Ask the ChefsJun/Jul 2011 Issue

In the Kitchen: Sandwich Bread, Peanut Flour & More!

Beth Hillson answers your questions about special-diet baking.

Can you recommend a recipe for sandwich bread that’s gluten free, yeast free, egg free and rice free? I’ve been baking without these ingredients for five years and made quick breads, muffins and soda breads. But I’d sure love to eat a sandwich again.
©Thinkstock/Photodisc

©Thinkstock/Photodisc

Although not billed as sandwich bread, Rebecca Reilly’s Vegan Yeast-Free Quinoa Bread is chewy and satisfying. Find the recipe at LivingWithout.com/quinoabread. To make it rice free, replace the rice flour in the flour blend with an equal amount of sorghum flour.

Wraps are also nice for sandwiches. La Tortilla Factory (latortillafactory.com) offers gluten-free wraps made with teff and for those who can tolerate rice, Food for Life (foodforlife.com) sells wraps made with brown rice.

I’d like to make my own flour blend. Money is tight, so I can’t afford a lot of mistakes and don’t want to be wasteful. The store-bought blend I’ve used in the past contains white rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch and xantham gum. Can you help me with proportions?

These are excellent ingredients for an all-purpose blend. Try this formula:

1 cup white rice flour
¾ cup sorghum flour
½ cup tapioca starch/flour  
2 teaspoons xantham gum
½ teaspoon salt, optional

Make up a big batch and refrigerate it in a tightly covered container until used.

As you use this blend over time, tweak the formula to suit your needs. For instance, you can increase fiber content and boost protein by replacing some of the white rice flour with brown rice flour. For more gluten-free flour blend recipes, see page 68.

My daughter was recently diagnosed with celiac disease. On top of that, we also discovered she is borderline insulin resistant. I'm trying to find foods that are not only gluten free but also low on the glycemic index. I’m at a loss. Help!

This is not as difficult as you imagine. Replacing white rice flour with gluten-free flours that are more nutritionally dense helps lower the glycemic index of your baked goods. Create a gluten-free blend using whole-grain flours that are high in protein and fiber, such as quinoa, chickpea, amaranth, sorghum, buckwheat, coconut, almond (if tolerated) and flax meal. See page 68 for flour blend recipes.

As for the gluten-free diet overall, focus on wholesome, single-ingredient foods that are high in protein and low in fat: turkey, chicken and lean pork, seeds and nuts (if tolerated), dairy-free low-fat yogurts. Prepare soups and other dishes with beans, legumes and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa. Serve plenty of fresh vegetables and salads.

We provide recipes to help with this special diet at LivingWithout.com. In particular, check out the article, “Flour Power,” as it instructs on how to incorporate healthier flours into your gluten-free baking.

I just found out I have a yeast allergy and I'm told that means I can’t have vinegar. I've read that lemon juice is a good replacement but there are so many different vinegars out there that I can’t imagine lemon juice being a substitute for them all.

Look at vinegars collectively as imparting acidic tanginess to salads, marinades and bakery products. For all of these, lemon juice is an excellent replacement. Many baked goods—bread and muffin recipes, in particular—call for a teaspoon or so of vinegar, often for mock buttermilk, but lemon juice can be used instead with excellent results. For taste variety in salads and marinades, try lemon, orange or lime juices. 

I notice that Trader Joe’s now sells peanut flour as a gluten-free item. Can this flour be used to replace soy flour or bean flours?

Yes, high-protein peanut flour is a nice substitute for these flours as long as you’re not allergic to peanuts, of course. Be aware, however, that your baked goods will have a peanut flavor. That’s why it’s best not to use a lot of peanut flour in delicately flavored yellow cakes, muffins, cookies and such. Generally, your flour blend should contain no more than 25 percent peanut flour.

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