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Posts Tagged ‘Baking with Julia’

TWD: Eastern Mediterranean Pizza, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

We actually made this recipe for the first time a couple of weeks ago, but it was late in the day and we lacked the necessary natural light to photograph it. This recipe intrigued us, since pita bread is not easily converted to gluten free, and admittedly, we have yet to make just pita bread using this recipe. Before singling out the pita bread, we wanted to just explore this dough for the pizza itself, and if it turned out  to be successful, develop it further for really good gluten free pita bread in the future. The contributing bakers  on the original recipe were Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid and you can watch the Baking with Julia PBS segment here.  Please do check out the contributions by all the other doriestas at TWD’s link here. Sadly, we are currently without a host for this recipe, but you can find the original recipe in Baking with Julia, page 156.

The recipe turned out to be quite straight forward and simple to prepare, even after allowing for our gluten free adaptations.  You do, however, have to allow for enough time to prepare the necessary sponge.  For the gluten free pita bread dough, you will need the following ingredients. Please note, we only made half a recipe, which makes approximately six small pizzas, or four medium-sized ones. The entire recipe is not only gluten free, but vegan, since with our adaptations it does not contain any meat, dairy, or eggs.

Pita Bread Dough:

  • 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1-1/4 cups tepid water (80°F-90°F)
  • 1-1/4 cups gluten free whole grain flour blend, consisting of:  1/2 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 brown rice flour, 1/4 sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Himalaya salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1-1/4 – 1-3/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour blend, consisting of: 1/2 cup tapioca flour, 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 sweet rice flour (if you need additional flour, add sweet rice flour by the tablespoon, as needed)

In a large bowl, prepare a sponge, by adding the yeast to the tepid water. Using a wooden spoon, stirring in one direction only, slowly add the gluten free whole grain flour blend, then stir 100 times in the same direction until fully mixed. This is not as bad as it sounds. You can sing your favorite song, or recite your favorite poem while counting. When you are done, the mixture should look smooth and silky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least one hour, or until doubled in size. Our sponge took two hours to double in size.

TWD: Eastern Mediterranean Pizza, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

While the sponge is developing, you can prepare the topping ahead of time.

Topping:

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (we substituted a finely chopped red onion and several finely chopped green onions)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 lb. finely ground lean lamb (we did not use meat in our version, but added additional tomatoes instead)
  • 8 – 10 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped (or use well drained canned tomatoes)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalaya salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a heavy sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Then add the garlic, tomatoes and spices and cook over medium to low heat. You want to retain enough moisture. Then turn off  the heat and set aside. Please note, the topping can be made several hours ahead of time.

Now continue with preparing the pita bread dough, by removing the plastic wrap from the sponge. Sprinkle the salt and drizzle the olive oil on top  and again stir in the same direction. Now add the gluten free all purpose flour blend, one half cup at a time, until well incorporated. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface, gently working in the remaining flour. The original recipe calls for a heavy duty kneading session of about 8-10 minutes. Please refrain from doing that, your gluten free dough will never recover from that kind of abuse.

Depending on the number of pizzas you wish to make, oil two large baking sheets and divide the dough into either four or six pieces. Gently roll out each piece on a lightly floured (with sweet rice) work surface and place each piece immediately onto the oiled cookie sheets. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out, and allow to rise until doubled in height. In a warm kitchen, this process does not take very long, maybe 30 minutes. Divide the topping evenly amongst the pizzas and bake in a preheated 450°F oven, for about 7 – 10 minutes (our pizzas required 10 minutes).

TWD: Eastern Mediterranean Pizza, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved.

This recipe was a huge hit in our house, winning compliments from everyone. Definitely one we will be making again.

 

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Johnny Cake Cobbler, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

After a brief break from baking in general, we are back once again on a Tuesday, baking along with our fellow doriestas. This week we were given two options, either a Fig Crostata, or Johnny Cake Cobbler. The selection was easy, since we had just purchased the most amazing, locally grown fresh peaches at Whole Foods. The recipe actually calls for sliced nectarines and purple plums, but peaches are in season and were an easy substitution.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with our TWD baking experiments, there is usually a weekly host who supplies the actual recipe from  the book Baking with Julia. Lacking a host for this week’s recipe, we will break with tradition and supply our own gluten free version. If you are looking for the original recipe, please check out page 389 in “Baking with Julia” and/or visit the TWD website here.

