June 13, 2006

Montina Almond Bread - Gluten Free

I returned to working on my flour combination for my tastier gluten-free bread. This is a variant on my previous post on Montina rolls, but much better. Even my kids said it had lots of potential - fancy that!!

This variation is not only gluten-free, but dairy-free too. We have a number of food related issues at our house: lactose & soy intolerant, gluten-free and now an allergy to the nightshade vegetables. Some days it feels like I'm learning to cook all over again.

I used homemade almond milk (1 cup Almonds, 2 cups Water, 1 Tb Agave Syrup) in this recipe. Plus I wanted to try using Agar Agar as the binder rather than xanthan gum. Agar Agar contains iodine and has nutritional value unlike xanthan gum. I used Agave Syrup to keep the glycemic index of the bread down and coconut oil for its contribution of medium chain fatty acids.

Here is the variation on the recipe:

1/4 cup Coconut Oil
1 cup Almond Milk
Not quite 1/4 cup Agave Syrup
1 Egg, beaten
1 cup Oat Flour
1/2 cup Montina Flour
1/2 cup Almond Meal
1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
3 Tb Coconut Meal
2 Tb Agar Agar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 package Dry Yeast

Heat the milk, coconut oil and agar agar until boiling. Cook for three minutes stirring constantly. Then turn down the heat. Add the agave syrup and salt. Stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the yeast. Stir and then allow time for the yeast to begin working. Add the beaten egg and mix together. Then add each of the flours and baking powder and beat until combined. Knead in the bowl for about 3 minutes. Place the batter (it should not be runny) into a parchment lined baking dish. Shape into a loaf and sprinkle the top with whole oats. Place in a warm location to allow it to rise for 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

What did we think? Everybody said it was a nice bread, but still a little bland. They want me to try again and beef up the flavor. I agreed with them. How did the agar agar work? It did pretty good. It worked better when the bread wasn't toasted. When toasted the bread was more fragile and broke apart easily.

You can find agar agar in the Asian food section of your grocery store. The brand I purchased by made by Eden Foods.

June 3, 2006

Gluten Free Flour Combinations - Back to Testing

I've been working to create a decent gluten-free flour combination that tasted like a rich whole wheat (or what I remember to be a rich whole wheat) taste. I've been searching for the last 8 months to find a blend that all of us would like and wouldn't be another contribution to the ranks of yuck & chuck.

I started with Montina flour. I like the taste of Montina...it has a naturally sweet yet robust taste. To keep it mild enough that the kids will eat it meant that it had to contribute 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the total flour used. It's good to remember that Montina is high is fiber and some folks are sensitive to lots of fiber. (note: Montina is really good in chocolate chip cookies). In this recipe I used 1/2 cup of Montina.

The next addition was a mild flour that everyone enjoys -- I chose oats. I took my bag of rolled oats and ground them up in my little coffee grinder (I do have one just devoted to coffee beans.). Oats have a natural sweetness and blended nicely with the Montina. I used oats at 1 1/2 cups.

Now I needed that third starch and choose tapioca. I thought it would blend and mellow the other flours. I used 1/2 cup in the recipe.

The recipe noted that this should be a knead able dough...mine wasn't. So I worked in some cornstarch to keep the dough from being so sticky. It looked good and I moved on and finished the rolls. They looked lovely when they came out of the oven.

But how did they taste? Actually, not bad. This flour blend has potential....although it still needs some adjustments. The family vote was 4 in favor of keeping this blend as a basic, but it was a little bland. They wanted a richer taste. So back to the kitchen...