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Skillet Focaccia Bread

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What’s the test for finding out if a GF item is actually good? Feed it to someone who doesn’t usually eat gluten free and see if they tolerate it, and even better, enjoy it. If the non-GF test subject asks for seconds you know you have a winning recipe! That’s exactly what happened with this bread.

Skillet Foccacia Bread 1

Even though I’m quite sensitive to gluten it’s no secret around here that I bake with flour and serve my husband gluten filled foods. Much of the food we eat is naturally GF, but if it’s not I usually whip up two separate batches. I call it portionally gluten free, or PGF. It’s more cost effective this way and we each eat what our diet allows.

When I made this bread though, I was really not in the mood to make two separate batches of bread. It was a busy day and dough can be time consuming. I served just a GF bread with the Spicy Tomato Chicken Noodle Soup  (it would be a great match with almost any soup, though!) I posted on Thursday and we were both shoveling it in. There were no leftovers.

Skillet Foccacia Bread 2

I’ve loved focaccia bread for years. Back before I found out I had celiac I would use a store bough pizza dough for my bread. This dough is a variant of my GF pizza dough. It’s shaped into a thin disk and then topped with herbs, coarse salt, and cheese. Cooking it in a skillet rather than in the oven speeds up the cooking process and turns having fresh, GF bread around into something totally manageable any day of the week.

Skillet Foccacia Bread 3

Skillet Focaccia Bread

Ingredients
  • 1/2 c hot tap water
  • 1 Tbs yeast
  • 1 c brown rice flour
  • 1/2 c tapioca starch
  • 1/2 c potato starch
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp gelatin powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Assorted fresh or dried herbs
  • coarse sea salt
  • shredded parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. Stir the yeast into the hot tap water and let sit until foamy.
  2. While the yeast is proofing combine the dry ingredients (not including the herbs, salt, and parmesan) in a bowl. When the yeast mixture  is foamy, stir it into the dry ingredients.
  3. Leave the dough in a bowl, and let it sit in a warm area to rise. This dough won’t rise too much, so don’t worry if you can’t let it rise for much time.
  4. Get out a large skillet. On a floured surface shape the dough into several thin, round, discs that will fit into the skillet. Depending on the size of the skillet you will end up with a different amount of dough discs.
  5. Heat the skillet over medium high heat. When it is warm, spray a disc with cooking spray and set it in the skillet. Cover for 60 seconds.
  6. Flip the dough using a spatula. Spray the side that is now up with cooking spray and sprinkle with herbs and salt, followed by cheese. Cover again and cook until the bread is golden brown on both sides.
  7. Repeat with all remaining discs of dough. Serve hot.

 

GF Sausage Stuffing

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Last Thanksgiving my Dad found a box of GF stuffing mix at the grocery store. It was the first Thanksgiving without my grandparents, who had been in charge of making the stuffing in the past. We weren’t sure how exactly to make stuffing (and I wasn’t totally crazy about Grandma & Grandpa’s stuffing. It was so dense and had no taste.), so we just followed the recipe on the box.

Stuffing usually tastes bland to me, and I slather it in gravy to make it more palatable. This stuffing, though, was anything but tasteless. It was bold, a bit spicy, and didn’t need any help from the gravy to get some flavor. Everyone else tried some of the GF stuffing and apparently it was significantly better than their regular stuffing.

The secret to this delicious stuffing? Sausage!

 

I did some research on how to actually make stuffing and then worked on recreating the recipe. The box from the stuffing mix is long gone so I  just did my best from memory. The results have been very tasty, and I’ve enjoyed the stuffing with and without gravy. I have used a spicy sausage, but I’m sure this would be delicious with a mild, or even sweet-ish sausage. Pick whatever sausage variety you enjoy the most!

In my recipe research, I also learned that putting sausage in stuffing is actually kind of a normal thing. I feel a little bit embarrassed – here I thought I had this brilliant stuffing discovery and then I found out it actually wasn’t a big discovery at all. Opps! Now, I’m just hoping that by sharing this recipe I can introduce a few other people to the world of stuffing that is good enough that you actually want to eat it.

