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gluten free focaccia with sage & brown butter

Ratio Rally: Focaccia

This post is part of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally, a group of gluten-free bloggers inspired and empowered by Ruhlman‘s Ratio and started by Shauna at Gluten-Free Girl. We get together each month and post many different takes on the same theme. This month that theme is Gluten-Free Tarts and the rally is being hosted by Heather from Discovering the Extraordinary.

gluten free focaccia with sage & brown butter

Yeast breads make me nervous. Very, very nervous.

Most likely because I never made yeasted bread before going gluten-free. I don’t have a lot of experience knowing how the dough or batter should behave.

Cakes, I got. Muffins & pancakes? We are good to go. Gluten-free cookies? Just call me an expert. Bread? Well, I am still learning. But I would qualify today’s recipe as a success.

The ratio: 5:4

Gluten free flours:liquids. Add a splash of oil for flavor. Call it winning.

I am serious. This is the easiest yeast bread I have made, and one that has a great flavor. There is an egg in there as part of the liquid, but it also helps beef up the structure and add a wee bit of lift.

Yes, this dough is wet. And a little sticky. You just have to trust me. It works. And it is darn good.

The flavors

Brown butter in place of the traditional olive oil. Sage on top. A sprinkling of sea salt. The yeasty flavor that you only get from home made or artisan loaves.

This is some seriously delicious bread.

It would make good sandwich bread when sliced in half. (Do I see paninis in my future? I sure hope so…)

Want a different flavor? Use good olive oil in place of the browned butter. Swap out the toppings. Mix something into the dough.

This months participants

Heather | Discovering the Extraordinary made Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia Bread 
Carol / Goodness Gluten Free made Gluten Free Garlic and Parmesean Focaccia 
Morri | Meals with Morri made Sweet Cinnamon Raisin Focaccia Bread
~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R) made Focaccia Bread 
Silvana / Silvana’s Kitchen made Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Focaccia
TR | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies made Gluten Free Cheesy Herb Focaccia
Shauna| Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef made  Gluten-Free Cherry and Almond Focaccia

Ratio Rally: Focaccia

Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 8
  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) warm water
  • 13 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons) active dry yeast
  • 3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) sugar
  • 45 grams (3 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 500 grams (3 1/2 cups) GF All Purpose Flour (I use Cup4Cup)
  • 2 teaspoons xantham gum (omit if your flour blend contains this or a similar ingredient such as guar gum or Expandex)
  • generous sprinkling of chopped fresh or dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees. Turn it off once it is warm.
  2. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper and grease well with olive oil or butter.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar.
  4. Melt butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook until it turns brown and starts to smell slightly nutty. Be careful not to burn the butter. Let cool slightly.
  5. Add the egg and browned butter to the bowl of the stand mixer, and mix until just combined.
  6. Stir in the flour, salt and xantham gum (if using). Mix on a low speed for 3 minutes. You will have a slightly shaggy and tacky dough.
  7. Spread the dough into the baking dish with a spatula, trying to make it even.
  8. Cover the pan with a towel and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven, and heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Sprinkle the dough with the sage and sea salt.
  11. Put the pan in the oven, then drop the temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped.


wednesday wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom: Making use of every crumb

Whether you make them yourself at home or buy a pre-made loaf at the supermarket, let’s face it: gluten-free bread can be expensive. You don’t want to let any go to waste. Follow these tips to put every last crumb to good use:

  1. Lightly toast slices to make delicious sandwiches. (Plus, don’t forget alternatives such as grilled cheese, hot open-faced sandwiches, French toast, and gluten-free paninis!)
  2. Tear or cut up slices and use to make a French toast casserole or bread pudding.
  3. Cube slices, lightly drizzle with olive oil, and season with a touch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then pop into the toaster oven or oven until golden brown to make easy croutons for salad.
  4. Pulse stale bread, heels, or lightly toasted slices in the food processor to make easy breadcrumbs. Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried basil, and dried oregano to make Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs.


gluten free cinnamon raisin bagel bombs

Ratio Rally: Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Bombs

This post is part of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally, a group of gluten-free bloggers inspired and empowered by Ruhlman‘s Ratio. We get together each month and post many different takes on the same theme. This month that theme is Gluten-Free Bagels and the rally is being hosted by Morri from Meals with Morri

I cannot believe that it is May, much less that it isMay 2nd and that it is Ratio Rally day. Because April was one ca-razy busy month.

