Gluten Free Chapati

Chapati are Indian flatbreads, essentially wholewheat, Indian counterparts for Mexican tortillas.

They are tasty, slightly chewy, moist, and pliant, and are good for scooping up mouthfuls of curry. They’re also quick and easy to make. If you find they’re too stiff, they’re over cooked and you should raise the cooking temperature a little (so that they get their brown spots before drying out) or shorten the cooking time. I find that as I’m cooking more chapatis, the cast iron pan gets hotter and I have to turn down the heat so I have time to roll out a chapati while the previous one is cooking.

chapati

Quantities to serve 4
1 oz (1/4 cup) teff flour
1 oz (1/4 cup) garfava (or garbanzo bean) flour
2 oz (1/2 cup) tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
4 fl oz (1/2 cup) water

Preheat a griddle or cast iron frying pan on medium high heat (don’t use oil, these shouldn’t be fried).

Stir all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then add the oil and water.

Beat all together with a butter knife until a smooth, soft, moist (but not too sticky) dough is formed. Add a little more water or flour as necessary.

Dust the work-surface with a little more of one of the flours. Take enough dough for one chapati (the size of a large egg or 1/4 of the dough), dust a rolling pin with the flour, and roll out the dough into an even, 8″ round.

Put the uncooked chapati onto the heated pan, and cook until small brown spots appear on the bottom (~2 minutes). Turn the chapati over, and cook on the other side for about a minute until it too has small brown spots on it.

Eat immediately, or place between two pieces of kitchen paper until you’re ready to eat, to prevent them drying out.

Crusty, Vegan, Gluten Free Bread

Cut loafAfter having been in temporary accommodation for exactly a year now, with half to two-thirds of my kitchen in storage, we’re finally looking at moving into a permanent house in a couple of weeks’ time. I’m so looking forward to being able to play in the kitchen again. Amongst other things, I managed to put into storage all my bread tins, so have been experimenting with some glass cookware (that I rarely used before, but somehow ended up taking with us).
Making gluten free bread with eggs is now pretty straight forward, but getting a good rise out of a vegan bread mix has been more challenging.

slice of bread

This slice was cut before the loaf had fully cooled, but note the lack of unleavened bread at the bottom of the loaf!

I was toying with my copy of Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread by Jennifer Katzinger (with which I’ve had limited success) a few months ago, when I realized that the logic that she was using for not waiting for the dough to rise before putting it in the oven, could be applied to what I used to do sometimes with wheat bread. Sometimes, I would only wait until the dough was mostly risen, then put it in a cold (but heating) oven so that the slowly rising heat from the oven caused the yeast to go mad, right up until the point that it got hot enough to cook. Jennifer puts her bread straight into a hot oven, but I wanted to experiment putting the dough into a cold oven, so that it only had 15 minutes of rising before cooking at a reasonably high temperature. It seems to me that we still need a certain amount of yeast action to raise the loaf, but (according to Jennifer) we don’t want enzymes to have time to break down the structure, so we’d best be using lots of first generation yeast instead of waiting for successive generations to build up the CO2 in our loaf. This means that I’ve used far more yeast than I would normally use in a loaf …. and at this rate, using individual sachets of yeast is an expensive proposition. I buy my yeast in 2 lb bags in Costco for about the same money that I’ve seen charged for a 4 oz jar in other supermarkets.

The resultant bread is mildish in flavor (but not bland) with a crunchy crust, and a soft, moist mie the texture of REAL bread (as opposed to the pointless, fluffy-white-nothing of mass-produced ready-sliced modern wheat bread, of which I was never particularly fond). The tapioca starch keeps the texture of the mie soft; the almond flour gives a mild but nutritious aspect; the bean flour is great for nutrition and structure (but tends to be rather strongly flavored which is why I’ve diluted it with other flours), and the teff flour is also nutritiously superior, but with a warming, mellow flavor. I think it’s the teff that gives the slight molasses (not sweet) flavor that my daughter noticed. All in all, I really like this loaf. It isn’t as calorie dense as my much loved almond bread, but has good structure and flavor and isn’t reliant on eggs.

2 tbsp chia seeds
6 oz (1 1/4 cups) tapioca flour/starch or arrowroot
2 1/2 oz (2/3 cup) almond meal
2 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) garbanzo/garfava bean flour
5 oz (1 cup) teff flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp instant yeast
2 tbsp maple syrup/1 tbsp sugar

Measure the chia seeds out into a small container, add 4 fl. oz (1/2 cup) of water and put to one side to swell. (Minimum 15 mins. Hot water speeds up the process.)

Into the food processor, put the starch, almond, bean, and teff flours. Add the salt, xanthan gum, oil, and yeast.

Teff doughInto a jug, measure 1 1/2 cup of warm water and the maple syrup. (Warm water speeds up the rising.)

Once they’re ready, add the soaked chia seeds to the processor (the mixture will have thickened). Start processing the mixture and slowly (~10 seconds) add the water/syrup mixture. Process until the ingredients are fully amalgamated (~60 seconds). Add another tbsp or two of water, if your processor is having a hard time mixing this.

