Posts tagged ‘baking’

Pizza Please with a Cherry on Top!

What’s your favorite pizza topping?


Continue Reading September 29, 2009 at 12:29 pm 8 comments

Tips for making gluten free bread


It took me almost a year and at least twenty terrible loaves (probably closer to 100), nearly as many that were edible but looked horrible and finally a successful gluten free bread recipe.  Another few months to make it into something reproducible.  Just because the stars all line up for that one wonderful loaf of bread doesn’t mean it can be done again and again!

I’ve been told that mine is the best gluten free bread ever!  One of my customers reports that her husband has given up wheat bread in favor of my gluten free version.

Here are my tips:

Mill your own rice (and other grains) to save considerable expense.

Using a favorite recipe, mix the dry ingredients in advance to make a “big batch” version.  I make a 4 loaf mix put that in a gallon zip loc bag in the refrigerator then every couple of days I make the loaves one at a time in my bread machine.  Or you can save in gallon canning jars.

It is also possible to bake gluten free bread the conventional way but the best results require a 400 degree oven, an hour to rise and an hour to bake so I rarely have that kind of time or want to heat the kitchen like a … well an oven! 

To make a gluten free loaf in a bread machine

  1. Place wet ingredients in the bread machine first.
  2. Cover the liquids with dry ingredients.
  3. Make a depression in the dry ingredients and put the yeast in that (don’t let it touch the liquid)
  4. With gluten free bread choose the bread machine setting with the longest rise time.
  5. You will need to mix the ingredients at least once with a spatula during the mix cycle. Resist the urge to add flour.
  6. When possible remove the paddle (mixer in the bottom) after the mix cycle but BEFORE the first rise.
  7. At this point you should be able to leave it alone and wait for yummy, hot bread!


Whether you have a GF setting or not your best loaf will result if you do at least these two things… (mentioned above and expanded on here).

  1. Give your dough a little attention in the mixing stage.  During the first 10 min most bread machines are warming and the next 20min or so is the mixing stage.  During the mixing stage it will serve you well to take a spatula and scrape the sides once or twice.  Gluten free dough is very sticky and wet it will never “clean the sides” like regular dough so you have to help it along.  The dough should be the consistency of thick pancake batter.  If it seems lumpy or if it does not stick to your spatula it most likely needs a tablespoon or two more water.  If it is quite runny and falls right off the spatula when mixed you may need to sprinkle in more rice flour. But in general you should resist the urge to add flour.
  2. Remove the paddle:  Bread machines have several cycles. One of the first cycles is mix, next is rise, then they go into a “knock down” cycle before the final bake stage.  Since gluten free bread will only rise once you will want to remove the paddle before the knock down stage or the result will be a dense loaf.  Once it is finished mixing you can remove the paddle by wetting a spatula and your hand, scrape most the dough away from the mixing paddle and then slip it off.  Wet the spatula again (or your hand) and smooth the dough back into a recognizable shape 🙂 then allow your bread machine to complete your gluten free wonder undisturbed!

This is the dough as it mixes…mix

Here is what the dough should look like when it has finished mixing…mix done

If you choose to bake your loaf you can spoon it into prepared loaf pans like this…bread1

Spread the dough with a spatula until smooth like this…bread2

Next allow to rise…bread3

Then bake.  Cover the bread with tin foil. Bake until the internal temp is around 180 or a toothpick comes out clean.  To get a darker crisper crust brush with olive oil and remove the cover for the last 5 min.bread4

Remove from the pan within 15min-20min of baking to avoid a soggy crust (even if you use a bread machine).  Allow to cool, slice and serve.bread5

Gluten free bread will usually only keep a couple days left out on a bread board covered with a towel.  If you keep it in an airtight container it will last up to 1wk.  

September 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm 14 comments

Finally Some Goodies!

No story, no background just plain ol’ cookie goodness! 

Chocolate chip cookies in two different versions your choice.

Be aware my baked goods are always a work in progress. I am big on texture and therefore if I discover a better way to create a “gluteny” counterfeit I will be sure to let you know.  Who doesn’t love experimenting with cookies?


Ooey Gooey Flat and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies: (GF of course)flat and gooey

Dry Ingredients: Mix together the following and set aside.

Oh boy, here we go.  I’ve found that with gluten free baking the flours make all the difference.  You may have other flour combinations you like to use based on your particular tastes so I suggest you try a recipe once and then experiment as you see fit.  Baking without gluten is a finicky business.  Disclaimer: This is not a healthy cookie so I don’t bother with the more expensive, denser brown rice flour and such.  Starches helps you get a non grainy texture.

  • 1/2 C white rice flour

    crush coffee

    crush the coffee

  • 1/2 C tapioca starch
  • 1/2 C corn starch
  • 1/4 C sweet rice flour
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum (revised from 1/2tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee, slightly crushed
  • 2/3 C chocolate chips (or more!)

