Bread Series, #2
In the first of my posts on baking gluten-free yeast breads, I noted the importance of bread baking, sharing, and eating to communal participation and bonding. Perhaps the aspect of bread making that best materially exemplifies its role in binding generations, cultures, and individuals to one another is the use of a sourdough starter as leavening in a loaf of bread. The passing down of sourdough starters from parent to child provides a tangible link between generations, just as the practice of leavening bread with a sponge links bread-bakers in the 21st century with bread-bakers in c 300 BC Egypt, the first people believed to have used yeast for bread. In our family, the passing of the sourdough starter worked its way backward; my son passed his gluten-free sourdough starter up to me. I have since shared our family gluten-free starter with the wonderful people who took the gluten-free bread baking class I taught this past March. Share sourdough starter, share the love!
Baking bread slowly, with the use of a starter or sponge, is making a come-back, even in the gluten-eating world. The popularity of such bread cookbooks as My Bread: The Revolutionary No Knead, No Work Method, by Jim Lahey, and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Joe Hertzberg and Zoë François, attest to the rise in interest in the return to traditional methods of baking yeast breads. The recipes in these cookbooks rely on slow fermentation for leavening. Slow fermented breads are more flavorful, and their nutrients are more bioavailable (easier for the body to absorb). Continue reading
A few months ago, I wrote a post about having impulsively purchased apple flour. I actually LOVE, LOVE, LOVE using this flour in baked goods, as a substitute for gums. I quit using xanthan and guar gums quite a while ago, without much problem. I find alternatives to the gums that work quite well. I bought the apple flour, which is nothing but dried, ground apples, thinking that the natural pectin in the apple flour would work well to support the structure of baked goods, and to help keep them moist. The apple flour works to do just that. It’s a little pricey, but people I know keep suggesting that I dehydrate apples and grind my own apple flour. The problem with that suggestion is that I have about a billion of those proverbial irons in the fire, and the thought of taking those two extra steps to make my own apple flour is too overwhelming at this time. The good news is that I found out through experimentation that less is more, and since so little of it works wonders, the expense may not be that prohibitive. Continue reading
Starting today, to make room for the new size muffin mixes, all current ATX Ultra Eats gluten-free, grain-free muffin mixes are 50% off, with free shipping. See the individual muffin mix flavors at atxultraeats.com for details. What can be better than a sale, unless it’s a sell on delicious, minimally-processed gluten-free, grain-free muffin mixes??
In my last post to this blog, I mentioned a new product, apple flour, that I
had serendipitously discovered while searching for something else. I have used the apple flour, and it’s marvelous. I used it to make grain-free, gluten-free pumpkin muffins for my mom, who apparently doesn’t have Celiac (although this auto-immune disease is passed through the mom, I have it, and I managed to pass it on to two of my children – it does apparently skip some generations). What my mom does have, however, is a seriously ill husband in a hospital that has seriously poor quality food in its cafeteria. One thing I can do for my mom and my step-dad during this ordeal is to provide Mom with some delicious, nutritious, minimally-processed food to keep her energized and as cheerful as possible. Since my kitchen is gluten-free, my mom gets gluten-free food by default. My step-father, sadly, is unable to eat normally for now; I will attend his nutritional needs as soon as he’s able to eat as usual. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, when we were up in the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee, I had a twinge of guilt for thinking for a second – if only a split second – that living in a geographical area with actual changes of seasons and their accompanying colors and flavors might be nice. We were mostly in rural areas, and we passed little houses and little stores that were decked out with pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, scarecrows, and all the trimmings associated with autumn and Halloween. What’s more, these dwellings and businesses were surrounded with actual trees, the leaves of which were festively and appropriately colored for the season: golds, reds, and bronzes splashed across the land.
For a nano-second I wondered whether I might not appreciate living somewhere other than South Texas, where we have but two seasons: hot and hotter. A Texas girl at heart I am, though, and a Texas girl I’ll always be, so I immediately chided myself for such heretical thoughts and counted all the blessings Texas offers, other than chilly, picture-postcard colored autumn days.
Even though the weather may not indicate as much in our proverbial neck of the woods, the calendar tells us that we are well into autumn. The appropriately flavored seasonal foods are showing up in the grocery stores, Trader Joe’s is encouraging festive dining by offering just about everything pumpkin (even pumpkin body butter, of which the store I shopped this morning was sadly sold out!). I did come away with three gluten-free pumpkin flavored items: gluten-free pumpkin soup, gluten-free pumpkin pancake mix, and pumpkin macarons (macarons are, of course, traditionally gluten-free)! I have yet to try the pumpkin soup and gluten-free pumpkin pancake mix, but I ate a couple macarons on the way home from the store (well, the drive home was taking quite a long time and I got hungry . . . . ). The macarons are to die for! The cookie part is tender and the filling is flavorful without being too sweet. I can’t wait to go back for more! After tomorrow morning’s run: gluten-free pumpkin pancakes! Can’t wait! If the pancakes taste delicious, I’ll update this post with the news.
This past couple of weeks, every time I listen to the radio I hear the HEB commercial advertising its Hatch chile fest just about every five minutes. Admittedly, the commercial does tempt me to seek out all things hatch chile-flavored. Until today, however, I thought the Hatch chile was a variety of chile. A post over on South Austin Foodie’s blog, however, has set me straight. I found the post enlightening, so I thought I’d share it with others.
Image from barbecuebible.com
I trust South Austin Foodie’s credibility as an authority on the topic of Hatch chiles, for as Foodie states in this post:
” . . . . my [Foodie’s] grandparents were farmers in Las Cruces, and one of the things they raised were green chiles. Furthermore, my great-uncle, was a researcher at the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Known as “Mr. Chile,” he developed several varieties of green chiles, including Big Jim.”
Well, no matter the reason the chile bears the name Hatch, we know for sure they are gluten-free, and they taste delicious no matter how they are prepared!
I’ve been working to get my gluten-free, grain-free muffin mix out on the market, and I am getting closer to that day! I decided to market a muffin mix rather than a prepared, frozen muffin; people have more control over the ingredients when they mix the muffins themselves. People who choose a vegan lifestyle will be able to use a milk and egg substitute (such as almond milk and flax or chia seed gel); people who are lactose-intolerant will be able to use a milk substitute, and people who follow a gluten-free, grain-free diet but eat dairy and eggs can use milk and eggs in their muffins.
Currently I am putting my business on hold while I help welcome our third grandson into the world, a very exciting and important event in our lives! In the meantime, I want to share my business logo.
I am very excited about the way my logo turned out, and I am grateful to the people at Envision-Creative Group, specifically Stephanie and Sarah, for designing a logo that perfectly reflects the values of my business.Soon after we welcome little Tristan into this world, I will focus on making the muffin mix available in retail stores in the Austin / San Antonio area and online. I am very joyful about sharing this high-protein, nutrient-rich mix with people who have special dietary needs, as well as with people who choose to put only the most healthy foods into their bodies.
This post is a little bit of house-keeping. San Antonio / Austin area Celiacs and gluten-intolerant people will want to consider attending this event. It will be one giant heap of resources under one roof!
February 2, 2014
10 am – 3 pm
Travis County Expo Center Banquet Hall
7311 Decker Lane
Austin, TX 78724
Admission is $10 per adult
Children under 13 are FREE to enter
Parking is Free
For more information, visit the event’s official website.