A Perfect Loaf

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I thought the sourdough loaf that GMan managed to produce 3 months ago was good and you can see it here.  He has continued to work on fine-tuning the method and I think his most recent effort is pretty well perfect.

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It must be about time he tried making that gluten-free starter for me.  🙂

Pizza Recipe – An Update

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2017-04-20 01

It has been brought to my attention that I made what could only be described as a monumental error in the recipe for the pizza bases which I posted yesterday.

There were 2 lines which were different quantities of olive oil – one line should have read ‘warm water’.  This has now been corrected and I sincerely hope that no-one has made it from the original copy.

Secondly, in response to a comment on the post I will explain a little about psyllium.  Yes, it is a laxative but that is not the reason for using it in the pizza bases.  As Monica Topliss, the author of the recipe book explains, it is the ‘secret ingredient’ in many of her gluten-free recipes as it provides the elasticity that is lacking with the absence of gluten.  Using this theory I have managed to successfully make my own gluten-free pasta.  Psyllium is also purported to assist in lowering cholesterol levels.  Here in Australia it is readily available in supermarkets and health food shops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Perfect Pizza

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For the past couple of years I have been making gluten-free pizza bases and tonight I want to share the recipe with you.

I have previously posted about making pizzas here but did not published the recipe as it included a specific blend of flour which was only available in the recipe book.  However, the ‘recipe’ for the flour blend is now available on the internet and you can look it up here.

The recipe below is the quantities I use.  It is actually double the original recipe and I find it makes 6 bases.

Pizza Bases

Ingredients

600g MGF flour blend
16g psyllium
2 teaspoons raw sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons dried yeast
40ml olive oil
520ml warm water

Method

  1.  Turn the oven on to 100 degrees C and set a timer for 5 minutes.  Turn the oven off after 5 minutes.
  2.  Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Add warm water and oil.  Mix well.  (I use the Kitchen Aid mixer on a low speed).
  3.  The mixture will seem quite runny at first but will soon firm up as the psyllium absorbs the moisture.
  4. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place in the warm oven to rise for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and divide into 6 equal pieces.

The original recipe suggests rolling the dough out on a greased tray, allow to rise for 20 minutes then add toppings and bake for 15 minutes at 220 degrees C.

My version is a little different.  I roll the dough out on baking paper, bake on a tray for 8 minutes at 180 degrees C.  When cooled I freeze the pre-cooked bases ready for future use.

This is the pizza maker that I use which has a pizza stone set into it.

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Here is a sample of the end result.  We ate it tonight.

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NOTE:  I reuse the baking paper and store it in a ziplock bag in the freezer between uses.

Sourdough Success

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I am pleased to report that in a little under 2 months since his first attempt GMan has baked a very respectable sourdough loaf.

In this post from February I mentioned that the first effort was a failure.  In fact, unmitigated disaster might be an accurate description.  Since then he has persevered and tweaked the technique with a few more loaves which have been edible – best toasted.  I have been watching from the sidelines as this is not gluten-free.

The loaf which GMan baked tonight is the most impressive so far and he is justifiably rather proud of it.

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I think a couple of things contributed to the success.  Firstly, the ‘starter’ is maturing with time and secondly, he cooked it in an enamel cast-iron lidded pot rather than on a tray.

This is about as ‘cooked from scratch’ as you can get with only 3 ingredients used – flour, salt and water.

My next challenge for GMan is to create a gluten-free ‘starter’.  Watch this space for more details in the future.

Gift Giving

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I have probably been reading far too much on various groups on social media but I am feeling really fed up with what Christmas gift giving seems to have become.

Just to give some context to this post, I am 58 and grew up in what some would regard as a simpler time.  I am one of 4 siblings.

As far as I can remember, we each received a gift from our parents and one from Santa.  We would buy, individually or jointly a small gift for each of our siblings as well as our parents.  Our pocket money, sometimes supplemented by Mum, was used for these purchases.  There were modest gifts from our grandparents and some aunts and uncles but these were often for the family (a tin of biscuits or perhaps, a lottery ticket).  There was no buying for sundry work colleagues, friends, neighbours, teachers or classmates.

I am amazed by the number of people who are busily trying to give gifts to dozens of people who barely rate as acquaintances.  For a variety of reasons (eg: budget, environmental or anti-consumerist) many are choosing to give gifts which they have made.  This may seem a noble idea but is it really very smart?

Consider a teacher with 25 children in the class.  How many boxes of chocolates, handmade candles, sleighs made from candy canes, homemade fudge and so on can one person realistically use?  Whatever happened to a writing a thoughtful, heartfelt note as acknowledgement of a job well done?

The final straw, as far as I am concerned, came from a forum in which someone posed the question, “Talking about homemade Christmas gifts (specifically food items). Is it standard for people to just throw them in the garbage?”  There were in excess of 150 responses which ranged from “I never eat anything that I have not prepared myself” to “How wasteful – of course I would eat it” and everything in between.

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It seems that the reality is at odds with the fancy photos in recipe books, websites and Pinterest.

My contribution to the discussion was, “I am very disappointed that this happens. It serves to remind me that no presents is actually the best idea”.  Of course, I am not talking about immediate family or a select number of friends to whom you are very close.

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This brings me back to the point of this post.  Why is everyone madly rushing around buying (or making) gifts for people we barely know? Are we simply trying to keep up with (or outdo) everyone else?

