Further experiments with gluten and wheat free baking

Baking without wheat or gluten is pretty difficult, almost impossible.  This is because the protein is, quite literally, the glue that gives dough its elasticity, which helps it to rise properly and give it a bready texture.  Without any of those factors, how on earth do you bake?

I’m fascinated by this question, not least because I enjoy a culinary challenge and love the chemical and physical process of baking, but also because I’m interested in recipes for healthier snacks for all.

Now, I’m not quite naive enough to make the leap from gluten-free to health in one fellow swoop.  No matter how little gluten a piece of cake may contain, it isn’t going to be any healthier if it’s full of sugar (or sweeteners and chemicals, as is the case with many gluten-free products).  But there are certainly wheat-free alternatives that will do you more favours than plain flour, such as rice, spelt, maize, potato, buckwheat (which is confusingly related to the rhubarb family and actually has nothing at all to do with wheat), oats ad so on.   Not least because they keep you fuller and are kinder to you.  

This recipe, although very sweet (you’ve got to start somewhere…), is a foray into this challenging world.  It’s from the March/April issue of Jamie’s Magazine (as a side note, I hope you’ve got the current Jubilee special issue in which I assisted in the styling for some of the back page, week-by-week recipes). To make it vegan, you could use vegan chocolate. 

Blondies with Bitter Chocolate

You will need:

150g gluten-free flour
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
200g soya yoghurt
1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped or 1 tsp essence
2 tbsp honey
250g light brown sugar
200g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a square brownie tin with parchment.

2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

3.  Combine the yoghurt, vanilla and honey in a larger bowl and add the sugar, mixing well.

4.  Fold the dry ingredients into the larger bowl and then add the chopped chocolate.

5.  Pour the batter into the tin and spread out evenly with a knife.  Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until the blondie is firm and brown.  Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan.  Cut into 12 pieces and serve straight away. 

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Sophie Davies
    06/06/2012

    Hey Steffi, I’m gluten-free and love baking cakes! My favourite is the blueberry cake from the hummingbird book – I just substitute normal flour for gluten-free flour which makes it really nice and light. The creme fraiche adds a really nice texture too. Will give this blondie recipe a whirl – looks yummy! Love Soph x

  2. Leave a Reply

    alwayssohungry
    06/06/2012

    Hi Sophie!

    I’ve got the hummingbird book so will definitely have to give that recipe a go! I’m still exploring gluten and wheat-free baking, so need to do much more experimenting! S.x

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