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8 Genius Hacks That’ll Make You a Gluten-Free Baking Pro

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Baking: It’s both a science and an art, which means it can be one path more complicated than cooking. And when you’re making homemade gluten-free treats, baking can get even more difficult. They’re swapping out all-purpose flour for gluten-free alternatives and substituting in less common grains and starches — which can mess up your recipes and the bottom line. But gluten-free baking doesn’t have to frustrate you.

Perfect the art of gluten-free cakes, cookies, and breads with some helpful hacks. Try these 8 tips, tricks, and tools for hassle-free, triumphant gluten-free baking.

1. Respect the power of flour

Swapping rice flour for wheat in a traditional recipe? That can only lead to trouble. Achieving the right combination of gluten-free grains, starches and gums is critical as you need to mimic the properties of gluten and add elasticity, structure and texture to the end product. Make your own gluten-free flour mix or buy a one-to-one mix.

And don’t forget to check the ingredients when you buy from the store. If your mix doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum — magical binding agents that keep baked goods from falling apart — you’ll need to add your own. You’ll need about 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum or guar gum for every cup of flour, although you can adjust as you go; that’s just a safe starting point. But don’t overdo it; too much makes cakes, muffins, and bread sticky and gelatinous.

2. Measure like it’s a science

Sure, regular baking is a science, but gluten-free baking requires even more precision and careful measuring. Gluten-free flours are less forgiving, so accuracy is your guiding light. They’re finer than wheat flour, difficult to distribute evenly in measuring cups, and dipping a cup into these tiny pouches is messy and awkward.

Instead of relying on cups, look at grams and ounces. Weight, not volume, is more accurate; For accurate and reliable results, you should use a kitchen scale.

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if you are Use a measuring cup, treat it like a science. Put flour in the cup and shake gently to allow the flour to settle (don’t pack). Overfill the cup, then use an offset spatula or the back of a butter knife to scrape over the top of the cup to level it.

3. Add more moisture

Without gluten, baked goods often become dry, brittle and hard. If your cookies (or muffins, scones, and breads) crumble like this, you need to increase the moisture. Increase the liquids to fully hydrate the flour. You may also want to use a full-fat liquid, as the fats in whole milk, cream, or coconut milk can improve tenderness.

Another easy way to add moisture and fats? Add almond flour to your gluten-free mixes for healthy fats, plus protein and nutrients. We recommend using a finely ground version to avoid graininess.

You can also mix in applesauce or mashed bananas to add softness, lightness, and natural sweetness. Just remember, all that extra liquid has to go somewhere! You’ll want to increase the baking time to evaporate excess moisture, or you’ll end up with soggy muffins or gooey, gummy scones that are a bit also wet.

4. Lighten your doughs

When gluten-free cakes don’t fall apart, they often end up being heavy and uncomfortably dense. This is because gluten forms small pockets of air, making baked goods springy and fluffy; Gluten-free flours and grains lack this crucial element.

So you need to add a bit more air to your batters while mixing. Sift your gluten-free flour mixes before adding them to recipes to fluff them up and air-process them (this is especially important for almond flour, as it tends to clump). Then stir, beat, or beat longer than usual to aerate the batter — a step essential when adjusting a recipe.

Typically, wheat flour formulas warn you against over-mixing doughs, since excessive beating or kneading develops gluten and makes baked goods rubbery and chewy. However, without gluten you don’t have this problem. Don’t be afraid to mix, mix, mix!

5. Let your dough rest

If your gluten-free muffins and scones end up gritty and gritty, you may be rushing the process. Gluten-free dough needs some resting time after mixing to allow its starches to absorb as much liquid as possible. Fully incorporated moisture produces a softer texture, more even crumb, better structure, and better rise (which is critical for faster-baking foods like quick breads, muffins, and cookies).

After mixing your batter, take a little nap. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes before pouring the mixture into baking pans. Do the same for breads and cookie doughs; They become a little firmer and are easier to handle and shape.

6. Swap metal bakeware for silicone

Gluten-free dough is sticky, messy, and frustrating to work with. And without the structural and binding benefits of gluten, baked goods are less resilient and tend to crumble or break when you try to get them out of their metal pans.