Heavily grease a 2lb loaf pan, scrape the dough into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Cover loosely with a sheet of baking parchment (not foil which increases the cooking time) to avoid over-browning.

Place the wannabe loaf in the oven, then turn on the oven to heat up to 360F and cook for 1 hr (from cold).

When cooked, the loaf will have pulled away from the side of the pan slightly. Tip it out, and allow to cool (ha ha … I never manage this bit) before slicing.

Teff Bread

Sliver pictureI know I’ve said this before, but I am still of the opinion that gluten free flours have a tendency to be either nutritionally poor and mildly flavored, or nutritionally good and strongly flavored, and unfortunately, many of the strong flavors are too intrusive and so we have to mix our flours to moderate them, or settle for the less nutritious flours. Teff appears to be a moderate flour; on its own it approaches the nutritional value of whole wheat, and there are no harsh notes. Don’t expect it to taste like wheat bread, but do expect it to taste like a great specialty bread.

This loaf was springy, flexible, and moist; easy to slice and slightly dense, and reminiscent of the malt loaf that I absolutely loved as a kid. It isn’t sweet, however, so it’s fine for savory sandwiches (although I am SO tempted to make a sweet one to toast).

I cooked this at a low temperature in order to get a soft crust, which it obligingly gave me.DSC_0011

10 oz (2 cups) teff flour
5 oz (1 cup) tapioca starch
1 oz (1/4 cup) flaxmeal
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp yeast
2 tbsp sugar (for the yeast, not for you)
1 tsp white vinegar
2 eggs
9 fl. oz water

DSC_0001

Batter consistency.

DSC_0003

Smoothed, unrisen dough.

Put all the dry ingredients in a food processor.
Put all the wet ingredients in a jug.

Start the processor, and slowly (over a period of about 10 seconds) add the wet ingredients to the dry. Process for about 2 minutes to activate the xanthan gum.

Risen dough ready to go in the oven.

Risen dough ready to go in the oven.

Scrape the batter out into a greased loaf pan; smooth the top, and allow to rest somewhere warm to rise by about 50% (~35 minutes depending on liveliness of your yeast and ambient temperature).
Place the pan in the oven, cover with a sheet of parchment or foil, and set the temperature to 330F.

Bake for 65 – 70 minutes (timed from turning on the oven, not from getting up to temperature).
Remove from the pan, and allow to cool (ha ha!) before slicing.

Teff Pancakes

DSC_0007

Teff American Pancakes served here with scrambled tofu. These pancakes are moist, light, and springy; a little more flavorful than wheat pancakes, with slight undertones of chocolate.

Teff seems to be a very well behaved gluten free flour. These American style pancakes are soft and springy, with the sweet version having a taste mildly reminiscent of an orange and milk chocolate cake, which is great for those of us who appear to be unable to tolerate chocolate!

It’s also low-FODMAP, if that’s something that bothers you.

This amount makes two 4″ pancakes.

1 egg
1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz) teff flour
0 – 3 tsp sugar (0 tsp for savory meal, 3 tsp for sweet)
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 – 2 tbsp dairy free milk OR orange juice (for sweet meal)

1 tsp oil for frying

Put all the ingredients (except oil) into a cup or small mixing bowl, and beat together briefly with a fork to form a batter.

Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot (and a splash of water instantly beads up and evaporates if splattered in the pan). Reduce the heat to medium low, and spread out the oil with a spatula or by tilting the pan.

DSC_0003Pour out the batter into two rounds in the frying pan, and allow to set for about 2 minutes until small bubbles have appeared on the surface of the pancake, the edges have set (and look less shiny), and the bottom has browned slightly.

Use a spatula or fish slice to flip each pancake over, and cook the other side for about a minute or until it too is lightly browned.

Serve hot with the usual breakfast accompaniments.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Thin Crust Pizza

I was in the kitchen indulging in some tortilla making this morning (mainly because I was craving carbs), and I was turning one of them into a quesadilla, as I finished making the others, when it occurred to me that I should be able to turn the tortillas into individual thin crust pizzas, too, albeit in a slightly thicker and bigger format, and cooked a bit longer to get a crunchy crust.

Cooked thin crust pizza

One of the tortillas succumbed to my experiment, but it wasn’t ideal as I had no pizza sauce on hand, and the crust burnt at the edges, but it showed promise; I just had to thicken the crust at the edges so it didn’t burn so easily.

