Saturday, December 8, 2012

Wheat-Free Cranberry Breakfast Cake

Fortunately I have found that a lot of quick breads can still be made using my wheat recipes by simply substituting my wheat-free flour mix for the wheat flour.  Occasionally I will add an extra egg and a tad bit more baking powder to the recipe to help it hold together.  The bread still manages to turn out more crumbly than normal, but that is something I can live with!  I love cranberries and I loved this simple breakfast cake.  The original recipe came from:
(note that this recipe is wheat-free NOT gluten-free)

Wheat-Free Cranberry Breakfast Cake
½ cup butter or margarine
the zest from 1 orange
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups Michelle’s Wheat-Free Bread Flour Mix (below)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh cranberries
½ cup buttermilk (I used ½ cup milk with a dash of vinegar in it)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter, orange zest, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Slowly add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, continuing to beat with the mixer.  Add the cranberries and buttermilk and beat until blended.

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.  Spread batter in pan.  Sprinkle a little sugar on top if desired.  Bake for 35-50 minutes (keep checking it after 35 minutes until lightly browned on top.  Cool before serving.
Michelle’s Wheat Free Bread Flour Mix
4 cups oat flour
2 ½ cups brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1 cup corn flour
1 cup tapioca flour or starch



Friday, November 16, 2012

Wheat-Free Yeast Bread

I stumbled across this recipe on the forum.  I have tried for years to find a descent yeast bread recipe that didn’t have wheat in it.  I tried this recipe like I have tried others – with little hope for a successful outcome.  And since I use my own wheat-free flour blend I never know if it will work in a gluten-free recipe.

To my surprise, it worked!  They rose a little and tasted amazing.  I’ve made crescent rolls, pizza, and flat bread with this recipe and I am very excited about it.  The dough is very sticky – so you have to have a lot of wheat-free flour in reserve to dust your surface with and the dough so you can roll it out.  My favorite way to make it is to roll it in as best of a rectangle I can, and then cut it into squares.  After baking, they usually are just thick enough to cut carefully cut down the center with a bread knife and then they can fit in the toaster, or be filled with sandwich makings J  You can find the original recipe for Mrs. P’s Gluten Free Yeast/Crescent Rolls here:

I adjusted a few things including my own flour blend, but I also reduced the amount of xanthum gum because I have learned that if I have too much of it – it upsets my stomach too (the whole purpose of eliminating wheat!).  Here it is…

 (Note that it is Wheat-Free NOT Gluten-Free)

Wheat-Free Yeast Bread (doubled)
4 ½ teaspoons yeast
Almost 2 cups milk (I heat in the microwave for a minute and a half and then cool slightly)
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
8 Tablespoons margarine (plus some additional melted to brush on top of baked bread if desired)
3 cups Wheat-Free Flour mix (below) with additional to roll out dough
1 ½ teaspoons xanthum gum

Wheat-Free Flour Mix
4 cups oat flour
2 ½ cups brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1 cup corn flour
1 cup tapioca flour or starch

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl (yeast, sugar, salt, Wheat-Free Flour Mix and xanthum gum.  Then cut up margarine and add it to the bowl.

Blend the margarine into the dry ingredients with an electric mixer.
Add the eggs and blend until dough is crumbly (see below).

Add the milk and blend until the dough sticks together and resembles a thick batter (see below).
Generously dust your surface with the Wheat-Free Flour Mix.
Drop some of the dough into the center of your dusted surface with a spoon and 
generously dust the top of the dough.
Roll dough gently, adding more Wheat-Free Flour Mix as necessary to prevent sticking.
Gently cut dough into squares with a knife.

Transfer the squares (and excess if desired) to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet with a Wheat-Free Flour Mix dusted spatula.  Let the dough rise until double (30-60 minutes).  Bake in a pre-heated 450 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and gently brush the tops with melted margarine (if desired).

Cool on the cookie sheet and then store in a large plastic re-sealable bag.  I’ve been able to keep the bag on my counter for a few days and then I transfer it to the refrigerator to preserve it for a slightly longer time than it lasts on the counter.   
Once it has been refrigerated it will crumble easier – but still tastes great.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wheat-Free Flour Mix

 After much trial and error, I have finally found a custom flour mix that I like.  I use it to replace wheat flour in most recipes (muffins, cookies, waffles, etc.).  I even use it to bread meats and for a yeast bread recipe that I will post in the near future.   It holds together fairly well and I prefer the taste of it to some gluten-free flour mixes.  Without further ado... here it is: 

(Note that it is Wheat-Free NOT Gluten-Free)

Michelle’s Wheat Free Flour Mix
4 cups oat flour
2 ½ cups brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1 cup corn flour
1 cup tapioca flour or starch
½ cup flax seed meal (optional)

I dump it all into an empty #10 can, put the plastic reusable lid on it, and then shake it up in the can while rotating it at the same time.  You could also mix it in a large bowl with a whisk, but some of the flours/starches are very fine and like to get everywhere.  I keep a copy of the recipe right on the can lid so it is easy to reference when I need to refill my mix.

You can find potato and tapioca starch at a specialty food store or at many types of ethnic markets.  For the oat flour I put rolled oats in the blender, or oat groats in my electric grain mill.  I also grind the brown rice in my electric grain mill. 

Happy Wheat-Free baking and cooking!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wheat-free... one step at a time

I love to bake.  The problem is that I have learned that my body does not process wheat very well.  In fact, my bowels and my digestive tract seem to only function properly when I cut wheat completely out of my diet.  Before that, I had a lot of pain and discomfort and all of that other good (bad) stuff around my midsection, not to mention the dry patchy rashes I also got on my skin – mostly my upper arms.  And when it got really bad, it felt like a dry patchy rash lined the inside of my digestive tract causing a constant soreness and sharp pains as food passed through the whole… way… down. 
So obviously, I was soooo glad to figure out that wheat (and spelt and kamut) was the culprit... except that it meant that my whole diet would have to change.  And for any of you out there that have tried to bake or even cook with wheat-substitute flours – you know that it can be a challenge – especially if you are on a budget.  
So here enters Pinterest into my dilemma.  I’ve found that a lot of recipes posted on Pinterest are tried and true.  So almost 6 years into my “no more wheat” quest, I finally started to find some promising recipes.  Who knew that a pin board for just about anything could be the solution to my Wheat-free baking and cooking problem? 
Well, the start of the solution anyway.  A lot of recipes called for odd ingredients that are expensive and hard to find.  And some things just aren’t feasible if they cost an arm and a leg or if you have to travel across the world to get them.  However, the more I learned about different flours and leavening agents, the easier it became to recognize recipes that I knew would work AND what ingredients I could substitute to make the working recipe a feasible recipe for my circumstance.
Now, Wheat-free doesn’t always mean Gluten-free, but Gluten-free always means Wheat-free.  So Gluten- free recipes are always safe, but they never include ingredients that I prefer to use in my flour blends like regular oat flour.  And most things taste differently with different flours, so the rest of my family prefers to still eat wheat.  So I usually end up making two of everything, unless the taste and texture is almost identical – like with oat flour blender pancakes.
So for me, though this was a good and needed discovery for my personal health, it adds to the daily complications that I already get to monitor.  But you know, it is a lot easier to deal with daily complications when you feel healthy, than when you feel like you would rather curl up in a ball and stay in bed all day.  
So my quest continues as I learn and eventually find things that work for me!  Wish me luck… and continue to post your tried and true Wheat-free and Gluten-free recipes on Pinterest so that I can stumble across them!  I appreciate it!

I hope to post some of my favorite tried and true recipes here as well, so we can learn from each other.  I'm figuring it out one step at a time!