Glutenfree cooking

Glutenfree logistics

 

TIPS FOR​​ GLUTENFREE COOKING

 

 

 

 

 

BASIC TIPS...

 

 

In theory, gluten-free​​ baking/cooking​​ is simple:​​ for your​​ recipes,​​ the​​ ingredients containing gluten (usually wheat flour)​​ have to be​​ replaced​​ with​​ a gluten-free equivalent. Easy. Yes,​​ BUT: 1.​​ You have to wisely​​ choose this 'equivalent',​​ and​​ 2. Do not forget that 'gluten-free' means 'glue-free' and that your dough, whatever it is, will NEVER lift like a traditional dough ...

 

 

The​​ 'equivalents'

 

A​​ whole​​ world in itself ... Not being a​​ great cook, being rather very​​ basic, I had no idea how​​ many sorts of​​ flours​​ can exist! I was always very impressed by people who cooked with stuff like 'chestnut flour', 'rice flour'​​ or whatever​​ (yes, very basic). But I had never made the effort to go further, buy and test. It remained for me a world a​​ bit​​ apart, reserved for​​ some​​ specialists​​ ...And suddenly,​​ when we got to know about our children's disease,​​ it​​ became​​ necessary to dive into this world...Today,​​ I can​​ show off​​ by saying that I also have 15 kinds of flour in my closets!​​ oh yes! 😉

So, yes, the list of flours is very long (rice, corn, millet, chestnuts, buckwheat, coco ...), and it will be necessary to choose intelligently according to what you want to do, according to the rendering and the taste you want to​​ end with.

Most of these flours can be found in supermarkets, others can only be found in specialist shops (such as 'CoopBio' in France, or Helios​​ / Life​​ in Norway) or on the internet. The major brands of gluten-free (Schär, Semper, Ma vie sans gluten, Toro, etc.) also offer mixes of flours​​ (often corn + rice) for pastry or bread and pizza.​​ 

 

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Example​​ of flours found in our closets…

Coco,​​ rice, mix, millet,​​ buckwheat,​​ corn,​​ chestnut,​​ potatoes…

 

 

'gluten-free' =​​ 'glue-free'!

 

In (very short) summary: without this damn protein, your dough (cake, bread & co) will have​​ much less​​ lift​​ than a traditional​​ dough: the necessary 'glue' to the 'elastic'​​ aspect of the preparation and to the capture of the gas bubbles during the​​ lift​​ is only very​​ little present. Your​​ bread/cake​​ dough​​ often​​ does not rise, or​​ very​​ little,​​ or​​ remains compact.... And that's​​ very​​ disappointing, demoralizing. It happened to me​​ very often​​ at the beginning, a little less now.

To compensate for this lack of 'glue', there are​​ some​​ 'tricks':​​ like adding to the recipes products​​ like​​ guar gum and xanthan gum that have the property of thickening your preparations. For bread,​​ lin-seeds​​ or eggs​​ are also​​ a good option​​ (see recipes).​​ There are also 'fibers' that you can add to any dough.

Regarding​​ baking powders /​​ yeasts: WARNING! many are obviously based on gluten - so look at the composition! You can buy​​ them​​ fresh or long-lasting dry. From experience, I would say it's​​ relatively​​ equivalent. Fresh yeast has​​ however​​ a taste​​ that​​ can be more pronounced, especially when​​ your preparation is a bit bland.

 

PRACTICAL TIPS:​​ gluten-free cooking

1. To start:​​ buy a series of basic flours: rice, corn, buckwheat, chestnut, mix

2. Test the recipes with fresh yeast and dry yeast in order to get an idea

3. Test and re-test your recipes! The gluten-free cuisine (mainly pastries and breads) is special. Take notes.​​ Comment your​​ recipes to​​ remember​​ your tests. Do not hesitate to modify the recipes!

4.​​ Lift​​ gluten-free breads (and cakes) can be difficult: avoid​​ air​​ / temperature changes in the room.

5. Fresh yeast (widely used here in Norway) will work better if you incorporate it at a temperature between 35 and 45 ° C (too cold: it does not work, too hot it dies -​​ yes,​​ these small things are very​​ delicate​​ !), and if you give​​ them​​ time to activate (10-15 min in the liquid of your preparation).​​ 

 

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Example​​ of French and Norwegian baking powder we regularly use

 

 

The bread

 

The gluten-free breads sold at the supermarket are ... VERY​​ EXPENSIVE. And most are frankly not terrible. Yes, ok, we are French and have a fairly high level of demand when talking about bread...​​ OK.​​ But, honestly, most​​ of these industrial breads​​ are very dry, contain sugar, and break​​ into pieces​​ at the slightest manipulation. Some of them are more acceptable (especially Schär's 'ciabata', which are very useful for small sandwiches, and their baguettes​​ -​​ which we just discovered during a trip to Sweden but unfortunately not available near us​​ here in Norway).