To make gluten-free baking easier and less frustrating, upgrade your bakeware. Switch to muffin pans, loaf pans, cake pans, and baking sheets that support gluten-free baking. Silicone is ideal; The flexible material and non-stick surface allow you to effortlessly slide baked goods out of their pans without breaking or splintering. Or use silicone baking sheets instead of parchment for cookies, biscuits, and scones. For donuts or shaped buns or breads (like challah), save yourself the mess and frustration of trying to mold temperamental gluten-free dough into a mold and invest in a few silicone molds to recreate specific shapes.

7. Don’t rely on your eyes

When it comes to gluten-free baking, your eyes may not be able to tell the right degree of doneness — and that can lead to under and over cooking. “Lightly browned,” “golden,” and other visual cues just aren’t reliable for gluten-free baking.

Instead, stick to tools that show you exactly where your baked goods are. When baking bread, stick an instant-read thermometer in the center of the loaf almost to the bottom, but without touching the pan itself; The temperature should be around 205 to 210 degrees F when it’s done. For muffins, cakes, and buns, insert a toothpick into the thickest part to test doneness. And if you’re adjusting a gluten-based recipe, you’ll need to adjust the baking time, since gluten-free mixes tend to take a little more time in the oven.

And if you frequently pull burnt baked goods out of the oven, you’re not alone. You can avoid over-browning, which is common with gluten-free flours, by reducing the oven temperature by around 20 degrees and increasing the cooking time slightly.

8. Bail on crust

Gluten-free pie crusts are tough; They’re sticky and fragile, and it’s nearly impossible to put them in a cake pan. The easiest solution? Only not.

Eliminate crusts altogether and tweak recipes to make the grain base almost seem redundant. For example, make crustless pumpkin pie (like panna cotta), use hash browns as a base for quiche, or turn cherry pie into a crumble.

If you want to make a crust, finely grind gluten-free cookies in a food processor, add butter or coconut oil, and press into a cake pan instead of rolling. Or just cheat! Pre-made gluten-free crusts usually outshine homemade versions. You can keep a few backups in the freezer for last-minute quick desserts.

For more gluten free baking ideas and inspiration, try these recipes:

Selected recipe: Gluten-free pistachio cranberry biscotti with dark chocolate drizzle

Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

This Swedish Mixer Is More Powerful Than a KitchenAid

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I recently left a longtime job as a test chef at a major food media company to try my hand at freelance food writing and cooking instruction. Since my specialty is bread baking, I suddenly found that I could bake a lot more bread at home than I ever had before.

For years, my trusty KitchenAid stand mixer was more than adequate for my needs as most of the batters I made at home were hand mixed, and it was big and powerful enough for the few that needed machine mixing. But now that I was working on bread recipes almost every day, many of them in large batches, it was clear that I needed something with more power and larger capacity. Which led me to the Ankarsrum Assistant (“Assistant” is Swedish for assistant) or “the Ank” as many of its users prefer to call it because, like me, they find it a challenge to type correctly. I’ve had mine for about half a year now and have really put it through its paces during this time.

Anchor room original

$700.00, Amazon

What is the Ankarsrum blender?

Despite its relative obscurity here in the US, the Ankarsrum assistent has been a popular kitchen tool in Sweden for more than 80 years. Although the blender has changed names a number of times throughout its life – it has also been called the Magic Mill and DLX – its design has remained more or less unchanged since its introduction in 1940.

It was first developed by Alvar Lenning, an engineer and designer for Swedish appliance giant Electrolux, who set out to create a compact countertop tool that could rival larger and more expensive professional machines and do the jobs of many appliances in one . (Early advertisements for the Assistant touted its ability to “beat, mix, knead, mash, chop, mince, slice, blend, grate, and puree” ingredients, at least judging by its many optional attachments were acquired.)

What makes the Ankarsrum distinctive is that – unlike “planetary” mixers like the KitchenAid, which move its attachments around the bowl like a planet orbiting the sun – it rotates the bowl and its contents while the attachments are on stay in place. It also has a very powerful motor: while the first version had a relatively modest 250-watt motor, subsequent models have increased in wattage every few iterations, and the current model is rated at a whopping 1,500 watts. (By comparison, the motors on most high-end planetary mixers, including the KitchenAid, are rated at 600 watts.)