Half of these gifts are unnecessary, unwanted ‘stuff’ which may end up in the garbage, landfill or op shop before January is over.  How would you feel if you knew the fate of your gifts?  Would it change you pattern of behaviour?

What are your thoughts and experiences?

 

An Easter Recipe

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Happy Easter!

The desktop computer will not be back in action until the middle of the week so I am struggling with and old laptop which is very slow and not responsive.  However, I am determined to persevere and bring you a recipe for gluten-free hot cross buns.

Here is the original recipe which I used for the first batch which I made on Tuesday. The only alteration I made was to add another teaspoon of psyllium husk instead of the teaspoon of xanthum gum.

The initial prototype was acceptable but I felt I could improve on the recipe a little.

The instructions said that the recipe made 8 buns so I followed this and they were much too large for my liking.  The buns also tended to spread on the tray rather than rise.  Additionally, we prefer more spice and fruit.  I made a note of this for my second attempt.

Here is my amended recipe with method and photos.  Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients.  I have divided the ingredients into separate sections accoring to the method.

GLUTEN-FREE HOT CROSS BUNS

Ingredients

1 cup sultanas
1 cup boiling water

7g dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
120ml warm water

24g psyllium husk
3 eggs
250ml hot water

3 cups gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons bicarb soda
1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
75g sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1 orange

1 egg
1 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons gluten-free flour
Water

Method

Place sulatanas in a small bowl and cover with boiling water and allow to stand.

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Combine yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl and set aside to activate.

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In a another bowl combine the eggs and psyllium then add the add hot water and set aside to thicken.

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Place a large bowl of hot water in the oven and turn oven to 100C.  Set timer for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes turn the oven off and remove the bowl.  This means the oven will be perfect for the dough to rise.

Place the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, sugar, spices and orange zest in a bowl and combine.  Add the yeast mixture and egg mixture and mix thoroughly.  Finally, drain the excess water from the sultanas and stir them into the dough.  This step could be done by hand but I use my Kitchen Aid mixer.

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Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface.  Although kneading is not required for gluten-free baking (no gluten to stretch) you can gently roll and fold the dough a few times before dividing it into suitable sized portions.  I weighed my balls of dough and chose to make them 75g each which yielded 17 buns.

Place balls of dough into muffin pans or on a tray and set the tray in the pre-warmed oven for 45 minutes.

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While the dough is rising prepare the egg wash to brush the top of the buns by whisking the egg and water together.  Make the mixture for the crosses.  Blend together the flour and enough water to make a smooth paste which can be piped onto the buns.  Place the flour paste into a plastic bag and snip a tiny piece off one corner.

Remove dough from the oven and turn oven on to 200C to heat while you finish the buns.  Brush with egg wash.  Pipe crosses onto the buns.

Return buns to the oven set at 200C and cook for 20 – 25 minutes.

Place the sugar and orange juice in a saucepan and simmer gently until reduced and thickened.

When the buns are cooked remove from the oven and drizzle with the orange glaze.

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Ready to eat.

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I was very pleased with the result and the final word comes from my friend who said that it was just like the commercially produced fruit loaf.  This has inspired me to try baking this recipe as a loaf which could be sliced and toasted.

NOTE:  The other variation is the type of flour used.  The original rice uses tapioca and brown rice flour.  I use my own mixture which includes both of these as well as potato and quinoa flours.  You can choose a commercial gluten-free flour or you own combination as long as it totals 3 cups.

 

 

 

 

Dinner – Gluten Free Quiche

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Although you can buy gluten-free pastry and it is possible to make it from scratch there is an easier option for the base of a quiche or savoury pie.

Quiche Base

1.5 cups cooked rice
1 egg
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients, press mixture into a dish, chill for 30 – 60 minutes then add filling and proceed as for regular pastry case.

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Like pizza, quiche is great for using up small amounts of various ingredients for the fillings.  The combinations are limited only by your imagination.  Remember, that you do not need huge amounts of filling.

Today, I used bacon, mushroom and broccolini.  1 rasher of bacon, 1 mushroom, 1/2 onion and about half of a small bunch of broccolini.

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Here it is chopped up and ready.  I kept the stalks and florets of the broccolini separate. The onion is frozen as I have about 7 kgs of diced frozen onion in my freezer.  You can read about it here.

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I sauteed the onion and bacon before adding the chopped stalks and finally the mushroom and florets of the broccolini.

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I allowed the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes before spreading over the base of the quiche.

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I then covered this with 1 cup and grated cheese.

The final step is to make the custard, for that is essentially what a quiche is – savoury custard.  I never follow a specific recipe for this but it is a mixture of milk and eggs.

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Today I used:

3 eggs (they are extra large from our chickens)
1/4 cup double cream
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon skim milk powder
Pinch of salt
Ground black pepper

Beat the ingredients thoroughly.

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Carefully pour the egg mixture over the filling.

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Don’t worry if the egg mixture does not cover the cheese.  It is best not to overfill the dish or you will find that it overflows during cooking.

Bake at 180C for 35 – 40 minutes or until firm to touch and golden.

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The rice crust can be made using whatever rice you prefer.  I use brown rice as it works equally as well as white.  Make sure the rice is well-cooked to help it stick together.

The filling can be any combination of whatever you choose.

The custard mixture is  milk and/or cream and eggs.  I happened to have the cream as it was bought to have with dessert last week when we had guests.  I generally do not have cream and tend to use skim milk powder blended with a smaller amount of water than normal to mimic evaporated milk.  From memory, I think it is about 1 cup of milk powder to 1/2 cup of water.