Posts Tagged sorghum flour

Cornbread; Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Agave Sweetened

    March 15 was the day of the 2011 Soup Supper annual fund raiser for The Caring Place. Every year the best restaurants in Georgetown contribute gallons of their specialty soups and TCP volunteers donate cornbread and desserts. Aside from baking we also put on aprons and serve our guests who come to enjoy the meal.

    There is also a silent auction featuring some of the very nicest things from the in-house Fabulous Finds resale store. Clothing from the boutique is modeled to show off the incredible quality that can be found in that department.

    Once again I baked gluten-free cornbread. Last year I made one batch of scratch cornbread and one batch from a mix. The scratch gluten-free version was no doubt the favorite. So this year I baked two double batches of scratch cornbread.

    I made a test batch a few weeks ago just to be sure I would not mess up a lot of expensive ingredients and I am glad that I did. I found that the cornmeal remaining from last year, carefully stored in the freezer, had developed an ‘off’ taste. So every year that I make this I will be sure to buy a fresh bag of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornmeal.

Cornbread; Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Agave Sweetened

Cornbread; Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Agave Sweetened

    Astigmatism makes cutting straight lines a challenge so I got out my ancient, trusty forms ruler from data processing days. Yes, the little sticker has my name on it. Back-in-the-day Don and I had his-and-her forms rulers; definitely a geeky household here.

Cornbread Measured with Forms Ruler

Cornbread Measured with Forms Ruler

    It is wonderful how many people turn out to support this organization. By the time I gathered my few remaining wits together we were winding down, most of the cornbread was gone, but I did manage to snap a photo of Amanda. She was charming and cheerful throughout the evening and the time passed very quickly.

Amanda Serving Cornbread

Amanda Serving Cornbread

    We were wearing the yellow construction ‘hard’ hats to call attention to the fact that work has already started on the new food pantry facility at The Caring Place. Donation boxes on the tables were another subtle reminder.

    Those of us who work in the pantry are delighted that this construction has begun. We are also anticipating a better warehouse area for managing the storage of food and more efficient stocking of the pantry.



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Inspired by a recipe from The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O’Brien.
Taste tested and certified by people who can eat any kind of cornbread they want.
Certified as ‘very good’ by two people who usually do not like cornbread!

   Our Georgetown, Texas organization known as The Caring Place (TCP) provides a wide variety of services for people. They have a yearly Soup Supper fund raiser. Local restaurants donate hearty soups while TCP volunteers bake cornbread and desserts. I volunteered cornbread; not that I have ever been a big fan of any kind of bread for the obvious glutenful reasons. Gluten-free cornbread was my objective and for this I needed help. I had to enlist taste testers who know how traditional cornbread is supposed to taste.
   My first attempt seemed dry and even gritty. My friend Ann verified this for me. I was working with gluten-free, stone ground cornmeal which is fairly coarse. For the next attempt I decided to go all out and try also to target those who have dairy and egg allergies which meant searching for a vegan recipe. The one I chose specified ‘egg replacer’ and neither that term nor product has ever appealed to me.
   Flax seed and chia seed both form a gelatinous, viscous mass reminiscent of egg white when soaked in liquid. Some recipes are beginning to call for these seeds as the binder to use in place of egg. And both of these seeds contribute substantial nutritional benefits – my idea of what you should use in your food. As best I can tell right now flax seed requires three times as much by measure to bind like chia. Earlier recipes just called for the ground seed mixed with the dry ingredients. But experience is proving that preparing the seed separately in advance gives much better results.
   For the non-dairy ‘milk’ I prefer a mixture of my favorite almond milk mixed half & half with regular canned coconut milk. These combine to enhance the slight sweetness of cornbread and provide extra moisture that contributes greatly to the unique taste and texture.

Chia Goop (binder):
1 teaspoon ground chia seed
3 tablespoons water
Mix together in a medium microwave bowl.
Heat the mixture for about 30-40 seconds (just until it boils).
Set aside for at least an hour; longer is better.
It should be viscous like egg white.

Dry Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
4 teaspoons GF baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup GF cornmeal

Liquid Ingredients:
1 cup non-dairy milk (1/2 cup almond + 1/2 cup coconut)
1/4 cup agave nectar (low-glycemic; provides extra moisture)
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 425*F. Oil a non-stick 8” square pan with the same vegetable oil used for the batter and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and blend with a whisk. Add the other wet ingredients to the chia preparation and whisk those together. Dump all of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour immediately into the prepared pan.

Place in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Test with a cake tester or toothpick to be sure. If you’ve done this before you can use the ‘touch test’. Cool briefly on a rack before cutting.

   I plan to pre-cut and wrap each serving piece separately to prevent cross-contamination with the regular cornbread. A package of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free cornbread mix will also be prepared. Gluten-free is very much in the news lately and this will be interesting to observe just how much demand there is for the gluten-free versions as opposed to traditional cornbread!


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Hamburger Buns!

   These wonderful buns were adapted from the recipe for Gluten Free Whole Grain Hamburger Buns at WHEATLESS & MEATLESS. I used tapioca flour instead of cornstarch and agave nectar instead of sugar (yeast likes pretty much anything that has calories to feed it). When I use egg whites and have no use for extra yolks then I pull out the dry egg white powder and reconstitute it. This is a great basic recipe however you tweak it!

