June 30, 2007

Cola Cake - Gluten Free

Happy Fourth of July!

My family was together last week at my parent’s beach house. They have a home that is made for sharing family time. The type of house that is happier the more people it has in it and positively elated when filled with children squealing and laughing as they play hide and seek.

Their kitchen has enough space that we can all work at the counters together. Building memories and creating nourishment for our bodies. When we’re done we pile up at the long kitchen table to eat and share stories.

We crank up the grill for hamburgers, hot dogs and the Red Snapper a friend caught in the Gulf of Mexico the day before. Then we talk about going to the beach and what type of ice cream we bought to cool us down. The talk moves to what type of dessert we’re going to have with our ice cream and I’m nominated to do the baking as the one gluten-free member of the family. I decide on a Southern classic, the Cola Cake which makes the all the kids scream with laughter. “You can make a cake with a cola?” they cry. The adults all talk at once and agree that it’s the right dessert since none of us has had one in years.

My source of inspiration was the Coca Cola Cake recipe from Southern Living Magazine. I made my modifications to the recipe and selected which gluten free flours I was going to use. For the Cola Cake, you can use any cola from Boylan's Natural Cane Cola to the more traditional Coca Cola.

I chose to use kudzu (kuzu) powder as my binding agent. Normally, I create a slurry with one tablespoon of liquid to one tablespoon of crushed kudzu powder. This time I gelled the kuzu slurry by putting it in the microwave for ten seconds. The kuzu gel was still soft enough to be mashed and worked into cream.

As I’m working on the cake batter the children crowd around the countertop to check on my progress. Amazed at the way the cola and baking soda bubble together, just like their volcano experiments. Laughing they ask for my left over cola and take the greatest care in dividing it so each of them can have a little.


Cola Cake

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup + 1 Tb cocoa powder
1 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1 Tb crushed kudzu powder
1 cup Cola
1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract

Cola Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup Cola
3 Tb cocoa powder
16 0z (1 lb) powdered sugar
1 Tb vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans for topping

Cola Cake

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper, so that the bottom and sides are covered.

2. Measure out ½ cup of milk and pour in 1 ½ tsp of white vinegar to make the sour milk. Allow the sour milk to sit until needed later. Remove 2 Tb of the sour milk and pour it into a small bowl with the 1 Tb of kudzu powder. Stir the kudzu and sour milk together. Then place the small bowl into the microwave for 10 seconds or until a soft gel forms. Remove from the microwave and stir the gel until it has a soft creamy consistency. Set the kudzu gel to one side until it is needed later.

3. In a medium sized bowl, dump in all the flours, soda, and cocoa powder. Stir together.

4. Plop the butter into a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until the butter is soft and creamy. Add the cane and Turbinado sugar and mix well. Then pour in the vanilla extract and dump in the eggs. Mix on low speed until combined with the butter and sugar.

5. Alternate between the dry ingredients and sour milk until the both are added to the mixing bowl using low speed. Plop in the kudzu gel and mix together. Slowly add the cola to the mixture and beat at low speed until it is just mixed together.

6. Pour the cake batter into the 9x13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool before icing.

7. Turn the cake out on to a cake plate or cookie sheet and peel off the parchment paper. Then frost with the Cola Frosting.

Cola Frosting

1. Plop the butter in to a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until the butter is soft and creamy.

2. In a medium sized bowl, dump in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and stir together.

3. Alternating between the sugar mixture and the cola, add them to the butter mixing them together using low speed. Add the vanilla extract and mix on low speed.

4. Spread the frosting evenly over the Cola Cake and sprinkle with pecans if desired.

What did my extended family think of my gluten free Cola Cake? The cake received eight votes for being very delicious and something they would want to eat again. It had one vote for liking the cake, but not the icing from my son. My daughter rounded up the voting with two thumbs down for for the whole cake. She preferred mint chocolate chip ice cream.

The cake had a nice texture that was slightly firm and held together when it was broken off with your fork. For nibbling, it stayed together when you were holding in between your fingers.

June 19, 2007

Orange Fennel Salad - Gluten Free

I've looked at the fennel in the produce section of Whole Foods for quite some time. I don’t know why I haven’t picked one up to try out, maybe I was held back by my uncertainty of how it would taste. I finally gave in to my curiosity and brought one of the tightly packed bulbs home on my last trip to the market.

