Waxing Philosophical about Cooking in the Mountains – Jenn Needs to Bake!

by Jenn on September 30, 2009

in Photography

New Hampshire

Ah, beautiful, isn’t it?  I love being in the mountains.   I mean, just LOOK at this gorgeous color!

New Hampshire

The mountains are just beautiful.  Calming. Relaxing.

New Hampshire

Are you relaxed yet? We are!

PAG0556us-500x366

As you can probably tell, I’m not really completely roughing it, not if I can find a great coffee shop with access to beautiful wifi.  Being here in the midst of nature is great though, and it gives you lots of time to think.  One thought that has been forming in my mind for a bit is about baking.  Specifically, how I need to experiment and do more of gluten free baking.

I always say I am not a baker, but really that is silly.  Baking is just like any other skill – one needs experience.  And the science of baking is a lot of chemistry – one of the major facets of my profession.  I had so much fun making these awesome peanut butter and banana muffins for my guest post on ZOMTBakes, I’ve realized that I really need to become more knowledgeable in the area of gluten free baking.

So, I plan on doing some reading (some chemistry actually, haha), about starches, and how various ingredients/techniques affect the end result.  I have a feeling this will require a bit of experimentation too, haha.  But when I get back from my lovely vacation, I am going to start a new series on this blog, about my baking adventures.  About the various gluten free ingredients, and what does/doesn’t make a successful gluten free creation.

To start, I have basically organized my pantry into categories of gluten free ingredients – what I call starches, flours, and “glues” – I’ve started to figure out a few things about baking through my various successes and failures – for example, I’ve found rice flour is good for some things but not others (like homemade pasta), or bean flours need to be used in limited quantities because their flavor is very strong.  I find more and more that the starch:flour ratio is more important than necessarily which type of flour you use, and as a general rule at least 3 different GF ingredients are needed to give anything any type of expected consistency.  Here are the ingredients I typically work with, because they are relatively accessible and affordable -

Starches -
Arrowroot powder
Cornstarch
Tapioca flour/starch
Potato starch

Flours:
White rice flour
Brown rice flour
Quinoa flour
Sorghum flour
Buckwheat flour
Chickpea flour
Soy flour
Almond meal (homemade)
Walnut meal (homemade)
Corn meal

Other“:
Xanthan gum

I would like to develop a mixture of an “all-purpose” GF mix that I could use for a number of various recipes, rather than creating an entire recipe from scratch out of several ingredients each time.  This is going to be my next project once I get back.

But until I get back (I hope to find internets again to share with you some of the great food we have made out in the mountains), I leave you with some great scenes of Fall:

New Hampshire
Roots

What are your favorite flours or GF ingredients to use???


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren September 30, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Currently, I’m enjoying using sorghum, millet, corn and tapioca. My mom relies on Bette Hagman’s mix, and loves using cornstarch, so it depends on who’s baking (and what). However, we’ve always got xanthan gum on hand =D.

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jill October 1, 2009 at 8:58 pm

My go to gf mix is 2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca starch with a pinch of xanthan gum in each recipe, it works pretty well most of the time

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gfe--gluten free easily October 13, 2009 at 11:42 pm

I have issues with sorghum, buckwheat, etc. so my gf flour mix is simplly white rice flour (Asian white rice flour–3 lbs) and cornstarch (2 lbs). Then I add xanthan gum if necessary. I like to make a lot of flourless recipes and I also emphasize recipes that call for little flour. It just makes life much easier IMO.

Gorgeous photos!

Best of luck,
Shirley

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