Monday, April 12, 2010

Gluten-free Baking

I am still learning much about the art and science of gluten free baking. Since Jeremy's Celiac diagnosis in July, I've been reading and checking out cookbooks and blogs. I've had many failed attempts, but more frequently several successes.

The public library up here added a book to their inventory a few months back and it's been a boon to my kitchen experimenting--Artisanal Gluten Free. The couple that wrote the book first had a blog (isn't that the way of it these days?). They've been gluten free for just over three years and sometimes I feel a camaraderie knowing it's new to them too. Anyway, they created a flour mix, because unlike wheat baking, gluten free baking cannot be done with just one flour. I've made their blueberry muffins, banana muffins, chocolate chip scones, and pizza dough. Except for the pizza dough, when I bite into the baked goods, I can't tell much difference. If you came to visit, I'd happily serve you a plate of muffins or scones.

Chocolate chip cookies and pizza dough have been my most troubled experimentation in the kitchen. I've tried three different cookie recipes and was highly disappointed in all of them (one batch made it into the garbage!). I've yet to try the Artisanal chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I plan to. For the pizza I tried the Bob's Red Mill mix and thought it was disgusting. The crust sort of crumbled (but strangely felt sort of like it was bubbling in my mouth) and then left a raw feeling to my tongue...this I cannot explain. I purchased an Amy's brand frozen gluten free pizza that I dressed up and it was very good, but $7 for a two-person pizza. I purchased pre-made crusts that tasted alright, but completely fell apart when we tried to eat them. And lastly I made the Artisanal pizza crust. It was decent, but something I'd still have to get used to. I didn't have the right equipment to try their thin-crust pizza recipe, but I plan to someday. Although up to this point I've really been more of a deep-dish pizza kind of girl, I think that the dietary changes in our life are turning me into a thin-crust fan.

Saturday evening we had friends for supper. I wanted to make a dessert and couldn't come up with any ideas. I thought about trying the new chocolate chip cookie recipe, but Jeremy rightly said, "isn't that a bit of a risk?" (yes, my cookies were that bad!). :) I scoured the internet for ideas and finally found this recipe for chocolate shortbread. This was an equally risky recipe as I had to make it gluten free, but I decided to give it a try. I substituted the Artisanal flour blend for the all-purpose flour. It worked! I turned out a pretty and tasty shortbread with a light chocolate glaze and chopped pistachios on top. This of course was just a small personal victory, but it pleased me.

Lest you think I make baked treats all the time, well it's not true. However, my bread-indifferent husband actually asks for muffins now. And while we don't always have them on hand, it's nice to know I can produce a product that tastes good and isn't harmful to his body. I've had many moments over the last months where I've despaired a bit about my abilities in the kitchen, slowly I'm gaining confidence and learning how to bake all over again.


Margaret said...

Go you! I'd gladly try your gluten-free food any day.

Jessy said...

Thanks for this! Haha... so what's the flour mix?

Pam-Mom said...

On my last trip to the library I looked for the book you mentioned and had to sign up as there were two holds on it. So it must be a good gluten-free book. We will have to share good recipes we find. I think I sent you some I used to make for Jeremy when he was just a toddler after his celiac diagnosis then. If not, let me know and I will send them.

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