Johhny Cake Cobbler, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved.

First of all, like most cobblers, this is very easy to make.  For any novice gluten free baker, this is a recipe you cannot fail at.  Provided you have the ingredients on hand, which is easy this time of year, with all the abundance of fresh fruit, you can have this dessert on the table from start to finish in under one hour. We chose peaches, but any choice of fruit would lend itself beautifully for this dessert.

To fill a 9 x 9 inch casserole dish you will need the following ingredients:

Fruit filling:

  • 6 peaches, sliced
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, or coconut oil

Melt the butter, or coconut oil (if you need to be dairy free), in a large pot over medium heat. Add the peaches, minced ginger and coconut sugar. Mix well and cook over low heat, until the peaches are just beginning to get soft. Fill into the lightly greased casserole dish and set aside, while you prepare the topping, for which you will need the following ingredients.

Topping:

  • 1-1/2 cups of gluten free flour, consisting of 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup tapioca flour and 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. Himalaya salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 stick (2 oz.) of butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup lactose-free sour cream
  • 1/2 cup almond-coconut milk blend

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Please note that we took some liberties with the original recipe.  We reduced the amount of flour by 1/2 cup and substituted lactose-free sour cream (Green Valley Organics, available at Whole Foods and your local health food store) as well as added the almond-coconut milk (Califia Farms) to help thin out the batter.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add the butter, mixing well until coarse crumbs form. Then add the sour cream and coconut-almond milk. You are looking to create a light pillowy dough/batter that easily drops by the spoonful on top of the prepared fruit. Spoon the batter on top of the prepared filling and bake in the preheated oven for 14-17 minutes. Your baking time may vary depending on the type of fruit used, or the elevation in which you reside. You will know the cobbler is done when the biscuit topping is golden and the fruit filling is bubbling.

Johnny Cake Cobbler, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Serve warm. It is delicious by itself but could also be served with your favorite ice cream. We absolutely loved the ease of making this tasty dessert. The flavor of the fresh peaches was absolutely phenomenal making this a favorite late summer treat.

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Savory Brioche Pockets, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

As promised last week, here is our gluten free version of the savory brioche pockets. They were easier to make than originally thought, but required an additional 10 tablespoons of flour to achieve the right consistency described in the book. Our trusted old stand mixer ended its life during the creation of our last cook book, and we have not been able to replace it since, holding out hope for a pro KitchenAid. But it turns out, with a little effort, one can make this recipe using an ordinary hand mixer. Maybe we can credit the blend of gluten free flours for allowing this, a heavier wheat dough might not cut it. In all fairness, we did not have to run the mixer for the 15 plus minutes suggested in the book. We managed to achieve the desired results in about 10 minutes, with the mixer running warm, but still alive.

Using our blend of gluten free flour, consisting of brown rice flour, potato starch, teff flour, sweet rice flour and tapioca flour, we created the sponge as called for in the recipe, but added one cup of warm water. Gluten free flours can go one of two ways, either too dry or too wet, the latter being the most common problem. However, this sponge was different, 1/3 cup of milk just didn’t do it justice. With the extra liquid the sponge developed beautifully, after rising for 40 minutes. Outside of the obvious changes, i.e. gluten free, we pretty much followed the steps outlined in the recipe for the dough,  using the same flour blend mentioned earlier, with the addition of 1 teaspoon of psyllium seed along with 10 tablespoons of extra flour. The dough was fairly light in consistency, rose beautifully, more than doubling in size within 2-1/2 hours, but we feared it would not survive any length of time in the refrigerator, so we left that step out completely.

While the dough was still rising, we prepared the filling using potatoes, small portabella mushrooms, chopped green onions, finely chopped basil leaves, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and a small onion, finely chopped and caramelized.

Savory Brioche Pockets, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

To our great surprise, the dough was easy to work with, and allowed for easy shaping into pockets. For those of you familiar with gluten free baking, you’ll know what we mean, that a lot of these kind of doughs tend to “crack” or break with a lot of handling. Yet, amazingly, this dough was up to the challenge. We brushed the finished brioche pockets with an egg wash and baked them for about 27 minutes.

