Since we have a wee one under the age of one year and a history of allergies in the family, my goal is to figure out a way to to translate our favorite recipes into gluten free dishes that don’t suck.
Obstacle One of the Gluten Free Challenge: create gluten free foods that the boy is willing to eat.
Obstacle Two of the Gluten Free Challenge: create gluten free foods that we are willing to eat.
So there is a lot of information out there on gluten free cooking these days. It has been a little overwhelming to say the least…a little bit of “too many cooks in the kitchen” so to speak. After going cross-eyed from researching the different options for gluten free flour substitutes, I finally decided to try six different ones in order to isolate which ingredients are truly necessary to achieve a mix that includes the following criteria:
- easy to find ingredients
- works as a 1:1 substitute (if recipe calls for 1 cup flour then 1 cup of mix will be used)
- must not taste like something you would feed a horse
- a decent texture (not necessarily identical to the gluten infested version).
The mixes that I will be using vary from a simple substitution of brown rice flour to a crazy menagerie of 10+ ingredients. Is xanthum gum really necessary? What the hell is tapioca starch? I will be finding the answers to these questions and many, many more. I will probably be creating a lot of questions in the process as well.
For my first run, I opted to try out our recipe for the world’s best banana bread. I used a gluten free mix made up of:
- 3 parts brown rice flour
- 3 parts corn starch
- 2 parts sorghum flour or soy flour
- 1 part corn flour or masa harina
Go for it kiddo. Notice that the loaf turned out “normal” looking–a perfect camping snack. Sorry the pic is blurry but it’s tough to take a picture while the tot lunging for banana bread is sitting on your lap.
A little crumbly, but not so much that it would deter me from using this mix. I might try adding an extra egg to help it bind better.
The first bite.
I’m so nervous!
Overall, I thought the loaf of banana bread turned out pretty decent. It was a little on the “corny” side…not overwhelming but definitely a hint of corn. The dough still gave a nice rise and the overall flavor was pretty good. But then again it’s pretty hard to destroy the world’s best banana bread.
And here’s the recipe for that:
World’s Best Banana Bread
- 3 or 4 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/3 cup melted butter (I substitute applesauce with no problem)
- 1/2 cup sugar (this amount has already been reduced by half)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup flour (or gluten free substitute)
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter (or applesauce) into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour (or substitute) last, mix. Pour mixture into a greased 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack, remove from pan, slice, serve.
And yes, you can cut the amount of sugar in any recipe by half with no effect on the taste. Not true with brown sugar, but definitely with granulated. Good to know.