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Friday, May 29, 2015

Gluten Free Pizza - because he's missing pizza day....

Jim was talking about missing pizza, and I do know that some local pizza franchises will make pizza with a gluten-free crust.  But frankly, we love to make a home-made pizza.  It was an easy meal to make for me, and a great way to use up some leftover ingredients.  I would make the no knead bread dough, let it sit and rise, then roll it out as a crust and throw sauce and toppings on.

Unfortunately, can't do that anymore.  But Jim will miss that.  We found a pizza crust mix at the Bulk Barn the other day and bought some of that to try.  I gave it a go tonight.

I mixed it as per the instructions and it makes more of a batter than a dough.  I spread parchment onto the baking sheet, oiled it and spread the batter out in a thin disc, and baked it as per the instructions.

Actually, it came out not bad.  It rather had the texture of a thick tortilla.  It was not light and fluffy like a bread crust, and there was no crispiness, but not bad.

I sauced it, topped it, and baked it until the toppings were melted and browned/

It was not bad.  Jim did not love it the way he loved the pizza before, but he was happy that he did have a pizza option.  Besides, it's the toppings that really make the pizza, right?  In this case, onions, mushrooms, cheese, and bacon.  The second one had red onions, bacon, and pineapple.

I will be on the lookout for other things to try, but this may be a good quick go to for future meals!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Princess Gingerella...

Here is my 4x4" chunky of Ginger.  Her's is done with a royal purple background, because she is a princess, her royal majesty, Princess Gingerella - daddy's little girl.  This is also a gel medium transfer, coloured and mounted on card stock for body.

The wings are made from vellum, and a little golden embossed crown for our little princess.

Our sweet little baby-boo.  All the worthy puppies are "boos".

She's still with us, but all the puppers have wings because they are little angels... with a bit of the devil at times, but mostly angels.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Potato Bread - gluten free baking continues...

So I am still on the search for a decent homemade yeast bread that is gluten free - something Jim can use to make a sandwich with.

Version one was a bit dry and crumbly (though not bad fresh, or toasted) - made good croutons though...

Version two made a very loose batter, and the bread rose, but then deflated after baking.  Texture was not too bad though.

Version three was crumbly and dry too - a bit coarse and dense, like a dry cornbread.

So today, I am trying version 4.

This is a potato bread; my version of Cybele Pascal's potato bread from her Allergen Free cookbook. I added back in the dairy and egg, otherwise tried to stay close to the recipe.  It was a bit fussy, but lets see how the results are...

Potato Bread
makes 1 9x5 loaf of bread

1/4 C warm water (110-120F)
1 Tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp quick rise yeast

3 1/2 C Gluten Free Bread Flour mix (see below recipe)
1/2 C millet flour
1 Tbsp Xantham gum
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
6 small to medium white potatoes, peeled, diced
2 tsp salt
1/3 C firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, plus 1 Tbsp
1 cup 2% milk
1 large egg

Combine the warm water, and sugar with the yeast in the bowl of the mixer.  Stir well to dissolve the sugar and yeast.  Set aside to let the yeast foam up.

Whisk together flour mix, millet flour, xantham gum, and cardamom, in a separate bowl.  Mix together well, and set aside.

Peel, rinse, and dice potatoes, into 1 inch chunks.

In a small pan, place potatoes with a small amount water and bring to boil, covered.  Steam until cooked through and easily pierced by a fork.

Drain excess water, and mash well in pan.  Measure out one packed cup, and place into separate pan. Cool and store remaining potatoes for another use.

In a small pan, combine mashed potatoes, milk, salt, butter, and remaining brown sugar.  Stir well over medium-low heat until butter is melted, and let temp rise to 110-120 F (not any higher!).

Add egg to the yeast mixture in mixing bowl and stir well.  Add the potato mixture to the mixing bowl and beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment until well combined, about 1 minute.

Add the flour mixture, in two batches, mixing well on medium speed for about 1 minute, until well combined.  Dough will be sticky.

