I wanted to create for you a recipe that is simple, inexpensive- and would give you the ability to get creative without the fear of a Gluten free baked good flop.
(By the way- please note- the photo pictured above is from one of the first batches- the recipe I am sharing is slightly more moist! For whatever reason I can't get the photo's of the later experiments to upload today)
Learning to bake Gluten Free can be a little tricky. If I can give you one suggestion- NEVER try to write your own recipe the day that you are planning to bring it somewhere. Developing a new recipe takes time- yes, even for the novice bakers of the world. Reserve the experimenting for days you are home without any added pressure.
The good news is that if you aren't into experimenting- with the many gluten free blogs/ cookbooks you no longer need to do so! Us blogger's happily do it for you. I can only speak for myself- but I know that I LIVE for this challenge.
I made 10 loaves of quick bread in the last 24 hrs. It was really important to me that this recipe could become Banana Bread, Or Carrot Bread, OR zucchini Bread, or Pear Bread, Or just about any kind of bread you could dream up with only 1 simple ingredient change.
I learned a few things along the way -
The perfect Flour/Liquid ratio for Gluten Free Quick Bread/Muffins is 1:1
In other words 2 cups of flour in this recipe automatically means that the recipe must also have 2 cups of liquid. The "liquid" is where all the fun come in- For a part of our liquid I have called for a fruit or vegetable puree. OR a finely grated fruit or vegetable. This can include just about ANYTHING- mashed bananas, Canned Pumpkin, Sweet Potato Puree, Grated Apple, Applesauce, Canned Crushed Pinapple- OR if you don't want your quick bread to be fruit or vegetable based you can use Yoghurt, Sour Cream, Cream Cheese- Dairy or non- dairy variations of these things will work equally well.
For this recipe I tested Both Palm Sugar and Xylitol. Both worked equally well. The palm sugar like any other brown colored sugar -darkened the bread slightly when I baked it. Feel free to use regular white sugar if thats what you like to work with. The ONLY important thing is that in this recipe- the sugar must be granulated vs. liquid. Liquid sugars such as Honey, Coconut Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, Agave add moisture to a recipe. The moisture levels in this recipe needs to remain as it is.- using a liquid sugar could potentially create a bread that is too goo-ey and falls when you remove it from the oven. You can also experiment with the amount of sugar in the recipe. I found 3/4 to be the perfect amount for Banana Bread and Zucchini Bread. Feel Free to use more of less granulated sugar than I have called for!
For this Recipe I tested Bobs Red Mill -All purpose flour. I selected it for 2 reasons: #1 Its the healthiest flour mixture that I have seen to date- made of Garfava Flour ( Ground) Garbanzo Beans & Fava Beans) Sorghum ( a wonderful whole grain flour) Potato and Tapioca Starch. #2 As far as I have seen- this product can be found in just about any grocery store across the country. Due to the fact that it contains bean flours you will notice a bit of a strong taste if you sample the batter prior to cooking it. Don't let this worry you- as that flavor will dissipate once it has baked.
You don't have to use Bob's flour blend for the recipe- I'm quite certain that any Gluten Free multi-purpose mix will do the trick.
Another healthy flour mix I use when making quick bread is as follows: (I have tested this recipe using this blend and it worked wonderful - I think I liked it better than the bob's as the mix contains lighter flours- so therefore the bread had a lighter texture) But- again if you want to keep things really simple- stick with the Bob's or another GF flour mix!
3/4 Cup Arrowroot (Or Tapioca Flour)
3/4 Cup Rice Flour (Brown or White rice flour will work)
1/2 Cup Sorghum.
Feel free to use this flour mix or any other that you love within the recipe.
Gluten Free/Vegan Quick Bread Base
2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (Such as Bob's Red Mill)
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum (Use Guar for Corn Free Baking)
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar. (see note above)
1/3 Cup of Oil OR Melted Butter (Regular or Earth Balance)
3/4 Cup milk (dairy or nondairy) + 1 Tsp Vinegar. (I used Apple Cider Vinegar- any type will do)
1 1/4 Cup of Grated Fruit /Vegetables OR Fruit/Vegetable Puree OR Yoghurt/Cream Cheese/Sour Cream.
