Johnny Cake

When my sister and I were growing up our father worked out of town a lot. We only got to see him a couple times a year usually but when we did it was always a special treat. One of my fondest memories growing up was one morning waking up to the smell of some kind of corn bread wafting through the house. I came downstairs and my dad had made something called Johnny Cake for breakfast. What? Cake for breakfast? I was sold.

Now on some of those rare mornings I have time I throw together this simple recipe and then smother it with butter and maple syrup for an amazing breakfast treat.

If you ever feel like something other than pancakes and waffles definitely try this recipe out, eat it warm, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup oil

Sift all the dry ingredients together, make a well in the centre. Blend all the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add to the dry ingredients. Fold together only until clear. Put into greased 13×9 inch pan and bake for about 25 minutes at 425F. You could also add cheese, sweet corn, or even sausage if you so please.

Serve warm with pure maple syrup and some butter and you have cake for breakfast!

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Simple Cocoa Brownie

Hello there, welcome to my blog. today I wanted to post something I made the other night that  everyone should try to bake someday when they have time.

First things first to say is that I was never much of a brownie lover in my life till baking with this recipe.

Recipe can be found in the link right here  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/10549/best-brownies/ 

Now the steps on simple to follow for this recipe, way to easy that can create something so good, just by pretty much placing all the ingredients in 1 pot and mixing.

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Perfect for eating at anytime of day, a soft and moist brownie that takes less then an hour to make that can also serve many others by adjusting the recipe.

 

Baking Without

Although Celiac disease does not result in fatalities…not like a peanut allergy…it has a devastating effect on an individual’s health. It is for this reason that many, many chefs, books, blogs, recipes, etc…are devoted to gluten free diets. After all, who wants to live with a permanent belly ache?

When the body doesn’t tolerate gluten, but it is still continually consumed, the gluten destroys the lining of the intestines so that the body can’t attain the nutrients and vitamins that are essential to good health.

a-logo

http://www.glutenfreecert.com/

logo   www.celiac.ca

 

 

These are two of the online places to visit for ALL things about gluten-free… all things except for baking, that is.

Which is why I’m here!! I will tell you all there is to know about baking without gluten!! …well, not everything; however, I will share with you some GF recipes that are a big hit with my customers…

First of all, we need to start with a flour blend so…here it is:

ALL-PURPOSE GLUTE-FREE FLOUR BLEND

1296c234_milletflour_f_1800millet flour    400g

rice floursweet rice flour  300g

1444c244_potatostarch_f_1800potato starch  300g

Combine the three flours in a cambro, shake it up (make sure you put the lid on!) and…ta da!!!! You have your gluten-free flour-blend. This all-purpose blend can be substituted into any recipe that calls for an all-purpose blend.

[the cost for this flour blend would be $177.40 for a 20-kg bag!)

Grain-free flour blend

almond flour              350 g

buckwheat flour      250 g

arrowroot   flour      150 g

potato starch            150 g

flaxseed meal           100 g

Combine the five flours in an air-tight container. Store in the refrigerator

(the almond flour may go rancid; cooler storage is a bright idea)

          NOTE: I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flours for convenience but buying in bulk is less  expensive.

And NOW….the fun begins!

Walnut Banana Bread

Dry blend the following ingredients:

Grain-free flour-blend     210

Baking soda                         6

Cinnamon                            5

Salt                                         3

In separate bowl combine and whisk vigorously:

          Pure maple syrup              150

          Egg                                         100

          coconut oil                          80

vanilla                                   8

banana                                 365

  (ripe, mashed)

  • Combine the two mixtures (do not over-mix)

Fold in:

Walnuts                                75

TOTAL            1002

  • Deposit into a 1 pound loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans.
  • Bake at 375F (190C);
  • Bake until loaf is springy to the touch, the edges pull from the pan, and the top is browned; 45 to 60 minutes.

