|← Glutenfree logistics|
TIPS FOR GLUTENFREE COOKING
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 ...
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.
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).
Example of French and Norwegian baking powder we regularly use
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.
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!
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!;-)
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
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!)
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 😉