Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkin Bread (walnuts) with All Purpose Flour Mix

The flavor and texture of this sweet pumpkin bread is out-of-this-world.

1 1/2 cups Arnels Originals All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cane sugar

2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (half a can) pumpkin

Stir the dry ingredients; beat the wet ingredients; combine them both and beat for 5 minutes.
Fold in 1/2 cup of raw walnuts or other nuts (optional)
Pour batter into a small greased loaf pan

Bake 350º for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

*If you want to double the recipe, use two loaf pans or a 9 x 9" square pan. Don't use one large loaf pan (a 5" x 9") because it will take a very long time for the dough to cook in the center.

**For Zucchini Bread, substitute 1 cup of grated zucchini for the pumpkin

Monday, October 13, 2014

Gluten, Dairy, and YEAST FREE Buckwheat Bread Mix

The benefits of a yeast bread is that it produces a beautifully brown crunchy crust. When yeast is an issue, however, there are alternatives to getting the bread to rise nicely and our favorite is using equal parts of baking soda and lemon juice. 

For this bread, add 2 teaspoons of fresh baking soda to the dry ingredients and 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the bread dough at the last minute, after the dough is mixed. Put the dough in a medium sized loaf pan (8.5" x 4.5") and bake at 350º right away. Do not let it rise before baking the bread like you would with yeast. 

The rising happens because of a chemical reaction that occurs between the baking soda, which is alkaline (a base) and and the juice of a lemon, which is acidic.

This yeast alternative doesn't produce a crust, but it is delicious and can be used as a sandwich bread none the less.

Gluten & Dairy Free Buckwheat Bread Mix (OTHER ALTERNATIVES)

Basically, you can add any of the following to the raw bread dough to create a variety of unique flavors and textures:

1 cup of dried herbs, or
1/2 cup fresh herbs, or
1/4 cup of chopped sautéed garlic, or
1/2 cup cooked diced onions, or
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, etc to the bread dough after it is mixed.

Because the balance of wet to dry ingredients in the bread mix is important to maintain, it is not advisable to add foods that would upset this balance. For instance, it is not a good idea to add mashed banana, or any fresh fruit to the dough.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gluten & Dairy Free Buckwheat Bread / SEEDS and/or NUTS

We chose to make Arnel's Originals Buckwheat Bread with roasted sunflower seeds, raw sesame seeds, and roasted pumpkin seeds but you can use any seeds and/or nuts with delightful results.  Nuts and seeds add protein, crunch, and fiber to your loaf of buckwheat bread which is very satisfying when you chew, if you like that texture. It's one of my favorites.

When the basic wet and dry ingredients are mixed for 5 minutes, add 1 & 1/2 cups of the nuts and seed of your choice. Put it all in a medium sized loaf pan (8.5" x 4.5") and let rise until double in size, about 30 minutes. Move the dough around until you make a slight hill down the center and sprinkle with more seeds. Bake for the usual 30 minutes at 350º.

Cool for an hour before slicing.

Gluten, Dairy, & EGG FREE Buckwheat Bread (Flax Gel)

Making Arnel's Originals Buckwheat Bread Mix without egg is easiest using  flax gel, which is something you make, not buy. Here's how:

Take 1 Tablespoon of flax meal and mix it with 3 Tablespoons of boiling water and set it aside. (It's a good idea to cover it while gelatinizing.) In 5 to 10 minutes, it will gelatinize and look like a slippery egg white.

Follow the directions on the package and when it comes time in the recipe to add an egg, add this flax-gel mixture instead. The loaves of bread will be delicious and moist but when it cools, the eggless loaf will be slightly shorter in height as the loaves with an egg. Below are two loaves made with a very sophisticated bread machine from Japan called Zojirushi, one with an egg (on the right)  and one without (on the left).

For another EGG FREE alternative, see the post on this blog for Sour Dough Bread using Arnel's Originals Buckwheat Bread Mix

Gluten & Dairy Free Buckwheat Bread / CINNAMON RAISINS

Making Cinnamon Raisin Bread using Arnel's Originals Buckwheat Bread Mix is easy and delicious!

After adding the yeast, oil, egg, very warm water, and apple cider vinegar to the 13 oz mix and blended for 5 minutes, add:

1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Let bread rise in a warm place (110º) until double in size (about 30 minutes) and bake at 350º for 30-33 minutes.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

SPAIN: Sin Gluten, Sans Gluten, Sense Gluten (in Basque)

Traveling in Spain, sin gluten

            After navigating 6 cities in Spain I am happy to report that our traveling family of 3 is still alive and well.   Actually, the good news is that we didn’t get sick once and that is a blessing.  Almost everyone we talked to, save for a Chinese restaurant knew in a blink what gluten free was and gave us an honest assessment of what was in the delicacies they had prepared. There was even an organic market that made homemade bread and although they made one kind of gluten free bread, the owner was careful to tell me in Spanish that she bakes everything in the same pans and that there was likely to be cross contaminación, which brings me to another important point…. a very small portion of the people in Spain spoke English (not even those at the bus station or airport) so I don’t recommend venturing to Spain unless one in your party has a good command of the Spanish language.  Navigating everything in Spain was stressful enough and I don’t know how we would have survived without me knowing Spanish. I won’t go into detail about my husband’s stolen phone, his lost luggage, needing to change lodging at a moments notice due to cockroaches and unbearable mold, having to call apartment managers about broken toilets, and navigating wiggly roads with no signs, because this post is about eating gluten free but trust me, knowing Spanish is highly recommended.

            I can’t tell you how excited I was the first time I saw a loaf of bread sin gluten in a Madrid supermercado or a sign on a store-front in Seville that said “Pan Sin Gluten,” or in Barcelona ”Sans Gluten” and in San Sebastian “Sense Gluten” but unless you like eating gluten free bread with little more than corn starch and potato starch, that is all you will find in Spain. 

