August 7, 2006

Chocolate Chip Cookies & Montina Bread - All Gluten Free

For our planned weekend of yard work, I made up several gluten-free recipes ahead of time - chocolate chip cookies and Montina rolls.

We spent the weekend working in the yard trying to tame the overgrowth from all the rain we had in July. We were victorious! The jungle has been tamed! At our house, yard work requires constant infusions of ice tea and fruit pops so we can survive the summer heat. Another yard working necessity is grilling while we work...the aromas of cooking hot dogs and buffalo burgers will keep your mind thoroughly occupied on something other than how your body is reacting to the heat.

To reward us for all our hard work, I made a variety of things this weekend to go with our organic Applegate hot dogs and buffalo burgers. I tried an alternate version of my Montina rolls, made chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream.

I took the traditional Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and then played with the "flour category" by try a different combination of flours and meals. The recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups of wheat flour which I substituted with 1 cup of brown rice flour, 1/2 cup almond meal, 1/2 cup tapioca flour and 1/4 Montina flour. I didn't use any xanthan gum in the recipe. After mixing up the cookie dough, I put it in the refrigerator to cool over night. The next day, I placed small spoonfuls on parchment paper to cook in a 350 degree oven. Instead of the usual 8 to 9 minutes per batch, this flour combination took 10 to 11 minutes to brown. Needless to say, this combination got four happy votes.

Next came the Montina rolls, I played so much with this recipe that I felt more like a mad scientist than the family cook. I started with the basic Montina Rolls recipe in the Montinia Recipe Booklet by Montana State University at Bozeman by Betty Drummond. After playing with it several times, I've remade these rolls a variety of different ways, one version I've posted earlier. What follows is my attempt at making a rich tasty roll that doesn't have lingering tastes of a bland starch (tapioca or potato) or of xanthum gum (which doesn't agree with me in larger amounts). The resulting roll wasn't large (I hoped they would rise a bit more...but considering the flour combination it is a dense rich bread).

Montina Rolls

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 package Rize Yeast (an organic yeast by Rapunzel)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup ground oats (ground in my coffee grinder)
1/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup Montina flour
1/3 cup ground white grits (ground in my coffee grinder)
1/4 cup ground flax seeds (ground in my coffee grinder)
1/3 cup or less whole oats (enough to make the dough firm enough to make into rolls)
2 Tb agar agar
1/2 tsp kuzu powder (kudzu)
2 tsp baking powder

Place into a sauce pan the coconut oil, milk, sugar, agar agar, kuzu, and salt. Heat to a low rolling boil for about 3 minutes. This allows the agar agar to begin gelling. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then add the dry yeast and stir. Give the yeast time to begin to work. Add to the bowl with your flour combination the beaten egg and then the liquid mixture. Add as much of the whole oats until you get a manageable dough. Form into rolls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Allow to rise in a warm place until the dough leaves a dent. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Notes: I used agar agar because of it's jelling properties and I want to see if I can substitute it in some recipes for xanthan gum. Yes, you can use agar agar instead of xanthan gum. Agar agar does have nutritional properties (contains iodine) unlike xanthan gum which doesn't have any. I added the kuzu root to see if the bread would hold together better with two jelling agents rather than one. It did do this nicely, however I could have used more kuzu powder and achieved the same results.

What did my poor guinea pig family think about my edible science experiment? I got 3 thumbs up. What did I think? It was a bit more work to put things together, but the result was a rich tasting roll. It was very satisfying with it's slightly sweet and rich undertones without any funky after taste that you get from xanthan gum.

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