Wednesday, March 2, 2011

All I Have to Say on The Subject of Gluten-Free Baking.... be glad you don't have Celiac's disease.  Or if you do, I'm sorry to hear that, but thank you for reading my blog despite it.

Today we learned a little bit about baking sans gluten.  While the things we made weren't bad, per se, they lacked a certain something...what was it...mmm...oh, right: gluten.  Man, you never think about that stuff until it's gone.  Then you're thinking, "Mmm..this is interesting.  But so not chewy, delicious and satisfying like I was expecting.  And kinda gritty, too." 

I'm so new to this gluten-free that I can't really say which ingredient causes the textural change, since gluten-free flours vary in composition. We used King Arthur Multi-Purpose Flour, which is a mix of white and brown rice flours, and tapioca and potato starches.  It's also possible to find potato flour, garbanzo bean flour, and I'm sure a whole host of others, but apparently this King Arthur Flour mix is a good product, or so we were told.  We used it to make sugar cookies, brownies, chicken pot pie, and pizza dough.  The sugar cookies had good flavor (we used lots of lemon zest!), but they were a bit gritty--not soft and buttery the way sugar cookies often are.  After about 2 (they were small, I swear), I was feeling like I had sand in my teeth.  (AND!  I should point out that of the FIVE batches of dough collectively produced by the class, only ONE actually produced cookies that looked/baked the way they were supposed to, which means that this recipe is fu-ssy!)  The brownies were fine, but quite cakey, despite the generous amount of egg, butter, and chocolate used.  If, in a pinch, I needed gluten-free brownies I'd be tempted to just replace the flour in Ina's Outrageous Brownies, withe a gluten-free mix, because I think they'd be richer than the ones we made were.  The chicken pot pie had good flavor (from all the yummy veggies & herbs in the filling), but again, the crust just dissolved like sand, it lacked that satisfying, well, doughiness, that I associate with pot pies.  Finally, the pizza crust was just a bit thick and oily, although I will say that my classmates who prepared the sample did a first rate job.  While the crust was kinda blah, the tomato sauce was excellent!

So, that's all I have to say on that for tonight.  If you do happen to be gluten-intolerant, and you want some of these recipes, I will be happy to share, just let me know in a comment!  Otherwise, I will be back with more yummy, gluten-y stuff in the near future!