Posts Tagged 'brown rice flour'

Gingerbread

Merry Christmas and happy holidays…

Santa Claus is coming to town…

Let it snow, let is snow, let it snow…

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Etc, etc, etc…

I HEART THE HOLIDAYS!

This really truly is my favorite time of year.  Something about the cheesy joyful Christmas music and festive decorations and anticipation in the air makes me warm and fuzzy and happy inside.  I am proudly a total sucker for it and feel all cozy everyday and everywhere I go.  Even the chilly weather is tolerable!  Ehh…sort of.  I don’t do well with cold.  Unless it’s snowing!  Sigh.  Contentment.

That said, the older I get, the more the season sneaks up on me.  It seems that Thanksgiving dinner dishes are barely washed when I blink and it’s Christmas.  All before I can even get a chance wear my favorite holiday sweater!

Well, this year, I said no more!  I made a vow to go immediately into holiday mode the second Thanksgiving weekend was over.  So my mini-Christmas tree quickly found its way out of the box under my bed and onto the dining table.  Little Santa and Mrs. Claus figurines stand by its side.  A scented candle is lit every night – smelling of cinnamon snap then spiced pear then Christmas cookie as the wick burns down.  Holiday tunes are loaded onto my iPod and played on the daily.  Both work and personal computer background images are now illustrations of Christmas trees.  My Google homepage displays the Winter Village theme – super cute btw! – right above a red and white Christmas countdown.  I even manually changed my Gmail colors to be red and green!

With all of these steps taken to be Miss Holiday Spirit 2009, all that was left to do was bake up a season-inspired treat.  So I decided to try my hand at Gingerbread!  I’ve always been curious about Gingerbread – because it is quite possibly the epitome of holiday baked goods – but have never actually eaten it.  I know, weird, right?  I guess I was always too busy filling up on peanut butter kiss cookies and Grandma’s pumpkin cake roll to bother looking its way.  It was about time.

Here’s my recipe for Gingerbread, adapted from this recipe:

1/2 cup Sucanat

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

3/4 cup molasses

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup brown rice flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup hot water

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Spray an 11×7-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix Sucanat, vegetable oil, egg and molasses until well combined.  In a separate bowl, mix whole wheat pastry flour, brown rice flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just blended.  Stir in hot water.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.

Now I know I don’t have anything to compare this to, but I thought the Gingerbread tasted delicious!  The spice combination worked wonderfully together and completely captured the flavor of the holidays.  And the brown rice flour gave the bread a bit of texture – sort of like cornbread!  I was a fan.

Is there a holiday treat you’ve always wanted to try, but never have?

Brown Rice Flour

She’s alive!!!

I hope you guys are still out there.

So I’ve been super MIA for the past few weeks!  Many apologies to you, but I promise it is not without good excuse.  I’ve been traveling like a mad women – for work and for play.  And my time actually in NYC has been devoted to apartment hunting.  For my non-New-York friends, let me tell you that this is a job in and of itself.   I adore this city, but looking for a home here is like nothing you will ever experience.  Very stressful and exhausting and you have to act FAST or your potential digs will be snatched up in the blink of an eye! 

Great news though!  I found my new place and signed the lease on Friday.  West Village here I come!  Could not be more thrilled.  Imagine walking out of your building to this…

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Le sigh.  So quintessential West Village.

Alright, enough about me and my obsession with my new hood.  Let’s talk about brown rice flour!

Brown Rice

BRF is ground from brown rice kernels.  Duh. The grains are harvested and then dried so they can be processed in the mill. Most mills make their BRF with a coarse grind, so the flour is slightly grainy and gritty.  You can feel the difference between BRF and whole wheat just by grabbing a handful of each and letting them slip between your fingers.  Try it!

You’ll get a mild, nutty flavor to your baked goodies when using BRF.  It’s also high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Love it.

BRF is entirely gluten-free.  Because of this, it does not behave exactly like wheat, so bakers like us should be ready to experiment with proportions and grain mixtures.  Now, I’m not an expert whatsoever in baking with this ingredient, so here’s where I ask for your help! 

Do you guys have any brown rice flour baking tips for me?  I’ve heard about adding gums – xanthan or guar – but have no clue how to do it or if I really have to!  Tell me what I need to know!

Lemon Honey Corn Muffins

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Summer, summer, summer.  It’s finally here!  I don’t know about your town, but summer in New York took its sweet time to arrive.  It was unusually chilly for far too long and I heard somewhere that it’s rained 75% of the days in June.  Acting out on a little Seattle envy, my dear NY?   

Good news is that it seems warmer days are now upon us.  Hooray!  In an attempt to celebrate the recent summertime glow enveloping the city, I decided to bake a sunny treat.  And to me, sunny means lemon! 