The fringy leaves tasted slightly like licorice and the sliced bulb did as well. What could I do with it? I pulled a number of foods out of the refrigerator to do some taste testing with the fennel. Several stand outs were the orange and wasabi mayonnaise. While doing all this taste testing, I realized that the fennel was milder in flavor when combined with other food.

Next, I perused the recipes at Food Network and like some of the flavors that Bobby Flay used in his Grilled Orange Fennel Salad recipe. Continuing my research I found the article “Don’t Forget the Fennel,” by Howard Yoon for National Public Radio. Howard notes that fennel stands well on it’s own, but it’s greatest feature is that it complements other food. Howard is correct, fennel takes on a different role with other food.

I worked up the salad and tried it out. It was flavorful and slightly spicy from the wasabi mayonnaise. A delightfully light salad, my husband and I had this for dinner on a recent summer night when it was too steamy for heavier foods.


1 fennel with top
1 cup diced celeriac
1 naval orange, peel & diced
1/2 cup chopped whole almonds
1/3 cup wasabi mayonnaise
1 Tb Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Cut off the ribs and leaves of the fennel bulb. Chop them up and put into a medium sized bowl. Next cut the end off the fennel bulb and slice in half. Cut each half into slender slices and add to the bowl. Peel the naval orange and dice the segments, then place in the bowl. Add the chopped whole almonds, wasabi mayonnaise and the mustard to the bowl. Fold the ingredients together, then add salt and pepper to taste.

What did my family think of the orange fennel salad? My husband and I thought it was delicious. A cool and crispy salad, we thoroughly enjoyed it as a light dinner. Our children didn’t want to try it out. They didn’t care for the slight anise aroma.

Sweet Potato Cake with Maple Glaze - Gluten Free

The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a treasure trove of culinary delights. Every part of the plant can be eaten from the swollen roots to the greens. The indigenous people of South America have been eating sweet potatoes for over 5000 years and the International Potato Center in Peru has recorded over 4000 accessions. It contains a wide variety of nutrients including calcium, beta carotene, vitamin C and ranges in color from red to purple and white. Like all vegetables, the sweet potato is gluten free.

The uses for sweet potato can range from baked to butter or a crunchy appetizer, a fried dessert croquette and stir fried greens. The sweet potato has taken on a more prominent role in our home, due to my daughter's nightshade allergy. I've found many ways to incorporate the sweet potato into our diet that I hadn't tried before her diagnosis. Before that time I must admit to cooking sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, which is pretty sad for a Southerner, especially after seeing all the unique ways to put a sweet potato to good use at the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission and the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission.

My Southern Living Cook Book has a wonderful recipe for a Sweet Potato Cake that I have wanted to try for quite a while. It sounded simply delicious and decadent with a wonderful array of spices. I worked up a gluten free version of this recipe and added a maple syrup glaze to it. I decided not to use a binding agent (i.e. xanthan gum, guar gum) and see how the cake turned out. This is what I did...



1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup cane sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tb cocoa
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans

Maple Glaze

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tb milk
2 Tb Maple Syrup

1. Preheat oven to 325 deg F and line a 7-inch tube pan with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, pour in the four flours, soda, salt, cocoa and spices. Stir together.

3. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and then add the sugar. Blend together. Then add the egg yolks, continue to blend. Plop in the sweet potato and vanilla, then mix together.

4. Alternating between the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, adding a little at a time to the sweet potato mixture until it is all blended together.

5. In another mixing bowl, plop in the two egg whites. Beat on high speed until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

6. Add the egg whites to the sweet potato mixture and fold together with a spatula.

7. Pour the cake batter into the tube pan and spread out it out evenly.

8. Bake for 1 hour or until a pick comes out clean. Allow to cool before glazing.

Maple Glaze

1. In a medium sized bowl, pour in the powdered sugar, milk and maple syrup. Stir together. Work out any powdered sugar lumps by pressing the lump between the side of the bowl and the back of the spoon.

2. Pour over the top of the cake.

Note: If you double this recipe it will fit into a 10-inch tube pan.

How did it taste? Simply divine and gone in two days. This recipe received two thumbs up from all of us. Did it hold together with out a binding agent? Yes, it did. The sweet potatoes turned out to be a strong enough binder that it didn't need the addition of a binder like xanthan gum or kudzu powder.

June 17, 2007

Blue Corn Scones & Prickly Pear Butter - Gluten Free

The Hopi people have lived and farmed in northeastern Arizona since the 12th century. They have developed a unique method of growing food in a harsh environment called dry farming. They grow a wide variety of corn, squash, beans, melons and other plants.