Gooey Mix Ingredients: You’ll melt and mix the following then add the dry mix to this dough.

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (melted in a saucepan) next time I will try 1/3 cup

  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (room temp)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Melt the butter over low heat and combine with sugars. This is the “chewy” part!

butter mix

Beat the egg and vanilla extract into the butter mixture.

Combine dry ingredients and beat into butter mixture.


Stir in chocolate chips.

choc chips

Now don’t you dare…

eat it

 You didn’t see that!

Drop onto cookie sheet

warm gooey dough

Revisions: Chill the dough at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Drop in small teaspoons full on cooled cookie sheets (these spread quite a bit)

Bake at 375 for 6 min rotate the pan and bake another 4-6 minutes until done.

Yield 2 dozen medium cookies

I found these cookies to be sad looking (I’m not a flat fan) but after one bite I was sold! They are an incredible texture and oh so tasty!


Not So Chewy Fat and Fluffy Chocolate Chip Cookies: (GF of course)

pretty cookie



Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (leave it cold this time and cut into small squares)
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (cold)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C white rice flourdry ing
  • 1/2 C tapioca starch
  • 1/2 C corn starch
  • 1/4 C sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum (I think I might increase this to help with texture-see what you think)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee, slightly crushed
  • 2/3 C chocolate chips (this time you can’t get too greedy, the more chips the flatter the cookie)

Cut the butter into small cubes and combine with sugars.

Beat the egg and vanilla extract together then stir and smash (quickly) into the butter mixture and chill this mixture while you prepare the dry ingredients.


Combine dry ingredients and stir quickly into butter mixture.

Stir in chocolate chips.  Remember, we aren’t getting greedy this time, stick to the recipe.

chocolate chips

Chill this dough while the oven preheats (or wrap in a syran wrap tube and refrigerate for later use).

chilled dough

Bake at 375 for 5 min rotate the pan and bake another 3-5 minutes until done.

Do not use hot cookie sheets.  Don’t get impatient be sure to cool the sheet!

Yield 2 dozen medium cookies

These cookies were beautiful to look at, fluffier and cute but I’m afraid they suffered in texture. I think more xanthan gum may do the trick but I prefer the goey not so pretty version.  Which is your favorite?

Did you spot that picture above with the yellow blob on the right of the dough?  That’s my secret ingredient.  I had a baking dream… uh you might want to get out while you still can… and I saw myself using a secret ingredient to get the yummy flavor of the first flat cookies to lift and fluff into a mile high cookie.  Do you know what that ingredient was?  Guess what I might have sneaked into some of my cookies and come back Friday to see what it was.  It did actually work though I haven’t decided how much goes un-detected.

Don’t forget to check out what we made for dinner its a sticky issue!

July 7, 2009 at 6:40 pm 16 comments

You probably should NOT try this at home!

I’ve not been feeling well the past week or so (we’ve got a bug in our midst) so food has been low on my priority list but with the potential for visitors and my husband firing up the BBQ yesterday I got a great  idea!  How bout I try baking potato chips!

Can’t be too hard right?  I’ll just do what I do for oven french fries only leave them longer like I have done for crackers.  Fries/crackers. What could go wrong?  This was my thinking at least.  Make sense?  No I didn’t think so either but I just went with it. 

I used my slice and grate to cut the thinnest rounds I could manage out of 4 large yellow russets then I put them in a bowl of cold water to soak off the starch for about 10min.

Next I dried them off one by one… dry potatoes








We had three different cookie sheets going so we could determine which one yielded the best results.  It was fun to get creative with the seasonings.

First though, we coated each cookie sheet with vegetable oil.  Next we sprinkled the sheet with salt and pepper (with a little red pepper flake if you like a bit of zip) for the first, salt and onion powder for the second and for the third we dipped the potatoes in Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.  I placed the potatoes on the seasoned pan and then sprinkled more over the top.

Heat the oven to a whopping 475 degrees!

Here they are before going into the oven.season potatoes

I covered each sheet with tin foil and baked with the tin foil on for 20 min.

I removed them from the oven (it’s REALLY hot!) and took off the foil to investigate the progress.

Next I returned them to the oven (without the cover) and baked another 20min at 425 degrees.

At this point what I needed to do was remove any that were done (mainly the potatoes around the edge of each cookie sheet and flip the others, returning them to bake only 5-8min at a time.  Instead I was over confident since they appeared to be going so well. What potato chip couldn’t benefit from a little extra crunch right?  After all, I wasn’t going for french fries! 

I flipped them all over, removing one or two of the crunchiest one’s to “test”.  MMMm! Then returning the whole lot of them to the oven I put another 20min on the timer and went outside to water my veggies.

