Thank You, Baking Fairies!Posted: February 22, 2012
I’m an absolute swine for playing around with recipes – well the recipes I decide to cut out and keep, or transcribe from different places into my little Recipe folder, or print out and stick on my fridge if I think it’s one I’ll cooked often. Pretty much all of my cooking is the ‘make it up as I go along’ method – and to be fair it turns out pretty well most of the time!
Take my recipe for Flaxseed Bread. We found this on the internet a couple of years ago when we first gave up wheat etc, but wanted / needed a substitute for bread.
- 2 cups flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar equivalent from artificial sweetener
- 5 beaten eggs
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup oil
(I don’t use artificial sweetener – when I first made this I used 1 tablespoon of unrefined golden sugar, and used melted coconut oil)
It tastes nothing like bread. At all. Flaxseed has a definite ‘flavour’…Its texture however does give you that feeling of ‘comfort-food’ when you use it to soak up the lovely juices from Spanish Chicken, or have it as the ‘bottom of the bun’ for homemade burgers. It’s great buttered.
Over time I started
adapting fiddling with the recipe. I tried a number of different savoury takes on it – adding onions, herbs, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes etc etc, but I was never really happy with it. It never quite got away from that flaxseed taste.
Then I thought about using it as a base for muffins – the dessert type ones, not the plain scone type ones. I tried different things – I added ground ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon…chopped dates, sultanas…chocolate chips (mmmmm….chocolate…..), fresh blueberries, frozen raspberries… and dropped the sugar. All enjoyable, tasty experiments!
Then I thought about trying different dried ingredients instead of 100% flaxseed. Almond flour…chestnut flour… Over time, the amounts of wet to dry ‘flour’ type ingredients was tweaked due to the variations in absorption – I’m usually pretty good at flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants when it comes to adapting the amount of ‘wet’ elements needed to keep the overall texture right, even with a 30-40% increase in ‘flours’ and dry ingredients. Did I mention I use ALOT of chopped dates….?
My most recent version of the recipe looked more like this:
- 2 cups flaxseed meal
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 beaten eggs
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 cups chopped dates
If we felt like a ‘treat’ then a handful of 70% chocolate chips would go in. If we wanted them really gingery, the mixed spice would come out, the ground ginger would double, and I might blitz a few pieces of stem ginger with the eggs so it’s nice and fine.
Today I was finally able to try my Frankenstein’d recipe with coconut flour as an ingredient, having got my delivery from Goodness Direct late yesterday afternoon.
I thought I’d try making a couple of loaves this time – a guy at Mike’s office is gluten intolerant and even my baking powder is gluten-free – it’d be ideal for him to take in for the guys to try. My (yet again) playing around with the dry ingredients was likely to make more mixture than I can fit in all my silicon muffin cases, so loaf tins were an easy way to make sure I didn’t waste anything. To be absolutely sure I’d have enough for 2 tins, I decided to up the ingredients…and at this point, I’d like to mention that I’d never made this in loaf-form before…
It nearly ended up a total DISASTER…
When I added the liquids to the dry ingredients they disappeared before my very eyes with three-quarters of the stuff in the bowl never getting close to being damp, let alone wet! I added more water, as well as a couple of extra eggs on top of the one I’d added to begin with – I didn’t think just adding water would do the finished product any favours. Then the texture went crazy…very thick and heavy – it reminded me of disasters when making scones and bread. I kept mixing though until it had all combined thoroughly and managed to get it in the tins, but had zero hope of it rising after all the pushing involved to get it to go into the corners etc – this was one stubborn mixture! I had visions of the end product looking, tasting AND feeling like house bricks, and being consigned to the bin…
I was determined though and decided to keep going and bake it – actually doing so for twice as long as usual (at a slightly lower temperature to stop it drying out too much on the outside…). When I checked it half way through though it was so far so good – it had risen a little, and was browning in a nice controlled way. It even smelled nice.
When I thought it had baked enough – out it came, and I left it to rest in the tins for a short time.
I’m terribly impatient though and couldn’t leave them alone for long – I had to know if my latest ‘experiment’ had totally bit me in the bum. I took them out of the tins (luckily I’d thought to line them with a little baking parchment…) and gave them the once over.
Nice fairly even colour…and when turned over and their bottoms ‘tapped’, they sounded hollow – a good sign they weren’t a soggy mess in the middle. I chose the larger (heavier) of the two loaves (I wasn’t worried about the density…this has never been a ‘light’ piece of baking, but if it was by some strange twist of fate a successful experiment, the smaller, lighter one was likely to be the better of the two) – and cut it in half.
And then cut a slice.
And ate it…quickly followed by a second slice…and was pleasantly surprised!
I think they qualify as a ‘save’. The coconut flour certainly has a texture of its own – slightly grainy – not as much as Chestnut Flour but still ever so slightly detectable. The loaf is a little bit crumbly as well, but that’s to be expected as there’s no gluten in there to make it all ‘stick’ together. It was still warm when cut though that’d be a factor.
It’ll be interesting to try it cold this evening when my ‘Chief Taster’ gets home! I’ll let him decide whether he wants to
inflict share it with his workmates. I’m pretty confident we could polish it all off though over the next few days though if he’d rather not… 🙂
Definitely a few lessons learned though….!
Lesson 1 – Coconut flour is a totally different animal to ground flaxseed or almond flour when it comes to absorbing liquids. It’s a moisture grabbing MONSTER. Overall, I had to add 3 times as much water than I’ve ever needed to, plus those 3 extra eggs!
Lesson 2 – Don’t change EVERYTHING about a recipe at once! Either change the types of ingredients, or the quantities, or the baking medium. I did all of them. Yep – I’m a muppet. I should have tried the ‘normal’ quantity and baked it in the muffin cases… I know…I know…
Lesson 3 – Go the whole ‘nine yards’ – don’t abandon in, complete the process! Sometimes…just sometimes…the Baking Fairies let you get away with it…
Right then… I’m off – I think another slice of cake has my name on it….!
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