9 November 2008

Gluten Free Cooking

I know I know, I said I wouldn't be around much, but what can I say, I just can't stay away! Still haven't caught up in NaNo, but DH is reading DD a bedtime story, so I have a spare few minutes.

We found out that DH was gluten intolerant about 6 or 7 years ago, after seeing the doctor because he was tired all the time. Finding out he couldn't eat gluten, which is in wheat, barley, rye and oats (although oats is disputed, mainly the problems there are caused by cross contamination) was quite a shock, as at the time most of our food was based on convenience foods. Once we got hold of a booklet from the Coeliac society showing what contained gluten and what didn't, and started reading the labels, we found out that wheat was in just about everything! At the time, there were very few gluten free foods available, and most of what was was pretty horrible. So we had to learn to make our own. We had quite a few adventures with trying to make our own gluten free spaghetti (thankfully there is now a decent commercial brand!), and eventually pretty much gave up on gluten free bread. I scored a couple of gluten free cookbooks from a very nice lady on a forum, who had been sent them by mistake from Amazons, which helped immensely, although since they were American, many of the ingredients were hard to find here in Australia.

It was a very stressful time, meaning we had to change our whole way of eating, and several times (when DD was first born being a notable one) we gave up all together for a time, but overall I think the advantages we've had have far outweighed the disadvantages. It was, in some ways, one of the starting points for our simple living journey. We learned about reading labels carefully, we learnt how to cook many things from scratch, and I'm sure we began eating healthier. Our household is about 80% gluten free these days. Almost all of my baking is gluten free, the only exceptions are bread that DD and I eat, and porridge (with wheat germ) that I have for breakfast each morning. DD also eats dry weet-bix for breakfast most days.

Thankfully there are far more products for gluten free diets these days. We buy a very nice gluten free pasta, and rice crumbs taste almost identical to breadcrumbs, if 3 times the price! We still make most of our foods from scratch, including biscuits and cakes, and in most cases these are pretty similar to their gluten containing counterparts. In fact, I find that I prefer the gluten free varieties. I taste regular cupcakes, and they just taste wrong to me! Our taste buds have actually changed to suit our new diet. The old adage of you like what you eat rather than eating what you like rings pretty true.

We are on a campaign to have some snack foods on hand for DH to take for work so that he can avoid the temptation of chocolate and soft-drink. We've finally found a gluten free bread DH likes, although I think that's mainly because it's been so long since he's tasted wheat bread he can't remember what it tastes like, but it's best eaten toasted, which DH can't do at work since all the toasters have had wheat bread in them. So recently I tried this cheese and bacon roll variation, which is a big hit. We made a dozen today for DH to take to work next week, only somehow there are only 6 left! Even I enjoy them.

Gluten free bread is actually easier to make than normal bread, as it only needs to rise once, and there is no kneeding. Following the hints on the packet, I set the bread to rise over a sink full of hot water, which works beautifully.

We use the Laucke bread mix, which is mixed by hand really easily. So to make these I just followed the directions on the packet to mix up the dough (which is more like a runny cake mix, and can easily be mixed with a normal electric mixer). I then spooned half of the mix into a greased muffin tin, put some bacon (still frozen) and cheese in, spooned the other half on top, then added more bacon and cheese. Yummy! I'm going to try some cinnamon fruit rolls next, as soon as I buy some cinnamon.


H.Peter said...

Your baked goods look FANTASTIC!

My wife is a Celiac as well and she turned our kitchen GF. Tough sometimes, but together we create some amazing dishes.

price is an issue, but in Canada you can write off teh incremental food costs.

Nikki said...

Hi Rinelle, thanks for the tag for in your next post. Those little savoury breads look so yum that I might make them for lunch tomorrow! I've also found our tastes have adapted to eating GF food and in most cases I prefer them over wheat now.

Nikki said...

Me again, I'm so into making these tomorrow - how long did the muffin tin ones take to bake and what sort of temp? My bread mix only gives instructions for loaves and pizza bases.

Rinelle said...

Hi Nikki. They cooked pretty quickly, I just took them out when they were brown on top. I cooked them at the same temp as the loaves, and they took a little less time, though not much.