Gluten-Free Baking & Baked Goods is part 2 in my gluten-free (GF) research. Please also see part 1, Gluten & the gluten-free diet… what’s up?, and included in today’s research is a delicious and easy to make gluten-free, high protein and low carb Flax Seed Bread recipe that you’ll just love!
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JUST TAKE ME TO THE Flax Seed Bread RECIPE ALREADY!
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A guest post and tutorial
This is a guest post from my good friend Denine.
And, though it’s mostly from Denine, I have added some bits & pieces because some of this was from email conversations & may not have made sense.
Denine has been Gluten-free longer than anyone I know (since 1995 to be precise). I consider Denine to be an expert on the subject.
Personal history with gluten free eating
When I first figured out that wheat (later gluten) was affecting me very badly, GF recipes, food, and information was still in somewhat short supply.
It’s so good to see more information and more foods/ingredients becoming available.
When I went to England in the early 90’s, GF bread was only available at the pharmacy and required a prescription. Now it seems to be old hat in England, Ireland, and Sweden (and probably the rest of Europe, but those are the only countries I’ve seen first hand). All the larger supermarkets there have dedicated GF sections.
Sensitivity to gluten
I figured out my sensitivity to gluten in 1995, so I’ve been gluten-free for many years. Once I realized that my body reacted so badly to wheat, I learned to listen to it and discovered that dairy and soy also affect me badly. But despite those being such common foods in the US and Europe, it’s really not hard to avoid them and eat very well if I cook at home.
Store-bought gluten free breads
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Most GF bread available in stores is not very good straight from the bag. It needs to be toasted. (Udi’s Bread is the exception)
That said, the heavier gluten free breads make especially wonderful croutons, which in turn make wonderful stuffing. I haven’t tried them in bread pudding, but would expect them to work well too. For meatloaf, I just soak any of the breads in egg and liquid and they work fine.
Gluten free baking tips
When it comes to baking, I’m so accustomed to not having the stretchy stickiness of gluten making things rise (and not crumble) that I don’t think of that as much of a factor.
When I first started GF baking, I tried using (affiliate link) xanthan gum because all the recipes said it made the finished product softer. It didn’t make enough of a difference for me to continue using it, and I think I only used about 1/4 of my first container of it.
Homemade Gluten free baking mix
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The standard GF trick of mixing 1/3 tapioca flour (available fairly cheaply in Asian grocery stores), 1/3 rice flour (ditto for cheap supplies, also at Winco in bulk), and 1/3 something else or more rice flour, works well for most everything.
I keep a pre-mixed container of this tapioca & rice flour mixture in the fridge. That way it’s on hand for fritters, gravy, cookies, etc, etc.
[Debi’s note: I also keep some GF baking mix in the ‘fridge, but it’s from Bob’s Red Mill. It contains rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and sea salt. Denine’s mix seems to be less processed – I like that idea.]
Trying different flours
As for the 3rd 1/3 of the gluten-free mix, I’ve played with sorghum, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, and teff flours.
Sorghum and millet are very easy to use and have mild flavors. Millet is pretty neutral, and sorghum is slightly sweet. Teff is has a dark color, but I don’t remember it having a very distinct flavor.
Buckwheat sucks up liquids, so the amount of buckwheat should be reduced (GF mix: 1/3, 1/3, 1/4) or liquid should be increased, but it’s got a nice “homey” flavor. [Debi’s note: buckwheat flour has a gluten analog (meaning it functions similarly to gluten) that helps the batter stick together, so the baked good doesn’t need extra binders.]
Flaxseed uses, tips, and tricks
One ingredient that I’ve found very useful but sometimes tricky is (affiliate link) flax. I love the flavor ground flax adds to breads/pancakes/fritters. It has a nutty earthy flavor.
It works well as an egg-replacer (approximately 1 tablespoon flax in 1/4 cup warm water, let it sit so that the ‘goo’ develops). I’ve found that too much in bread makes it too gelatinous, so that the middle stays gooey and seems uncooked.
Other things I’ve learned about flax are:
- When ground, it goes off much faster than other flours. So I buy mine whole and grind it in a coffee grinder that I keep just for grains (handy when I want millet flour but only have whole millet, for example).
- It can be used to make a very high-protein, low-carb Flax Seed Bread (see recipe below) that is delicious and easy to make.
More alternative baking flours
I haven’t done much with legume flours, like chickpea, because of their strong flavors. I think they would work well in vegetable fritters and heavier more earthy or sour breads.
Pre-packaged GF cake and cookie mixes
One thing I learned from pre-packaged GF cake and cookie mixes is that mixing the dry ingredients with butter until the mixture is the texture of sand before adding wet ingredients can make a huge difference in the texture.
It’s the old trick of getting a very fine very even suspension of flour and fat and it makes the batter/dough as light and fluffy as GF gets.
Often I don’t bother to do that for ordinary baking, but I use the technique for special items.
Flax Seed Bread notes
Debi’s update to this post: I have gone back, as of 2020, and added photos and updated the text a bit.
My mom’s husband is going gluten-free, so I’m attempting to help them out with some learning and some recipes. I decided to give Denine’s recipe a try, and to take pictures of the bread.
I’m very impressed by the texture of this bread. It’s light and yet very sturdy. You can smear butter on it and it holds up. Yet, it isn’t dense and heavy like many gluten free breads.
It has a lightly nutty flavor from the flaxseed. And, it’s great for those who are watching their carbs and trying to get more fiber.
Denine notes that she doesn’t add any sweetener to it. I also didn’t add any sweetener to it. I thought it was great without the sweetener. But, I could see that some people might like a little hint of sweetness.
Also, baking times will vary for this bread. If it’s spread very thin, then 20 minutes might do it. Denine’s is usually 1/2″ – 3/4″ thick, and needs at least 45 minutes. I baked mine for 30 minutes, and it turned out perfectly.
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Flax Seed Bread – Non Wheat Focaccia Recipe
Flax Seed Bread- Non Wheat Focaccia
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Stir together all dry ingredients. Mix together all wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until well blended and there is no sign of egg white. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken.
- Line a 10 x 15-inch pan with oiled parchment paper. Pour batter into pan and spread out almost to the edges of the pan. For a more even bread, spread it so that the outer edges are slightly thicker than the center.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until nicely browned. Cut and serve.
Great for those who are watching their carbs and trying to get more fiber.