There was a blogging conference and a gluten-free expo. There was a gluten-free cookie ebook to write. There were high school musicals and there was a design conference and a pastry demo at the French Pastry School.

I am not sure how I got so much done in a month! All I know is that I am beat. And it is Ratio Rally day. And I am hoping and praying that these “bagel bombs” turn out swell.

Read more

Artisan French loaf from GF Boulangerie

Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger : Bread

Artisan French loaf from GF BoulangerieArtisan bread is one of the things I miss most of all. In fact, I find gluten free bread to taste so terrible, that I hardly ever eat it (although my dad’s English Muffin Bread is quite alright). I think it tastes funny. I am not sure how to say it, but it just tastes off. The texture is dense and chewy. The bread frequently only tastes good warm. And, for the most part, I am really OK with not eating it.

But, I really do miss biting into a slice of bread with the right mouthfeel. You know the one – the insides are tender and moist but there is air in there to lighten things up. The outside is crusty and takes a good bite. I lost all those things when I lost wheat. And I stopped trying to find it.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that a twitter follower had a blog with the most amazing looking loaves of bread. I was hooked and had to bake one. I tried GF Boulangerie’s Artisan French Loaf. oh em gee. I made 2 loaves. I will be baking more. This girl is a gluten free bread savant. She explains why you do certain things, and how her bread differs from the gluten-y type.

Now, I couldn’t find expandex (which the recipe calls for) and my dad has a severe bean allergy, so I had to avoid the bean flour. But, since the recipe was by weight and not my volume, I used regular tapioca starch in place of the expandex and brown rice (because that is what was here) in place of the bean flour. If you need a guide, see my flour substitution chart.

I made this bread and thankfully made 2 batches at once. The first loaf was gone as soon as it was cool enough to eat. My parents (both gluten free) adored it. I couldn’t eat enough and it was 10pm. Now, go bake some bread and take back the dinner roll!

gluten free frybread on a plate

Frybread and local sausage

gluten free frybread on a plateThis is one of those times where I make something that I had never eaten a glutinous version of and hope to goodness that it still tastes yummy. I saw a similar recipe on Jamie Oliver’s website and thought that it looked delicious. I made fry bread. And it was good. Not as good cold and left over as it was fresh out of the frying pan. But it was still delicious. It has a smorgasboard of flours. Mainly, because that is what is in my kitchen. 15 kinds of flours and about a half cup of an all purpose blend.

I also needed something to eat with the andouille sausage that I picked up at the University of Illinois’ Meat Sales Room. If you are ever in Champaign on a Tuesday/Thursday afternoon or a Friday morning, I highly reccomend you go grab yourself a bit of what ever it is that they have fresh that day. If you live near a university with an agriculture school, you might be lucky enough to have something like this too. The sausage got rave reviews at our memorial day cookout, and sliced it complimented this fry bread well.

Now, go make this super easy bread to accompany whatever it is that you are eating tonight.

