FIRST ATTEMPTS AT GLUTEN-FREE COOKING

Posted: August 1, 2014 in cheese, Food, pizza, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Many people are choosing a gluten-free diet even though they don’t suffer from Celiac disease. Though many people stay undiagnosed, gluten sensitivity is pretty common. And even if you’re not sensitive to gluten, it can cause bloating, pain and fatigue. Many doctors are advising people to remove all or most of the gluten in their diets to see if they feel better as a result.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and wheat products. So that means no bread, pasta, pizza, even soy sauce. Gluten is a hidden ingredient in many food products, so you need to do some research to figure out what alternatives are available. We’re pretty lucky…there are now entire sections of everyday food stores that carry gluten-free products.

I don’t have any sensitivity to gluten, and quite frankly, I find it hard to live without pizza or a nice slab of freshly baked bread now and then. And all the subsititute flours: rice, corn, quinoa, chickpea, or any combination of them–they all taste bad to me. But…I have a wife that has chosen a gluten-free diet. And since I’m the one that cooks all the meals at home, I’m making a valiant effort to find tasty alternatives.

I don’t spend my time baking gluten-free bread, cookies, cakes or other desserts. We have a great bakery nearby (www.evaruths.com) that does all that. Instead, I focus on the meals I’ve always made in the past and try to “de-glutenize” them.

Two of our favorite meals are chicken parmigiana and pizza.

The chicken parmigiana was relatively easy. The only gluten in my original recipe (http://wp.me/p1c1Nl-jq) was found in the breadcrumbs that I topped the chicken pieces with. I bought a package of Glutino gluten-free bread crumbs (made from corn) and the chicken came out pretty good. I still made a regular batch for myself…but my wife gave it a thumbs up.

Gluten-free chicken before I added sauce and cheese.

Gluten-free chicken before I added sauce and cheese.

The tougher challenge was pizza. With dozens of flours to choose from, I wasn’t sure where to start. But I’m a fan of Bob’s Red Mill. I’ve been using their products for years. So when I saw they offered a Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose gluten-free baking flour (a combination of garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, whole grain white and sorghum flour, tapioca flour and fava bean flour), I figured I’d make my first gluten-free pizza dough with that. I also learned that I had to buy some Xanthan Gum, a plant-based product that adds the elasticity that gluten usually provides.

gluten pizza1

 

The recipe:

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons yeast

1 cup very warm (130 degree) water

1egg

olive oil

 

Use two bowls: one for the dry ingredients, one for the wet.

In the first bowl, mix flour, xanthan gum, salt, sugar and yeast with a whisk to combine.

In the second bowl, whisk egg with warm water.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and using a wooden spoon, combine to form a dough. It will be somewhat dry. If it’s very dry, add a small amount of water at a time until the dough holds together.

Line a small sheet pan with Reynolds non-stick aluminum foil. Spread the dough out to the desired thickness, and then brush lightly with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 45 minutes.

Bake the dough in a pre-heated 450-degree oven for about 5 minutes. Remove and add tomato sauce and cheese and other toppings, then place back in the oven and cook another 5 minutes, until golden.

gluten pizza2

 

My wife liked the pizza. I could definitely pass on it. But I will keep tweaking recipes. I’ve heard that Bob’s Red Mill now has a brand new all-purpose baking flour, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, where they’ve removed the bean flours and added xantham gum to the mix. They also have a special Pizza Crust Mix.

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Comments
  1. Sally says:

    Al, I just spent a couple of days in NYC visiting a friend who has celiac disease. She loves the “cup for cup” gluten free baking mix from Williams Sonoma, and says she’s had a lot of success using it in her pre-celiac baking recipes. Good luck!

    Like

    • Alz355 says:

      I’m amazed at how many products are out there now. Great for those that really suffer and need alternatives, like your friend…and my niece, who was really struggling thru her teens until her diet was corrected. She went from a sickly, pale, thin girl to a strong, happy and healthy young woman. Great to see.

      Like

  2. Gail says:

    Kelly got the best of the bunch! So sweet of you to gluten-free up for her.

    Like

  3. Joyce says:

    Try Grandpa’s Kitchen gluten free products. They will baking gluten free so easy and taste delicious. Find more information about them by visiting http://www.grandpas-kitchen.com

    Like

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