Now I’ll be up front with you here.  I’m not the biggest lemon fan.  Yeah, a nice lemon bar is alright every once in a while, but I’m not really a refreshing treat kind of girl.  I much prefer rich, deep flavors to light, airy ones in my sweets.  So I didn’t go the super sweet route with this recipe.  Instead, I concocted something slightly sweet – a lemon-infused cornbread type of thing.

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Here’s my recipe for Lemon Honey Corn Muffins:

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 (6 ounce) container plain nonfat yogurt

1 egg

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup stone ground cornmeal

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together honey, applesauce, yogurt, egg, lemon juice and lemon zest until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix brown rice flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Stir the dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.

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These were an interesting twist on traditional cornbread!  I’ve clearly taken a liking to creating recipes like that – as can be seen here and here.  The lemon makes the muffins taste quite fresh and the honey adds just the right amount of sweetness.  Perfect for summer!

What’s your favorite lemon baked goodie?

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Flour Face-Off: Muffins

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I’ve been playing scientist over here.  And by scientist, I mean 5th-grade-science-fair-tri-fold-display-board scientist.  Not the legit goggles and lab coat kind.  I may be good, but I’m not that good.

I’m a scientist because I ran my own little baking experiment.  Why yes, I am cool like that. You guys know I like to use different whole grain flours in my baked goods.  A little whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe, a little white whole wheat flour in that recipe.  But really what’s the diff, right?  Can you actually tell when one vs. another is baked up into a goodie?

I made it my mission to find out.

The Experiment:

Bake the exact same recipe using a variety of flours.

The Recipe:

Spiced Pumpkin Honey Muffins.  This is one of my go-to crowd-pleasing recipes, so I knew it would be a reliable base from which to judge the different flours.

The Contenders:


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From left to right: Whole Wheat Flour, White Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, Spelt Flour, Brown Rice Flour.  First time spelt and brown rice flour baker here! Exciting stuff.

The Tasters:

Me, obvi.  And Dan, who was more than willing to eat multiple muffins in one sitting.  For the purpose of science, of course.

The Questions:

How would the final muffins compare to each other in taste, texture, appearance, etc.?  Which flour would come out on top?

The Hypothesis:

Umm…I skipped this part.  I told you – not the legit kind of scientist!

The Results:

Whole Wheat Flour


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Whole wheat flour was the first flour I ever used in my Spiced Pumpkin Honey Muffins.  I always bake them with white whole wheat flour now, so it was fun to go back to my roots!  These muffins were the chewiest and wheatiest of the bunch.  No surprise there.

White Whole Wheat Flour


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Like I said, white whole wheat flour is now my flour of choice for this recipe, so I’m very familiar with the muffins it produces.  But side-by-side with muffins made from other flours, did it stay the one and only?  Well, the WWWF muffins were pretty similar to the WWF muffins in texture, taste and appearance.  They were a teeny bit lighter in color and had a slightly less wheaty taste.  Yummy, of course, but I had yet to try…

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour


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My favorite!  WWPF made the softest muffins of all the flours.  They also got a little more rounded on top – check out the photo! – than any of the other muffins.  I liked that because it was aesthetically pleasing – like any good muffin should be.

Spelt Flour


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Yay for using SF for the first time!  But boo for these muffins being our least favorite.  I knew they’d be tricksters as soon as I started mixing the batter.  It was runnier than the wheat flour batters.  And instead of rising UP in the oven, it spread OUT over the muffin well edges – leaving us with flat muffin tops.  They also took longer to bake.  The final product?  Spongy – can you see from the pic? – and not really as flavorful as the other muffins.  Sort of like the spelt overwhelmed the other ingredients.  But I’m not giving up on SF just yet!  I have a feeling it would be better in cookies than things that need to be soft and fluffy.  Just needs to find its place to shine.

Brown Rice Flour


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The BRF muffins were Dan’s favorite.  At first, they seemed similar to the spelt muffins – runny batter, spread in the oven, flat tops, longer baking time.  But they ended up doing they’re own thing!  They were noticeably lighter in color than the rest of the muffins.  And they had a grainy, but soft, texture to them.  I kind of thought they stuck to the insides of my mouth a little, but Dan said I was making that up.  Also, BRF seems to have a very subtle flavor itself, so the pumpkin and honey tastes really came through.


For a good side-by-side comparison, take a look at the very first photo in this post.  Left to right: WWF, WWWF, WWPF, SF, BRF.

Conclusions:

In terms of muffins, I’m a WWPF fan.  Dan’s on team BRF.  SF doesn’t fly for either of us.  Obviously, there are some variables that could be played around with to influence the success of each flour.  Maybe some flours work better with liquid sweeteners – like the honey in this recipe – than others.  Or perhaps some would do better with more or less baking soda.  Lots of things to consider, but a girl can only do so much!

Anywho, that was fun!  Now I want to run my experiment on other baked goods.  I see a cookie test in my future!

Since I’m new to spelt and brown rice flour, anyone have any tips for baking with them?


Contact

ashley.sweetandnatural@gmail.com

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