(Shauna Ahern “Walnut Banana Bread” www.glutenfreegirl.com )

 

gluten-free BROWNIES

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  • 298g sugar; Baker’s Special Sugar or superfine sugar, if you have it
  • 113g butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 64g Dutch-process cocoa or baking cocoa; we prefer the flavor of Dutch-process (“European-style”)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 113g King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour or 3 3/8 ounces brown rice flour blend*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 170g chocolate chips, optional
  • 113g chopped nuts, optional
  • *See recipe for this blend below.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8″ square pan or 9″ round pan; either should be at least 2″ deep.
  2. Place the sugar, butter, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula until the butter melts and the mixture lightens in color. This step helps melt the sugar, which will give the brownies a shiny crust.
  3. If you’ve heated the sugar and butter in a saucepan, transfer the mixture to a bowl; otherwise, just leave the hot ingredients right in their microwave-safe bowl. Blend in the vanilla and cocoa, then add the eggs and mix until shiny.
  4. Blend in the flour or flour blend and the baking powder. Stir in the chips and/or nuts, if you’re using them.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges.
  6. Bake the brownies for 33 to 38 minutes, until the top is set; and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or nearly so, with perhaps a few wet crumbs, or a tiny touch of chocolate at the tip of the tester.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool for about 15 minutes before cutting. Once the brownies are cool, cover tightly with plastic.
  8. Yield: 16 brownies.
  9. *Make your own blend
    Many of our gluten-free recipes use our King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour, which includes ingredients that reduce the grittiness sometimes found in gluten-free baked goods. Our flour also increases the shelf life of your treats, keeping them fresh longer.
    The following make-at-home blend, featuring stabilized brown rice flour, works pretty well when substituted; and it tastes better than a blend using regular brown rice flour.Whisk together 6 cups (28 1/2 ounces) King Arthur stabilized brown rice flour; 2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch; and 1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour or tapioca starch. Store airtight at room temperature. Note: You can substitute white rice flour for the brown rice flour if you like; it’ll make your baked goods grittier (unless you manage to find a finely ground version).

(“the bakers” Almond Flour Brownies www.kingarthurflour.com )

Now for the beloved loaf of…<drum roll>…BREADREALLY?! without gluten? I’ve just spent a whole year studying about GLUTEN!

It is possible though. A “dough” made with gluten free flours is more like  a batter so it is treated like a quick bread. It does need to be proofed though because there is yeast in the batter.

Richard Coppedge, a renowned professional Pastry Chef, the author of “Gluten-free Baking” and instructor at the Culinary Institute of  America. He has devoted his web page to Gluten Free….

www.glutenfreeeasy.com

Although I haven’t tried those particular recipes yet, I have tried other recipes of his…with success! So, I challenge you to make GLUTEN FREE BREAD (that’s bread without gluten, you know?)  …and tell me about it, ok?

Fear Mongering of Chemicals in Baked Goods

If you have ever thought anything to the effect of “I do not like chemicals in my cake!”, or “I just want to eat bread, not a bunch of chemicals!”, then consider giving this post a read.

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Source: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3324

To start off, yes, there are chemicals in food. All substances, from the air we breathe, to the water we drink, are chemicals. You, the readers, are also chemicals. There is an assumption that the objections earlier refer to the addition of synthetic substances to foodstuffs. However, the fear-mongering of added chemicals in food is unnecessary, and often stem from baselessness. There seems to be a marketing tactic to name things as “natural”, as customers can perceive it to being better for the body. However, things such as ricin, death cap mushrooms, rattlesnakes, and bears are also natural. These can all kill you. Not too sure about you, but I would much rather eat refined table salt than encounter these “natural” substances on my plate. Refined foods, such a various naturally occurring gums, and synthetic substances such as ADA have been used in the food industry for years, with little to no causation of harmful effects.

Let us discuss two common synthetic ingredients in cake making as an example: baking soda and baking powder. In most cake formulas, you will find either baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or baking powder (baking soda with an acid salt, usually monosodium phosphate, or aluminium sulfate). These two ingredients are chemical leaveners that release CO2 gas upon activation, which help cakes get volume and tenderness. Baking soda requires heat, moisture and an acid to activate, while baking powder only requires heat and moisture.

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Figure 1: Two pancakes made from batter with, and in the absence of baking powder. Both batters were allowed to rest prior to the addition of baking powder, so the air bubbles from mixing would not be a variable. The Pancake with the leavener (left), was observed to be me much more light and had higher volume than the pancake without leavener (right).

2017-03-13 18.03.092017-03-13 18.02.45

Figure 2a(left): Cross section of the pancake with baking powder. A light texture can be observed, with fine air cells
Figure 2b(right): Cross section of the pancake without baking powder. A dense, wet texture can be observed.

