One of the ways I’m trying to stay connected with friends and neighbors is through baking (duh!, right?).
If they have said they liked something I’ve made in the past or if stated something was their favorite, that is what I’ve tried to make for them. Some of the items have been no-bake cookies, banana bread, eclairs, brownie bites, oatmeal-raisin cookies, etc.
One of my friends I had put on hold because I wasn’t sure what to make for her and her family. The reason being one of her children must eat gluten-free products. I’ve never baked anything gluten-free before, and it scared me. It scared me because I don’t know what it should taste like, how long it should bake, and what ingredients are needed since I bake a lot with all-purpose or bread flours.
Luckily, as I was looking for a recipe, I happened upon a gluten-free cookbook I had. One I had forgotten was in my collection. It had a recipe for banana bread in it, which is one of my regular baking staples. I would at least have an inkling of the taste.
Next, did I have the ingredients for the recipe? Yes and no. I had eggs, butter, vanilla, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and of course, bananas. I did not have the most important ingredient, gluten-free whole purpose flour. And, neither did any of the stores. The cookbook happens to have a recipe to make the flour, but I was hoping to just be able to buy some. No such luck on that front. On our next outing I made a list of what I needed: White rice flour (check), brown rice flour (negative, so added extra white rice flour), tapioca flour (check), potato starch—not to be confused with potato flour (check). Another ingredient needed was xanthum gum, which I had never heard of before.
Finally, all the ingredients were in one place. Then, which I really hate to do, I had to pare down the flour recipe, using fractions converted to decimal equivalents, for just what I needed for the one bread—the flour recipe was for a large stock of baking multiple goods. Since I was just making the one item, I didn’t want to mix everything up in case I needed one of the individual flours for other recipes.
I mix it all together, following the recipe to the letter since it is my first time. Pour it into bread pan. Then, time for a taste test. Actually, it tasted better than I expected, which is what my husband said as well as the official taste-tester of my baking (I always have to make sure it is ready for public consumption; if he tells me it is so bad he’ll have to taste all of the items himself as I can’t be in public, I know it’s fine to share outside the house).
In transparency, I did add chocolate chips to it as a last thought after checking to make sure chocolate chips were gluten-free. Most are, except the butterscotch ones for some reason, in case you were wondering.
I place it in the oven, set the timer, and off we go with the actual baking. As I periodically check on it, I notice it is turning brown faster than expected. At somewhere close to the half-way point I realize I better put some foil of it or it will be burnt on top before it has finished baking. Back in for another 30-minutes. The time goes off, and it isn’t baked through. Another 10-minutes, still not done. Another 10-minutes, finally the tester comes out clean (note to self to change baking time from 55-minutes to 75-minutes.
Out of the pan it comes immediately to be placed on its side to cool completely on a cooling rack.
After it has cooled, I let my friend know I’m on my way. My daughter goes with me for the delivery. We both watch for the house so I don’t drive by it by accident.
When we arrive, I put it by the garage door and text my friend to let her she can come get it now. We have to social distance as good examples for our children. Plus, we definitely don’t want to accidentally get one another sick.
Now, for the waiting! You see, her child is with dad right now, so my friend has vowed to wait until the visit is over before any of them have a slice of the banana bread. I’ve let them know that, since it was my first time, please let me know if it tastes good, and if not, if they have any suggestions. I want to try and bake something now and then that all of us can enjoy sometimes, meaning more gluten-free baking is in my future.
We’ll see if I’m up to the challenge.
Do you have any good gluten-free dessert/bread recipes to steer me towards?
P.S.—Very happy! Two baking related items arrived today. Can’t wait to use them both!