Sunday, November 14, 2010

Flour Substitutes - What Best Replaces Gluten in Your Bakes

Gluten is a compound of proteins commonly found in wheat and other related grains that work as binder in food. It is the reason for that "stretchy" effect in a pizza dough. In short, gluten is responsible in the chewiness of baked goods.

Going gluten-free doesn't mean staying away from your flour-filled goodies. Rather, it is a matter of figuring out what best replaces gluten in your recipes. Alternative flours, also have high amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber than white and wheat flours, increasing the food's nutritional value while adding new tastes and texture. If you're simply looking for a healthier baked good, it is only best to have knowledge on what can make a substitute. 
Tapioca Flour – this kind of flour is from the roots of cassava. Its light, white and very smooth flour easily combines with soy flour and cornstarch that can be used for nice, chewy result of baked products like those French bread or white bread.
• Corn Flour – milled from corn and blends well with cornmeal for muffins or cornbread. Corn flour is ideal for waffles or pancakes.
• Soy Flour – is a nut-tasting flour rich in protein and high in fat content ideally combined with other flours to bake brownies, muffins, cookies or any baked products with fruits and nuts. The fat content makes baked products smooth in texture.
• Quinoa Flour – regarded as traditionally healthy, quinoa contains all essential amino acids and fibers. It has a robust, nutty flavor that excels in baked items, so start by substituting the flour for no more than a quarter of the total volume of flour called for in a recipe. Quinoa is a kind of flour that will give you a delicate, and tender crumb.
Quinoa Flour
• Brown Rice Flour – is derived from unrefined brown rice. Brown rice flour is of more nutritional content because of the bran that it contains. Perfect substitute for muffins, cookies, and for baking denser breads. To me brown rice is the most nutritional power house.
• White Rice Flour – is perfect basic flour for gluten-free baking. This flour does not impart useless flavors that works well with other flours. The best white rice flour is the fine textured one.
• Potato starch flour – mixing this high in starch component with a small amount of water for hydration allows it to work like glue. Potato starch flour is a good substitute in place of flour but use half of the amount of flour called for to get the right proportion in the recipe.
Now that you have the list of among the best flour substitutes you can use, perhaps steps to gluten-free baking can be interesting. For bakeware, mixing bowls and baking tools, visit Your Smart Kitchen. When creating homemade flour blends, expect failures in the beginning. Your gluten-free baking will improve once you learn what the ingredients could bring.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Converting Recipes From Traditional to Bread Machine Use

This probably is not unusual. However, converting recipes from traditional to bread machine can be a bit tricky. Since hand-kneading or hand shaping is not necessary, it’s more difficult to know if your dough is the right consistency. Planning ahead is important to determine the correct dough amount. Accurate ingredient proportions and the best cycles/features, are also not to be taken for granted.
There are simple steps and tips to help convert your recipes correctly. Learning can be a really fun activity for the whole family. Kids don’t only learn plain arithmetic, but the basic elements of baking, as well. Remember, they too love magic in their bread. Don’t be discouraged if your bread doesn’t come out perfectly the first time. To improve the next loaf, try the following tips.
While old-fashioned bread pudding is already making a great come-back along with today’s reborn of traditional foods, either of its sweet or savory versions can be easy to make. You can cook right away. Here's the fun...
Since we are now in the modern times, why not make a blend of new ingredients cooked the old-fashioned way? Here are my new-fangled modern bread pudding recipes:
Fruit-Cocktail Pudding
  • 5 cups bread cubes, or torn into pieces
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, not margarine
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 cans fruit cocktail, drained and cut into tidbits
  • chopped nuts, optional
  • Whipped cream, optional
In a mixing bowl, beat together sugar, butter and cinnamon with an electric mixer for 1 minute, or 3 minutes by hand. Add eggs and beat until blended. Fold bread cubes and fruit cocktail tidbits into the creamed mixture then pour into crock pot. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours. You may top with crushed nuts or whipped cream topping if desired. Serve warm or cold.
White Chocolate Pudding
  • 1 loaf bread, cubed or torn into pieces
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/4 cups white-chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups toasted pecans, crushed
Prepare chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl, set aside. In a saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until simmering. Pour hot cream over the chocolate chips, whisking until the chips dissolve. Whisk sugar into the mixture then the milk, eggs, and vanilla to form a custard base. Add the bread cubes into the bowl, gently mixing to coat bread cubes with the custard base. Set mixture aside to allow the bread to soak for an hour. Toss once in a while so bread is thoroughly soaked into the custard base. For the meantime, heat the oven to 325 degrees, and grease a baking dish.
Toss the pecans into the soaked bread mixture, then pour the mixture into the baking dish. Cover loosely with foil, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove foil and increase the heat to 400 degrees. Continue baking for 10 minutes longer or until the top of pudding has lightly browned. You may top your bread pudding with whipped cream. Serve warm or cold.
If you find pudding-making hassle and time-consuming, let a bread machine do all the mixing. Don't worry if your finished product doesn't come out sure is tasting great... so Goodluck:=)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How Well Do We Know Sugar?

