All Purpose Gluten Free Flour, Part 1

I have always been a baker. I have baked a batch of cookies, muffins or something at least once a week for close to thee decades. When my sons were very little, I would bake mini muffins to bring with us on play dates. Later on, when my boys started school, there was a strict “No Nuts” policy in effect. This was before the grocery stores began to carry a plethora of guaranteed peanut free baked goods, so I baked to add “fun stuff” to their lunches. At one point I could whip off a batch of mini muffins in the time it took to brew my morning pot of coffee. : )

Then I went gluten free…

In my early gluten free days, I went through a massive case of what I can only describe as “baker’s withdrawal”.

It seemed like every time I wanted to bake something as simple as a chocolate chip cookie, I had to have a  shop full of specialty flours. Each recipe I found required a different blend. It was frustrating, to say the least. I wanted to find one blend I could use for many of my recipes. I had tried a few gluten free “all purpose blends”, but they tended to be have a “beanie” after taste or the textures were gritty. I didn’t want either in my treats. I also wanted a flour blend that I could have on hand in larger quantities.

Today I thought I’d do a post on one of the most important ingredients I keep in my kitchen.

All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

I have two, hands-down, guaranteed to work, favourite flour blends that work as cup for cup substitutions for wheat flour.

The first one is my go-to blend for cookies, sponge style cakes, thickeners and waffles. It is also a major ingredient in my muffin recipes. The key is using a very fine grind of brown rice flour. Use this blend, cup for cup in place of wheat flour. However, if the recipe you use this in has salt as an ingredient, I would omit the salt as there is salt already in this blend. I use this blend in:

GF/DF Spiced Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

GF/DF Happy Cranberry Quinoa Cookies

Dee’s “Quick & Easy” GF/DF Breakfast Waffles

All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

tapioca flour
brown rice flour
potato starch (not flour!)
3 xanthan gum
salt

 

An excellent flour blend for cookies, waffles and light cakes!

An excellent flour blend for cookies, waffles and light cakes!

Sci-Fi Women and Waffles

While browsing through old Daily Prompt posts, looking for inspiration, I came across two ideas that stuck with me.

  1. Tell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?
  2. Head to one of your favorite blogs. Write a companion piece to their penultimate post.

I couldn’t get those ideas out of my head.  I have a number of books that I can read over and over. They’re like old friends. I spent a few days playing with how to approach topic #1, then I’d start thinking about topic #2. There are a number of blogs I visit, but recently there is one that stands out. Jack Flacco lives close enough to me that we share the same weather and radio stations. He also devotes Wednesdays to writing about cool fictional female characters in his “Women Who Wow Wednesdays” series of posts.

The books I tend to read over and over have powerful female characters.

Then I was hit by a lightening bolt. I’d combine the two ideas into one post.

The result follows:

I’m a bit of a sci-fi geek. I like Start Trek and Star Wars and I’ll watch or read pretty much anything involving space ships or time travel.  More so when there are strong female characters involved.

One of my all time favourite authors is the late Robert A. Heinlein. His alternate universe series is full of intelligent, independent, beautiful (on the inside and outside) women. One of my favourite Heinlein characters is Gwen Novak from a book I can read again and again; “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls”.

We first meet Gwen Novak as she is returning to the table of her swain Dr. Richard Ames, with whom she had been enjoying an evening of low gravity dinner theater in Golden Rule Space Colony, had being the imperative word.  While absent, a strange man quickly takes her spot, accosts her fella, then the stranger appears to be killed at the table, all within a few minutes. We soon find out that Gwen watched the stranger at the table with her beau Richard. Thinking it was Richard who killed the stranger, Gwen offers her place as a refuge for Richard to lay low. She then sends Richard on a bit of a goose chase, that leads him back to his own digs (to throw off anyone who may be following the good doctor), in order to keep him safe thereby showing her loyalty and her cleverness. When Gwen wakes the next morning it is to the smell of coffee and fresh waffles, made by Richard. From there, Gwen and Dr. Ames are set upon a fascinating adventure filled with danger and conspiracy that takes them from Golden Rule Colony, to various places, and dimensions. Further into the story we learn that Gwen can speak fluent Japanese, can square dance with ease, is an excellent shot, has no patience for laziness or poor hygiene (don’t we all?) and is actually a time travelling grandmother from an alternate future reality, sent to find and recruit Dr. Ames’ help with a plot to rescue a sentient computer known a Mike, in order to preserve human history.  How cool is she?

