Sunday, February 03, 2008

Learning to bake... all over again

While we are awaiting a definitive diagnosis of Celiac disease for my little 7 year old girl, (praise God! My request for prayers from the unnamed patron saint of waiting lines came through... we got an appointment at the GI clinic on monday), I have busied myself trying to get a grasp on gluten free cooking. From the bit of research that I have done into Celiac disease, it seems that it's almost certain E does have it. I would be surprised if she didn't.
Anyways, you can follow along in my new adventures as they are sure to be fun. Feel free to cook alongside me at home if you'd like :-)
First, I went to the library and checked out a few books on GF (gluten free) cooking. Either they are really popular, or there aren't very many in circulation, because I was on a waiting list for more than a few of them. Right now I have:
I have also been busily adding gluten-free blogs to my google reader. There are oodles of great recipes floating around the internet waiting to be tired :-)
So, I put the knitting needles down, and came out of my craft room and headed for the health food store to stock up on some staple baking supplies for gluten free baking. I wasn't sure what I needed so I bought everything :-) You should have seen Sean shake his head at me when I came home... especially after he saw the cloud of tapioca flour that accidentally spilled all over the front seat of the van...
Here's what I bought:

Amaranth Flour
Buckwheat Flour
Millet Flour
Quinoa Flour
Sorghum Flour
Teff Flour
Garfava Bean Flour
Soy Flour
Corn Flour
Corn Meal
Corn Starch
Almond Meal Flour
Potato Flour
Potato Starch
Brown Rice Flour
White Rice Flour
Sweet Rice Flour
Arrowroot Flour
Tapioca Flour
Xanthum Gum
Guar Gum
Whole Milk Powder
Buttermilk Powder

Hmmm... well after looking over that list myself, I guess I did buy quite a bit. LOL... but I need to experiment. It's our soon to be new life!!

I have decided that I'm going to try and master one food at a time, so last night I started on the most important: Chocolate chip cookies.

I made two recipes. One with rice flour and tapioca flour which made a good cookie, but low in fibre and high in carbs (which isn't bad as far a desserts go, but I'm used to baking with whole wheat flours... you know, "healthy" cookies.) Anyways, I have found that baked goods made mostly with rice flour, potato flour and tapioca flour tend to be quite pasty and starchy. They just don't have the right texture that I like.

kid test: "yum! I like it"

baby test: "argh!!" "argh!!" (transaltion: give me another one)

dad test: "ummm... they're ok"
The second recipe was made with a big mix of everything: sorghum, quinoa, amaranth, garfava, and tapioca flour. This made an excellent cookie. It was full of flavor and texture, and the slightly crunch amaranth flour (must have been stone ground), gave it a bit of crunch. A definate keeper. This did not have the typical gluten free texture to it at all. You wouldn't even be able to tell it was different.
kid test: "I REALLY like these mom... can I have another one?"

baby test: "ARGH!!!" "ARGH!!!" (translation: JP stole my cookie!!)

dad test: "yummy! I like the texture"

This picture shows the cookie number one on the left and cookie number two on the right.
The first cookie came out a bit scary. It spread very thin, burnt on the bottom before the middle was cooked and was rather uneven (thin on edges and thick in the centre). Maybe this has to do with my black baking sheets, and maybe it has to do with my fake butter substitute I use.
Today, I'm off to make trial number three, from a popular GF blogger, Ginger-Lemon Girl. Her recipe is supposed to be amazing. I'll let you know the results. I'm also off to read an article from another famous GF blogger, Book Of Yum, on GF cookie baking.


aunt val said...

way to go Mel!! I love amaranth! The best pizza I ever had was a thin crust made from it. Your children are lucky to have a mother like you.

Michelle Waters said...

Wow, good luck with this. It looks like you're off and running. You are a devoted mother for sure!

Natalie said...

Hey! I am a Catholic celiac mom of two little boys (so far). I want to homeschool my boys or send them to private Catholic school one day . I just wanted to let you know that the gluten-free diet gets easier, especially with the intelligent, dedicated approach you are taking. As far as the cookies go, I would make sure to refrigerate the batter for at least 4 hours or overnight before baking. Gf cookies will spread like crazy otherwise. :) Oh and I have been gf for 3 years now. My little boy has not been tested, but will be one day. Right now I just can't be allergic to him :)

Catholicmommy said...

thank you so much for the encouragement and tips on the cookie dough. I will definately try that out!! Great idea. Please share any other tips. They would be much appreciated!!

Anonymous said...


I'm another Catholic homeschooler with a 13 year old celiac and am celiac myself. It does get easier and we have found some good recipes!!!

You might want to join the SillyYaks Yahoo group. There is also a Catholic and Celiac Yahool group.

Anonymous said...

ahahahahahahahaha - "translation: JP stole my cookie!!"