Pete and I have had this blog for some time now, and I regrettably have not blogged my own entry yet. Since Pete is the writer it is much easier to let him do the blogging, but since I am the baker in the family I thought it was time to jump in and talk about our most recent quest this past weekend: attempting to create our own gluten-free flour mix.
Since we went gluten free we have used Deby's Gluten-Free Flour mix for all of our flour needs, which has worked great; however, there is no quick source to buy the flour other than driving to Deby's Gluten-Free Bakery & Cafe in south Denver. We also feel we have experimented enough with other people's products to be able to create our own.
As a side note, there are some unique results when cooking and baking with gluten-free flour that we have discovered. When making yeast dough you need to decrease the amount of flour and when making cookies you need to increase the amount of flour slightly. Quick breads such as muffins and banana bread use a straight measurement of flour.
Based on other flour mixes we have used, we decided on starting with a combination of brown rice flour, tapioca flour, sorghum flour and xanthan gum. We figured this would give us the right balance of chewyness and flavor we were looking for...unfortunately that was not the case, at least not in the ratios we started with. We used the mix to make our traditional Saturday morning pancakes. The batter looked and smelled great, but when I poured the pancakes on the griddle they puffed up in a way I have not seen before, and when I removed them from the griddle they deflated leaving a funky chewy textured pancake. We added more tapioca flour thinking this would balance out the mix and it was still not quite right. The flavor was also not what we were looking for.
Now that we had all of this flour pre-mixed we thought we would try another recipe to see if the balance was really that far off or if it was just the pancakes. I made gingersnaps because they are really flavorful cookies and would be a great snack for our planned hike the following day. The first batch of cookies was extremely flat so I added more flour. The second batch was just as flat even though they had more flour! Ultimately our mix is not right yet, but the resulting cookies were delicious. They were thin and lacey but oh so chewy!!
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup granulated sugar
In a mixer cream together brown sugar and butter. Add molasses, egg and spices. Stir in flour and mix until combined.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in the granulated sugar to coat. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake at 375 for 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.