#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
A whole grain frybread that has a smoky flavor, even if you make it in a skillet.
  • 5 oz ground flax seeds
  • 3 oz sorghum flour
  • 3 oz brown rice flour
  • 2 oz buckwheat flour
  • 1 oz sweet white rice (glutinous rice) flour
  • 5 oz corn starch
  • 5 oz tapioca starch
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 T coriander (optional)
  • 1 t cumin (optional)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • 1 cup water (you may not need it all, or you may need more – this is just how much I used)
  1. Whisk dry ingredients together to create a uniform powder.
  2. Add the honey, if usuing. Mix in water 1/4 cup at a time just until you have a dough that is similar to a sticky play dough. Knead it to make sure that it is well combined. Let rest so that the water is absorbed by all the grains for about 10 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into six balls and press into pancake shapes between your palms. They should be 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Cook in a hot skillet that has been lightly oiled, or cook on a grill for about 3 minutes per side.
  5. Keep warm until all are cooked and enjoy promptly.

Do not substitute the flax, it is the binding agent. It is also very good for you.

If you need to bake by volume, use 2 cups of an all purpose or whole grain flour blend. The absorption rate may differ, so you may require more or less water than I needed.

I served mine with grilled andouille, a yogurt sauce, lentils and feta, but any spicy topping will be delicious.

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Sweet Pepper Pesto Grilled Chees

Sweet Pepper Pesto

Sweet Pepper Pesto Grilled CheesAfter the Gluten Free Expo, I went straight to Whole Foods and bought a loaf of Rudi’s Gluten Free Multigrain Bread. I really hate gluten free bread. And I mean, I really hate it. I refuse to eat sandwiches any more because of my intense dislike of it. I don’t even like the popcorn bread that my dad makes that every one raves about. Maybe it is all in my head, but I digress. I had a grilled cheese sample at the expo and I was sold.

There is this great little restaurant in town that makes an awesome grilled swiss with pesto sandwich that I remember from my glutinous days. It was simply delicious. I wanted to recreate that experience tonight. But, the basil plants that I have are not doing so well because it is too wet and I was out of roasted red peppers. So, a pesto recipe was born.

I then used it to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I have to say, this might be my favorite discovery from the Expo.

Sweet Pepper Pesto Grilled Cheese
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Sauce
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 2
Sweet peppers, sweet onion and italian herbs make this fresh pesto delectable.
  • 4 small sweet peppers or 1 large
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil or 10-12 leaves fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 slices Rudi’s Gluten Free Multi-grain bread
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 Tablespoons soft butter
  1. Chop onion into quarters. Peel garlic. Remove stem ends and seeds from peppers. Combine in food processor or manual chopper along with herbs. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped. Add olive oil and pulse until desired consistency is reached. I like mine chunky, but some people prefer theirs to have a finer dice.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and butter one side of each slice of bread. Put 2 slices butter side down in the heated skillet and sprinkle on enough cheese to cover the slice (I used about 1/8 cup per slice). Spread pesto on top of cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with the second slice of bread, butter side up. Place a heavy frying pan on top and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove frying pan, flip sandwiches and put the frying pan back on top. After about 4 more minutes, the bread should be golden and toasted. The cheese should be melty and gooey. Remove from skillet, cut in half on the diagonal and enjoy.
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English Muffin Bread

This is one great reason why my dad rocks.

My dad makes all the bread at my parents’ house.  He has been doing so since he was diagnosed with a wheat allergy and buying $6 loaves of bread became ridiculously expensive and because store bought gluten free bread is generally pretty terrible. He makes a great sandwich bread that uses popcorn – the original recipe is from Jules Gluten Free’s bread e-book and he has tweaked it to perfection. But this is not that recipe. This my friends is one of those “I died and went to heaven” tasting breads. The kind of bread that will make you forget that you are consuming a bread that is not made of wheat.

My mom made ricotta cheese from a cookbook that I bought her for Christmas (can you tell I come from a family of foodies?) and in the book was a very interesting sounding bread – English Muffin bread. It used the whey that is left behind in the cheese making process. Using Jules’ flour (and no, she doesn’t pay me to mention her flour, I just happen to like it) he baked several rounds of bread, each one tasting better and improving on the previous loaf’s taste.

This recipe is very different from the original – double the yeast, double the baking soda and the addition of apple cider vinegar to activate the baking soda. The result: a tender bread that has a slightly tart flavor – just like English muffins.