Sugar is an old culinary ingredient popularly used as a sweetener. It is the white powdery substance that comes from the plants sugar cane and sugar beet. Aside from a natural sweetener, to improve the flavor and natural color of canned and frozen fruits, sugar is used.

History and Production of Sugar

People before has to chew raw sugarcane to directly extract sweetness until the Indians discovered the methods in transforming sugarcane into granulated crystals. This early method of refining sugar involved pounding, boiling and drying. The human appreciation of the sweet taste has created a demand in the making of more sugar in the world. Sugar provides the balance of sweet taste in food.

The Kinds of Sugar

Here are several kinds of sugars popular in the market today. The different details might help you know your sugar more and would help you find just the right choice.

White Sugar, or the "granulated sugar", is the sugar we mainly use in the kitchen. It is also known as plain sugar and is commonly used in sweetening beverages. White sugar comes in granulated or in finer form as confectioner's sugar that is generally used for icing.

Caster Sugar or "superfine sugar", is the one used by bakers and bartenders. It has a fine grind that is easy to dissolve and easy to cream making it ideal for baking and in sweetening mixed drinks, like that of Domino Superfine Bar Sugar for Cocktails You too can use caster or castor sugar for your homemade pastry and appetizing drinks.

Raw Sugar, is called "raw" as sugar is processed at a minimal amount removing impurities, so the natural molasses content are retained intact bringing out the strong and deep flavor of sugar to food. Examples of raw sugar are the brown sugars.

Brown Sugar, is everyone's convenient choice. It is the light brown sugar crystallized via dehydration where the molasses remain intact making it naturally moist from the nature of the molasses present. Brown sugars are known to be less sweet than white sugar due to the mild bitter taste of molasses.

Moscuvado sugar is unrefined dark and rich brown sugar that is moist, sticky and aromatic with a strong flavor of molasses. Muscovado is also known as Barbados Sugar, and mostly used in baking for its brown intensifying effect to baked goods. Muscovado sugar is a prominent export commodity from the Philippines.

Sugar, Demerara, 10 Lb Bag/box Each
Demerara sugar is the type of "unrefined brown sugar" with a color of pale to golden yellow and crunchy large grains.  It has rich and creamy molasses flavor and aroma that it is popular in sweetening hot tea and coffee. The name Demerara is derived from its main source, the Demerara colony in Guyana. Demerara is not actually brown sugar? Read more.

Turbinado sugar, or "turbinated sugar" from steaming evaporated cane juice, has large brown crystals similar to brown sugar. It is said that Turbinado sugar and and Demerara sugar are the same.

Preserving Sugar, is the kind of sugar used in making preserves. Its sugar crystals are larger than those of granulated sugars  that dissolves more slowly reducing the risk of burning as sugar do not settle in the bottom of the pot, or froth up to the surface. This makes preserves clearer.

Gelling sugar
Gelling Sugar, or "sugar with pectin" is sugar used in producing preserves, using fruits that are high in pectin. Among these fruits are apples, blackberries, blackcurrants, cranberries, gooseberries, plums and redcurrants. Gelling sugar contains pectin as the gelling agent and citric acid as a preservative, while preserving sugar is all and 100% sugar.

You'll love this Lemon sugar by Rattlebridge Farm
Flavored Sugar, is regular sugar infused with high quality flavor essences. Spread over your favorite baguette or toast or simply enjoy  a flavored-sugar sprinkled dessert.
Sugar Cube or "decorative sugar cube" is regular white sugar decorated with spray food coloring, mainly used to sweeten favorite drinks and in recipes where sugar is artistically melted. This is an example of this type of sugar.