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Both the spinning bowl design and the more powerful motor allow the Ank to produce plenty of turning power – or torque – without the risk of overheating or overloading the motor. That means it can handle a lot more batter than most other stand mixers. The manual for the KitchenAid 600 6-Quart Blender states that no more than 14 cups of all-purpose flour should be used at a time, which is about 3 kilograms (or 6.6 pounds) of bread dough. (For whole wheat flour, which makes a stiffer, harder-to-mix dough, that amount drops to 8 cups, or about 2 pounds.) Any more than that and the KitchenAid will have to strain and struggle, and the dough will likely work its way out of the bowl . In comparison, the Ankarsrum and its roomy bowl can easily handle up to 4.5 kilograms (nearly 10 pounds) of dough made from about 21 cups of flour (of any kind, whole grain or otherwise). I have mixed this amount with the Ankarsrum on numerous occasions and had no problems.

You can also run the Ankarsrum at much higher speeds than most blenders can muster. Bread recipes typically call for mixing batters at medium speed, which is equivalent to speed 6 on a Kitchen Aid. However, the KitchenAid manual strongly recommends only kneading bread doughs on speed 2 to avoid “high potential for stand mixer failure.” (This recommendation is something that many people, myself included, either fail to notice or ignore at their peril.) The Ankarsrum now runs at medium speed or higher with ease, even when loaded with 10 pounds of dough.

The Ankarsrum is noticeably quieter than other mixers. While it can hardly be described as quiet, it makes a lot less noise compared to my KitchenAid, even when loaded with batter and mixing at relatively high speeds.

Finally, Ankarsrums have a reputation for durability and reliability. I’ve heard from numerous users who have been using the same machine for 20 years or more that it holds up over time.

What is Swedish for learning curve?

All in all, when I first got my Ank I wasn’t entirely convinced. It took me a while to figure out how to use it properly because it was so different from the planetary mixers I was used to. The rotating stainless steel bowl was easy to understand: as it rotates, it forces the dough between the attachment and its inner surfaces to mix its ingredients together and develop gluten.

Then there’s the long metal arm that holds the attachments in place. Or, as it were, in place: it actually swings freely back and forth from the rim of the bowl to its center to accommodate varying amounts of batter as they pass over and around the attachments. (A knob at the end of the arm allows you to limit how close the arm can get to the rim of the bowl, which is useful for adjusting how much force the attachment is applying to the dough and to prevent the dough from curling up works out of the bowl.) So far so good.

But the batter mixing attachments that come with the Ank won’t feel familiar if you’re used to a planetary mixer. There is a club-shaped plastic reel and an S-shaped aluminum hook. The ribbed roller rotates and crushes the dough against the sides of the bowl, forming it into a spinning doughnut. The hook, on the other hand, works by snapping the dough around its serpentine length, causing it to twist and pull around, much like toffee in a toffee machine. Both the hook and roller work in tandem with a spatula-like “dough knife” designed to keep the dough from sticking to the edge of the bowl.

The Ankarsrum manual is mostly silent on the merits of one fortification over the other (to be honest the manual is pretty much useless in every way) so I had to ask other Ank users I knew for advice. Answers varied, but the most common refrain was either that the catch is best for high liquid content doughs (i.e. those containing a lot of water compared to flour) or – paradoxically – for very stiff doughs such as those with a lot of whole wheat or extreme low-moisture breads like bagels. But other users reported that they exclusively used one attachment or the other and had no problem mixing any type of dough with whatever it was.

After a few months of using the Ank I find myself reaching for the dough hook above the roller as it just seems to work well no matter what type of dough I throw on it, wet or firm, whole wheat or white flour. Maybe I tend to do that because it’s a lot more obvious that something is happening when I see it working. The roller is much gentler, or at least appears to be, while the hook is obviously wrestling with the dough. (One baker who said he preferred the roller to the hook also mentioned that he kneaded his dough for a relatively long time, reinforcing the idea that this is actually the gentler option.)

Tips and Tricks

  • Unlike other mixers where the attachments themselves move at high speed, since in this case only the dough is moving, you can reach in and put your dough in while the machine is running. This can be useful when things need a little nudge now and then to get moving, or to keep the dough from riding up the hook. Likewise, you can also move the dough knife and attachment arm away from the sides of the bowl for occasional fingering of the dough while the machine is running. (It’s still a very powerful machine, so I’d always advise caution.)

  • The manual recommends combining dry ingredients in the bowl first, then adding liquids, for the most efficient mixing. Adding liquids (or softened butter when making fortified breads like brioche) to an already-mixed batter is challenging, but that’s true of most stand mixers. I’ve found it helpful to stop the machine completely and poke holes in the dough to maximize surface area, adding the liquids little by little to keep the dough from sloshing around in the bowl.

