Pizza is one of those foods that I really, really miss since being on a gluten-free diet. After nine years, it is my one downfall; I just can’t resist. Pizza’s aroma puts me under a spell and I go into an acute case of denial. I turn into a mad woman and I eat what I want. I tell myself that I deserve it and the consequence is worth the moment of pleasure. A few hours later, I get what I deserve and I’m usually regretting what I have done and angry because no one saved me from myself. I usually don’t let them when they try.

Therefore, the best prevention to caving in and inflicting myself with tummy trouble and a bunch of other symptoms that I forget I ever had  is to make my own pizza. Cybele Pascal has a bread flour blend (p. 158) that I had been wanting to try since I purchased her cookbook, The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook. [See the link to her blog in my Gluten-Free blogroll; this book is available for the Nook and Kindle, too!]. This particular bread flour blend calls for millet flour, which is difficult to find. I special ordered two 2-pound bags from Jimbo’s Market. When I arrived home, ready to mix up my flour blend and make a pizza, I discovered I was out of potato starch. This is one of the frustrating things about gluten-free baking. Most recipes call for flour combinations and it’s hard to keep track of what I am getting low on. So, after one more trip to the market, I had everything I needed to make the pizza dough. This dough is not only gluten free, it is dairy free and egg free, too. The dough was easy to work with, but still not the kind of dough that you want to throw into the air like the pizza shops do. Fortunately, there is no need to do this with non-gluten dough.

Avoiding gluten is enough of a sentence as far as I am concerned, so I don’t have any other diet restrictions. Why torture myself? There are certain foods that I avoid, but I eat what I want. I topped this pizza with a little ready made sauce, green pepper, mushroom, sausage, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. It was delicious. The only mishap I had was when I placed the dough on a perforated pan to rise. The dough came through the bottom of the little holes and I had to scrape them off the pan before baking.

Try making a pizza yourself! And when it comes out of the oven, pair it with a glass of your favorite gluten free beer and a freshly chopped garden salad.






Champion Sandwich Bread

Thanksgiving was not as relaxing as in previous years, mostly due to having a huge homework project due this Tuesday, so I thought baking bread might be a good remedy by adding some calming aromas to the kitchen. This bread recipe makes two loaves. It is Living Without Magazine’s recipe for Champion Bread. It’s super easy to make and this time I am not using a bread machine. The dough was mixed using a hand-me-down Sunbeam Mixmaster from the ‘1960s or ’70s. It was used for many years by my mother to make traditional birthday cakes, so I cleaned it out really good to get as much gluten dust out of the vents as possible.

A few ingredients were substituted. I always seem to lack one or more ingredients that a recipe calls for, so I substitute when possible. I didn’t have any dry milk powder for this recipe, so I used an equal measure of Trader Joe’s almond meal. I used Lundberg brown rice syrup instead of honey and Spectrum shortening in place of butter.

So, here are the two loaves after the dough was spooned into the pans. It’s a little cold in my kitchen today, so rising may take a little longer than ususal. So here I wait…and hope…

One hour later and the bread is in the oven. After about 10 minutes it looks good. The advantage of baking bread in the oven is there will not be the awful hole in the bottom from the bread machine paddle.

Fresh from the oven! It is a little flatter than expected, but the texture is very soft and the taste is excellent. Brown rice syrup gives it a slightly sweet taste. The crust is just right.  A little butter, SunButter, or Nutella would be excellent on this bread. It is hard to believe this bread is gluten and dairy free. It will make some nice sandwiches.

Garbanzo Bean Bread

Garbanzo bean bread

I needed to take a break yesterday from my big metadata research project for LIBR 281, plus it was raining, and what better to do on a rainy day than to bake a loaf of bread? For this loaf, I followed the Basic Garbanzo bread recipe in Bette Hagman’s The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread: More than 200 Wheat-Free Recipes. Though some excellent gluten-free cookbooks have been published recently, Bette Hagman’s cookbooks are still the best, and I would guess that some of the best gluten-free cooks have learned a few things from her. Hagman’s flour blends can be made from scratch or purchased from Authentic Foods. After nearly eight years of gluten-free experimentation, I have only recently learned that using superfine brown rice flour makes all the difference in the texture–and in baking successfully. With lots of practice I have gone from making literal door stops to food that can be eaten. (My daughter had one of her best cross-country runs after eating one of my door stops, but that’s another story). Some creations even look appetizing! I can’t say that for this loaf. It’s pretty pathetic looking. The hole in the bottom of the loaf from the paddle annoys me, but I am more comfortable using a bread machine than not.

The cookbook

The flours used in this recipe are garbanzo bean, sorghum, tapioca and cornstarch. This is a nearly fool-proof recipe, like most of the recipes in this book, and it has good flavor. I make this bread often but occasionally it just flops. I’m not sure why, but I think it I must measure incorrectly. There are a lot of ingredients to measure and I am easily distracted. I added an extra half cup of flour blend to the bread machine for this batch. This morning I made a tasty batch of French toast using rice milk and eggs and a little vanilla powder (also from Authentic Foods). This bread was still fresh, and gluten-free breads don’t absorb as much as regular bread, so I had a lot of leftover batter.

I think my next breadmaking venture will be to try Bette’s Four Flour Bread–but it will have to wait until this huge assignment is done.