Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gluten Free Flour Blend and Banana Bread Recipe

(This posted is part of the Raising Homemakers Homemaking Blog Hop)
My foray into gluten-free baking has been interesting. There are a lot of different flour blends out there, some good, some not so good. I think a lot of your perception depends on how well you liked to eat before having to forgo chewy, delicious wheat based breads. All is not lost, though. I have yet to find a yeasty bread I really like (though I have a few on the table to try), quick breads like muffins, pancakes and waffles, have been pretty easy. I can substitute my blend of choice (coming in a few lines) 1:1 for regular flour, plus add 1 t xanthan gum per c of flour used. The key to a good flour blend, I've found, is the starchy flours. They make a world of difference. Using just rice flours gives you a grainy texture-in order to get a nice light crumb you really need some starch in there. Something as simple as corn starch is a game changer. In my blend I use a lot of tapioca, since I have a ten pound bag right now, but you could easily sub corn starch in for half of what is called for, or for the potato starch. They do behave a little differently, but for quick breads it isn't as big a deal.
Here is my version of several different blends I have tried on the net:
2 c sorghum flour
2 c brown rice flour
1 1/2 c potato starch
1 c white rice flour
1 1/2 c tapioca starch

I make big batches of this and keep it in my flour bin to use for just about anything that calls for a couple cups of flour or less. Like banana muffins and bread. A favorite around here-here's how we do it.

Banana Bread (or Muffins)
In a bowl blend well:
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed up really good
1/3 c melted butter
1/2 c honey
1 egg, beaten
1 t vanilla

Sprinkle over that mess:
1 t baking soda
pinch of salt

Make sure your oven is preheated to 350 degrees. I should have mentioned that earlier. Oh well.
Add 1 1/2 c gluten flour blend. Mix well and pour into your loaf pan or muffin pan. Grease if you need to-for stoneware I rarely do, but it just depends. Sometime GF stuff tends to stick a little more, so it may be a good idea. For the bread, bake about an hour. For the muffins, 35-40 minutes should suffice. Just keep an eye on everything. I topped mine with a pecan to make them look nice, but it isn't required. Very good stuff, they are...I adapted this recipe from one I found at the Kitchn.
****Edited to add :I made these this morning and left out the xanthan gum and they were still wonderful. I also added 1 t Brewer's Yeast just to up the nutritional content and add a bit more flavor. I think both of these will be permanent changes. The brewer's yeast is optional, but I recommend it. You can add a bit more than a teaspoon, but I wanted to take it easy the first few times I tried it out. I don't want to overpower the banana. YuM!

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