  • I’m more of a hands-on baker, standing over the machine until it’s done its job (hence my preference for the dough hook over the roller), but you might want to consider the advice I was given by another Ankarsrum pro: Just set the built-in timer, go away and let it work. When you return, the dough is likely fully developed.

More than a one trick pony

For an active bread maker like myself, the Ankarsrum’s power and capacity would be worth its relatively steep sticker price ($700, or about $200 more than a high-end KitchenAid stand mixer), even if it’s only useful for mixing bread dough would. Luckily, thanks to the included second bowl and attachment set, it can also handle any other tasks you might need a stand mixer for. Unlike the stainless steel bowl, the clear plastic whipping bowl is stationary while its wire loop paddles and whisk attachments rotate around the bowl like any other mixer.

While I’ve baked far more bread in my Ank than anything else, I’ve tested each of its other functions at least a few times. I’ve found it to work just as well as my old KitchenAid for tasks like whipping cream, beating egg whites, whipping butter and sugar, or mixing batters and batters for cakes and cookies. One thing to note: you can use the stainless bowl and roller combo for whipping butter and sugar and mixing things like cookie dough, especially if you’re making large batches. I learned this from one of the many videos related to Ankarsrum that you can find on YouTube, something I would highly recommend to any new user.

You can also buy a wide range of accessories for your Ankarsrum, so you can use it, for example, to grind meat, roll or extrude pasta or grind flour. There’s even a blender attachment.

So who should buy an Ankarsrum?

The main reason for upgrading from a planetary mixer to an ankarsrum is if like me you need the extra capacity and performance that an ank offers. I have no doubt that even when compared to the next best stand mixer, an Ankarsrum is a superior bread mixer and it’s no slouch when it comes to all the other functions you might need it for. I also think it would be a great – albeit expensive – first mixer for a serious baker just starting to outfit their kitchen. It could very well be the only blender you’ll ever need to own, especially given its reputation for reliability.

Originally appeared on Epicurious

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Why you should put gluten-free and vegan-friendly banana flour on your plate

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When India battled the deadly second wave of Covid-19 last year, it sparked a quiet revolution in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The focus was on a rather unusual ingredient: banana flour.

From cooking demonstrations and competitions to videos, workshops, webinars and countless WhatsApp messages, social media has been flooded with posts made with banana flour.

Creativity and curiosity in the game

It all started when Nayana Anand, 42, a farmer from Athikatte village in Tumkur district, posted a series of dishes she had been making with bananas for a whole week on a WhatsApp group called ATV (Anytime Vegetable): “That was it at a time when Covid had forced people to consume what they had,” Anand tells The National.

The administrator of the group happened to be Shree Padre, the editor of Adike Patrike Farm Magazine and someone who had already worked on a campaign to popularize banana flour aka Bakahu (short for balekai hudi or raw banana powder in Kannada) to do research on value-added products.

“Banana farmers have faced a sharp drop in prices due to lack of demand and have been forced to discard large parts of their produce,” Padre told The National. “Anand did such a great job using bananas from her farm creatively [that] I told her about a lady named Jayambika from Kerala who had become an entrepreneur by pulverizing raw bananas. This piqued her curiosity and she insisted that I help her learn the process.”

The flour with the shell works well for savory dishes like rotis and dosas, while the flour without the shell works well for sweets like halvah and burfi

Vasundhara Hedge, farmer

Padre put Anand in touch with Jissy George, a subject matter specialist at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, a knowledge network that is part of India’s National Agricultural Research System. George guided Anand through the process of making flour from raw banana. After successfully experimenting with it, Anand returned to Padre, who in turn posted the method of making Bakahu on his Facebook page.

“This post went viral immediately. I was inundated with messages and images of farmers and housewives making the flour and experimenting with dishes as diverse as rotis, dosas, idlis, puris and even gulab jamun,” says Padre. The culinary brainwave of using locally sourced banana flour even garnered acclaim from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who mentioned it in his Mann Ki Baat program last July.

Padre says that while the concept of banana flour is not new (it has been used as baby food in Kerala and as a fasting food in Maharashtra), its use in home cooking as part of a daily diet has tremendous potential.

