Sunday, November 23, 2014

Let's talk about the dual challenge of Gluten free and Vegan baking.

When making most meals, having enough options for your vegan guests is pretty easy.  Gluten free is a bit harder, especially if you are attached to bread as an actual part of the meal, but again if you are only cooking for others, having a rare gluten-free meal is no great sacrifice.
Of course if you feel that way, and you want to accommodate all your guests this gets a bit trickier. Recently Zok, decided he was confident enough to make not only a vegan/gluten free pie crust but also gluten free/vegan biscuits (Southern Style)


Firstly, if you are dealing with celiac disease- where a person knows their tolerance in parts per million, and you want to do your own blending, make sure to read the labels of your flour types; rice, corn, potato and so on.  

First Zok went the route of locally available boxed gluten-free flour mixes- such as here in Sweden: Mjölmix which was partly potato based.
Zok used this mix as he would a normal flour- but in the end the pie shell was still gooey and inedible.
He then moved on to the same style but different brands, and he added in his own corn flour- which worked well for pizza crust.
Then in Australia we found a few more options, an all purpose flour mix- and also the pastry mix you see here.  
This Orgran brand didn't need to be chilled- Zok has through trial and error, gotten a better feel of what the dough will and won't do, so this was made with vegan butter- and almond milk- first he used very cold water, and then the almond milk.  The dough was clumpy-but he pressed it together into a ball, cutting that into two, covered them in plastic wrap and let the  dough rest just long enough to prepare a surface with baking paper.
The baking paper is necessary as he skips the flouring step.  The consistency of the dough is hard to work with, so he doesn't like even using gluten free flour for dusting, as this addition, even slight could change the consistency.
Zok also adjusts the amount of baking powder always because he never buys self raising flour, and of course gluten free is not self raising. 
However, normally for any gluten free baking an important step is chilling your dough until cold.
This makes the dough much harder to roll out, but negates the stickiness which is a bigger problem.  

Zok has found that gluten free baking involves a lower temperature for less time- to prevent the dough from drying out, for this pie he cooked at
160 c for 30 minutes
instead of 175 c for 35-40 minutes
Gluten free crust doesn't seem to give off the same signs of aroma or browning.

The next experiment will be potato flour for bread.
Bread of course is the hardest- depending on the type of bread you want to make - more risen than dense by example.
An easier route is any recipe that calls for less flour, such as corn meal or potato breads.  For the southern style biscuits, the vegan biscuits were pretty easy, the lack of buttermilk (substituting almond milk) did make them less fluffy- but my last important tip is that vegan free- and gluten free is best when you don't try to compare to normal baking, but to baking in its own category.
Also, your best audience is indeed someone who is vegan and or gluten-free.


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