Since we finished making this during the late afternoon, the pockets became a quick and very delicious dinner. We absolutely loved them. The filling is amazing and perfectly compliments the flavor of the dough. As an alternative, this dough would also lend itself for making great pasties. We’ll definitely be making this recipe again, experimenting with a variety of fillings.

Savory Brioche Pockets, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

If you would like to get the original recipe, please check out Carrie’s beautiful site Loaves and Stitches, as well as all the creative contributions from the other Doristas.

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TWD: Rustic Potato Loaves, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Better late than never. We didn’t have enough time to make this bread and develop it like we usually do with a new and unfamiliar recipe. As a result, this is a work in progress. The only alterations we made to the original recipe, were the addition of one egg and the gluten free flour substitutions. We also cut the recipe in half, making only one loaf. Honestly, while the taste was great, we would have liked to see this bread rise much higher and have a lighter consistency. However, we liked the recipe enough to give it a couple more tries, using a different combination of gluten free flours. For those of you that like to experiment along with us, for this batch we used a combination of brown rice, tapioca flour and sweet rice. In future trials, the addition of amaranth and/or teff flour might help create a lighter consistency. We’ll keep you posted.

If you are looking for inspiration, please check out the incredibly delicious looking bread made by Dawn of Dawn’s Simple Sweets, our host this week. Also, don’t forget to check the contributions by all the other bakers in this group.

TWD: Rustic Potato Loaves, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, all rights reserved

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Mocha Chocolate Chips, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Who would have thought a cookie recipe could turn out to be such a challenge? If you bake with gluten, cookies are one of the easiest recipes to make. Even when baking gluten free, classic drop cookies, like chocolate chip, are fairly simple to create. A basic combination of flour, butter, sugar and eggs. In other words, not particularly difficult. When baking in general, the ratios of liquid to flour, and the proportions of butter and eggs  are usually what determines the success of a recipe. This becomes even more important when creating a gluten free recipe. As a rule, most gluten free flours are not able to absorb high amounts of fat in the same way that gluten flours can. As a result, we were a little worried when first looking over this recipe and seeing that it called for 2 cups of butter in relation to 2 cups of flour. As always, when testing an unfamiliar recipe, we only make half a batch in order to limit the possible wasting of ingredients. Making this recipe, we were especially happy we followed this rule.

Mocha Chocolate Chips, copyright 2013 gfcelebration.com. All rights reserved.

Since the rules of TWD encourage everyone that participates to generally follow the recipes as laid out in Baking with Julia, we followed these guidelines by only substituting the regular flour for gluten free, and the sugar for sucanat. So far so good. Sometimes this approach works, and other times it leads to a big disaster. Our first attempt at this recipe was no exception, as you can see from the following photo.

Mocha Chocolate Chips,copyright 2013 gfcelebration.com. All rights reserved.

What a mess. Everything about the recipe seemed fine right up until it was time to bake. The dough was chilled for the required amount of time, and then dropped by the tablespoonful onto sil-pat lined baking sheets. After ten minutes in the oven, the butter was clearly the winner. It went everywhere. We almost gave up the idea of making this recipe again after ending up with such greasy, wafer thin “cookies.” To be honest, they really didn’t resemble cookies at all. Is it the elusive special Parisian butter, or the Parisian air that makes the recipe in the book work? Who knows? It certainly didn’t work for us.

Mocha Chocolate Chips, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

After we were done cleaning up the first fiasco, we decided right away to cut the butter in half, and increase the amount of flour by 1/8 cup. Originally, we used a flour blend made up of more tapioca than brown rice. However, thinking this may have been part of the problem, with the second batch, we flipped the ratio and used more brown rice flour, with a much smaller addition of tapioca and sweet rice. We also subbed out baking powder for baking soda, which ended up resulting in fluffier cookies than perhaps the original creator of the recipe intended.

Mocha Chocolate Chips, copyright 2013 gfcelebration.com. All rights reserved.