In spring the Blue Corn Maiden brings the blue corn to the Hopi people. She is early awaited by the Hopi people, for half of the year they don't have any corn.

Hopi blue corn is different from other corn in that it contains up to 30 percent more protein. It also contains iron, magnesium, potassium and other minerals. Hopi women would make a culinary ash that would increase the mineral content of their Piki bread and give it a more vibrant blue color.

In the Third Mesa region of the Hopi Reservation, Mille Polewytwa grows Hopi blue corn. Her family has grown corn for generations. When the corn is ready, it is dried and some is ground into cornmeal. Some is sent to Native Seeds/SEARCH to sell to customers. Each package of Hopi Blue Cornmeal comes with a recipe sheet with choices such as Blue Corn Spoon Bread or Hopi Blue Corn Omelette.

I found a wonderful recipe for Blue Corn Scones on the website of the The Cooking Post. It is a tribal enterprise of the Santa Ana Pueblo located in New Mexico. They carry a variety of foods, gifts, coffee, and tea that they produce and from other tribal groups. The Santa Ana grow a different variety of blue corn called Tamaya Blue. This type of corn is used in all their blue corn products from pancake mix to parched corn. They also have a selection of traditional and modern Native American recipes to try out.

Starting with the recipe I found at The Cooking Post titled "Jerry's Own World Famous, True Triumph of the Culinary Art, Blue Corn Scones," I started to work on a gluten free recipe. Jerry added vanilla extract to his recipe, a unique touch that I wanted to include in my version. Then I added my own touches to the recipe and it was time to start baking.

The first time I made this recipe the scones turned out beautifully, but they didn't rise very much. Jerry's recipe called for 1/3 tsp of baking powder and I had raised it to 1/2 teaspoon, but it still wasn't enough. All these gluten free flours needed more lifting power, so I went back to work on exactly how much baking powder was needed. I raised the amount of baking powder to 2 teaspoons and it was perfect.

Scone Recipe

3/4 cup Hopi blue cornmeal
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1 tsp flax meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 stick butter, chilled
2 Tb agave syrup
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp kudzu powder, dissolved in the milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a cookie pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium sized bowl, pour in the flours, baking powder, and salt. Then stir.

3. Add the chilled butter. Using a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it forms a coarse meal.

4. In a medium sized bowl, pour in the milk and dissolved kudzu, agave syrup, egg and vanilla extract. Stir together.

5. Add the liquid mixture to the coarse meal mixture and work together until it holds together.

6. Place dough on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Press and pat the dough into a circle. Score the top of the dough into eight pieces with a knife, taking care not to go all the way through the dough.

7. Bake at 375 deg F for 23 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.

8. Allow to cool before serving with Prickly Pear Butter.

Prickly Pear Butter Recipe

1 stick butter, softened
2 Tb Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup*

1. Cream the butter and add the Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup. Cream together. Serve with Blue Corn Scones.

How did they turn out? My husband and I thought they were wonderful. The prickly pear butter added a unique fruity taste to the scones. On it's own the flavor of the prickly pear butter was divine. We really enjoyed the taste of the prickly pear. My daughter thought the scones tasted pretty good, but she didn't like the prickly pear butter. My son thought the scones were okay, but the butter wasn't so good. My husband and I think this recipe is a keeper.

* I used Cheri's Desert Harvest Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup. I purchased my syrup from Native Seeds/SEARCH.

June 10, 2007

Coconut Bread - Gluten Free

What's not to like about the coconut palm? It provides nuts, milk, fruit, sap, oil, fiber, wood, dye and medicine. A thousand and one uses can be found for the humble coconut palm, but the best thing is that it's gluten free.

I'm always game to try new foods, especially gluten free foods. So when I noticed that Bob's Red Mill carried coconut flour, I had to give it a try. I began pondering what kind of foods could I make with it...a quick bread, pie crust, or cookies. The ideas kept flying around my brain, although one of them stood out - the idea for a coconut quick bread that used the flour, milk, oil and meat of the coconut.

A coconut quick bread would be a healthy way to start the day as coconut meat contains a variety of B vitamins, minerals, fiber and some protein. Coconut oil is considered to be a healthy oil that doesn't effect cholesterol levels. Coconut milk has a wide variety of nutritional properties including calcium, iron, protein and fiber.

