September 30, 2006

Banana Bread Gluten-Free

Cooler fall weather seems to create cravings for warm quick breads like pumpkin, sweet potato and banana. I had five pretty ripe bananas, so it seemed my kitchen mission was clear. It would be gluten-free banana bread.

I selected my family's favorite wheat based banana bread recipe, which is from a church we belonged to in the early 1960's, as the to modify to be gluten free.


1 stick of salted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 mashed ripe bananas
1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup + 1 Tb sweet rice flour
1 1/2 tsp kuzu starch
1 Tb water
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 sea salt

Dissolve the kuzu starch in the water. Cream butter and sugar then add the egg. Alternately add flour mixture and mashed bananas and kuzu liquid. Bake in a parchment paper lined loaf pan for approximately 1 hr 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Note: I covered the bread at 50 minutes so it wouldn't get too brown on the top.

How did this recipe go over with my tough food critics? My husband and the kids loved it and liked that the half slice held up in their hands. They said I could make this recipe again. I liked the way this bread turned out. It's moist and has an excellent banana flavor.

September 22, 2006

Millet Pizza - Gluten Free

I found a gluten-free pizza crust recipe at It had been published in the November 2005 edition of Gourmet magazine. I hadn't made a gluten free pizza in a while, so I decided to give this recipe a try.

I made a slight adjustment to the brown rice flour mix in the recipe and removed the potato flour, since my daughter has a slight reaction to nightshade plants, so I used millet flour instead. This is what I did:

Pizza Crust

1 tsp olive oil and more for brushing
1 Tb cornmeal
1 cup brown rice flour mix
1/2 cup millet flour
1 Tb agar dissolved in the water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 package yeast
1/2 to 3/4 cup of warm water plus 1 Tb

Brown Rice Flour Mix

1 2/3 cup brown rice flour
1 cup oat flour
1/3 cup cornstarch

I used my pizza stone as my pan and didn't preheat the stone. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix the dough together and allow to stand 40 minutes to rise. Then transfer the batter onto the pizza stone that has been covered in cornmeal. Press out the dough into a pizza shape sprinkling cornmeal as you need to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

Then cover with your choice of pizza toppings and bake for 15 minutes or until nicely browned.

So what did it taste like? A bit like a whole wheat pizza. I had doubled the crust recipe and the crusts on my pizzas were thicker. The crust came out nice and crispy on the bottom so that the slice would hold up for you to eat with your hands.

My kids said the crust turned out too thick and that the crust tasted sort of okay. But they really didn't care for it too much. My husband really liked the taste of the crust, but wanted it to be thinner too. I thought the pizza needed to be thinner, but it did taste good. It was best warm right out of the oven, rather than cold.

We all liked the crispy crust on this pizza since I had cooked it on the stone rather than a pan. The stone worked very well even though it wasn't warmed in the oven.

September 20, 2006

Beer Batter Bread Gluten-Free

I had been reading Farmgirl's post on Beer Bread and was fondly remembering eating a yeast version of Beer Bread in years past. Since I had an unopened bottle of Ramapo Valley Gluten-Free Passover Beer in the fridge, I decided to modify Farmgirl's quick version of Beer Bread a try.

The recipe that Farmgirl uses is based on the Beer Bread recipe found at I modified her whole wheat version of the bread to make it gluten free. This is what I did:


1 cup oat flour
1 cup millet flour
1 cup sorgham flour
1 Tb granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tb baking powder
14 ounces GF beer or 12 oz beer & 2 oz water
1 1/4 kuzu powder dissolved in the 2 oz of water
Optional Egg Glaze: 1 beaten egg & 2 tsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 4 x 8 loaf pan with parchment paper. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the dissolved kuzu and water to the beer. Then pour both liquids into the dry ingredients. Stir only enough to blend and lumps are okay. The batter will be thick. Pour into parchment lined pan and bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The bread turned out beautifully, although it had too strong of a taste for my kids. They didn't care for it even with butter. The texture was beautiful although slightly crumbly when cut. It still held together enough to take bites out of the slice I covered with cheese. The bread tasted the best with savory companions, such as Emmenthaler cheese or pepperoni. However, it was quite tasty with just butter too.