With this second batch, the end result was at least something resembling a cookie. We loved it. It tasted great, we even liked the texture, but we altered the recipe so much, that it no longer completely resembled the original. In order to stay closer to the original recipe, we still feel it would have to be tweaked a little further. But not by us. We usually don’t favor recipes that call for excessive amounts of fat or sugar. I think at the end, we all have a favorite “go to” recipe for chocolate chip cookies. This one, sadly enough, just did not become ours.

This week’s host is Peggy of Galettista. She has done an absolutely beautiful job with these cookies, and also gives the precise recipe on her site. Do check out all of the other TWD participants’ creations by going to the Tuesdays with Dorie website.

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TWD: Gluten free Focaccia, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Italian breads seem to be a recurrent theme with the TWD group over the last couple of months. First pizza, now focaccia. Not that we are complaining. Going back to our gluten eating days, we did enjoy focaccia on occasion, in fact, while living in Montana, a local health conscious baker, built his own wood fired oven, in order to do justice making some of the old style, rustic European breads. A lot of his breads were sourdough based, and focaccia was no exception. Usually only available on a weekend, unless you placed a special order, these specialty breads would disappear as soon as they emerged from the oven.  Since not everyone in our household shares our personal love for Italian food, focaccia is generally not at the top of the list, when baking bread. We do love a challenge, and never having tried focaccia gluten free before, we felt we couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

The contributing baker to the original recipe is Craig Kominiak, and he calls for two rising periods, followed by a resting period of 24-36 hours in the refrigerator. Generally, from our own humble experience, gluten free baking is not always amenable to these extra long resting periods. As a result, our own gluten free adaptation differs greatly from the original. When developing any recipe, we always cut the recipe in half, just in case it flops. This was no different.  The changes we made included the preparation of a simple sponge prepared a day ahead, consisting of sorghum flour, brown rice flour and water. The remaining flour blend included brown rice, tapioca, sweet rice and potato starch, along with psyllium seed soaked in coconut milk, one egg and the addition of 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar.  Fresh thyme and rosemary, along with a couple of tablespoons of fresh Parmesan cheese were worked into the dough before rising. The dough was allowed to rise for 1-1/2 hours, during which time it nearly tripled in size. Quite a feat for any gluten free dough.

TWD: Gluten Free Focaccia, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Spreading a dusting of rice flour onto a baking board, we divided the dough in half, and pressed it into rough oval shapes, about 1/2 inch thick. Using a fork we pierced holes throughout the dough, allowing it to bake evenly. We brushed the top with olive oil, sprinkled it with fresh thyme, rosemary and halved cherry tomatoes, along with salt and pepper.

TWD: Gluten Free Focaccia, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

The focaccia baked for about 15 minutes in a pre-heated 450°F oven. The best thing about making this recipe is how the entire house fills with the delicious aroma of fresh herbs and baking bread.

Never having made gluten free focaccia, we consider this recipe to be a great success, in both texture and flavor. We were also quite impressed how easy the dough was to work with, along with the fact that the final result mirrored the description in the Baking with Julia book, as well as our memories of regular focaccia (however faint – it is quite a while back now).

TWD: Gluten Free Focaccia, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

In the future, we will definitely give the “refrigerated resting time for the dough” a try, as well as experiment with a non-savory version.

Please check out all the wonderful contributions by the other TWD bakers at this link, as well as the beautiful contribution by this week’s host Sharmini of Wandering Through.

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Pizza with Onion Confit, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Here we are, with our first recipe for 2013 with Baking with Julia/Tuesdays with Dorie: Pizza with Onion Confit. Delving into making pizza probably wouldn’t have been a personal choice to make, especially so close after the holidays. But upon closer examination of the recipe, it turned out to be a much lighter version as far as calories  are concerned and minus the excessive cheese. The type of pizza crust in this recipe reminded me of my travels through Northern Italy. Just out of college,  and traveling with several American students, we stopped by some local restaurants in the Northern Italian Alps, and all of them served pizza with a rather crispy crust, topped with delicious herbs, fresh tomatoes and very small amounts of locally made cheese – mostly goat cheese, or some type of mozzarella. That was my first introduction to Italian food and I loved it and from then on expected all pizzas to turn out just like the ones I was introduced to in these quaint mountain villages of Northern Italy. Yet,  most of my American friends expected a slightly different version, and some probably felt disappointed, because these locally made dishes lacked the familiar touch of what they had been introduced to at home. Isn’t it interesting how our expectations, especially when it comes to food, rest on what we are familiar with. When many years later, I got my first taste of an American pizza (i.e., soft crust, dripping with cheese and loaded with meat), it was disappointing because I had identified with a much simpler, yet delicious type of pizza back in Italy. I realize, of course, that each region in Italy is known for its own specialties, and my own introduction so long ago, represented just one of many. Even here in the US, over the years, most American pizzas have changed so much and not always for the better. We now have double crusts, and double the amount of cheese and meat. Eating gluten free is actually a blessing in most situations, since very few restaurants are able to guarantee a  gluten free pizza – free of cross-contamination. A true celiac, and even a very sensitive gluten intolerant individual could never risk eating anything that has been prepared, or baked alongside gluten rich foods. Especially in a pizzeria, with flour literally floating in the air and coating the typical pizza oven.