As I was working on my recipe, I wondered about how others had used coconut in bread recipes. There are a wide variety of modern recipes that blend coconut with flavors like orange or banana and pumpkin to exotic curry. Traditional recipes for coconut breads range from the Samoan Pagi Popo where the bread dough is cooked in a syrup of coconut milk and sugar to one full of fruit and a pound of coconut from Barbados. One of the best recipes I found was by Australian chef Bill Granger of bills food. His recipe for coconut bread can be found at the BBC or at Wednesday's Chef. With a variety of recipes in hand from Barbados to Bill, I began to work on my gluten free version of coconut bread.

Gluten free bread recipes need to have a replacement for gluten. Something that will bind all the ingredients together and not alter the flavor of the food. To go along with the tropical feel of the bread recipe, I chose to use quick cooking granulated tapioca as the binder. What is granulated tapioca? About the size of kosher salt grains, it can be used to make puddings or thicken soup. It has a soft gelling characteristic when blended with room temperature liquids.

So you can get an idea of what is a firm gel looks like and behaves, this is a picture of a natural hair gel. It's primary ingredients are water and aloe vera gel. It easily stands up on the end of my daughter's finger and holds it's shape.

Now that I had the binder chosen, I finished working on my recipe. Then it was time to start baking.



2 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 1/4 cup + 2 Tb coconut milk
1/2 cup + 2 Tb agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup coconut flour**
1/4 cup + 1 Tb sweet rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1 Tb quick cooking granulated tapioca*


1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp coconut milk

Making the Bread

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

2. In a small bowl or cup, pour in the quick cooking tapioca and add the 2 Tb of coconut milk. Stir and allow the mixture to sit and thicken.

3. In a medium sized bowl pour in all the dry ingredients and stir.

4. In a mixing bowl, cream the coconut oil. Plop in the eggs and combine with the coconut oil. Pour in the rest of the coconut milk, agave syrup and tapioca gel. If using a mixer make sure to do this on low speed. Slowly add the dry ingredients.

5. Pour the batter in to the lined loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cover with foil. Return it to the oven and continue to bake for 20 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.

6. Allow it to cool for 15 minutes before applying the coconut glaze.

Making the Glaze

1. In a medium sized bowl, pour in the coconut milk. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Break up any powdered sugar lumps that have formed by pressing the lump between the back of a spoon and the side of the bowl.

2. Pour over the top of the bread. Using a spatula or knife spread the glaze until it covers the top.

How did it turn out? My husband and I thought it was delicious. Our favorite way to eat it was warm as it gave the coconut a wonderful toasted flavor. My son thought that the bread turned out nicely, but he didn't care for the flavor of coconut. For my daughter, who likes the flavor of coconut, thought that the bread had too much coconut. She wanted more bread flavor and less coconut.

Did the tapioca work to hold the bread together? It did a great job of binding all the flours together. The bread was easily held in your hand and didn't break down into crumbs when you broke off a bite with a fork.

*The brand of quick cooking organic tapioca that I used was Let's Do...Organic by Edward & Sons. I purchased it at my local Whole Foods store. If you substitute tapioca pearls for the granulated tapioca, make sure to break down the pearls into small bits before measuring.

**You can make your own coconut flour by processing coconut flakes or shredded coconut in a food processor. I have made coconut flour this way in the past by using Let's Do...Organic Coconut Flakes.

June 8, 2007

Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies - Gluten Free

The humble chocolate chip cookie is my daughter's favorite. Since she was having a rather tough day dealing with the hives she received from her favorite candy bar and the barley malt it contained. As she was contemplating the loss of various food items, I reminded her that gluten free is barley free. She looked at me and asked, "Does that mean I can still eat my favorite chocolate chip cookies?" "Yes, it does," I replied. She smiled at me and said, "Can you make me cookies, Mom? Please?" How could I resist such a sweet request?

As I was planning my recipe, I decided to use buckwheat with my other basic flours. Buckwheat has a mild flavor and an excellent texture. Not a true grain, buckwheat seeds grow from the flower produced by the buckwheat plant. Buckwheat has been cultivated for centuries in China and Japan. It can be grown at high altitudes, such as the Tibetan Plateau. Buckwheat has excellent nutritional benefits and fiber content. Buckwheat has been used in recipes ranging from blinis, galettes and pancakes to soba noodles and cereal.

These cookies were like the Little Bear's porridge. They disappeared quickly and with lots of smiles. Everyone thought they were wonderful. What did my daughter think? She gave me a big hug and said, "Thanks, Mom."


2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Turbinado sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour*
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Optional: 1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium sized bowl, pour in all the flours, soda, salt and then stir.

