I’m sure you’ve all heard of Gluten-Free Girl by now. If you haven’t, then you had better go through my blog roll on the right hand side of the page. There are some wonderful bloggers out there who are happy to give away any advice they can in order to make your life more beautiful and a hell of a lot easier.
One of them is Gluten Free Girl, Shauna James Ahern. She’s been blogging for quite a few years now, and she’s held the attention of thousands because of her delicious food, her frankness, and her amazing story of survival. You can actually read all about it in her first book: Gluten-Free Girl. I read this, and although I knew quite a bit of the story from her blog it was also nice to get some more insight into what makes GFG tick.
She’s been on the trail recently promoting her newest work: Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. I haven’t had the opportunity to read this work yet, but once the library has it (and I have time) you’ll be sure to see me deep within its pages. If you decide to click the above link you will see that there is a video on the same page. Do not skip over this. Watch the beauty of their love and their story.
The most important link in this post, however, is this one. It’s the link to her blog. It’s the kind of blog I can only dream about hosting (at least right now). The layout is beautiful, the pictures are spectacular, and the food is out of this world.
Lately GFG has been moving away from using xantham and guar gum. I’m also interested in shifting myself away from using these two ingredients. While I assumed they were the base for any decent gluten free baked good, I was proved wrong by her most recent whole grain muffin recipe. Everyone always talks about how the gums are necessary to get a decent texture out of gluten free grains, but I am definitely calling shenanigans on that statement. There are actually cultures in this world that don’t use glutenous grains to make breads (arrowroot bread in the Pacific Islands anyone?), and they don’t use xantham or guar gum to enhance the texture.
Back to Gluten Free Girl, Mrs. Ahern. She and her spouse, The Chef, have also released a basic recipe for making your own nearly whole grain all purpose flour blend. There’s no specific flours you need to buy or use. You can pretty much use what you have on hand (but blends still produce the best overall products in the end).
The blend is seventy percent whole grain flour and thirty percent starch. The best way to get such precision is to use a kitchen scale, and they aren’t too hard to get your hands on these days (and they aren’t much money either). So, let’s say you’ve got a few different whole grain gluten free flours around. You’d take seven-hundred grams in any amount of each grain to make the whole grain portion of the blend. The next step would be to measure out three-hundred grams of starch (she recommends using at least two types, like corn and potato).
Once you have the two portions mix them together well (sifting is always a good option, or you can whisk and fold the flours together by hand).
Voila! You have an all purpose mix that is high in whole grain goodness, but that makes delicious baked goods. This is especially important now that I am seeing so many ready made gluten free products using the cheaper processed flours that aren’t whole grain. I’m also noticing a strong trend toward including high fructose corn syrup under its new names, and toward including a lot of modified food starches. I’d rather be able to bake the same product in my own kitchen, and I can tell you that I have no HFCS or MFS hanging around.
So, there’s no reason to wait. Grab what you’ve got, and get baking!