However, do not hesitate to test the bread sold in stores. You can find something that suits you. And if you live in France, you will certainly have the chance to find very good fresh bread in some special shops,​​ even​​ bakeries. But, in any case, this bread will remain ... VERY (VERY!)​​ EXPENSIVE!

It will be much cheaper for you to do it yourself 😉

So yes, it's not​​ easy-easy. It took me several months of tests (generally with rather catastrophic results) before succeeding in​​ baking​​ something​​ eatable. I'm not good at cooking, so it probably does not help. Someone of talent will certainly succeed much faster and better!​​ However, sure​​ you will have to go through a series of tests before finding the recipes that suit you. Ideally these recipes should be simple and quick so that your bread does not become an​​ unpleasant task.

 

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Norwegians eat a lot of bread - morning, noon, evening, enormously. We stay on a very French diet, but still, our children eat bread every day for breakfast and snack at 11am​​ at school. So we need a good amount of bread.​​ And...'home-made'​​ is​​ roughly 3 times cheaper than if we bought it all done​​ in supermarkets!​​ So the decision was made rather quickly that our bread would be 'home-made'.

Little by little I developed 3-4 recipes that work​​ well and allow me to offer children different breads (I do not like the idea that they always eat the same thing). But at first I made the mistake of preparing these breads every weekend, for the following week. I spent 2-3 hours every Sunday (not counting the​​ fails). The horror. As a result, it quickly turned into​​ a very​​ unpleasant task, with an increasingly negative feeling about the gluten-free - feeling that we were trying not to pass onto the children​​ (to show them that gluten-free life was as nice and easy than​​ the 'gluten one') ...

In short, it did not work.

So I changed everything: now I make bread once a month. I prepare a dozen​​ of breads​​ of 3-4 kinds.​​ I wait for them to cool, I cut them into slices (careful!​​ delicate step for the gluten free!), I put them in plastic bags, and I freeze! Then, every​​ evening​​ we take out the number of slices we need​​ for​​ the next day, it​​ defrosts gently during the night (in a clean cloth), and the bread is 'fresh' for breakfast​​ :-).​​ Children love it. They often say that 'it's the best bread in the world' (ok, ok, they are certainly a bit biased ... but it's​​ good to hear for my ego!). So, yes, it​​ blocks​​ me on a Sunday afternoon, but at least it's done and the rest of the month is​​ free!

 

PRACTICAL TIPS:​​ making gluten-free bread

1.​​ Choose your recipe​​ (book, blog, internet ..., recipes page of this site ;-))

2.​​ Test the recipe​​ and do not hesitate to adapt it: replace all or part of the indicated flour with another (replace 1/4 with buckwheat flour to give another​​ flavour​​ for ex.)

3.​​ Add seeds​​ (sunflower, linseed, squash ...), nuts, dried fruits (cut​​ them​​ into small pieces so​​ that they do not weigh on the preparation during the​​ lift) -​​ it adds a little taste - and change regularly to not get bored!

4.​​ Vary​​ the​​ liquids: do not hesitate to test by changing the liquids proposed in the recipes (all or part)! Replace water with milk, fruit juice.

5.​​ Prepare your breads, cut them into slices, freeze and take out the number of slices you need every day!

 

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Last remark for the breads: I now do​​ them​​ almost all the time in bread pans. I tried several times to make 'balls' of dough that I​​ leave​​ to lift freely on a baking sheet - this hoping to succeed in making a​​ 'country bread'​​ -type. We see very nice pictures of this type of bread on blogs,​​ it is very tempting! 😉​​ So, yes, it worked. It was​​ rather​​ pretty, nice as on the blogs pictures.​​ BUT:​​ it was always a nightmare to cut ... the​​ inner​​ part was always too large and / or too friable, which made the cut very difficult.​​ I should surely​​ do more​​ tests, with less dough, trying to get a smaller 'ball', which would be easier to cut. Using gums or​​ fibbers​​ could also help .... but for now, I still have not succeeded!

If you have any advice, do not hesitate!;-)

 

 

SOME RECIPES?

