Since starting a gluten-free phase in our house about 2 weeks ago, I've been experimenting with various alternative flours for baked goods. There are lots of different "flours" you can use to substitute for wheat flour, and each has its own characteristic qualities which make it good for some kinds of foods and not so good for others. I've baked with sweet rice flour before, and you may have had it as well if you've eaten mochi or other kinds of rice cakes. There are others such as quinoa, nut, millet, soy, and sorghum; I'm planning to try them all out of curiosity to see what they taste like. I've tried a few recipes so far; some have been more successful than others.
I'll start with the one that I think turned out the best (in my opinion): lemon blueberry bread. It's not so much a bread as a kind of tea cake, sort of like the way banana bread is called "bread". I used the recipe I found here, and pretty much stuck with it except that I added chocolate chips and omitted the glaze. It came out moist and flavorful enough that I thought it didn't need a glaze, although if you did add it, I'm sure it would be delicious. The best thing about this bread is that it tasted exactly as if it were made with wheat flour. Couldn't tell the difference.
Next, I tried chocolate chip cookies. I can't find the recipe I used for this batch, but it doesn't really matter. I'll use a different recipe for my next batch. I thought this would be a good standard because everyone loves chocolate chip cookies, but it backfired on me because since it happens to be my favorite cookie of all time, it turns out that they couldn't possibly reach the heights of deliciousness I was imagining. They did look very good, though.
And everyone else in the family seemed not to mind the distinct bean flour taste. Next time I'm going to omit the bean flour and use rice flour instead. This batter was a bit wetter than normal, and the cookies spread out a bit during baking, but they came out nice and crisp (after cooling) all the way through. I added almonds and chia seeds too.
Lastly, I tried making a regular loaf of sandwich bread. I adapted this recipe here, except I swapped out some of the rice flour. Since no one seemed to mind the bean flour in the cookies, I decided to go for it in the bread. I also added sunflower seeds and almonds. This dough looked very strange: it never came together in a sticky dough ball but rather just sat there as a wet blob. I was worried that it wouldn't bake since it didn't really rise much, but it did turn out sort of bread-like, in a way. The slice has a nice airy, almost gluten-y look.
There's a nice crust. It slices well and holds together just fine. I've toasted it, peanut-buttered it, and sandwiched it. Holds up fine. Just like regular bread, but a little denser. And it really tastes different. But who cares what I think of it? TinySprite is perfectly happy with her very own special loaf of bread, and that's what matters.
Have you tried gluten-free baking? Once you stock up on the different flours and additives, I've found it's pretty much the same as regular baking so far. It's just that the batter, dough and finished products often look quite different, and of course the taste varies. I don't know about you, but I always thought gluten-free baked goods would be dry, crumbly and with all the flavor of cardboard. Not so! In my limited experience, some might be an acquired taste, but others are virtually indistinguishable from their wheaty counterparts. Still on my list is pizza dough and pie crust. Wish me luck!
I am a former research scientist turned stay-at-home-mom of 2 who got started with bento in an effort to help my kids learn that eating healthy and nutritious foods can be fun and cute. I make a bento lunch for my 9yo (4th grader) son & my 5yo kindergartener girl every school day, and post the pictures on my sherimiya ♥ flickr photostream. Here in this blog is where I describe each bento, and you'll also get a peek inside our family adventures. Thanks for taking a look, and please let me know what you think ^-^!