Grease, or line a 9x5 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Use a spatula to remove dough and pat into a disc about 7inches in diameter, 1 1/2 inches thick.  Flip, and roll into a rectangle about 11 inches long, and 1 1/2 inches thick.  Start on the longer edge and roll up.  Seal the edges tightly and lightly pat down to remove any air pockets.  Place the seal on the bottom and tuck the ends down towards the seam, and place roll in prepared pan.  Melt 1 tbsp butter and brush across the top of the loaf.

Place pan in middle of large roaster and pout hot water into roaster, until halfway up side of pan.   Cover loaf pan with a dry kitchen towel, folded so as not to dip into the water.  Place in oven and shut door, and allow to rise for 1 hour.  At 30 minutes, if water is cold, replace with more hot water, and continue to let rise, until almost doubled in size.

not bad - it got pretty good rise!
Remove roaster from oven and remove pan from roaster.  Place pan back into center of the oven and turn oven to 400 F, let bake for 20 minutes (from placing in cold oven), and then reduce temperature to 325 F and bake for another 40 minutes or until loaf is deeply golden on top.

Transfer to rack and turn out of pan, allow to cool completely.

Not bad - it came out moist, dense.  Crust was very crusty.  Could be a keeper?

Gluten Free Bread Flour mixture
makes 6 cups

1 1/2 C millet flour
1 1/2 C sorghum flour
2 C tapioca flour/starch
1 C potato starch (not flour)

Combine and mix well.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

What about the store bought stuff?

In the meantime, we have also bought over the past several weeks several brands of gluten free bread.

The low bar setting was the first bread I bought - Ener G tapioca flour white sandwich bread.  Terrible - Jim said it tasted like sawdust (which, as a renovator and a man who loves a wood burning fire, he has tasted many times), and the texture was that of a light piece of meat styrofoam.  This will not be bought again.  It was shelf stable, bought in the baked good section of a market near work.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ thumbs down.... waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down.

Next was the Irresistibles brand of gluten free of bread; it is a local store brand, and found in the fresh bread section.  It was soft, very white, and between the texture of bread/cake.  Jim rather liked it - but again, the bar was set pretty low with the Ener-G bread.  Another Irresistables product we bought definitely did not meet  with acceptance from Jim though - their macaroni and cheese was apparently terrible, and boiling for more than twice the recommended amount of time still yielded hard, gross pieces of uncooked pasta.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ so-so, willing to try again

After that, was All But Gluten sandwich bread, also found at the local market, at room temperature, in the baked good section.  It was also acceptable, and not unreasonably priced.  He felt that it made a decent sandwich bread.  We have in the meantime bought the hamburger buns made by this company, which had nice colour and texture - Jim liked them well enough, and also the peanut butter snack bars for Jim to try for extra energy at work - he said it tasted more honey than PB, but it was good.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ decent, will likely buy again

Finally, we bought the  kinnikinnick brand of bread, found in the freezer section, made in the US and quite pricey, but Jim says it is the winner so far of all the commercial brands so far.  It made a good sandwich, and the flavours of the fillings came through rather than the bread taste, and it maintained good texture.  He also liked the pseudo Oreos from this brand (I actually liked them more than actual Oreos).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ good!  will buy again

I also bought a package of the Glutino white bread for him.  It was in the freezer section of the local Walmart.  It felt like it had potential, nice size, a bit pricey, but it seemed nice, light, and decent texture.  I guess I will find out when Jim comes home from his weekend away what he thinks of it.  It gets top ratings in one of the glutin free mags I have, so hopefully it lives up to the reviews!
Update:  he stated that he did not like this bread as much as the kinnikinnick bread above.  The texture was soft, and elastic, so I felt it was closer to wheat flour white bread, but he felt it was too "airy", too many holes, and the flavour was not as good as the other bread.  However, it would be second to it!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ not bad, probably would be number 2 or 3, and would buy again!