Monday, 13 June 2016

Cheese and Herb Bread Rolls

Anyone who follows me on twitter will know I'm a big fan of a couple of mixes for bread making (Coori and Bakels). Biscuits and cake can be made with any of the flour blends easily available, but if you've had a go at making bread with wheat flour, you will know that making gluten free bread is a very different story. No kneading required as its almost cake mix like consistency can only be poured into a tin to contain it. In the early days of being wheat free, I had a go at trying to use a thicker workable dough, but just ended up with ugly, cracked, brick like breads (yes, really, I have bad days in the kitchen too!). 

I love that I can get a good workable dough with consistently good results from Coori and Bakels (but both require a little more effort) and finally make some of the things we used to have regularly at home. Have now perfected flatbreads, brioche, cinnamon bun, jam doughnut, sausage rolls, tarte tatin recipes to name but a few...

The first time I used the Bakels Multiseed mix (after the Allergy Show in London in 2015), I had to double check the ingredients as it was not only 'workable' like a wheat containing dough, but also smelt and looked like a malted wheat loaf when it came out of the oven! Of course, it was fine, they just have better food scientists than me and access to ingredients that improve the consistency of the dough…

The other problem I have is that as a Registered Dietitian, I'm not supposed to promote specific brands. This is even more frustrating when doing free from baking as some of the flour blends need more or less liquid to get the same results in a recipe. I've resigned myself to actually saying which flour I used now on the basis that I name several throughout the recipes, so not promoting a specific one on the site. So here goes…

I don't have anything as fancy as a stand mixer, I've tried using my electric hand whisk, but on balance, I've gone back to good old fashioned mixing by hand.

300g Bakes Multi Seed Bread Mix
270mls Milk Substitute (if you use a fortified one, it will add 324mg calcium to your loaf, or 54mg/roll)
1tsp dried yeast
100g Violife Original Cheese* (Grated)
2tbsp Chopped fresh Herbs (sage and rosemary from the garden) or 2tsp dried 
Additional wheat fee flour for kneading (I used Doves Farm white bread flour, but any wheat free (not self raising) flour would do)

Warm milk substitute to 'hand hot'. Sprinkle on the yeast, stir and set aside to foam up (even if you're using instant dried yeast).

Put flour, grated cheese and herbs in a large bowl. Mix together with a blunt knife.

Pour in the milk and yeast mixture.

Stir with the blunt knife until it begins to come together.

Sprinkle on a little extra flour and bring it to a ball with your hand. Knead lightly until you have a smooth ball of dough (you may need to keep adding a little extra flour if your hand get too sticky, but don't be tempted to add too much).

Cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place to rise (I think I left mine for about 45 mins, won't quite double in size like wheat bread, but when you press it with your fingers you will see it sink back down).

Sprinkle with a little more flour and knead lightly again. Shape into 6 rolls (or a loaf) and put on a floured tray. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise again.

Bake at 220ºC for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped underneath.

Try to leave to cool before eating…

*Violife Original (as you may have found) does not melt with direct heat (like on a pizza), but melts well in toasties, sauces etc, that's why you can see the spots of it on the outside of the rolls where it poked through the dough, the cheese melted will on the inside of the rolls. You could try other dairy and soya free cheeses, but as this is available in most of the main Supermarkets now, it made sense to use as easily accessible.

Bakels mixes are currently available at Sainsbury's and on Amazon.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Hot Cross Buns - 2016 version

Ever since I left home, I've always made fresh hot cross buns on the morning of Good Friday. Having children with allergies didn't stop that, they've just evolved with the restrictions and a better understanding of free from baking.

Same recipe, but Coori flour on left and Doves Farm on right
I always struggled a bit with gluten free bread as it tends to need more of a batter type consistency and, for me, part of the joy of making bread was in the kneading. Even in the 4 years since Mini Monster had to cut out wheat too, as well as the huge improvement in ready made breads (although most still contain egg, milk, soya or chickpea, all of which we still have to avoid), there has been an improvement in flour mixes available, with many having more elasticity even without the gluten. 

One of the downsides to wheat/gluten free baking is that the huge variety of flours now available all have different properties, this makes generic recipes more difficult to follow as some require more or less fluid than the recipe suggests. The difficulty with my job is we're not supposed to recommend specific brands, or if we do, we have to give more than one example of a particular product. 

While I've been a bit lax at posting recipes over the last year and a half, anyone who follows me on Twitter will know I've developed a love affair with Coori flour mixes, however, these are not readily available so I made this recipe with Doves farm White Bread Flour too (I had also meant to do a batch with Bakels White Bread mix too, but don't have any at the moment) just so you have a more accessible option. They may look very different, but both taste good, which is the main thing…

For 12 buns

400g Coori Puff Pastry Mix or 380g Doves Farm White Bread Flour, plus 20g Arrowroot
30g sugar (I used light muscovado)
2tbsp Mixed Spice
260mls Milk Substitute (hand hot)
2tsp Dried Yeast
100g Dairy and Soya Free Spread 
150g chopped dried fruit/chocolate chips

75g Wheat Free Flour plus Milk Substitute mixed to smooth paste that just holds it's shape, for crosses

2tbsp Caster sugar and water to glaze

Sprinkle yeast onto the warm milk substitute, stir and set aside for 5 minutes.