As we can see from the figures above, the pancake containing baking powder had an airy crumb, while the one that lacked leavener was compact. In a nutshell, baked goods are masses of coagulated proteins and gelatinized starch. The role of leavening is to introduce air cells, stretching the proteins, thus, tenderizing the crumb.

Baking soda and baking powder are refined chemicals approved by the FDA, and have been in baked goods for years. Yet, there is no backlash from people regarding the use of these ingredients. Some people will cite their reluctance of using refined ingredients because of the inability to pronounce the words. This ignores the fact that baking soda and powder are just common names; the actual “active ingredient” names are the names of the chemical compounds. If these two ingredients were named by their active ingredient, would you suddenly want to reject the use of them? Or would you do a quick search on your favourite search engine to find out what the ingredient is? One option clearly seems like much less of a hassle than the other.we-love-chemicals-620

Source : http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/staff/wynne/i/2012/we-love-chemicals-620.jpg

Everything is a chemical. Stop using the word “chemical” as a fear tactic.

If there is no hesitation with using these two ingredients, then there should not be an issue over the use of other FDA approved food additives, such as synthetic emulsifiers, gums such as carrageenan, or azodicarbonamide, for example. These refined ingredients have all been put under rigorous testing to determine safe consumption limits. These refined ingredients can improve the shelf life of baked goods, can inhibit mould, or can improve the texture. Sure, our parents or grandparents may not have used these latter ingredients; however, we must consider that everything we use in the bakery, from baking powder, to even refined wheat flour, was a new product at one point.

Baking is an ever evolving industry, with new gums, conditioners, dough improvers, and emulsifiers being constantly implemented. Once something has been determined as safe, the unnecessary fear mongering of chemicals in baked goods serves only to slow down advancement and innovation. That being said, if one chooses to consume foodstuffs that are perceived as “natural” and contain only “organic” ingredients, then that is his or her prerogative, and that is fine. However, proper research and scrutiny should be applied to any food ingredient before judgment is applied, to prevent unnecessary fear-mongering.

Thank you for reading this post, and I hope you enjoyed it.

Sources and additional information:

https://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAdditivesIngredients/ucm094211.htm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814125039.htm

http://theconversation.com/five-myths-about-the-chemicals-you-breathe-eat-and-drink-26849

Massa Sovada

DSC_0606(Portuguese Sweet Bread)

Since Easter is just around the corner, I’ve decided to tackle my Avó’s Massa Sovada recipe!  Massa is a traditional bread popular during holidays especially Easter. There is a festival in Portugal called the Festas do Espírito Santo” which originally started in the 1300’s with Queen St. Isabel of Portugal who devoted her life to helping the poor.  Queen of Portugal

In today’s Easter celebrations, in honour of the Queen, women participate in a procession wearing white dresses and carrying baskets of sweet bread and flowers on their heads to be blessed by the church.  Festas do Espírito Santo

For Easter it is traditionally made with a hard boiled egg in the center, then made plain for the rest of the year.  Check out this video…Massa Sovada

 

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What you will need:

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup (lukewarm) water

1 cup of scaled milk, cooled

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

3 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup butter, softened

5 cups all purpose flour

1 egg plus a pinch of salt (egg wash)

1 teaspoon of sugar

 

Steps:

1)  Grease with butter and flour (2) 9″ x 1.5″ pans, set aside.

2)  Pour milk into a saucepan and scald, set aside to cool.

3)  Dissolve the yeast into the lukewarm water, set aside.

4)  In a large bowl pour the yeast, milk, 3 eggs, salt, sugar, softened butter, sugar and 3 cups of flour.  Mix together until creates a smooth, sticky batter.

5)  Slowly add the remaining 2 cups of flour until dough is formed – If the dough gets too dry add some melted butter.

6)  On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth.

7)  Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise.  This should take about 1 1/2 hours or until it’s doubled in size.

8)  Punch the dough and divide in half.  Shape each half into round loaves and put into the greased/floured pans.

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9)  Cover with a towel and place in a warm room to rise for about 1 hour.

10)  Preheat oven to 350°F

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11)  Create an egg wash (whisk one egg with a pinch of salt) and brush onto the loaves.  Sprinkle tops with 1 teaspoon of sugar.

12)  Bake the loaves for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

13)  While still warm move onto wire rack to cool.

 

Feliz Páscoa / Happy Easter!

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