Sunday, August 23, 2015

BAKING BREAD


Not just any old bread, but GRAIN FREE bread.

I'm baking with COCONUT FLOUR. 


I discovered an awesome recipe for Grain and Nut Free Sandwich Bread over at Colorful Eats, a wonderful blog by Caroline Potter, NTP. (Nutritional Therapy Practitioner)

I found her while searching for grain free bread recipes. After experimenting with a few others, I found Caroline's recipe to be the best of the lot. Please visit Colorful Eats and check out Caroline's offerings. 

As I mentioned in my last post, I made Caroline's Grain Free Bread following her recipe to the tee - and it was fabulous. Light, fluffy, tasty and very much a "bread".

HOWEVER…

There was a rather lengthly process to making this bread which I then experimented with the next time I attempted it. 

To my surprise I discovered one could easily make this bread without a lot of separating, whipping, and worrying over the whole blend-it-all-together-correctly business.

Without further ado, here is my version of Caroline's amazing Grain Free Bread.


Oven: 350 F
Time: 50 minutes (give or take 2)

Makes one loaf (about 8.5 x 4.5 size)  Line the bottom with parchment paper. Don't line the wide sides, butter them. Let the parchment go up on the narrow ends. So the bread only actually touches the side parts. This makes it easy to remove.

Ingredients:


6 eggs  (Large or Med, doesn't seem to matter. The last loaf I used 3 of each)
1/2 cup whole fat, plain yogurt (the fatter, the better)
5 tbsp Butter (melted - do this at the start so it's not hot when using it)

1/2 cup coconut flour (Not necessary to sift it)
1/4 cup psyllium husk powder (Easily found in Health Food stores)
**Measure these two ingredients, and put them together in a small bowl.

1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
**Measure these two ingredients into something small.

1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions:


Okay… note I've sectioned these ingredients into 4 sections.

I like to prep all my ingredients first - like painting a room. It's the prep that takes a moment.

1. Beat the eggs till blended and airy. I used a hand mixer, about 30-40 sec on Low to break the yokes and then on High for a good minute and a half. This will look fluffy, airy, foamy - definitely well blended.

2. Add the yogurt to the eggs - beat again.

3. Add the melted butter to the egg mixture and beat again.

4. Add the coconut flour and psyllium husk powder. Again with the beating. You will see the consistency starting to thicken. Take a moment to clean the sides of your bowl.

5. Add baking soda and salt - more beating, on med, then on high. Just to blend.

6. Now… add the lemon juice and give this whole mixture some love. Beat, gently on a lower speed, then work up to High. You will see the reaction of adding the lemon juice last - it fluffs up quite a bit.

7. Pour into your loaf pan. Try not to press down on the ingredients too much. Be gentle. 

There you have it. A grain free loaf of bread just waiting to be enjoyed.

See how the parchment paper goes up at the end of the loaf.
Fresh out of the oven - a few slices to tempt you.
I use my Breville Toaster Oven to bake my bread.
Works like a charm.

SOME FOOTNOTES:


I was wondering what makes a bread rise when not using gluten, which is found in wheat. I found the answer on the website of Dr. William Davis. He wrote this great article titled, Secrets of making wheat-free bread rise, so if you're curious he will explain the chemical reaction needed to make bread rise.

With my adjustments to the recipe I found on Caroline's excellent site, which truly I'm grateful to have found, you will see I have added the lemon juice last. By doing so it seems to trigger the action of the baking soda, which in turn adds volume.

Today, I made this loaf again… following the instructions above. The bread was amazing. It had a fluffy texture, yet it seems dense at the same time. But, most importantly, it's quick - and for me, that's gold.

When I used apple cider vinegar, instead of the lemon juice, the baking soda taste was noticeable. Not with the lemon juice. I have also added 1 more tsp of lemon juice to my version.

Regarding the butter. Caroline's original recipe calls for 4 tbsp. I have chosen to add 1 more tbsp to my recipe. Not sure why, but it seems to give it a better flavour. You can play with this and see what works for you.