Basque for GF (San Sebastian)
Notice the circle with the wheat sprig and a slash. That’s the official gluten free stamp in Spain.

As a matter of fact, all the gluten free food (bread, crackers, pasta) was made with cornstarch and potato starch. We traveled in Madrid, Toledo, Seville, Cádiz, Barcelona, and San Sebastian and the options for bread, cookies, and pasta were the same almidón de maiz y almidón de patata. I saw a few bags of whole brown rice here and there, but it was not an ingredient that was used in their GF products. I did see tapioca and white rice flour in some ingredient lists but nothing whole grain. 

One of the better tasting massed produced loaves Spain offers, according to Sarah McAtee.
Bimbos was the only other option of GF bread sold in a market but had an unacceptable taste.
This large-looking loaf weighed 13 ounces, about what a loaf of Udi's weighs
Baguette Style - Looks good, tastes mealy

            Gratefully, we stayed in apartments with kitchens and refrigerators so we were able to prepare most of our own meals. The food items I brought with me from home for our two week trip that were most helpful was two packages of Trader Joes brown rice pasta, packets of GF oatmeal, one package of Arnel’s Originals Pancake and Waffle Mix , one frozen loaf of my yummy buckwheat bread, and one package of Arnel’s Originals Buckwheat Bread Mix with a packet of yeast. Believe it or not, it was EASY to bake the bread using a fork to mix the dough and baking it at 176º C. for the usual 30 minutes. I did forget to bring a loaf pan but luckily there was a “Chino” store where I bought one for 3 euros (about $4).

Arnels Originals Organic Buckwheat Bread mixed with a fork

            What we bought there was fresh chicken (super fresh and absolutely delish!) fresh eggs, tomato sauce, brown rice, olive oil, salt, fresh fruit and vegies that were really tasty, juice, and peach marmalade.
            Generally speaking, food in Spain is expensive and the exchange rate for the dollar to euros is not in our favor (for $1 you get  .7 euros and for 1 euro it costs you $1.40). We ate out 4 times and each time it was disappointing. Even the healthy restaurant in Seville whose owner had celiac disease was unsatisfying. I ordered a “cod salad” which cost $25. I got one cut up orange with slivers of paper-thin cod draped over the orange slices and a drizzle of oil and vinegar sauce that tasted delicious. With it came two little thin GF crackers, which were on a separate plate and after consuming my meal, I was still starving. No veggies, no rice, no other food. My husband ordered a steak and there it was…a steak with the same two GF crackers. No veggies, no potatoes, no other food. We walked home $75 poorer and made ourselves dinner.
The traditional food in Spain is paella, which consists of yellow rice, shellfish, chunks of chicken, and sautéed vegies.  We hunted for GF paella only to find out that they put wheat in the sauce and they use artificial coloring to make the rice yellow, which is supposed to get its yellow hue from very expensive saffron.

Paella, which I dared not to eat.

There is, however, another traditional food, which was happily on my thumbs up list and that is called tortilla patata. A yummy mixture of potatoes and onions and egg baked like a quiche without a crust. Thank goodness for this because if you go into a bar that serves little appetizers called tapas or pintxos, it is a safe choice.
One place in San Sebastian (Basque country) called Gandaria luckily had pintxos with GF options and for 2.50 euros each; we got fish, cheese and paté on tiny slices of GF white bread. I asked the waiter to choose 6 varieties of what he liked best and the three of us shared. (See photo below). Most of them were pretty tasty so we wound up ordering 6 more, for a cost of 30 euros ($42), which just took the edge off of our hunger.

All Gluten Free

Although the primary purpose of our trip was to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, and our secondary purpose was to pick-up our daughter from her 3-month stay in Spain, I was eager to explore exporting possibilities.  Hopefully, that will come to fruition.

We started and ended our trip in Madrid, where I knew of a gluten free bakery called Celicioso located a half a block from the Gran Via metro station.  They served the most delicious gluten free pastries but their bread was….well let’s just say that although it was fresh and the best Spain had to offer it needed to be toasted and eaten right away. During the first part of the trip, I brought the owner, Santi, two lightly toasted slices of my bread that I had made 4 days earlier, which had been frozen and defrosted.  Even at that he was so amazed at the taste, texture and nutritional value, that we talked briefly about the possibilities of delivering the bread mix to his door.  I wound up leaving him a buckwheat bread mix to bake up and went on to explore other Spanish cities.   On the last day of our travels, we were back in Madrid and Santi and met I talked extensively about our importing/exporting desires and possible limitations. Santi has Celiac Disease and when he was diagnosed, he immediately thought of how he could turn lemons into lemonade and that is how Celicioso was born. The bakery is doing so well that he has plans of expanding. Currently, he and I are still ironing out the details, which are now in the hands of freight-forwarders and the exporting/importing experts.  Spain has had a tight door policy on importing from the US and although you see Starbucks, MacDonald’s, Dunkin' Donuts, and Bimbo bread, not much healthy American food has passed through their gates….up until now ; > )  All I can say is, if I can change that, I will.
Gulas with garlic, bought at the San Gabriel Market in Madrid; an Alaskan fish that is cut up in strips. GF and delicious.

Eating gluten free in Spain is definitely not trendy. It seems like the Spanish people with Celiac Disease get diagnosed quickly, and the rest of the population is knowledgeable, helpful, and respectful of their dietary needs.  You never feel like you are putting them out and that was the biggest blessing, that, and of course the strong possibility of importing my bread mix in 1000 to 10,000 pound pallets to españa.
The highlight of our trip was meeting so many delightful people. Although experiencing this historic country was amazing, we are very glad to be home.