Twenty minutes later….oops potatoes



open the windows…

open the doors…

SHUT the oven!

Well, I do have to tell you the couple that I tried were delicious but I believe I will leave potato chip making to the professionals!

June 15, 2009 at 12:56 pm 9 comments

Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger

pizzaI have big plans for my “debut” at the Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger Event hosted by the Book of Yum.  Pizza is the recipe for me!

I picked a blogger who I’ve enjoyed getting to know during What’s for Dinner Wednesday’s and with whom I’ve had a couple laughs over the difficulties of trying to feed kids. If you ask my husband though, it’s harder to feed me. I’m sure Brian at Fire and Salt has a few tales of his own and can understand my husbands lament since he blogs about his gluten free journey on behalf of his wife’s celiac.

I did manage to make Brian’s pizza crust but right off the bat I broke the “cardinal” rule and made a change to the recipe. Hopefully Sea will forgive me since I’ve got three growing boys and one who is not supposed to be growing! I doubled the batch!  That’s a heck of a lot of egg whites, whew and fishing all those shells out, I’m a terrible egg cracker.eggs

Anyway I’m a rule breaker.  There I’ve said it I broke the rules and I’m begging forgiveness.

yeast proofingJPGBrian’s post for the crust/bread is very detailed and full of pictures I like that because I’m a visual learner.  Look Brian, we properly proofed the yeast!

As you can see, I enlisted some help.  Thing 1 thoroughly enjoyed  his supervisory roll and even got to help with the crust.

Brian’s recipe intrigued me because he had a solution for making the pizza crust look like it’s wheat counterpart with a nice rolled edge and all. Why didn’t I think of that? All this time I’ve been rolling and squashing, flattening and fluffing like crazy trying to get something with an edge that wouldn’t let all the goodies spill off in the oven. Brian solved it for me with a recipe to boot! assembly

I will be in touch with the Firefigher Blogger to see if he has suggestions for adjusting the recipe for my dry dry climateready for toppings but other than being a tad dry (I’m sure due to the vast difference between Seattle by the sea vs. arid intermountian Idaho) I was very pleased with the outcome and despite my hopes of having extra pizza for lunch on day two, the boys and I polished two pizza’s off in one night.

Thanks Brian and thank you Sea for allowing me to participate in all my rule breaking glory!

pizza done

Ta da!  She’s a beauty!


May 31, 2009 at 9:49 pm 12 comments

Xanthan Gum vs. Guar Gum

Updates 2012:

Here are some knowledgeable women on this same topic whose advice I respect and trust. I hope you find these sources helpful in this ongoing debate.

Gluten Free Girl said in this great and informative post: Read the whole thing, it’s great! Thanks for alerting me to this post, Stephanie

So far, Danny and I have found that most recipes don’t need any replacements or gums or additives. Cookies, muffins, quick breads, cakes, biscuits, flour for dredging fish or batter for fried chicken? Don’t worry about the gums. Just make sure you are working with the right ratio of flours to fats to eggs to liquid in your batter or dough. So far, everything gluten-free that I have baked uses the same ratio as the gluten recipes.

Karen from Only Sometimes Clever said in the comments below:

Just thought I’d update a little: I’m trying to get away from all xanthan gum. I’m just increasingly uncomfortable with it not being a real, whole food. Guar gum is a ground up seed, and is totally natural.

It is a lot more difficult to work with — it can clump in wet goods, and it doesn’t “glue” things together as well as xanthan. But, when well-combined with dry goods first, there’s no problem. I have also found that guar gum gives better “loft” to the batter, before it is even baked. I haven’t re-tried it in yeast bread yet, but I’ve had good success with using guar in muffins, cupcakes, pancakes, and cookies. :)

There were many other thoughts and experiences expressed in the comments below. Feel free to read through and happy gluten free baking!

**** My original experience below. Was it the weather? You decide.****

I’ve been told that xanthan gum and guar gum are interchangeable in gluten free baking so I bought guar gum last time because the store was out of xanthan gum.  Below are the results…

Guar Gum Loaf

Guar Gum Loaf

I couldn’t even get the bread out of the pan without it falling apart, we made this loaf into french toasts since the egg helped keep it together.  I couldn’t bear to give it to the chickens.
Below is the exact same recipe a week later using xanthan gum…

April 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm 38 comments

What, it’s Wednesday? My Baked Potatoes-woes!

img_1965smCan I just say my dinner this week is somewhat disappointing?  I hope I have not failed to mention that I am not the most talented cook on the block and sometime (lots of times) with four hungry boys, if you count my husband, and a precious but needy infant I get completely behind and dinner sneaks suddenly upon us.  This blog is my way of coping with those crazy gluten free goof ups that happen everyday.  My kids get nutty around meal times and I often feel completely overwhelmed by needing to eat healthy, well rounded, allergen free, yet decent food!