FINALLY, the beauty about recipes is they are meant to be tweaked and adjusted to meet our own personal tastes. I have done so and have really been happy with the outcome.

I hope you have a chance to make this for yourself - if you do, please share your results.

HAPPY BAKING.


Do you tweak recipes?


Cheers, Jenny

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SUMMER reading CONTINUES


If you read my last post you will have gleaned the CAPS tell it like it is.

Therefore SUMMER CONTINUES is the theme of today's post. 

It's HOT OUTSIDE.

It's HOT INSIDE. 

But that's mostly because I'm BAKING up a storm. (yummy details below)

WHILE I'M BAKING…

I'm enjoying the writings of KATE WILHELM, and in particular, The PRICE of SILENCE.

Audiobook Cover
Book Cover

As per my recent readings, this is an audiobook, by Blackstone Audio, narrated by Anna Fields. I'm very impressed with the range of voices Ms. Fields brings to this story.

Out of 32 Chapters, I'm at the Chapter 7 mark and thoroughly gripped as the suspense builds. Click on this LINK if you're interested in reading the writeup by Booklist.

The book that got me hooked on Kate Wilhelm's writing is called The Deepest Water - now, that was a very good book. Again, I listened to it, but it can be had as a "real" book.


☀☀☀☀☀☀☀☀☀☀☀

As my SUMMER CONTINUES I have been experimenting in my kitchen… with GRAIN FREE baking. (I listen to my book while I bake - clever use of time, eh!)


I'm baking with COCONUT FLOUR and I must say - IT IS AMAZING - TASTES GREAT TOO.

Here's the recipe for GRAIN AND NUT FREE BREAD that I have be using.

STOP RIGHT THERE - BEFORE YOU CLICK THE LINK… 
READ THIS…

I tried this recipe as outlined - lots of steps - but it turned out fantastic.

The second time, I was rushed for time, and DID NOT whip the egg whites. Instead I beat (with electric hand beater) the eggs, white and yoke, as one.
I then added all the ingredients, EXCEPT the psyllium husk powder and apple cider vinegar, and again beat the mixture on high for about a minute.
I added the psyllium and apple cider vinegar last and beat again.
Tossed it all in my glass loaf pan, lined on the bottom with parchment paper and baked it.

IT WAS WICKEDLY AWESOME AND EVEN FLUFFIER THAN THE FIRST. (I shared this info with the author of the recipe in her comment area.)

Since then I've made about six loaves my way - they've all turned out perfect. 

Today, I played around and added 1 extra tbsp. butter, and 1 extra 1/2 tsp of lemon juice. 

Oh, today, but the way, was the first time I tried the lemon juice instead of the cider vinegar. 

LOVED IT!

BEFORE BAKING 

AFTER BAKING - yummy.

So… there you have it. A great recipe for a GRAIN AND NUT FREE BREAD.


What have you been doing as this SUMMER CONTINUES?

BAKING or READING… or BOTH?

Or SOMETHING ELSE - say FISHING perhaps? 


Cheers, Jenny

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer READING list, and other NONSENSE...

Have you ever noticed the words I put in capitals are actually the REAL title?

So this post is really about READING NONSENSE.




Back in May I installed a FREE app to my phone called OVERDRIVE - it's free, so that was a huge incentive. I installed it, followed the onscreen instructions, then ADDED my local library to its My Libraries List.

This app is available for iOS, Android, Laptops, iPods, etc. Here's their HELP page, which explains everything you might have questions about.

Then, I logged into my local library and started selecting books to listen to, which I download directly to my phone. I do this over my Wi-Fi so as not to use my phone's data plan.

Oh… did I mention OVERDRIVE is great for audiobooks? 


Having someone read to me is way more interesting, and a better use of my time, than being spoon fed the drivel that's on the telly, or radio, these days. (News and music are included in this statement.)

Since mid May, when I installed OVERDRIVE, I have listened to 32 books.

You read that right! I have listened to 32 books, and counting. 