Over the years, we have experimented with several gf pizza crusts. Most commercially prepared varieties, or mixes, nearly always contain corn, another allergen for us and therefore out of the question. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza mix has always worked out well, but it does not lend itself to be handled like a typical pizza dough. It produces a rather soft, more ‘liquidy’ dough that has to be spread out onto the pizza pan and it also calls for the use of eggs. For all of the above reasons, this particular recipe intrigued us and  we looked forward to creating a new gluten free crust, free of eggs and dairy.

Pizza with Onion Confit, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

By the way, you can find the original recipe (using gluten) for this pizza at Paul’s beautiful site The Boy Can Bake. You can also check out the exquisite entries by all the TWD bakers at Tuesdays with Dorie.

This recipe will make two pizzas. Allow at least three hours of prep. time for this recipe. There are two rising times of 1-1/2 hours each. Steve Sullivan, the contributing baker for this recipe calls for the preparation of a sponge, made of yeast, tepid water, olive oil and flour. For our gluten free version we used a combination of sorghum, brown rice, tapioca and sweet rice flour. The sponge is allowed to rest in a warm place (80-85°F), covered, and needs to fully develop for about 1-1/2 hours. Our sponge more than doubled in size during that time and we then added the remaining flour (made up of the same flour combination with the addition of 1-1/2 tsp. of guar gum and 1 Tbsp. of rice bran) and an additional 1/4 cup of water and 1 tsp. of oil. Again, we let the dough rest, covered, in a warm place for another 1-1/2 hours. It again doubled in size, which surprised us, since most gluten free pizza dough doesn’t easily accomplish that without the addition of at least one egg, or an egg substitute.

Gluten Free Pizza Dough, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

While the second rising took place, I prepared the onion confit, over low heat, following the directions in the recipe, but without the addition of creme de cassis – just didn’t feel like purchasing an item we probably wouldn’t use again anytime soon.

Onion Confit, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

The aroma of the onions, prepared with red wine, vinegar and thyme permeated our house. The onion mixture cooked for almost an hour, allowing all the moisture to be absorbed. We let it cool while preparing the actual crust. First I cut the dough in half, tightly wrapping one half of the dough, and refrigerating it for another pizza  in a couple of days. I dusted a baking board lightly with a little sweet rice flour and rolled out the dough to the recommended 1/4-inch thickness. Since we don’t currently own a pizza stone, we used our regular perforated pizza pan, greasing it with a little butter. I then transferred the rolled out dough onto the pizza pan. The dough was very pliable and easy to handle. A very pleasant and welcome surprise.

Pizza with Onion Confit, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

I topped the dough with half of the onion confit mixture (reserving the other half for the next pizza), about 3 Tbsp. of  sliced black olives, some marinated green olives, organic cherry tomatoes cut in half, sliced shitake mushrooms and a some goat cheese with tomato and basil, and baked it in the preheated oven (450°F) for about 15 minutes.  While the dough did not continue to expand while baking, the pizza smelled delicious and we couldn’t wait to try it.

Pizza with Onion Confit, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Once removed from the oven, we garnished the pizza with some fresh water cress.  It was easy to slice, and tasted absolutely delicious, crispy, yet tender and chewy. It is definitely a keeper, and we will be making it again in the future, experimenting with different toppings.

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