Get Creative

Ever took note of the number of alternative flours there are for gluten free baking?  If you are new to the gluten free scene it might all seem a little overwhelming.  Gluten free baking has come a long way over the years.  I am very thankful for the time in which I live and all the options available to me.  Still if you aren’t sure what you are doing it can get a bit out of hand.

A Mother’s Day gift from my son was a gift card at Amazon.  For some time I have had my eye on 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster.  The gift card was perfect and the book came  yesterday.  Now if you are an avid cookbook reader like me, it really is a perfect gift.  In browsing through the 700 plus pages I have discovered a wealth of new recipes that sparked my interest.  

When I first went gluten free I wasn’t to sure about products, etc.  King Arthur Flour has a great many excellent gluten free flours to choose from and then there is Bob’s Red Mill which is equally as good.  I quickly discovered that my house isn’t big enough for all the many different flours called for in one recipe or another.  I also discovered that I have 2 basic favorites that depending on availability and pricing works best for me.  

First there is King Arthur Brown Rice Flour Blend and Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour.  The King Arthur blend I can mix up myself while a friend found that Costco in Colorado carries the Bob’s Red Mill at an excellent price.  These have become my choices when baking whether it be yeast breads, pancakes or cookies.  Thanks to a wonderful on-line friend I discovered the beauty of Expandex Modified Tapiaco Starch.  Armed with my flour blend and Expandex I am off to conquer the 1,000 recipes that Carol Fenster has provided in her book.

My first selection was Montina Flour Banana Mini Quick Bread.  What is Montina Flour?  Well according to Carol it has one of the highest protein and fiber contents of all gluten-free flour.  Montina Flour blend is a mixture of Indian ricegrass, rice flour and tapioca flour.  Well needless to say I didn’t have that in the pantry.  However, I did have King Arthur Ancient Grains Flour Blend.  This is a blending of amaranth, millet, and sorghum flours, with a dose of quinoa flour added in.  It is 100% whole grain, with all the bran and germ.

Can you see where this is going?  Yes, I did a lot of tweaking, substituting and came up with an excellent quick bread that is moist, nutritious and high in fiber.  Here is PaulaG’s Mini Quick Banana Bread recipe.

Wet Ingredients:
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 large ripe banana
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup Almond Milk
1 tablespoon organic molasses (not blackstrap)

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour blend (I did use Bob’s Red Mill as it was available.)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup King Arthur Ancient Grain flour blend
1/4 cup Exapndex modified tapioca starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon Baking Spice Blend
1 teaspoon salt

Fruit and Nuts
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 large orange, juice and zest
1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons demura sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 3 mini loaf pans (5 x 3 inch) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Place all the wet ingredients in a blender container and blend until thoroughly combined.

Measure the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  With a stand mixer slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until batter is smooth and slightly thickened.  Stir in the fruit and nut mixture.  Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans.  Sprinkle tops of bread with demura sugar and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

When done remove from oven and allow to rest in pan for 5 minutes.  Remove bread from pan and place loaves on wire rack to cool completely before slicing and wrapping.

A couple of notes, if your dates are a little dry you can put the dates and orange juice in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.  Cover the dish with a plate and allow to stand for a few minutes to plump.  If you don’t have dates you can use dark raisins.  That was what the original recipe called for.

My mini loaf pan is a 4 section pan.  Since the recipe only makes 3 loaves, I did fill the fourth section with warm water to help promote more even baking.  Carol’s recipe was my guide and if anyone would like to compare her recipe with mine, her’s can be found on page 62 of her book.

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