Before using OVERDRIVE, I would go to my local library and take out CD books and play them in my car. That was great, but rather annoying when a disk needed to be changed. Also, it was less convenient once I got home and headed in the house as I couldn't be bothered to take the CDs in with me.

NOW, things are different. Other than when I'm showering, or working on my book, I am plugged into a story, and really great stories at that, whether I'm at home, or on the road.

WHAT ARE YOU READING? I HEAR YOU ASKING. 

**FYI: all the links are active and will take you to a site called Order of Books which will give you info on the author and the books they've written. I find this helpful when looking for books in a series. You can add an author of your choice in the search bar as well.

Let me start by pointing out a few things about how I read first.

1. I still pick up books, the real thing, with pages and all. My current read is: The Light of Day, by Eric Ambler. I'm halfway through it. It's good. I highly recommend it.

2. When I'm not in the mood for turning pages, I have several books on my Kindle. I'm still making my way through The Game of Thrones - just rounding the bend and heading for home on Book 4.

I have Open Season for Murder (A Mac Faraday Mystery) by Lauren Carr. Her writing is light, but full of punch. Unlike the drag-it-out-for-way-longer-than-necessary approach of George R. R. Martin's work, Carr's writing is sharp, and to the point. Only available in e-book form so hence reading it on my Kindle.

I read about two "real" books, and several e-books per month. Of which, I've read several books from some of you out there! Yes, YOU!

With the addition of audiobooks it is amazing how many more books I get to which might otherwise never make it to the list of "hold and read" books.

WHY IS THE OVERDRIVE AUDIOBOOK OPTION WORTH LOOKING INTO?

If you're on the road, to and from work/school, to the gym and back, grocery shopping, or any of the million other reasons we find ourselves in our cars, or on the bus, this OVERDRIVE app is for you. It is way more entertaining than listening to the car radio, that's for sure. Ask Stephen Kingit's because of him I'm doing this. He recommended it in his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

Some recommendations: (If I could be so bold… me, bold, no...)

David Rosenfelt - writes the Andy Carpenter Series. The reader of these audiobooks is amazing, and the stories are really plausible, they make you think too. I love whodunits… and these are definitely good. The Andy Carpenter Series has 13 books - I've read 5 so far, and enjoyed each one. David also writes stand alone books, of which Don't Tell a Soul, and Down to the Wire are brilliant.

I just finished The Deepest Water, by Kate Wilhelm, and have already put Holds on several of her other works. She's worth checking out. In fact, this was such a gripping story that I listened until 3am last night - yup, I sacrificed my beauty sleep for this book and it was worth the one new wrinkle I acquired. 

Diane Chamberlain, who wrote The Escape Artist, The Good Father and The Silent Sister, which I read one after the other as I was so captivated by her writing, is another "good" read. The person reading her stories is talented with voices, easy to listen to and understand.

Which brings me to one thing about audiobooks… the voice of the reader. You either like it, or you don't. These, that I'm recommending, have been quite good, easy to understand, and some, like those that are part of a series, where the same voice reads them all, really get you into the story's character(s).

I'm a fan of M. C. Beaton's books - the Agatha Raisin Series, and the Hamish MacBeth Series. For the most part it's the same reader for each of these series and they are both bloody good. It took me a moment or two to acclimatize to the Scottish accent in the Hamish MacBeth stories, but once I got it I was off and running. (Yes, you can listen while on your treadmill too - just sayin'.)

In the Agatha Raisin Series there are about 26 books, I've listened to 17 so far. The Hamish MacBeth Series has about 31, I've only read 7, but that's because I only found out about them recently. :)

I never thought of myself as a chick lit reader - but Sophie Kinsella rocks this category with her Shopaholic Series. Her stand alone selections are funny and witty, but have an element of reality laced within the story. I've really enjoyed her storytelling talents.


There you have it… what I do with time that would otherwise be wasted - I fill it with some pretty impressive storytelling.

HOW ABOUT YOU - DO YOU LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOKS?

If so, when, where, what, and who? The how part I think I can figure out on my own!


Cheers, Jenny