English Muffin Bread

(makes 2 loaves – from my dad & inspired by Canning for a New Generation)

  • Cornmeal for pans and dusting bread
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • ¾ Cup Warm Water or Whey
  • 2 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 Cups Whole Milk or Whey
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Cider Vinegar
  • 6 Cups Jules Gluten-Free Flour (or your favorite flour blend with 1 Tablespoon xantham gum)
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

[box]*If you make your own fresh cheese (such as Ricotta or Farmer’s) and do not want to waste the whey,you can use it in this recipe instead of the water and milk.[/box]

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 2 loaf pans (9 x 5) and dust bottoms and sides with cornmeal.

In a mixer bowl, combine the Sugar, Water and Yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes to proof.

Warm the Milk to lukewarm and stir in Salt until it dissolves. Combine the Yeast mixture with the Milk, Vinegar, half the Flour and Baking Soda until well blended. Mix in the remaining Flour and combine well. The dough will be sticky.

Divide the dough between the pans and smooth with a spatula. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Bread should double in size. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until crust begins to brown. Remove from oven to coolfor 5 minutes then turn out loaves onto a rack. Wrap tightly to store. The recipe makes 2 loaves becausethe first one will be devoured while it is still warm.

Irish Soda Bread Two Ways

I know this is a little late, but I made it the night before St. Patrick’s day and had to make a couple of tweaks to my recipes. I have to say that St. Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday. Not because of green beer (I find that to be kind of tacky actually) but because of the meal that my mom makes every year. Corned beef & cabbage. Bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce. Irish coffee. Baileys spiked cupcakes. And, my favorite, Irish Soda Bread.

I was saddened to find out that our family recipe given to us by an Irish nun (she claimed this recipe was from the emerald isle) is not actually a traditional recipe. So in addition to making our recipe gluten free, I also made a traditional plain loaf gluten free as well.

I have to say that I am really pleased at how these loaves turned out. They are dense breads, but the texture is pretty close to how I remember their glutinous counterparts. They are great quick breads any time of the year!

A couple of tips: if you think the dough is too dry, add moisture slowly – it can easily be overly wet. And, no matter your religious affiliation, the cross (or X) in the top of the bread actually provides a scientific benefit – it allows the bread to rise more, so no wimpy cuts.

Irish American Soda Bread

(adapted from my Mom’s secret family recipe)

  • 3 Cups Gluten Free Flour Blend (I used Cheatin Wheat )
  • 1.5 teaspoons xantham gum if your flour blend does not have it
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Soak raisins in enough buttermilk to cover (about 1/2 cup) for 5-10mins. Preheat oven to 375. Mix flour, flax, salt & soda – I used a whisk to make sure there were no lumps. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender (a fork will work if you don’t have one) until the mixture resembles cornmeal/sand.  Add the buttermilk (1 cup) and stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Drain extra buttermilk off the raisins and add the raisins.  Knead dough breifly with your hands to mix in raisins. If dough is still too dry, add the buttermilk that you drained off the raisins. Pat into a round cake and place on a buttered baking sheet. Cut a cross into the top about 1 inch deep and most of the way across. Bake for 40 mins. When the bread is done, it will be a light golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.

Serve warm with butter whipped with honey.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

(adapted from Epicurious)

  • 3 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (I used Jules’s)
  • 1 teaspoon baking-soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (about) buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional – they change this from basic soda bread to “spotted dog”)
  • Soak your raisins (if using) in about half a cup of your buttermilk. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Dump in the raisins and the buttermilk that they are soaking in. Mix together well. Add more buttermilk as needed to get the dough to clump together. The dough will be quite sticky if you put in too much – it is sticky enough when it is just right! Knead it together in the bowl with your hands. Place dough formed into an 8″ circle on a greased baking sheet. Cut a cross in the top about 1 inch deep. Bake for 35-40 mins until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.