 

 

We do not pretend to list recipes of pastries and other dishes and desserts here. Many blogs are available on the internet, some being​​ near-professional (?), With great recipes. One example is the 'Clem​​ sans gluten'​​ site for France (http://clemsansgluten.com/),​​ 'pappa uten gluten'​​ for Norway (http://pappautengluten.no/). The English speakers can just google 'gluten free recipes' and will end with hundreds of blogs! 😉

In addition, although we are desperately French about food, we are not hyper-transcendent cooks, so we will be​​ quite cautious advising​​ you on anything in terms of recipes...

 

So, you will​​ ask​​ me, what is this category​​ then? The goal is to offer you some basic recipes - with stuff I would have liked to read at the beginning, which would have been very useful and would have avoided a few weeks / months of​​ try-and-errors​​ to​​ get​​ the different proportions to use, different versions of the same recipe, the technique a bit special to manage gluten-free, etc ... (well, ok, I was really null at the same time, but we never know, it could help someone! ).

 

Here is a small set of our most basic recipes:

 

 

The basic 'breakfast bread'

 

for​​ 2​​ big breads

INGREDIENTS:

 

900g​​ gluten free flour​​ 

TIP: For the first time, try with a ready mix of Schär or Semper - then you can adapt by replacing it with mixtures of flour (rice, soybeans, corn, etc ...)

750mL​​ of​​ liquids​​ 

TIP: start with water for a 'classic' rendering, then do not hesitate to do tests, half water / half apple juice to vary. the important thing is the ratio of liquids​​ VS​​ dry​​ flour

2 handfuls of sunflower seeds

1 handful of​​ lin-seeds​​ (put​​ 5min in warm water before use)

2 teaspoons of fibers​​ (such as 'Fiber Hysk' in Norway) or​​ xanthan / guar gum​​ (type 'Ma vie sans gluten' sold in specialty stores in France)

1​​ bag​​ of dry yeast, or 1/2 fresh yeast​​ (to be mixed in warm water at 35-45 ° C)

TIP: DO NOT take too much liquid for linseed and fresh yeast in order to respect the proportions liquid-flour​​ (if the resulting​​ dough​​ is not satisfactory (too liquid​​ / too sticky): add flour, little​​ by​​ little)

a little​​ of​​ salt​​ (not to put in direct contact with the yeast: incorporate in the middle of the flour!)

 

 

STEPS:

1.​​ Mix​​ everything (a robot helps a lot!)

TIP:​​ mix​​ a little, but not too much! the gluten-free does not like too long​​ dough-working!

2.​​ prepare a work plan (gluten-free), with a small pot of gluten-free flour accessible next to it

TIP: I have a small plastic box with gluten-free flour (basic mix type) always ready for shaping!

3.​​ transfer your preparation to the work surface

4.​​ drop​​ flour mix and take flour on hands

5.​​ form a ball​​ with the dough

6.​​ cut it in half with a knife (clean of any gluten)

7.​​ form 2 pieces of dough of the same length as your​​ bread pans

TIP: do not manipulate them too much! you could break the poor little networks that have begun to trap gas bubbles for lifting! The gluten-free is not​​ to be​​ handled like a standard​​ dough​​ ...

8.​​ place the​​ doughs​​ in your​​ pans

9.​​ leave them quietly in a place with constant temperature (no air flow) - usually it takes about 30min, probably the time to heat your oven, then turn it on, at 200-220 °C (depending on your oven, you must test!)

TIP: I often read in recipes​​ advises​​ to put a damp cloth on the dough /​​ pan​​ (or plastic film) ... I tried: ok, it works​​ for cakes/pastries-dough​​ that you place in a salad bowl to work them over again, and​​ doughs​​ with a significant lifting time. For basic breads, my experience is not very good: each time the​​ cloth​​ has prevented / stopped the lifting - so it may be me who did not understand everything to the method (;-) ), but I just wanted to say that these breads​​ lift​​ very well normally without this option!

TIP: check if your oven has a 'bread cooking' menu - for our oven, it makes a difference! with this option, our breads cook better inside and have a better crust.

10.​​ when the​​ doughs​​ have lifted enough (be careful not to wait too long: they can fall back!)​​ bake​​ for about 30min.

11.​​ when cooked, take them out of the pans, and​​ place them​​ on a rack​​ to cool.

12.​​ when the breads are cold, you can:​​ 1. eat them!​​ 2. Cut them into slices (avoid, however, too thin slices that break easily), and place them in plastic bags in the freezer: this will allow you to be able to get out the number of slices needed per day! you can defrost them in a clean cloth (~ 1h), or place them in the oven a few minutes 😉