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Kitchen sink baking

I just made some gluten-free crackers. They aren't bad. They contain, on a foundation of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Flour (which is mostly garbanzo and fava bean flour):
  • toasted white sesame seeds
  • brown rice flour
  • toasted black sesame seeds
  • poppy seeds (caraway seeds would be good too)
  • almond flour
  • coconut flour
  • potato starch
  • parmesan cheese
  • a little butter (coconut oil next time, I think)
  • a little flaxseed oil (maybe some flaxseeds next time?)
  • an egg
  • a little curry powder
  • a spoonful of Marmite
  • baking soda
  • black pepper
  • xanthan gum
I sort of threw dry things in the bowl, then added fats and egg and water till it all stuck together.

Rolled out thin, cut into circles, and baked slowly till dry, they're pretty tasty, and they have a nice crunch. The texture is a bit sandy, but I'm beginning to realize that that's just a hazard of GF baking, because the flours that have any body at all are highly fibrous. I don't love the distinctly beany flavor of the bean-based flours, but I don't hate it, and using the much tastier coconut and almond flours would be too expensive.

I'd post a picture of them but they're just beige circles with black speckles. They taste good with sharp cheddar cheese on 'em, and I bet they'll be good with tuna, too.

This entry is cross-posted from DarkEmeralds on Dreamwidth.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2010 04:53 am (UTC)
What in the world is Marmite? It sounds like a rock, lol.

BTW, you inspired me to go wheat free ... at least for Lent. I'm not Catholic, but my hubby is so I decided to go wheat free and sugar free for the 40 days of Lent. It's not the easiest thing in the world but I'm doing it. Hooray!
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:07 am (UTC)
Wow! Wheat free and sugar free together? I'm impressed.

Marmite is the love-it-or-hate-it yeast-based brown savory goo that's sold in the UK in small jars. It falls into the same general category as soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce as a kind of fermented, umami flavoring agent. It's actually kind of good on hot buttered toast, but there's not a lot of that in my life right now.

Good luck with the Lenten regimen. I would imagine that anyone's health would benefit from giving up both wheat and sugar.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:25 am (UTC)
Marmite sounds rather ... unappetizing, lol.

Yeah, I feel pretty good being off both wheat and sugar, and have lost a few pounds (which I hope continues!) which is always a good thing!
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:27 am (UTC)
Good for you!
Mar. 3rd, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
One of the foodie blogs reported yesterday that Marmite is making an extra-special Limited Edition XO Ultra-Marmite for those for whom the regular stuff just isn't Marmite-y enough. ETA: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkintheroad/archives/2010/03/marmite_you_eit.php#moreBut if you do like Marmite and don't have GF toast to put it on, people also use it as the vegetarian equivalent of bouillon cubes or instant miso soup.

BTW, in my neighborhood, the Indian stores all sell whole almonds for about $5/lb, so if you really like almond flour you can easily make it just by putting almonds into a food-smashing-up apparatus like a blender or food processor and stopping before it turns into almond butter (which wouldn't be the worst fate in the world either).

Edited at 2010-03-03 03:18 pm (UTC)
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC)
"Beef jello" is a surprisingly good description of Marmite's flavor. I love the stuff. I'll have to seek out the XO just for grins. That's fantastic.

And yes, Trader Joe's almonds are also about five bucks a pound, and I'm going to try making some fine almond meal in my food processor. Adding a handful of some other flour that I'll be using anyway--like coconut--would probably help prevent the turn to almond butter.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
Also, here's the GF adaptation of what is said to be a stunningly delicious chocolate sheet cake. It doesn't rise high, but I daresay that rounds of it would fit into a tiffin:

Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
Sweet mother of god, that sounds good!

Hee! You are really into the round-for-the-tiffin thing! And you're right, that cake would make a lovely middle-tier filler. What a treat. I'm trying it soon.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:49 pm (UTC)
It's the right "size" of problem--it calls for a refreshing degree of changed thinking, but it's easy to come up with what are at least usable if not best-of-breed solutions.
Mar. 4th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC)
I thought I would report back that, on the strength of the sheer lust that that blog post inspired in me, I went home and baked that chocolate sheet cake last night and it's...

...kind of gross, really. Note that the cake itself has NO SUGAR in it. I re-read it a dozen times to make sure I wasn't overlooking something. I searched on "sugar" to see if even in the comments, someone pointed out that the recipe was posted in error.

But no. Apparently the cake is dependent on the frosting, which is really strange, to say the least. The mysteries of GF baking are still opaque to me, and I could have done something wrong, but the xanthan-gum-strengthened cake batter was more like Play-Doh, and baked up very thin and rubbery--like an eggy, thick crepe. Not bad in itself, and had there been any sugar in it it might have made a nice jelly-roll of some sort--maybe with whipped cream and raspberry jam or marmalade.

But the powdered-sugar-dependent frosting is just nastily sweet, and goes on so thickly that it's actually thicker than the pancake-cake.

Not my best-ever use of a pound of butter, but an interesting exercise in what xanthan gum does. And as my first major GF baking failure, it's not TOO spectacular.

Mar. 4th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
Oh dear! Sorry for the bum steer! And our faith in that particular source will now have to be heavily qualified.

ETA: Maybe a better save than "thick, ucky icing" would be a layer of all-fruit spread (raspberry or cherry, say?)

Edited at 2010-03-04 08:57 pm (UTC)
Mar. 4th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
Nah. GFGirl is really good, and I'm sure I made a few missteps in the baking. I should have known that a pound of powdered sugar would make a candy-like frosting. I don't even LIKE frosting, and ought to have just put some sugar into the cake.

I do like the jelly-roll pan approach, though, and will try it again.
Mar. 4th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
Jam and whipped cream.

Preserves and sweetened creme fraiche or mascarpone.

There are a number of good possibilities.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:03 am (UTC)
Speaking of Bob's Red Mill, have you seen this?
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:09 am (UTC)
Yes! Isn't that awesome? It's a terrific business with a very good line of products that come in minimal packaging. And for me, it's local, which makes it extra nice.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 06:51 am (UTC)
Rice flour is my default and majority flour. I also use a lot of millet and buckwheat. I do use gram (garbanzo) flour and soya flour, but never more than 25% so that the flavours don't overwhelm. US GF recipes generally seem to use sorghum, but that's not readily available here, so I haven't had experience of that yet.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
That's good to know, because rice flour isn't as pricey as some of the others.

I just read a recipe from Gluten-Free Girl (the chocolate cake one OMG down at the bottom of that long post) and note that she says "10 ounces of GF flours--I used X, X and X...". This was the first real indication I've had so far that flour mix is not as crucial to baking outcome as I'd first thought.

Sorghum flour is very mild and sweet, and they seem to get a good fine grind on it. I haven't used it enough yet to say much about it, but it tastes nice.

I'm nuts about coconut flour because it has so much flavor, but it's demanding of the digestive process, and I learned to limit its use after devouring rather too many of the last batch of crackers I made featuring it.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, I just grab a mix of whatever flours are to hand when I make a loaf.

I find, by the way, that there is a huge difference between the texture and performance of flours depending on whether they are for the Western wholefood market or are from an Asian grocer. Asian rice flour is very smooth and white and silky, wholefood rice flour is more absorbent. Indian millet flour is more grey in colour and produces a stiffer mix when I use it in my apple cake.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
Excellent tip! I've got some Asian markets to choose from and will go looking. I've also heard that the prices are a little better there.

This is turning into a wonderful food adventure.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )



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