Monday, September 28, 2009

Gluten-Free Baking with Flour Arrangements

For this month's round of Adopt A Gluten Free Blogger I went for some baking instruction from Sophie of Flour Arrangements. She's a real adventuress in the kitchen and knows how to bake, which is something that particularly flummoxes me. I end up getting distracted in the assemblage of the myriad flours and leavening agents need for baking up GF things and usually end up missing a step or putting in a tablespoon of something when a teaspoon is called for. Clearly, I need more guidance in the kitchen to hone my less than "mad" GF baking skills.

So Sophie was my Baking Guide last weekend when I attempted two of her wonderful recipes. Both came out as luscious as advertised on her beautifully-designed and photographed blog and my GF husband was delighted to have two new treats to devour.

First on my agenda was Sophie's Cracker Recipe. I had some success in making some crispy Sesame-Rosemary Crackers and Chickpea Hearts in the past, but these looked thicker and had a nice combination of flavors, so dug out my rolling pin, bought a fresh roll of parchment paper and popped out a batch of Sophie's Crackers.

They reminded me of Wheat Thins in texture and had a nice hearty flavor. I made up a batch of Vegetable Cream Cheese to spread on them (I whizzed up 1 pkg. softened cream cheese with a few radishes, celery stalks, carrots, chives, dill, and part of a red bell pepper) and Dan tucked into the cracker stash with gusto. They are also not so fragile as to buckle under the heft of a slice of cheese.

Bursting with self-esteem over the success of this first Flour Arrangement project, I decided to tackle a yeast bread. I was enamored of her photo of her Gluten-Free Honey and Flax Yeast Rolls and liked incorporating the fiber-rich powers of the flax seed, so I devoted an afternoon to the coddling of these yeasty babies. Man, they were good! Once again, with Sophie's detailed instructions, I produced a winning recipe. The rolls were great warm out of the oven and nuked up the next day in the microwave (I froze the immediately uneaten rolls in a bag in the freezer so they wouldn't dry out). Next time, it will be a double batch!

The rolls are soft, yet chewy, with a nice crunch from the flax seeds and a honey-tinged, nutty flavor. It's a time consuming recipe, as most yeasty breads are, and one does need a full gluten-free pantry supply as you need 1/4 of this and a 1/4 cup of that, but the end result is really lovely. A lot of gluten-free baked goods are somewhat on the white and fluffy side, and this was a hearty and substantial roll that my husband particularly enjoyed. He misses the "chew" of glutenous breads and these rolls gave his choppers the right amount of workout.

Sophie's blog is a visual delight to peruse. It has a clean layout, appealing graphics, and widgets that pop up and allow you to easily print out recipes. Her writing style is funny and engaging, and it is easy to lose track of time while browsing her posts, like standing in front of a great big GF bakery showcase.

Sea at the Book of Yum is the founder and current host of this edition of the Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger Event. Check back during the first week of October to see the roundup of all the other GF blogger adoptions and to see how we took our test drives with their recipes.


Sophie said...

Thanks for trying these out and adopting Flour Arrangements :). I'm glad you enjoyed both recipes, the write-ups are great!

The Duo Dishes said...

The crackers are something we'd make. We've done it once with dill, but rosemary would be another choice for sure.

Arlene Delloro said...

I think of you whenever I see the GF sections in the supermarkets. They've grown over the last few months, but with great recipes such as these, who needs packaged goods?

Babyfro said...

Great job Rachel! Isn't adopting a gluten free blogger fun! I hadn't see Flour Arrangements before so thank you for introducing me to a new (to me) blogger and for sharing some of the tasty looking baked good from her site.