Make your own banana flour

Farmer Vasundhara Hedge produces and sells about 30 kilograms of banana flour per week.  Photo: Vasundhara hedge

The process of making flour from raw bananas is fairly simple and involves slicing raw or green bananas with or without the skin. The sliced ​​banana is soaked in water mixed with rice starch and rock salt before being dried in the sun for between three and five days, after which it can be powdered and stored.

banana flour [can] regulate your appetite, prevent overeating and promote the absorption of nutrients

Luke Coutinho, holistic lifestyle coach

“We use about three glasses of buttermilk for 10 liters of water instead of rice starch,” says Vasundhara Hedge, 40, a Sirsi farmer who sold about 200 kilograms of flour in a month. Producing around 30kg each week, Hedge supplies supermarkets and retailers across Karnataka. “The flour with the shell works well for savory dishes like rotis and dosas, while the flour without the shell works well for sweets like halvah and burfi,” explains Hedge.

Crucially, banana flour can be made from any and every type of fruit (although ready-made options are available in the UAE at the Hayawiia health store). You don’t have to be a farmer or have fancy equipment.

A nutrient rich option

Banana flour is a highly nutritious food that is increasingly being viewed as the perfect gluten-free alternative to wheat and other refined flours. It is a grain-free source of complex carbohydrates and is also suitable for vegans.

Efforts must be made to maintain a standard in terms of preparation, quality, hygiene, packaging and branding

Uma Subbaraya, Director, National Research Center for Bananas

“Green banana flour is loaded with resistant starch. Therefore, fluctuations or increases in blood sugar levels are prevented. It regulates your appetite, prevents overeating and also promotes the absorption of nutrients,” explains Luke Coutinho, a holistic lifestyle coach – integrative and lifestyle medicine from Mumbai. He says consumption is recommended during pregnancy and post-pregnancy, during weaning, and for lifestyle conditions such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

Banana flour is also extremely effective for gut health. “Resistant starch is an excellent prebiotic and promotes gut microbial health. Banana flour is rich in minerals and can be a healthier alternative to traditional grains like maida and wheat,” says Dr. Raghu KC, food expert and nutritionist from Bengaluru.

In addition, it is a product that reduces post-harvest losses and effectively prevents distress sales.

go bananas

The future of banana flour does indeed look promising. “The best is yet to come as this is a product that combines nutritional value and palatability,” predicts Dr. V. Venkatasubramanian, director of the ICAR-Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute in Bengaluru, which plans to launch an awareness campaign in the coming months.

“Banana flour is in demand not only in the domestic but also in the international market,” adds Uma Subbaraya, director of the National Research Center for Bananas in Tamil Nadu. “But for this to be a successful commercial endeavor, research and effort must be directed toward maintaining a standard of preparation, quality, sanitation, packaging and branding. That takes the product to the next level.”

Updated January 22, 2022 11:19 am

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The Best Fashion Instagrams of the Week: Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, Michelle Pfeiffer, and More

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First, let’s welcome the return of the Big Big Boot. Rihanna was spotted out in New York City earlier this week in an otherwise relaxed look save for her statement knee-length off-white boots. The resulting look was ren-faire-real-meets-downtown-cool-girl. Kendall Jenner also loves extreme boots. The model hit the runway last week in a tiny bikini and a pair of chunky, hairy boots from Miu Miu’s Fall 2021 collection. Needless to say, these are some big shoes – or boots – to fill.

Over in Europe the men’s shows are in full swing. The late Virgil Abloh’s last collection for Louis Vuitton had a star-studded guest list, including Naomi Campbell, Venus Williams and J Balvin. Tyler the Creator stood out among the contestants by donning a trapper hat, shiny cardigan and bomber jacket — an adorable image captured by writer Olivia Singer. Speaking of the singer, she went to the Kim Jones Dior show and was photographed typing on a makeshift desk — two mattresses — while wearing a large bathrobe. What journalists do for fashion!

Also in Europe was Beepy Bella designer Isabella Lalonde, who took the continent by storm with her friend Lirika Matoshi. The two were adorable twins in brightly colored pleated tartan tennis skirts and oversized furry hats.

After all, Michelle Pfeiffer was someone who stayed indoors. The actor smoldered in a mirror selfie while sporting oversized Michael Kors sunglasses. “Sunny CA in my @michaelkors sunglasses. Actually… I’m definitely in my closet 😂🕶”.

Here’s more of the best fashion Instagrams of the week.

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