Friday, April 8, 2011

Baking Unsticky

In a former life I owned a cafe and baked on a commercial scale.  Yes, this meant being up at 4:30 a.m. to "make the donuts," so to speak.  (Oh, and the stillness of those mornings...)  But, in my case that meant, whipping up some delicious blueberry spelt muffins.  I knew that I had a gluten intolerance and spelt is an alternative flour that you can use in place of wheat flour that is much lower in gluten.

I have subsequently realized that it is better for my overall health to be completely gluten-free.  Even though I no longer own a cafe, I still love to bake and am always experimenting at home.  I have not been happy with any of the commercially sold gluten-free flour mixes---flavor or price---so I set to work developing my own.  I also really dislike the flavor of xantham gum, which is a frequent additive to gluten-free mixes to create the "stickiness" that is lost with the gluten removal, so the mix I came up with is sticky enough on its own and doesn't require the addition of xantham gum .

What I have come up with is, I think, a tasty and healthful alternative that anyone with access to a health food store can mix up at home.  I use a variety of flours---garbanzo bean, sorghum, brown rice, millet and coconut---all sold by Bob's Red Mill.  This combination lends a sweet and nutty flavor to the mix as well as making it a great protein source. 

What I do is mix up a big batch of flour and keep it in a large container (12 qt) in my pantry.  Now, I do a good bit of baking, so I go through it fast.  If you are not going to use it within 4-6 weeks, you might want to consider doing a smaller batch or keeping it in the fridge as flours are very susceptible to pantry moths.

Now, a note about price.  This mix ends up being about double what it would cost to buy Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour.  But, it is less expensive than buying smaller quantities of pre-mixed gluten free mixes.  From my health food store, all these ingredients cost $34.30.  I checked out ordering bulk from Bob's Red Mill direct, but the shipping costs would override any savings.    

Nell's Gluten-Free Flour Mix

2 x 22 oz package Garbanzo Bean Flour
2 x 22 oz package Sorghum Flour
1 x 24 oz package Brown Rice Flour
1 x 23 oz package Millet Flour
1 x 16 oz package Coconut Flour
1 x 16 oz package Arrowroot Flour

This will make a little over 12 lbs of flour.

Enjoy!!  Next pancake recipe!!

xoxo Nell

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