I had another go this afternoon, and the resulting pizzas were sturdy enough to hold in the hand, crispy around the edge of the crust, and chewy and tasty all over. They were also really quick to make once the pizza sauce and dairy free cheese were sorted. 20 – 30 minutes start to finish for 4 pizzas. During the process, I figured that I needed to prepare all the ingredients before I started putting the pizza together, as once I got started, it all happened quickly, and I didn’t have much time for slicing veggies. Note that I put the cheese under the veggies so that it would melt more easily, and I put the veggies on the very top of the pizza so that they would cook under the broiler/grill, and not get shielded by the cheese.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 batch of amaranth, all purpose, or quinoa/bean flour dough
  • Pizza sauce (Herb and Garlic pizza sauce, Veganesca, Ratatouille, Ranchero sauce, or your favorite)
  • Dairy free cheese (home made or commercial), thinly sliced, or diced
  • Toppings (thickly sliced mushrooms, thinly sliced red onion, black olives, raw garlic slices, halved fresh baby tomatoes, pineapple chunks, soy chorizo, oil preserved sun dried tomatoes, etc.)

Heat the pizza sauce, and set to one side.

Prepare all the toppings that you’re thinking of using, and also set to one side.

Place a pizza stone about 6″ underneath a hot broiler (grill), and preheat it.

Pizza doughDivide the dough into 4 evenly sized pieces.

On a well floured cutting board or work surface, roll one of the pieces of dough into a round about 10-12″ across, and then fold the edges back over so that the edge of the crust will be thicker than the rest of the pizza (to prevent burning, and make the crust look rounder).

Heat a dry cast iron pan on the stove on medium heat until hot, and place the rolled pizza dough onto the pan, with the folded over edges facing upwards. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom of the crust is very slightly browned, and then flip the crust over, smear with pizza sauce, then the cheese, then the vegetable toppings, and then scoot the pizza onto the pizza stone for about 5-7 minutes while the veggies cook, the cheese melts, and the pizza crust browns around the edges.

While that pizza cooks under the broiler/grill, roll out the next pizza base and repeat the process.

Burger Buns

Burger bunsYou may or may not know this. A nice little trick with bread involves knowing that high cooking temperatures will give a thicker, crunchier crust, and lower cooking temperatures result in a thinner, softer one. So, if you want your bread to have a soft almost non-existent crust, much like burger buns, then a lower cooking temperature is required.

I normally cook my almond brioche bread at a medium temperature (~360F/180C) to get a medium amount of crust. To get these soft, thin crusted baps, I drop the temperature to 320F/160C, though I suspect that lower would work, too. Additionally, I wet the surface of the dough before it goes in the oven, to delay the formation of the crust (due to the surface drying out) so that the dough can continue rising in the oven for a little longer. I happen to love the mild (but not non-existent) flavor, and soft, flexible texture of this almond brioche bread, but if you have a favorite GF bread mix, you can just try dropping the temperature to make burger buns.

This recipe makes 8-10 burger sized rolls

1 recipe Almond Brioche dough

Line a cookie/baking tray with parchment paper, and use a serving spoon to form 8-10 equal sized mounds. Spread the batter out with the back of the spoon into patties, 3/4″ high, by ~5″ diameter.

Now, use wet fingers in small circular motions to gently smooth the top and sides of the buns. Re-wet your fingers frequently. This will give a smoother external texture, as this dough doesn’t smooth out on its own very well.

Leave the rolls to rise for 30-40 minutes.

Put the tray into the middle of a cold oven covered lightly with parchment paper to prevent over browning, and turn on the oven to cook for 35 minutes at 320F.

When the rolls are lightly browned, and spring back when prodded, remove them from the oven, and cover with a clean kitchen towel while they cool, to help keep the crust soft.

Enjoy.

Quinoa and Hemp bread

This week, a gluten eating friend of mine asked me, “Have you ever made bread with quinoa flour? I bought some and want to try it out if you have any suggestions…..” This wasn’t exactly something I could turn down, so after sending her links for quinoa tortillas and steamed bread, I got on with figuring out the following. Now, quinoa is a fairly well behaved flour, but it has a strong flavor, so I mixed it with hemp (the legal, non-intoxicating variety) which is mild and gives a stretchy quality which I like in bread. Quinoa is also known as a good protein source, but hemp is even better, so this loaf is nutritionally interesting.

Torn bread

Daughter #1 braved it when she got back from school, and declared that it was mild in flavor, had a good texture, and was interesting. Her sandwich didn’t last long. I should clarify that it isn’t mild in flavor when it first comes out of the oven. The quinoa has quite a distinctive smell and flavor which mellow as the loaf cools.

sandwich

Quinoa and Hemp Bread

5 oz (1 cup) hemp seed (dehulled)
5 oz quinoa flour
5 oz (1 1/4 cup) tapioca starch
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup margarine
2 eggs
5 fl. oz water

Put all the dry ingredients (and the margarine) in a food processor.

Put all the wet ingredients in a jug.

Start processing, and gradually (over ~10 seconds) add the wet ingredients to the dry.

Continue processing for about 3 minutes to activate the xanthan gum.

Line a loaf pan or baguette former with parchment paper, and scoop the bread dough into shape. Smooth it over, and leave to rise until doubled in size (~2 hours).

Preheat the oven to 360F, place the loaf in the center of the oven lightly covered with parchment paper to prevent over browning, and cook for 45 minutes for bagettes, 55 minutes for a sandwich loaf.

Allow to cool before eating, so the flavor can mellow.