To Live & Be, Gluten-Free!

Despite the fact that yesterday I finally was too busy at work to blog- the week has flown by. Which after thinking about this, it’s nice when I’m at work for the week to go quickly, but damn, it sure does make your months go by in a blink. I decided to cure my outrageous ‘loss of time’ anxiety with a little baking & life prep last night. Recently my other half and I (mostly him because I lack self -control around beer, bread & dessert) have taken on the gluten-free lifestyle. While challenging my baking skills in the kitchen, it’s forcing me to learn more about the science of baking. I’ve always wanted to be able to bake from scratch- now that I’ve over come the “boxed cake” epidemic, I want to challenge myself to baking from SUPER scratch. without a recipe- really get crazy in the kitchen.

If I can learn why you need binders, what makes it rise, the right ratios, bake times and temps- I think I can manage to bake something from super-scratch. I’m learning. But gluten-free recipes are very broken down- it’s not like using flour and yeast, which have additives that work off each other to create a “rising” dough. You must carefully choose the right amoutns of things to add- it really does effect the structure of your food. Last night I found a Gluten-Free Bagel Recipe. I’ll admit I was afraid to bake these many times over because alot of recipes have SO many ingredients- but most of these flours (almond, tapioca, corn ect) are already being used in pre-mixed gluten free All-Purpose baking mixes. I like Red Mill’s products. Here’s the recipe & the beauties I baked last night =]

Real Honest Gluten Free Bagels
*This recipe with yield 7 bagels

Bagel Ingredients
3 ¼ cups WW gluten free flour mix (You can use any gluten-free mix)
2 tablespoons yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum

Cooking Items
1 gallon water
4 tablespoons sugar
Cornmeal
Tea Kettle of water
Vegetable oil for greasing a bowl
Kitchen towels
Cookie Sheet (I recommend aluminum)
Large stock pot
Slotted spoon

Dissolve the 3 tablespoons of sugar in the 1 ½ cups of warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the water and stir to combine. Allow this to sit for about 10 minutes to proof the yeast (the mixture should get foamy in appearance).

Lightly oil a mixing bowl with vegetable oil and set aside
Set the tea kettle on the stove to get it boiling

To the yeast mixture add the salt, xanathan gum and 1 ½ cups of the flour mix. Use your hand to mix the ingredients together. The mixture will be lumpy so do not fret. Continue to add the remaining flour a ½ cup at a time. When you have about a ½ cup remaining of the flour it is time to turn the dough mixture out onto a work surface. You will really need to knead the dough well to get all the flour to combine. The texture of the dough will be slightly sticky (remember this is not wheat we are dealing with). If you feel the dough is too dry keep kneading it and it should become tacky around the same time that your arms get tired. Form the dough into a nice neat ball and place into the lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp kitchen towel.

Place dough into the oven on the middle rack. DO NOT TURN THE OVEN ON. Place a baking pan on the lowest rack in the oven and fill it with the boiling water. Close the oven door and let the dough rise for about an hour. Adding the water into the oven really helps this dough rise. I have tired other methods but this seems to work best.

After 1 hour remove all items from the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface and gently punch it down. Divide the dough into 7 equal sections and begin forming the bagels. I like to roll the dough into a ball using a good amount of pressure (for smoothing purposes) and then I gently flatten it and use my index finger to punch the whole in the middle. Let the bagels sit and rise again for about 15 minutes.

In the meantime set a large stock pot with the gallon of water on the stove and bring the water to a boil. When the water boils add the 4 tablespoons of sugar and bring the water down to a simmer. Sprinkle the cookie sheet with a thin layer of cornmeal.

After the bagels have sat for 15 minutes drop 3-4 bagels into the simmering water and allow them to cook for about 4 minutes. After 4 minutes turn them over in the water and let them cook for about 4 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon remove the bagels from the water and place on a kitchen towel. After all bagels have taken a dip in the water arrange them on the cookie sheet.

You can also put a topping on the bagels such as poppy or sesame seeds. To do this you will want to whisk together 3 tablespoons of water with 1 egg white. Before you put the bagels in the oven brush a thin layer of the egg wash on the top of the bagels and sprinkle them with your topping of choice.

Cook the bagels in the oven for 25 minutes and then turn them over and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Let them cool for about a half hour before you try and cut them. If you try cutting them when they are still hot you run the risk of turning them into a glob of dough.

ENJOY! http://theglutenfreecook.com/?p=3

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My other creation (though I’m sure I’m not the first!) Salad in a jar for easy travel. I hate taking my salad AND my dressing to work- thus we have the All in one Salad Jar! Dressing in the bottom, heaviest things go on the bottom, layer up (I did it backwards) but lettuce should be on top! Genius!

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Do you ever eat lunch at your desk because you’re ashamed to be eating poorly? I do, I do! Those days where I’ve got nothing left in my pantry, no lunch, hardly a snack and NO money… it’s one of those. I’m stuck going to… I don’t want to say it,  don’t want to say it =(… a fast food joint *Gulp* It’s like a haunted house, like an untraveled, horrid place for me. I can’t believe I’m about to do it. It’s in these moments that I understand where the obsession with fast food has come from for America. It’s THERE, it’s CONVIENANT, it’s CHEAP… America’s argument? There’s healthy options!… Healthy my ass! Eating a meal for lunch that’s 2/3 of what your daily calorie consumption should be. Unhealthy doesn’t even begin to describe how terrifying these foods are for your body. Yet here I am on a Thursday- driving down to the neighborhood FF joint, why? Because I came unprepared, it’s there and it’s cheap… I’ll have to dig further into the irony of this situation at a later time. I’m hungry, sigh.

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