I think I want to time travel when I’m a grandma.

In the meantime, I’ll make waffles for my Sweetie.

Dee’s “Quick and Easy” Gluten & Dairy Free Breakfast Waffles

Makes 4-6
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour blend
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (if not included in your flour blend)
1 teaspoon double acting baking powder
pinch of salt
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus a little extra for brushing the iron
1 cup plain rice milk
1 large egg

Preheat waffle iron. If you want to hold the  finished waffles, preheat oven to 200°F.
In large bowl, whisk together first five ingredients. Pour in the milk, add the egg ad whisk, until ingredients are just combined. Gently stir in the oil.

Brush grids with a little oil and spoon a scant ½ c batter (or the amount recommended by your waffle iron’s manufacturer) onto the hot grids. Smooth batter to within a ¼ inch of the edges with a spatula or wooden spoon. Close lid and bake until brown and crisp.

Enjoy immediately. If holding, place in oven on a rack, in a single layer, while you make the remaining waffles.
Serve with maple syrup, berries, bacon, coffee or tea and your favourite juice.

Waffles_2a

Let Them Eat….Waffles!

I’ve always had more of a savory tooth. My favourite quick meal was a sandwich. I would throw just about anything between a couple slices of bread to munch while on the go. It wasn’t long after going gluten & dairy free before I’d already been disappointed by several big brand, store bought GF breads. I found them dense and dry. They were hard to make into a sandwich and, in my opinion too expensive. I was even let down by some small batch GF bakery and café loaves. They were definitely better tasting, but again, very dense, hard to make into sandwich and very expensive. I’d buy this big loaf, use a couple slices to make a ( rather disappointing) PB&J, toast a few more slices and then the rest of the loaf would either fall apart  or go moldy within 2-3 days. Not a great value for something three times the price of good, gluten full artisanal bread!

The inspiration for using waffles in place of sliced bread was a revelation! The idea came from my newly purchased copy of “Cooking for Isaiah”, by Silvana Nardone.

One of the first recipes I made from the book was a batch of Sun-Dried Tomato Waffle Bread. They sounded delicious to me and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Silvana’s recipe starts with her own recipe for gluten free flour, which she mixes in large batches and is then made into a large batch of pancake mix and is the basis for her waffle recipe. I’ve made a few changes since my first batch and now I use my own basic flour mix, which is a combo of fine grind brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch and xanthan gum. I usually whip up a big batch and store it in a huge jar, ready to make into waffles, cookies or muffins. I’ve also made the following recipe with store bought all purpose gluten free flour mix and it turns out well, so feel free to use your favourite (just remember to add in the correct amount of xanthan or guar gum- usually ½ tsp per cup of flour for quick breads, cookies and cakes).

Here’s my version of these tasty waffles.

Sun-Dried Tomato Waffles

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon double acting baking powder
pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 cup rice milk
1 large egg
½ cup oil packed, sundried tomatoes, drained, oil reserved
2 tablespoons sundried tomato oil
Italian seasoning mix, optional
Non-Stick Cooking Spray
vv

Pre-heat the waffle iron to med-high heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and oil.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined.
Gently fold in the sundried tomatoes until incorporated throughout the batter.
Pour about 1/3 cup batter into each grid and spread it out to the edges.
Sprinkle with seasoning blend, if using.

Close and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove, let cool on wire rack
or keep warm in an oven set at 200°F. Repeat with remaining batter.

The first time I made these, I didn’t even get to turn them into sandwiches. They were sooo good!
I’ve since enjoyed these babies with rare roast beef, avocado and mayo; rotisserie chicken, roasted red peppers and tomato; and my favourite, open faced Italian sausage and grilled veggies.

The possibilities are endless! I’d love to read how you like them.