Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sourdough Sandwich Bread


Here it is, as promised - Sourdough Bread.  I love this stuff.  It's so easy to make, it requires no eggs (and hence, no egg substitute - the first truly GF Vegan bread I've tried), and the whole family loves it.  Before going gluten free, I did not like sourdough bread even a little bit.  I didn't know what all the fuss was about.  Regular bread was okay, but nothing to jump up and down about.  Now I can't walk down the bread aisle in the grocery store without gagging at the smell and I can't get enough of this GF sourdough bread.  Go figure.
Our bread machine bit the dust last month and I've dragged my feet about making bread in the oven.  While it can be done, there are more steps to the process and I've been just tired and frazzled enough to not want to be bothered (terrible, I know).  But making this sourdough bread is a breeze.  I can throw everything in the stand mixer and it comes together in just a few minutes. Then it rises on the counter for an hour and I throw it in the oven, all while keeping busy with other things.  It doesn't take much thought, which I love because  my mind is in a constant state of being seriously preoccupied.  Lately I just need things to be mindless and easy.  This bread is mindless and easy, and tasty to boot.  It smells heavenly while baking (slightly tangy) and it has a subtle bite that becomes addicting.

Happily, one loaf of sourdough bread lasts us a whole week.  It's hearty, so I slice it thin, and it keeps well in the refrigerator.  It's fabulous with margarine either warm or cold.  I look forward to making it every weekend, and that is saying a lot.  I did my own thing after looking for guidance here and here and my bread turns out fabulous.  I can't be bothered with boules right now - what we need is a standard loaf for school lunches, but if you are feeling adventurous try the boule method described here.

And now without further ado - Sourdough Sandwich Bread, worth it every time.

1 cup sorghum flour*
1 cup brown rice flour*
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato starch
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. yeast

2 cups fed sourdough starter
1/4 cup oil - olive, grapeseed or coconut
1 cup warm water, plus more if needed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Generously grease one 9x5 inch loaf pan with shortening, set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the sorghum flour through the yeast.  Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the sourdough starter and the oil.  Mix until combined, it will be dry.  Add trhe water 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture resembles a thick cake batter.  You may need to add more warm water to get it to the correct consistency.  Beat 5 minutes.

Scrape the batter into the greased loaf pan and smooth out the top, mounding a little in the center.  Set aside in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes to one hour.  It will dome just a little above the top of the pan.  Carefully place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 45 - 60 minutes, or until golden brown.  It is done when it sounds hollow when tapped.  

Remove from oven, let rest for a couple of minutes and then turn out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.  You must let it cool!  Resist the temptation to cut a slice no matter how good it smells, or you will end up with gummy slices of bread (so not worth it!).  

After it is cool, do what you could scarf down the whole loaf and I would not blame you one bit, it is that good.

*I've used equal amounts of sorghum, rice and millet flours with success.  I've also used 3 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Blend (replace sorghum flour through potato starch) - while less tangy, it makes a very pretty loaf.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sourdough Pancakes, Gluten Free & Vegan

(Strawberry Sourdough Pancakes - could the morning get any yummier?) 

Looking for directions on how to feed sourdough starter?  Scroll to the bottom of this page.

At last - sourdough pancakes.  I've waited all summer to post this recipe!  I keep making these pancakes and they don't get old.  You can add all sorts of things to them - different berries, chopped walnuts, sliced apple, banana or peach, even chocolate chips.  I usually feed my sourdough starter once a week, but it's worth it to give your starter an extra feeding or two during the week just so you have enough to make these pancakes and some sourdough sandwich bread on a weekly basis (recipe for sourdough bread to come soon!).  I mostly based this recipe on Alaskan Sourdough Pancakes tweaking it it a bit - they came out perfectly.  I like how they have no added flour, just sourdough starter, and that they use no egg! 

Sourdough Pancakes 

2 cups fed* sourdough starter
3 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup flax meal
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup fresh berries, your choice

In a large bowl, combine the sourdough starter through the bakind soda, stirring well.  Set aside.

Heat a cast iron griddle over medium-low.  When it is hot, fold the berries into the pancake batter.  Drizzle a little oil (your choice, but coconut oil is nice) onto the griddle and pour the pancake batter by 1/3 cupfuls, spreading slightly.  Cook until little bubbles appear and the tops are dry.  Check the bottoms, they should be golden brown. 