3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter. Pour in the different sugars and mix. Plop in the eggs, vanilla extract and slowly mix. Pour in the dry ingredients a little at a time until combined with the liquids. Chuck in the chocolate chips and nuts, lightly mix.

4. Using two soup spoons or a small ice cream scooper, scoop out balls of cookie dough and arrange on the cookie sheet. Allow several inches between the balls of dough so the cookies can spread during cooking.

5. Bake for 11 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool before removing from the cookie pan.

* In the United States you can purchase gluten free buckwheat flour from Birkett Mills in Penn Yan, New York. They carry gluten free buckwheat kasha, groats and flour. Arrowhead Mills in Texas carries gluten free buckwheat flour. Bob's Red Mill sells a variety of buckwheat products. Glutenfree.com carries buckwheat flour.

Celeriac Confetti Salad - Gluten Free

I found a wonderfully knobby celeriac at our local Whole Foods. A round cream globe etched in brown, the bulb had all the visual appeal of a mud pie. Convinced that it wasn't edible, my son declared that I couldn't pay him enough money to taste it. I replied, "It smells like celery and you like celery." To which he replied with the utmost disgust, "Yeah Mom, but I don't eat foods that look like trolls." The poor abused celeriac, unwanted by my kids, quietly found it's way into our shopping cart when the kids weren't looking. I had plans for my little celeriac bulb.

Celeriac is kin to the celery that's found in grocery stores or local farmer's markets around the country. Grown for it's large bulb, celeriac is a long lasting vegetable that can be stored three months or longer. It has a mild and earthy celery flavor that can be used roasted, in soups or as the layers in a lasagne and deep fried. Best of all it's one of the many foods that are blessedly gluten free.

My plan was to peel the celeriac while the kids were playing together. I had just started peeling the bulb, when my rapidly growing pre-teen son with a nose for food came leaping into the kitchen. "Whatcha' makin' Mom?" he asks. "A nice cool veggie salad with all your favorites," I answered. "What's that thing in your hand then?" he asks. "It's a variety of celery,"I replied. Developing a suspicious look on his face, he asks, "Isn't that the troll food?" Hearing the words troll food, my daughter dances into the kitchen wondering why we're making food for our fairy garden. "This isn't for the fairy garden guys, it's for us," I explain. I obviously wasn't convincing, because off they ran chanting "troll food," "troll food!" Alone once again in the kitchen, I finished preparing the salad. Chuckling as I listened to their laughing and squealing over Mom fixing troll food.

The chia seed that I added to this recipe for not only for their nutrition, but for their gelling properties. The chia gel held the balsamic dressing on the vegetables and not sitting in the bottom of the bowl.


half of a large celeriac bulb
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced radish
1/2 cup chopped snap peas
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp dill weed, to taste
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp sesame seed
1 tsp chia seed
1 Tb balsamic vinegar
2 Tb grapeseed oil

In a medium sized bowl, plop in all the ingredients and stir. Served chilled.

How did it go over with my kids? Never tried it, they simply couldn't get over the look of the celeriac. How did it go over with my husband and myself? Well...it's pretty tasty. We ate it all that night for dinner. The chia gel did a great job of holding the dressing on all the vegetables. Each bite was covered with spices and dressing which was very nice. We agreed, this recipe is a keeper.

June 6, 2007

Buckwheat Brioche - Gluten Free

One of my greatest pleasures in the kitchen was making bread, that is before I was diagnosed gluten sensitive. When I bought my first batch of gluten free flours to experiment with for bread, I made the biggest mess in my kitchen. Lucky for me, our local library had some gluten free cookbooks by Bette Hagman. Her book, The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread was a life saver, not only for me, but for all those bags of flour I had brought home. At last they were destined for my stomach and not the trash.

Since then, I've gotten away from making yeast breads, contenting myself with various types of quick breads. Lingering in the back of my mind was my desire to make some of the yeast breads I had loved, but in a gluten free form. I thought the hardest bread to make gluten free would be a brioche. A flavorful egg bread, a brioche should be light and lofty. The type of bread that Bobby Flay (Boy Meets Grill, Iron Chef) uses for his pumpkin french toast.

Could I pull off a lofty gluten free bread? Obviously, I just had to try this out. I began putting together a gluten free brioche recipe, by using my favorite recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Homemade Bread Cook Book as a starting point. I selected my flours and then for a binder I chose agar agar.

I like using agar in bread recipes, because when it gels around the flour it still has a soft texture. Agar has the added benefit of being able to be reheated and brought back to a liquid. You can also make agar gel in a microwave. This picture is what agar in milk looks like after 30 seconds on medium heat.