My Darlings try to be helpful but a seven, five and almost 2 yr olds antics around dinner are well, can we say, disastrous?  Thing 2 thought it would be good fun to start off his meal with a nice green — glass of water?!  How did he do it, you ask?  By climbing onto the counter and getting food coloring out of the baking cupboard.  Not too shabby of an idea until he left it all out on the floor and the Bubba (not yet 2) discovered how fun it is to “decorate” the floor, his belly, his hands….  Now that’s helpful!  Meanwhile Thing 1 (my responsible 7yr old) decides to start out with milk and chocolate sauce, helping himself to a wholesome “dinner” as well.  Little Pee Wee is crying her eyes out and Bubba is covered in food coloring while I am frantically attacking the stain on the floor hoping that the new blue will come off! Is it really dinner time?  Don’t tell me it’s What’s for Dinner Wednesday.


“I can pull this off,” the pep talk begins, “just get Mr Frosted Belly into the tub and start some dinner!” 

Fine and dandy I can do this!  But…I also found out this week that Polident makes a pretty aggressive laxative when ingested in large quantities by busy toddlers who have surprisingly nimble fingers and an equally surprising ability to climb.  Bath time was quite an adventure.  Bubba goes into the tub… then out onto the potty for a false alarm, back in… and out onto the potty…in… but before he is clean he doesn’t make it back onto the potty and I have yet another disaster!  Finally after a SHOWER, Bubba is clean and dinner…. OH NO!  DINNER! 

Don’t even ask WHY I had polident in the house, I seriously do not know and no, neither my husband or I wear dentures but I’m sure getting old fast!

My What’s for Dinner Wednesday, sadly is another Un-Recipe.  But, seriously, one of the most valuable things to remember when on a gluten free diet is there are many, more naturally gluten free foods than we first let ourselves believe.  Potatoe’s are one of those wonderfull, natrually gluten free foods and they are really quite inexpensive.

Baked Potatoes Un-Recipe:

Wash please and poke some holes in a couple large potatoes.  Potatoes are grown underground in fertilizer.  We all know what makes great fertilizer!  Always scrub potatoes, they can be a culprit for icky illnesses if you don’t!  I personally like the Yukon Gold and Large Reds, but Russets work just fine.  You can start by baking your potatoes in the microwave.  NO FOIL!  After the magically appearing Polident incident no one can be too careful!  Bake approx. 10min (for large potatoes) while you preheat the oven to 450 degrees and then finish them in the oven for another 15min.   This gives you the best of both worlds; faster baking but not all dried out and shriveled. 

There are so many things you can top a baked potato with:

Good ol’ stand by’s like sour cream, and chives or butter and cracked pepper

Or get a little more creative with salsa, cottage cheese, chili, ground beef or turkey, white sauce with broccoli….

If you don’t prefer regular potatoes there are delicious recipes for sweet potatoes (which also cook up quick with help from a little microwaving) and I’ve heard from a little birdie that sweet potatoes mixed half and half with regular potatoes make a great mashed version.

Leave me a comment including your favorite baked potato topping!

March 10, 2009 at 7:49 pm 12 comments

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MATT - Food Creativity Consultant, Joyful Partner in Crime JESSIE - Photographer, Amateur Food Critic, Blog Author CAPTAIN OBVIOUS - formerly Thing 1 Thing 1 SCARFUNKLE - formerly Thing 2 IMG_3466 LOUD KIDDINGTON - formerly THE BUBBA 3 PEE WEE MINI ME BORN March 8, 2011

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Food Fun

Sourdough Update

Many of you have been checking back for results on my sourdough creation. At the moment it is still a science experiment, but a happy, bubbly experiment. Never fear, recipes will be here! I did make a beautiful, moist and delicious loaf of sourdough using yeast and a myriad of other ingredients but I'm still trying to create something more user friendly. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a starter on the counter that you could add 4 things to and have a loaf of bread by dinner? Mmmm! Attempt #1 - rose well but resulted in a dense chewy blob Attempt #2 - rose ok but was thin and lifeless then fell and another dense (not so chewy) blob Attempt #3 - to the dogs! Attempt #4 - A sourdough pancake success see post under what's for breakfast gluten-free goof? Ongoing - I've tried several more times and am going to try a completely different approach on the bread starting this week. (Mar 18). My sourdough is still happy on my counter and it makes great pancakes but it's a lot of work just for pancakes. Keep checking! April Update: She is still kickin and I'm still workin on a yeast free, gluten free sourdough loaf! May Update: My sourdough "pet" has been dried and retired until next baking season. I've traded her in for a hotter model, the BBQ! :)
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