Learning to bake the gluten-free way!

bricks off
While I’m not gluten intolerant, we have friends that are. I’ve done a little gluten-free cooking but hadn’t really investigated the baking end of things.

So while the contracting crew tore all the bricks off the front of our house with a giant drill that reminded me of the dentist, I decided to do a little cookie baking experiment since I was too hyper with all the noise to just sit and knit.

 

 

1-cloud9mix

I decided to try a gluten-free wheat flour substitute called Cloud 9 All-Purpose flour (found it at Costco in Canada). It’s manufactured locally, and the best part is that it’s a cup for cup substitute for wheat flour (that I don’t have to mix up myself).

I have used it before in muffins, waffles and pancakes but this time I wanted to try it with my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe (back of the milk chocolate chips package) and my own usual additions. I subbed in the Cloud 9 flour and added chopped candied cherries and toasted chopped pecans along with the entire package of milk chocolate chips.

The first difference I noticed was that the dough set up really quickly once the flour was added which made it difficult to stir in the cherries, nuts and chips. Next time I think I’ll toss those into the flour mixture, stir that up and then add it into the liquids, and possibly putting in a 1/4 cup less flour.

1-3cookiesAs I’ve been making this recipe for years, I started out with the recommended temperature of 375° F. This was a MAJOR fail. The cookies didn’t flatten down, they baked too fast, the bottoms got way too brown. When they cooled they were pretty much rocks.

For the second tray I dropped the temperature to 350° F, but at the 10 minute mark they were overly baked on the outside and still a little too under-baked inside.

On the third attempt, I let the oven cool down to 325° F and baked the cookies for 11 minutes. These came out more the way I expected them to be. Slightly flattened, still a little chewy and the bottoms were not overly browned.

Ironically, one of the fellows working on our house is gluten intolerant and was more than happy to test the cookies. He gave the third batch 2 thumbs up!

Other than having to lower the baking time, the most significant difference was in the taste of the final product. The cookies weren’t as sweet (the recipe contains 2 cups of brown sugar), and that sort of carmel flavour was over-powered most likely by the buckwheat in the flour mix. I will use the Cloud 9 Flour again but will continue to tweak the recipe to bring a little more sweetness into the cookies.

It’s meatloaf without the meat!

I often tell people I’m vegetarian but in actuality I am really more of a pescetarian – I add fish to my mostly vegetarian diet. I’ve occasionally indulged in chicken (but would never use the term “pollo vegetarian” because honestly I think that’s a little silly. Might as well say you are a chicken lover that also eats their veggies)! I was never a real lover of meat growing up, and discovered (upon giving up red meat, chicken and pork) that my stomach hurt a lot less. So there you have it, not complicated as to why I eat what I eat! Now onto the topic at hand which is….

veggiemeatloafFAUX “meatloaf”

I made this last week for dinner and for the most part it was good. For me personally it had a little too much onion, so if you’re not an onion lover, cut back on that part (I know I will next time). Don’t forget that this is NOT a gluten free recipe, Yves Veggie Meat contains wheat. I know there’s some gluten free faux meat alternatives but I haven’t tried any of them.

Sorry to say this isn’t a fancy printable version, maybe if I actually start putting up more than a few recipes I’ll think about formatting a printable version. For now just cut and paste into notepad and print (that should work)!
Preheat oven to 375°F or 191°C. Grease a large loaf pan.
Gather your ingredients together:

  • 2 pkgs of Yves regular Veggie Meat (I buy the bulk pack from Costco which makes it pretty economical)
  • 3/4 C. Old fashioned oat flakes (or instant (quick) oats if that’s all you have)
  • 1 raw potato (after grating, about 1 1/2 cups) – I used a red potato, unpeeled and well scrubbed
  • 1/2 Cup – 1 Cup finely chopped onion – use something mild. I used what was classified in the store as a sweet white onion. I used 1 Cup chopped, next time I will go down to a half cup
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and grated
  • 1/4 Cup bar-b-que sauce (if you don’t have bar-b-que sauce, use ketchup and a pinch of chili powder)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 Cup soy sauce (you can use low sodium if you want)
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp thyme (or rosemary)
  • 1 tsp basil (I used some fresh basil that I’d frozen in Olive Oil last year, but you can used dried)
  • chopped Parsley – use what you’re comfortable with – personally I use lots!
  • salt & pepper to taste (about a 1/2 tsp of each)

Mush it all together in a large bowl. When everything is thoroughly mixed, dump it into the greased loaf pan and pat it all down firmly. Brush a light layer of about 1/3 cup bar-b-que sauce or ketchup that’s been combined with about a 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil. Cover your meatloaf with foil and bake for about 30 minutes then remove foil and bake for an additional 20 – 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, lightly cover with the foil you used earlier and let sit for 10 minutes (long enough to heat dinner rolls, finish up some pototoes or make a salad)! Turn out onto a plate, slice. Serve warm.

Things I’ll do differently next time:

  1. Sweat the onions before combining with the other ingredients (it makes them sweeter). Link: Sweating Onions
  2. Add about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of veggie stock or broth. I found that while oats improved the texture of the veggie loaf and acted as a sort of binder (in lieu of a beaten egg), oats are traditionally what you’d add to a meatloaf to soak up the greases and other liquids that real ground round (or hamburger meat) gave off while cooking. So this faux loaf got a little too dry around the edges. I think the addition of some liquid would help. I’d probably mix the oats and broth together and let them sit while sweating the onions, then mix in with everything else.

This recipe is a mash-up of several different recipes along with my own original recipe (that used hoisin sauce instead of bar-b-que sauce or ketchup)! You can add/substitute whenever you see things that don’t appeal to you. Ketchup instead of bar-b-que sauces make a sweeter, less tangy meatloaf. Use garlic powder but NOT garlic salt, if you don’t have fresh garlic. If you only have garlic salt, don’t use salt or this will end up way too salty. I am also not a fan of onion powder, I think it’s ghastly, and I think the minced onion adds another layer of texture that this recipe needs. You could also add ground flaxseed (about a 1/4 cup) in with your other ingredients or sprinkle some whole flaxseed on top before baking to up the protein level. I doubt you’ll notice the nutty flavour, but the protein addition can’t hurt.

Let me know if you try this!