended to replace any instruction from medical or health professionals.

Paulette Millis lives and works in Saskatoon as a counsellor and nutritional consultant. Her book, Eat Away Illness, and cookbook, Nutrition, Cooking and Healing, are available in health food stores or by calling Paulette at (306) 244-8890, email: eatingforhealth@sasktel.net, or by visiting www.healingwithnutrition.ca.

 

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