This bread is better to eat within the first couple of days. After the third day the after taste becomes stronger until it is almost as strong as the aged Emmenthaler cheese.

September 17, 2006

Chocolate Chip Cookies Gluten Free - Version #3

The gluten-free chocolate chip cookie is a required staple at our house. I've made this recipe more than any other. Since it is one of my children's favorite cookies, it does require continuous baking trials to tweak the recipe to get a finer taste.

I think this version will become the staple at out house. They were perfect. Beautiful on the baking sheet and scrumptious to eat.

Here's what I did:

Recipe - Version #3

2 sticks organic butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp kuzu powder dissolved in 1 Tb water
1/3 cup Montina flour
1/2 + 1 Tb sweet rice flour
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 cups chocolate morsels
Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts

Beat the butter until creamy, then add the brown and granulated sugar. Add vanilla flavoring. Add one beaten egg at a time. Add the dissolved kuzu. Slowly add flours, soda and salt. Once blended add chocolate morsels. Place cookie dough into the refrigerator to chill down.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place spoonfuls of chilled cookie dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 12 minutes or golden brown. Allow to cool before removing the cookies from the baking sheet.

This variation was an instant hit. I made them on Wednesday and by Friday they were gone. This version got four yes votes. I think given the speed that the cookies's a keeper.

What makes this the best version yet? This version lacks xanthan gum. The kuzu powder adds just that bit of cohesion and improved texture that the cookies needed. Using more oat flour than brown rice flour helped to keep the cookie texture smoother and less grainy. Plus, the cookies didn't have the lingering after taste of rice flour. The taste isn't that bothersome unlike the xanthan gum. However I've been trying to achieve that pure rich lingering taste that you got when you had a wheat chocolate chip and chocolatey. I think this version comes the closest so far.

September 16, 2006

Nutrition Labels on Food Packages

I came across an interesting food nutritional label while we were on vacation. While I was looking at the nutrition labels on boxes of cereals, I found one cereal that appeared to have no wheat in it, although it contained corn flakes. They didn't mention the ingredients in the corn flakes, but most corn flakes contain wheat. Then I noticed at the very bottom of the box a statement that said, "Contains no added wheat." Which means the cereal did contain wheat...I was right to be concerned about the corn flakes.

With the information in the nutrition boxes changing due to the new allergy information requirements, be sure to check out the whole box not just the ingredient list.
Sweet Potato Bread - Gluten-Free

Fall is almost upon us. I'm finding I have a need for a gluten-free pumpkin bread. These cool mornings have been making me crave a slice of a warm batter bread and a hot cup of hot coffee.

I haven't tried making pumpkin or sweet potato bread since I had a major gluten free baking disaster last year. I was trying to explore beyond the gluten free recipes I'd tried when I first went gluten free and it was a well...a disaster. I tried making gluten free pumpkin bread in my bread maker. Lessons learned from that experiment were that the bread maker cooks too hot, the middle of the batter bread will never cook and the burning food smell will take a week to get out of your house. So, cook batter breads the traditional the oven.

I had a monster of a baked sweet potato sitting in the fridge that looked like it had more than enough flesh to make a loaf of bread. Next, I was off to work on a recipe. Here's how it turned out:

Sweet Potato Bread

6 Tb of melted butter
1 tsp kuzu powder
1 cup of sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato or yams
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
4 tsp flax meal
1/3 cup milk
Optional: 1/2 cup ground nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 4 x 8 loaf pan with parchment paper.

Dissolve the kuzu powder in the melted butter. Add the sugar and blend. Then add the beaten eggs and the mashed sweet potato. In another bowl sift together the cloves, salt soda, nutmeg, flours, meal, baking powder and cinnamon. Then slowly add it to the sweet potato mixture. Next slowly add the milk to the mixture.

Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Cover and bake until a tooth pick comes out clean. (My bread took 1 hour and 30 minutes to cook all the way through.)

All four of us voted this one a keeper. Unfortunately, there isn't much left to have for breakfast.