   If you do not have access to great commercial gluten-free baked goods it is worth your time to have a few basic bread recipes in your file so you can stockpile your own goodies. Having some really yummy basic breads stashed in the freezer can bring a smile to your face when you need a mood lift.
   The first pass at making these buns was very rewarding as far as technique and the wholesomeness of the ingredients. Plus I inherited two muffin-top pans (remember those?) from my friend Lynn and put them to good use with these buns.
   Don cooked burgers, potato salad, and deviled eggs for dinner. Having a bun for my burger for the first time in years meant that I cut my potato portion way back but that’s OK. Bun, burger, mayo, and lettuce – that is a luxury item for us gluten-free people! The next day at lunch one of the leftover deviled eggs cut up and sandwiched in a bun was my first egg-salad sandwich in probably twenty years.
   Make these ahead of when you need them and when you also have the time to be patient with the yeast. Yeast can be cranky if you try to rush it. Bake these buns until they are golden. Allow them to cool completely and then wrap and use them as needed. Most of mine are stored in the freezer until the next craving overwhelms me!

Aren’t These Beautiful?

Aren’t These Beautiful?

2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons agave syrup or your choice of sugar for the yeast
1 1/2 cups water at 125*F

1 cup tapioca flour/starch
1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
1/2 cup teff flour
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites (reconstituted dry egg white works fine)

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds for topping (they do not toast during baking)

Oil your pan(s), dust with cornmeal (or not) and set aside. The cornmeal gives them a little bit of extra ‘finish’.

Toast your sesame seeds in a small skillet on the stove top or in a glass pie plate in the microwave if you prefer them toasted like I do. Be careful, they go quickly.

Preheat your oven to the lowest setting possible. Then turn off the heat. This should give you a safe warm place for the buns to rise. It keeps the curious at bay (husband, children, cats, etc.)

Whisk your sugar, water and yeast in small bowl. Mix salt, xanthan gum, flours on low in your mixing bowl. Mix the egg whites, oil and vinegar in a medium bowl. When the yeast mixture is foamy, add it to the flour mixture. Then add the egg white mix to the flour and yeast. Turn on the mixer and process the batter on medium speed for four minutes. It will most likely ‘climb’ your mixer beaters so have a spatula handy to push it back down if necessary. Scoop batter, 1/3 cup per bun, and place on or into your pans.

Dip a spatula in water and use it to smooth and shape the tops of your buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover and let rise to double in a safe warm place. Remove the buns briefly from the oven until you can raise the oven heat up to 350*F. Return the buns to the oven and bake for about 20- 30 minutes (all ovens bake differently). Keep an eye on them as the time gets close. They should be golden and toasty but not at all dark. Makes approximately 12 buns (these were four inches in diameter).

Split them with a sharp serrated knife and pile on the fillings and spreads of your choice!


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Those Gluten-free Flours

   Bob’s Red Mill produces a wide variety of gluten-free flours. My local HEB grocery in Georgetown stocks quite a few of them but occasionally I drive to Round Rock or Austin to pick up the others. This list consists solely what I have on hand. It was a surprise to realize what variety was there after pulling bags out of the back shelf corners, the door shelves, and bins. This made me realize that there is no organization system in there. And that’s not going to happen anytime soon 😉

Gluten free flour list in no particular order:
White rice
Brown rice

   Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free  coincidentally happens to be writing about what she has found regarding the various qualities of gluten-free flours and how to use them. So I’m just going to mention the ones that work the best for me and the ones that don’t cooperate so well.
   Coconut is my absolute favorite flour. It has an elusive fragrance that adds to the yummy quality of sweet baked goods. Even if the recipe is based on other flours I sneak in a tablespoon of coconut flour much like you would use vanilla to intensify other flavors as in my Pumpkin-Spice-Raisin Cookies .
   Garbanzo bean flour is another favorite. I started using it with recipes from Erin McKenna’s recipe book, BabyCakes , most especially my version of Cinnamon Toasties.  Erin demonstrated this recipe on Martha Stewart which is where I discovered it. WARNING: You do need to be aware that most of her recipes call for a flour blend that includes fava bean flour. That is a concern for a small segment of the population who can have a serious anemia reaction known as favism. Read about favism here. A friend had that reaction and needed a transfusion to save his life. The source of the fava bean ingestion was never discovered. As a result there will never be any fava bean products in my kitchen.
   Tapioca flour is used a lot in blends to help provide a nicer crust especially if you are working with a recipe with naturally low sugar content or substituting for sugar with non-nutritive sweeteners.
   Potato flour provides a significant amount of iron whereas potato starch does not. The flour is somewhat heavier than the starch but when balanced in a blend it works just fine.
   Sorghum flour has an aroma when baking that almost makes me believe that there is wheat flour in the recipe. It is especially good in breads.
   My favorite sweet baking blend is found in my recipe for Date Cake – Revisited, my gluten free adaptation of Ricki’s Mrs. K’s Date Cake found on her Diet, Dessert, & Dogs blog. And as I noted in that post – first attempts do not always produce wonderful results. My blend works in many other recipes found in Ricki’s book, Sweet Freedom. I have been baking from that book for months now.
   Amaranth and quinoa pack some powerful nutrition having a complete amino acid profile which translates to high quality protein. And while you want to use them for that reason the strong flavors make it difficult to find a suitable recipe match. So far they have not worked for me in breads or sweets. My one real success is amaranth in my savory Lentil Patties. It might be that quinoa would work there also. If you have a recipe that is happy with quinoa flour I would love to try it!
   Hazelnut is a recent purchase but so far I have not tried the recipe for which it is intended. That would be another of Ricki’s fabulous recipes, Hazelnut Melting Moments.
   Teff flour is another recent acquisition and I intend to use it in bread recipes. If you happen to be in a baking mood . . . Stephanie at A Year of Slow Cooking has a book out called Make It Fast, Cook It Slow and it has directions on how to bake bread in a crockpot. Intriguing!
   It’s no wonder my friend Lynn once commented that you need a separate freezer just to store your gluten free flour!


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