Today starts the rally.
I am so thrilled to announce to you this brand new monthly collaborative blogging event, the Gluten Free Ratio Rally. Our goal? To determine the ratios of ingredients that work together to create successful, flavorful gluten free food.
Ruhlman taught the world the simplicity of ratios in his book – that if you know the ratios of ingredients, you can play with just about any recipe and then make it your own. We need that freedom in gluten free recipes as well. Nothing seems more daunting when switching to gluten free than dealing with feeling stuck by thinking about foods that can no longer be enjoyed. How often have we stood there in our kitchens, staring at our old family cookbook on the counter at a complete loss for how to go about making a dish gluten free? Or even just trying to find the right substitutions because our local grocery store doesn’t happen to sell teff flour or xanthan gum? And yet we do not have to feel limited! I owe a lot to my husband’s gluten intolerance – learning to cook without gluten has truly opened up the entire world of the kitchen to me.
Last year, you may have remembered my gluten free substitutions series, as a weekly attempt to come up with some rules of thumb for converting gluten free recipes. Participating in the Gluten Free Ratio Rally is, for me, a perfect extension of some of my trials last year. I am thrilled to collaborate with such talented people as we all join in together, experimenting with exactly what is needed to get a recipe “right”. I can’t wait to see all of the amazing discoveries we learn as we go along.
Why ratios? Because ratios are the key to culinary freedom. The beauty of working in ratios is that it does not matter what units or actual weights are used, as long as the proportion of ingredient amounts is retained. No need to convert to grams from oz. if you don’t want to, as long as you take note of the ratios you used. Likewise, it doesn’t matter what total amount you are using, as anything can be scaled up or down. It’s also why ratios are a good way to represent recipes in our group, because we all will use different units and make different sized batches of food with our own unique spin. But by using ratios, we can all directly compare our versions to each other and see what effects differences in proportions of ingredients have on a recipe’s outcome. And of course, measuring by weight instead of volume is critical.
This inaugural month we start off with a dozen bloggers, thanks to the great organizational efforts of our first host, Shauna from Gluten Free Girl. We will trade off hosting each month, but everyone participates in developing the ingredient ratios that work. I have a feeling this will be quite the synergistic effort, as we all push each other forward and make some delicious treats in the process
This month the challenge was to make pancakes. Pancakes are perfect for converting to gluten free, because as I’ve said before, gluten free pancakes are often better than conventional ones. Gluten keeps them from puffing up into fluffy awesomeness.
Over the past month I’ve made a couple batches of pancakes. Generally my method is to use a ratio that is only slightly different from the 4 : 4 : 2 : 1 that is typical for conventional pancakes. I use that to start with (200g dry ingredients/200g liquid/100g eggs/50g oil), and then add in about 30g of orange juice, or maple syrup, or honey or <insert liquid of choice here>, so mine are actually a little runnier when they go into the pan.
Thus, my final ratio becomes 4 : 4.6 : 2 : 1. By the way, freshly squeezed blood oranges make a great addition to pancakes. So do chocolate chips
Often, gluten free flour mixes are just that – a mix. The realm of gluten free ingredients is vast, and I wanted to think a bit as to just want comprised those dry ingredients in my pancakes There are different textures, coarseness, and flavors to think about depending on what you want to achieve. Usually when I am starting out trying to convert a recipe, I make sure to A) use at least 3 different flour-type ingredients and B) keep about 1/3 of the flour mix as starches. I didn’t feel the need to use any special binding agents this time, as I’ve successfully made many a gluten free pancake in the past without any gums or the like. The orange pancakes above were made with that proportion of starches to flours. However, we all know that the starches aren’t so flavorful, so I played with using less of them and instead added a higher proportion of GF flours in my next mix. Besides, this way I got to use more hazelnut meal, coconut, and buckwheat, some of my favorites!
You can see the texture from the hazelnut and shredded coconut in the batter pouring out above. When that batter fries in the pan, magic happens – the pancakes still very much have texture, but they do not taste gritty like one might expect. The result is actually rather light and delicate.
I had so much fun with this first challenge. I have the sneaking suspicion this whole endeavor is really going to push me out of my comfort zones and help me evolve as a gluten free home cook. But more importantly, I hope our event helps you. I hope it encourages you to play with your recipes. I hope we are able to develop ratios for gluten free foods that rise above the prevalence of overly complicated recipes that don’t deliver on product. I hope we can help everyone associate gluten free foods with awesome flavor. And most importantly, I hope this event helps to free you from gluten. Lets you play. Makes gluten free cooking fun, satisfying. So you never have to feel limited.
Free. It’s a lovely feeling, no?
So let’s rally together.
Preptime: 15 min
Total Time: around 30 min
- 50g hazelnut meal
- 50g buckwheat flour
- 30g shredded coconut (pulsed in food processor to be a bit finer)
- 30g white rice flour
- 40g tapioca starch
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 200g milk w/ a bit of lemon (didn’t have buttermilk on hand)
- 100g eggs (i.e., 2 eggs)
- 50g canola oil
- 30g of OJ
- butter for frying
- chocolate chips or oranges or maple syrup for fun
- Mix the dry ingredients together.
- In a separate bowl, add the milk/lemon, eggs, and canola oil and whisk them together.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, and then add in up to 30g OJ to thin out the batter a little. Let stand about 10 min.
- Heat a skillet on med-high heat and melt about 2 tbs. butter. Pour about 1/4 c. of batter at a time onto the pan – when the pancakes start to bubble through, it’s usually a good time to flip. Let cook about 1 minute more and then serve.
Want to learn about everyone else’s gluten free pancakes?? Read the other great posts from the creative and talented bloggers who have joined the rally (links will be added as they go live):
Britt at GF in the City
Carol at Simply Gluten Free
Erin at The Sensitive Epicure
Irvin at Eat the Love
Jenn at Jenn Cuisine (me)
Karen at Cooking Gluten Free
Kate at Gluten Free Gobsmacked
Lauren at Celiac Teen
Lisa at Gluten Free Canteen
Shauna at Gluten Free Girl
Silvana at Dishtowel Diaries
Tara at A Baking Life
Other notes – our official twitter hashtag is #gfreerally – so go follow to see all the amazing recipes and updates of our ratio endeavors!
Also, a big shout out to Anile Prakash, who designed our awesome logo!!
Submitted to Gluten Free Wednesdays.