Now off to the baking part of the test.


1 pkg Rapunzel rIZE yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 deg F)
1/4 cup milk
1 Tb agar agar flakes
1/4 cup butter
3 Tb agave syrup
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/3 + 1 Tb arrowroot starch
1/2 + 1 Tb buckwheat flour
1 egg white, for glazing top of dough

1. Warm the water for softening the yeast to between 110-115 deg F. Add the yeast to the water.

2. In a microwave safe container, pour in the milk and agar. Warm for about 30 seconds on medium heat.

3. In a medium sized bowl, pour in each of the flours and stir them together.

4. In a large mixing bowl, plop in the butter and cream on medium speed. Pour in the agave syrup and eggs. Mix them with the butter. Next pour in the milk/agar mixture and the softened yeast. Then mix into the liquid. Slowly pour in the flour blend into the mixing bowl.

5. Once it is nicely mixed together remove the bowl from the mixer. Then cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set some place warm to rise. Allow it to rise for 2 hours.

6. Once the two hours have passed, place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator to rest over night.

7. To make mini brioche rolls, take 8 silicone cup cake molds and place them on a baking sheet. Pour a little water into a small bowl for moistening your fingers into to keep the dough from sticking too much. Using your hands scoop out enough dough to make a ball about the size of a golf ball. Make 8 balls, but leave enough dough in the bowl for making little balls to place on top. Using your finger, press in an indentation in the top of each ball. This is for the little ball that is placed on top. Make 8 little balls. Pinch one side of the ball so that it makes a point and place the point into the indentation.

8. The mini brioche rolls are now ready for the second rise. Cover them and place them in a warm spot to rise for 45 minutes.

9. Preheat the oven to 375 deg F.

10. Using a pastry brush, paint the tops of the mini brioche rolls with the egg white.

11. Place the rolls in the oven to bake for 15 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

12. Allow to cool before serving. Makes 8 mini-brioche rolls.

How did my experiment turn out? Was the bread light and lofty? The rolls were rather light, but they weren't lofty. The rolls held together well and had a nice texture. However, they weren't as light as a brioche made with wheat.

How did they taste? My husband and I thought they were fabulous...warm, yeasty and full of flavor. My kids thought they were okay. They said the flavor wasn't bad, just different. My husband and I think this recipe is a keeper.

You can buy gluten free buckwheat flour from Arrowhead Mills and Birkett Mills.

June 4, 2007

Chia Seed Milk

With all the nutritional properties of chia seeds, I thought it had the potential to make a nice seed milk. After researching various seed milks, I found an interesting recipe for Chia Milk by Frank Rohe of the National Health Yellow Pages. Epicurean Table had a number of recipes for nut and seed milks, plus some great variations. Now I was off to make my batch of gluten free chia seed milk.

First, I started to work on the basic recipe, using a combination of my sources and a pinch from me. While this recipe whips up in around thirty minutes, you will need to let it sit for a few hours or over night in the refrigerator for the best consistency. The chia seeds need a little more time to thicken all the milk.


2 Tb Chia Seeds*
1 Tb Chopped Walnuts or Almonds
1 Tb Sesame Tahini
1 Tb Agave Syrup
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Cinnamon or to taste
2 1/2 cups Water

Pour 1 cup of water, chia seeds and nuts into your blender or food processor then whip it together. Plop in the tahini, agave syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Whip these ingredients together, then add the rest of the water. Whip until blended. Pour into a pitcher. Allow it to sit in the refrigerator for at least several hours although it is better if left over night, before serving.

How did it taste? My sister-in-law was visiting when I made a version without cinnamon. She gave it a try and said it was chunky milk, but it did taste better than if it had been made with broccoli. I thought it had an interesting texture from the seeds and had a slight bitterness from the tahini. I made another batch, but added some cinnamon to the milk. This one was pretty good as the cinnamon cuts the bitterness of the tahini. I had some for breakfast with my granola and the flavors complemented each other nicely. As a drinking beverage, it was filled with texture which wasn't unexpected just interesting. I thought it had the potential to make a great breakfast drink. Whip up some banana or pumpkin with the Chia seed milk and have a frothy shake to start the day.

Why are there only two comments? Well...my lovely family wouldn't go near my chunky milk, especially not after their sister/aunt said it was better than broccoli.

*I purchased my Chia Seeds from Native Seeds/SEARCH.