Gluten Free Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients
  • 12 oz gluten free bread
  • 1/2 lb. ground sausage
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2c chicken stock (this makes a soft stuffing. Reduce the amount of liquid to make a crispier stuffing)
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Dice the bread into small cubes and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the cubes are totally crisp, like the consistency a crouton would be. The time will vary depending on what type of bread you are using. It should take somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes.
  3. While the bread is in the oven, brown the sausage in a frying pan over medium high heat, breaking it up as it cooks.
  4. When the sausage has cooked, move it to a large mixing bowl. Add the diced onion and celery right into the pan the sausage was in. Turn the heat down to medium. Cook the vegetables until soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the sausage in it, along with cooked bread cubes. Stir in the egg and the thyme and mix until the egg is distributed throughout the mixture.
  6. Turn the oven temperature up to 400° F. Put the stuffing into a greased baking dish (I used a 3 qt dish) and pour the chicken stock into the baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and cook an additional 5 – 10 minutes, until the top is crisp.

PGF: Naan Bread

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I can’t stop eating this bread! It’s actually good!

Usually, I dislike GF bread, but this is made fresh and that seems to make all of the difference. I’ve made this naan bread to go with a few curry dishes. I love curry (I mean it! and the spicier the better!), but I end up filling myself up on bread. In fact, it’s so good that when I make curry dishes I’ve stopped serving them with rice because this naan bread is such a good fit that we don’t even touch the rice.

This bread is not just a side dish for Indian/curry meals. I somehow ended up with a piece leftover after I last made this bread and had it for lunch with some tomato soup. So good! It reheats perfectly in the microwave.

Let’s talk about texture for a minute. I was flipping out about this bread, but before I decided to call it the most amazing GF bread I’ve ever had I wanted to get another opinion. I’d made half the batch GF for myself and the other half batch with wheat flour for Steve. He ate some of his, thought it was amazing, so I told him to eat some of mine to see how it compared. What was his response? The only difference he could come up with between the GF and regular naan was that the inside of the GF version looked different. Fresh GF bread that tastes exactly the same as the regular version? I’ll take it!

The wheat flour Naan bread

The GF Naan bread

 

Naan Bread

This recipe is written to make half of the batch GF and half of the batch with wheat flour. You can easily adjust quantities to make more or less or each. If you want suggestions for adjusting quantities let me know.
 
Ingredients (makes 4 GF and 4 regular)
  • 1/4 c hot tap water
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 c white rice flour
  • 1/2 c tapioca starch
  • 1/2 c potato starch
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 c wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder (divided in half)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (divided in half)
  • 1 c plain greek yogurt (divided in half)
  • 3/4 c almond milk or other milk of choice (divided in half)
  • salt and garlic powder, to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Dissolve the sugar in the hot tap water. Add the yeast, and let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes. It will foam.
  2. While the yeast mixture is sitting, make the flour mixtures. In one bowl, combine white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xanthan gum, and gelatin powder. This is the GF bowl. In the second bowl (preferably on a different table/countertop area than the GF bowl), measure out the wheat flour.
  3. Add 1/2 a tsp of baking powder and baking soda to each bowl, adding to the GF bowl first.
  4. Add 1/2 c of yogurt to each bowl, and half of the almond milk (just measure out 3/4 c and then eyeball half. That’s what I’ve always done and it’s turned out fine each time), again, adding each to the GF bowl first.
  5. By now, the yeast mixture should be foamy. Eyeballing it, add half of the mixture to each bowl, starting with the GF bowl.
  6. Using separate spoons, stir the contents of each bowl thoroughly.
  7. Cover each bowl with a towel and let them rise, at least 1 hour up to overnight.
  8. After the dough has risen, divide the GF dough into four pieces. Flatten each piece into an oblong shape. If the dough is sticky, spray your hands and working area with a bit of cooking spray. Spray each uncooked piece of bread with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and/or garlic powder, if desired.
  9. Heat a nonstick skillet (that has a fitting lid) to medium high heat (I set my stove top to 6, on a 1 – 10 dial). When the skillet is warm place a piece of uncooked bread in the skillet and cover immediately. Check the bottom of the bread after a minute or two, and flip when the bottom has blackened in a few spots. Let cook for another minute or two on the other side, with the lid on the pan. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining 3 GF bread pieces.
  10. When the GF bread has cooked, form the wheat dough into 4 oblong shapes and repeat the exact same cooking process.