 Flip and cook a couple of minutes more, until the other sides are golden.  Remove to a plate and keep warm while you cook the rest of the pancakes.  Or serve immediately as they are done (which is what I like to do).  Serve with margarine, maple syrup and fresh fruit. 

*Fed sourdough starter:  Ideally you should feed your sourdough 1 cup rice flour and 1 cup water the night before making these pancakes but I always forget.  Instead I will feed the starter that morning and let it sit on the counter to get nice and frothy.  This might take an hour.  Then it's good to use, pour off as much starter as you need and put the rest in the fridge.

(Oh so delish!)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

For years I've considered experimenting with sourdough.  Recipes for the starter and baking with it looked a little precise and complicated, and I'm usually not that type of baker.  I didn't really set out to tackle sourdough because I was looking for a challenge.  But I ended up teaching the cooking portion of a summer camp with a pioneer/settler/gold rush theme and wanted to be authentic as possible.  Sourdough was, especially for the gold rush/cowboy sort, a prized possession.  So the students and I experimented with making two types of gluten free sourdough (one with mostly a brown rice base and the other with mostly a sorghum base).  I used yeast because I wanted assurance that this would work (we'd be cooking with it for three weeks) but if I had my druthers I'd have tried wild yeast (using red cabbage leaves like this).

Well in no time at all I had two happy sourdough starters bubbling away in the classroom.  It was very interesting to note that the brown rice starter started fermenting faster, and started smelling more sour, than the sorghum starter.  Also, baking with the brown rice starter produced lighter end results (both in taste and in texture).  After baking our hearts out in class, I gave away most of the sorghum starter and kept some of the brown rice starter to bring home.  With some trepidation I threw my starter into the freezer because we'd be gone for a month and I couldn't feed it.  To my delight, the starter thawed and started bubbling away after a feeding.  I'm not one for wasting so I'm going to keep my starter, although maybe someday I'll try making a new batch with wild yeast.

(Sourdough starter after first rise, day two)

I didn't feel like being overrun with starter I couldn't use and I didn't want to throw away the excess, so I threw out all the admonitions that you should feed your starter obsessively very often with a cup of flour and water at a time.   I scaled way back and fed my starter with 1/4 cup of flour (brown rice and sometimes millet) and 1/4 cup water every day until it had been established, and it was perfectly happy.  I let it sit on the counter for a week before putting it in the refrigerator and then I started feeding it once per week using 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water.  When I thawed it, I also fed it 1 tbsp. of sugar to make sure it came back.  All of this has worked very well.  I'm pretty sure you can do whatever you like and as long as it's getting steadily fed, it will keep going and going and going. 

(Sourdough starter after 4 days)

So far I've made sourdough biscuits, pancakes and cornbread.  Today I'm going to try sourdough bread.  Wish me luck!  I'll post recipes for those soon, but for now, here is the very simple sourdough starter recipe I used with great success.

Gluten Free Sourdough Starter
1 package active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour

Measure the warm water into a large glass or ceramic bowl (not metal, and not a small bowl as the starter will rise).  Whisk in the yeast.  Let it proof for 5 minutes or until it starts to get foamy.  Whisk together the brown rice flour and tapioca.  Stir the flour mixture into the yeast mixture with a wooden spoon (do not use metal).  Let this sit uncovered on your counter for 12 hours, then stir in equal amounts of brown rice flour and water (I used 1/4 cup each).  Keep doing this every 12 hours for  two or three days.  You will see that the mixture will start to bubble.  Then once every 24 hours feed it equal amounts of brown rice flour and water (again I used 1/4 cup) for another two or three days.  It should start smelling sour.

When your starter smells sour and has been established (bubbling, rising and falling in cycles after a feeding), store it uncovered (or it will explode) in your refrigerator.  At this point you can feed it every few days to once per week, equal amounts of brown rice flour and water (1 cup or 1/2 cup each, depending on how often you'll use it).  Sometimes I'll throw in some millet or tapioca flour instead of brown rice flour.  I avoid using the heavier flours for my starter (sorghum, teff, amaranth).

Feed your starter before you use it in a recipe (1 cup each brown rice flour and water).  It should keep indefinitely as long as you feed it and care for it!

(Happy sourdough starter, frozen, thawed and fed)