If you've ever tried to cook gluten-free by using a wheat-flour alternative, I hope your efforts turned out to be better tasting than mine did.
Mine were pretty sorry. Nee's household also gave it a shot and ended up with results about as bad as mine.
Thankfully, none of us are hyper-sensitive to gluten but still have enough trouble with it to try to avoid it when we can. Trouble was, when it came to using alternative flours, the efforts were a flop. The finished products had such an awful consistency, consistently that it became too much trouble to try and a waste of the alternative flours we'd used.
Our step-mom had some really good results with it though, when she used it to make her oven-fried chicken. It worked perfectly for that. Muffins and pancakes were another story that didn't have such an impressive ending, so none of us stuck with using it for long, other than for Ma's wings.
However, help with gluten-free flour alternatives has crested the horizon! Our Weeblyhood neighbor, Vicki Warner of Life Talks - I Write is an adept baker. She's been hosting a recipe competition on one of her site's blogs called Food Therapy, and recently one of the recipes she featured there was for easy to prep and bake scones.
I love scones and her results looked fantastic, but in consideration of the wheat-factor, I emailed Vicki and asked if she'd mind to try augmenting her recipe for the gluten-free crowd. I told her how my own experiments with gluten-free baking had gone and hoped she'd not mind to see if she had better results than I did in producing something that was actually edible.
She came through like a flour-dusted trooper and produced a recipe and pictures of the process ready to roll in only a couple of days! She'd succeeded in her quest and said the scones turned out to be delicious. She also discovered that our recipes had probably not done well due to not combining the use of multiple types of alternative flours in the proper proportions. (Read that last sentence out loud -- I bet you'll get tongue-tripped.)
So, it seems if you use just coconut flour to make muffins, they might be lacking in texture and taste. Same trouble with making pancakes from only almond flour, soy flour, or whatever kinda flour other than wheat.
In Vicki's research she came across something wonderful ... a business specializing in the mixology of ingredients for gluten-free goodies!
And so, before I showcase the results of Vicki's superb field-investigation and research, let me introduce you to this awesome little company she's found called Pamela's!
The history of how this awesome lady got into the gluten-free food biz is pretty interesting. (Click here to check it out!) Seems she grew up helping with her grandparents' bakery, which specialized in health-food that tasted less than awesome.
I'm thinking drab-n-dreary rice cakes and granola snacks. (Blech!!!) Not really rabbit food. More like birdseed or guinea pig kibble.
Anyway, when she grew up she dove into her own research, hoping to come up with gluten-free foods and ingredients that tasted good. The good news for us is, she succeeded!
Not only did she develop some awesome products to cook with but also produced an entire line of products that her team has already cooked up and packaged for you. If you've got a schedule that's too packed for cooking your own snacks, Pamela's got you covered! You don't even have to go to the store to get her awesome products -- you can order them right from her website at pamelasproducts.com.
After Vicki produced the report on her research and results, she urged me to visit Pamela's site, so I did. It's excellent! Easy to navigate and she has an great variety of of products for those who cook and those who can't!
Now for Vicki's experiment with gluten-free easy-drop scones using Pamela's flour.
This is a follow-up to my previous post on the No Fuss Drop Scones ...
It might seem odd to have this info on Sib Syn's PRPulse, but I have to say, the product advertised here is so worthwhile, and femme has such skill in promoting worthwhile products for the benefit of all; it just seemed a natural thing to do.
If you want to find a fabulous product for easy gluten free baking, please read on . . .
After the No Fuss Drop Scones post appeared on Food Therapy, I received a few emails asking for a gluten-free version. So, I tried several experiments, and read considerably about gluten free baking.
Yes, it can work very successfully, but mixing different flours and not understanding why it requires that, makes it a discouraging business, and therefore not an easy prep, which is what the Food Therapy blog on Life Talks - I Write focuses on.
You see, gluten (the protein found in wheat flour) gives baking its beautiful qualities. It's really challenging to duplicate that, but it can be done. It's all in the flours and the amount of liquid used.
The first principle of gluten-free baking is to know that you should never use only one GF type of flour. It won't work! (There are complicated reasons for this, but we're still focusing on 'easy' here!)
The second rule is when you try a tested recipe, do not go adding more flour, because it doesn't look right, meaning like it would with a regular recipe. These batters can look quite sloppy! The flours' unique properties make batters look different, but they come right in the end!
Fortunately, in my little seaside village, at the local supermarket, I came across a wonderful product that truly makes non-gluten easy!
It is called Pamela's Artisan Flour, and will be a life-changing product for those who cannot manage with regular flour.
Pamela's products have been around since 1988, but I have never heard of her before now and I'm so happy I came across her wonderful company!
Her artisan flour consists of brown rice flour, tapioca starch, white rice flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, arrowroot starch, sweet rice flour and some guar gum.
Pamela says you can use this product cup for cup of regular flour, but it does seem you should add more liquid to your recipe.
It is completely normal to have to tweak recipes when substituting with such different ingredients.
I tried the scones recipe just as it was, and it really wasn't too great! the scones hardly rose, were hard and very crumbly, with an odd after-taste in the mouth.
So I tried again, but this time used 1 ¼ cups of milk, instead of the in the regular recipe.
Little hint here - you could cut the milk, and fill up to the correct level with water. This makes for an even lighter scone.
They came out of the oven looking just like the original scones, and tasted just as delicious!
Pamela has a scones mix recipe on her site, but like all normal scone recipes, it requires the butter to be cut in or rubbed in. This recipe uses oil.
When the scones are sliced open it is possible to see the difference in texture between gluten free and non-GF, using the regular amount of liquid, and GF recipe using the larger amount of liquid.
I was amazed to see how close the texture is to our original scones, moist, not crumbly. Really, no one would tell the difference.
(Top: using the extra milk.)
(Bottom: using the amount of milk specified in the original non-gluten free scones.)
I love this product, and highly recommend it for ease, satisfaction and fun in your baking attempts!
You gotta tweak gluten-free!
In this pic, on the left you see the first attempt, and next to it the tweaked recipe.
Notice the difference in appearance.
Never be scared to keep that moister-than-normal look of the batter when going gluten-free.
The finish line!
My thanks to Vicki Warner for sharing her research and providing information for us to duplicate it step by step. I'm also very happy for her to have introduced us to Pamela's products and took the extra steps for you to be able to get a visual on why they're worth shouting it out for.
Networking makes a difference in wonderful ways and one of those is in spreading the word about awesome small and/or locally owned and operated businesses. Please pass the info about Pamela's company to any friends and family you might have that are also sensitive to gluten.
If you follow suit and do some gluten-free experimenting on your own, we'd love to hear about it and hope you'll stop back by and share your info.
That's it for this one!
God bless you, thanks for the read and please don't forget to thank a veteran at your next opportunity!
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