PGF: Toad in a Hole

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Toad in a Hole is a recipe from my childhood. It reminds me of of sleepovers at my grandparents house. My parents, sister, and I would go to their house on Fridays, and usually have tuna fish sandwiches for dinner and ice cream for dessert. Sometimes, my sister and I would get to spend the night there. This was a very exciting thing. We’d play card games with Grandma and Grandpa all evening, sometimes make a play in the basement, and then fight over who got to sleep in which bed. One bed frame was higher off the ground than the other, and somehow that made it soooooo much better. We’d fall asleep to the sounds of our grandparents watching a baseball game on TV with the volume very loud, and wake up to the sounds of them preparing breakfast.

In the morning we always had to brush our teeth before breakfast. This was not something we did at home. After teeth brushing we went to the kitchen table where Grandma would already be underway in making some special breakfast, and Grandpa would have orange juice poured ready for us to drink. I remember it so vividly because the orange juice always tasted so disgusting just after brushing your teeth.

One of our breakfast favorites was pancakes. Grandma would whip up some batter and serve us pancakes in any shape we requested. It was often a “K” or an “L”, for our names, or sometimes a plateful of tiny pancake dots. It got more and more complicated, and eventually we were requesting elephant and butterfly pancakes. Grandpa would cart plates of the different shaped pancakes from the stove over to the table where my sister and I were eagerly awaiting them. There was always syrup at the table, and I only even dunked the edge of a pancake in syrup, which is apparently not normal.

Other times, we had toad in a hole for breakfast. Toad in a hole is, I believe, a creation from WWII that combines your egg and toast. You cut a hole in the center of the toast and cook an over easy egg in that hole.

Toad (egg) in a (bread) hole. Creative, huh?

Although there are some advanced bread/egg flipping skills required to make this, the process is pretty simple, even to make GF and non-GF at the same time.

First, I always get out two plates, two skillets, and two spatulas! One set for the GF version and one set for the wheat toast version.

The GF set up is on the left, and the wheat bread set up is on the right. Everything is separate!

Next, you’ll cut a hole in the middle of the slices of bread. You can do it freehand with a knife, use a round cookie cutter if you have one, or even use a glass jar as the cookie cutter.

GF Bread and “holes”, cut and buttered.

After you’ve buttered the wheat bread, cut a pad of butter with the knife and put it on a plate. Butter the wheat bread from that pad, to keep the stick/tub of butter free of crumbs.

To cook, you put the bread in a heated pan and crack an egg right into the hole. It’s kind of fun.

Once the egg has solidified (it will be white and solid on the bottom, but not on the top) it’s time to flip the bread. Now, this can be tricky to do and keep the egg intact. I remember many Saturday mornings when Grandpa would shout over to us “Uh, oh! Grandma just broke a yolk!” I loosen the bread on each side before trying to lift it up and flip it. Still, sometimes yolks will break.

A GF Toad in a Hole, just after being flipped.

Once the egg has cooked through the toad in a hole is done. I like to cook the little bread circles right in the skillet, too, although a toaster will work. Best way to eat these (in my opinon): break the yolk and use the toast circles to scoop it up.

If you want to get really creative, like my Grandmother, you can use cookie cutters to make special shaped holes. We always asked for elephants (we had a special joke with my grandparents about an elephant hiding behind a butterfly. I can’t even explain it.)

My grandparents both passed away last fall, but this breakfast is not gone with them. I still enjoy it on a Saturday or Sunday morning and I think of them every time I make it. I plan to someday make it for my own children and grandchildren and keep the breakfast tradition alive. Sometimes just a simple breakfast can make some great memories!

Toad in a Hole

Ingredients

  • sandwich bread
  • eggs
  • butter, room temperature
Cooking Directions
  1. Cut a hole in the center of your sandwich bread, freehand, or using a cookie cutter. Lightly spread butter on both sides of the bread, and the circle you cut out of the bread. If preparing GF and non-GF, cut and butter all GF bread slices first, then prepare all wheat bread, then wash your hands.
  2. Heat two skillets over medium heat (or one skillet, if you are only using one type of bread).
  3. When pan is warm, place a slice of bread in the pan along with it’s cut out center. Crack and egg into the hole in the slice of bread. Use one skillet for all GF bread, and another for all wheat bread.
  4. When the egg has solidified on the bottom, use a spatula to flip the bread/egg over. If the egg is sticking a lot, it’s probably too soon to flip it. Flip over the small toast circle, also. Try not to break the egg yolk when you flip it!
  5. Cook for another couple of minutes, until the egg is cooked through and the bread is golden brown on the bottom.
  6. Repeat with any remaining bread slices.
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