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract (optional) (or any other flavor of extract)
a few notes about quick bread before we begin:
I highly recommend using HEAVY (Full Fat) Coconut Milk from a Can for the Milk in this recipe. WHY? Well.. fat in Quick Bread/Cake/Muffins creates a tender moist texture. My best cake recipes are high in fat.. In the future I plan to test this recipe with a higher ratio of "fat".(just for the sake of my own curiosity)
Due to the fact that this recipe does NOT contain gluten there is no risk in over mixing the batter. Isn't that wonderful?! Tough Bread and muffins are now a thing of your past! However- there is one rule that still does apply..
It is important to get your bread into the oven right after you mix it. Why? Because the Baking Soda/Powder and Vinegar will start reacting once mixed. We want this reaction to happen in the oven- rather than on the kitchen counter in the mixing bowl. So with this being said: Make sure to preheat the oven PRIOR to mixing the ingredients AND Grate/ Puree/ Prepare your Fruit or Vegetable and have it ready prior to mixing as well.
It took me awhile to figure out the best cooking temp. A temp of 325 worked but of course the cooking time had to be increased. I tried a few loaves at 350 degrees and I noticed that they did not rise as tall. This I believe was due to the outer-crust cooking before the bread had a chance to reach its full height potential. This lead me to go with a 330 Degree temp.
Preheat the oven to 330 Degrees. Grease Loaf Pan and set aside.
Prepare grated Fruit or Veggies OR Puree.
In a Bowl- Mix Dry Ingredients and then add the wet. Mix well! (this batter should be fairly thick! )
Feel Free to get creative and add additional Spices/ Nuts/Seeds/Chocolate Chips/ Dried Fruit/ Frozen Berries/ Zest of a Lemon/Lime/Orange/ Fresh Chopped Herbs. Basically- Add whatever your heart desires-this is your time to shine!
Bake 50-120 minutes. This time will vary based on the ingredients you have selected. You can tell the bread is done- by using the toothpick trick- if it comes out clean the bread is done.
Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan and serving. (cutting it open too quick will allow for moisture to escape via steam) This bread can be frozen once cooled. Keep in a sealed bag at room temp- to prevent drying out!
I have made this recipe in various sized loaf pans. Its a medium sized loaf and I found it worked just fine in all of the pans.
This recipe can be make into muffins-if you do this- decrease the cooking time.
*I wanted to note quickly that I noticed that Zucchini has a higher water content than anything else.. (yes even more than mashed banana's) SO- while I have not tested reducing the amount if you do not like REALLY moist bread- use 1 cup of zucchini instead of 1 1/4 cup. *
A Few Flavor Ideas
I made this into a Banana Chai Bread: I did this by using Banana's as my fruit Puree and then I added: 1 Tsp. Cinnamon, 1/2 Tsp. Cardamon, 1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger, 1 Tsp Cloves and 1/4 Tsp. Pepper. (or just open and add 1-2 bags of Chai tea to the batter)
Pear Walnut Bread: Use a Pear Puree and add Chopped Walnuts add some Cinnamon.
Blueberry/Lemon Bread: Use Yoghurt/Cream Cheese/Sour Cream + Frozen Blueberries + Lemon Zest + Lemon Extract.
Banana Bacon Bread = Use Banana's and add Cooked Crumbled Bacon.
Peanut Butter Banana Bread = Banana as puree + use 1/3 Cup Peanut Butter instead of the Oil.
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread: Grated Zucchini + Chocolate Chips + 1 Tsp Cinnamon.
(pictured below- is a Chocolate Chip Zucchini Loaf!)
Using Different Puree's and Grated Vegetables will make the breads texture and moisture level vary slightly from loaf to loaf. For example Grated Zucchini has a higher water content than Grated Carrots. Despite this slight difference in moisture- I found I was still was happy with the different results.
What is your FAVORITE Quick Bread Flavor?
Please Feel Free to Ask Any Questions!
If you follow this recipe will you let me know how it turned out for you (and what direction you took it?) Feedback always helps me!
Hope this recipe makes living Gluten Free- Just a little bit easier for you (and adds some fun and freedom back into your baking experience!)