Place flour, sugar and spices in a bowl.

Stir in the frothed yeast mixture with a blunt knife. Once  it's come together, knead gently to form a smooth ball (you may need a little extra flour if too sticky, but don't be tempted to add too much).

Cover and set aside in a warm place to rise for 30mins.

Knead again, then roll out to a large rectangle (I do it on cling film to proven cross contamination from worktop or rolling pin).

Spread on half the dairy free spread, then fold the dough into thirds.

Re roll and repeat. Fold and roll another couple of times until the spread stops oozing out (you can just knead it again, but don't add too much flour).

Add the dried fruit and knead in.

These had dried sour cherries and chocolate chips
These were apricot, candy peel and chocolate chips
Divide the mixture and shape into balls and place on a greased baking tray. Oil the tops and cover lightly with cling film, set aside to rise.

Add caption
Mix the flour and milk substitute to a thin paste. Put in piping bag (or a greaseproof paper cone). Pipe crosses onto the tops of the risen buns.

Mixture for my crosses was a little too thick this year...
Bake at 200-220ºC for 25 mins (I don't think my oven is hot enough at the moment, so turned the temp up to 220, but that may be too hot in some) or until nicely browned.

Dissolve the sugar in a little boiling water and brush on the buns as soon as they come out of the oven. Put them back in for a minute to 'set' the glaze.

Eat warm from the oven, or split them and toast them (isnseparate toaster, or in a toaster pocket to prevent cross contamination).

Thursday, 6 August 2015

GBBO15 Week1 - Frosted Walnut Layer Cake

Having only posted about 2 recipes this year, I really wasn't going to do the milk, egg, wheat and soya free (MEWS free) versions of the technical challenges from The Great British Bake Off this year… Unfortunately, my 8 year old is hooked, remembered I did it the last couple of years and as soon as they showed yesterday's cake started talking about it and discussing what we could use instead!

So today, with 2 children in tow, we went shopping for ingredients (stopped at the Games shop to buy Pokémon cards and Lego Mixels) and came home to bake (and play and build…).

Week 1 - For Mary Berry's version, clic here: Frosted Walnut Layer Cake  

This week's main challenge for the MEWS free baker is an alternative to the 'boiled icing' (as it's attractively described in the original recipe!). Lucy's Friendly Foods has a great Italian Meringue recipe. Sadly, for us, it's made with another of Mini Monster's allergens, chickpeas… I opted for a marshmallowy coating instead.

Walnut Sponge (adapted from the basic cake recipe in our Milk, Egg, Wheat and Soya free diet sheet)

90g Dairy and Soya Free Spread
100g Golden Syrup
100g Caster Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Paste (or extract)
320mls Milk Substitute
1tsp Vinegar or Lemon Juice
350g Gluten Free Plain Flour (I used Dove's Farm White Bread Flour, you may need to adjust the liquid for different flour blends)
2tsp baking Powder
1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
100g Walnut Pieces (I caramelised mine with 30g sugar, but this is optional)

Melt spread, sugar and syrup in a pan or microwave.

Stir in vanilla, milk substitute and vinegar.

In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

Mix in the contents of the other bowl (don't over mix or cake will be tough).
Stir in the nuts. 

Divide mixture evenly between three cake tins (18cm, greased and lined).

Bake at 180ºC for 20-25mins.

Turn out of tins to cool.


50g Hard Vegetable Margarine (Stork, Trex etc)
100g Icing Sugar
1tbsp Milk Substitute
1tsp Vanilla Paste (or extract)
1tsp Corn Flour

Whisk everything together until light and fluffy.

Spread on first two layers of cake.

Marshmallow Frosting

110g Caster Sugar 
40g Golden Syrup
1 1/2 Leaves Gelatine
30mls Water
1/2tsp Vanilla Paste (or extract)
5mls Lemon Juice 

For method, follow instructions for marshmallows, the reduced amount of gelatine makes it softer and easier to spread

Caramelised Walnuts (for decoration)

100g Caster Sugar
10 Walnut Halves

For assembly and how to caramelise the nuts, follow the original recipe above.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Mini Courgette Cakes

Feeling guilty about the lack of recipes posted this year. Particularly when new patients come to see me and tell me they already use the site... I'm not entirely happy with this one yet, but as there have been a couple of requests for the recipe after posting the picture on Twitter, thought I'd make a start with this one.

Very light cakes, hidden veg always a bonus, but slightly sticky inside. I think it was the flour mix I used as I find pancakes go sticky with this brand too, so I'll try a different blend next time before changing quantities of ingredients.

With courgette season at its height, I thought I'd try a courgette and lime cake, to see if this might be a way to get the children to willingly eat a courgette… I Googled a couple of courgette cake recipes, but found the usual problem, the gluten free ones all had lots of eggs… Next step, try a vegan one… I found this one on the Ethical Chef website that looked easy to adapt to make it wheat free too. 

Generally, when adapting a recipe to make it gluten free, you need either a little less flour, or a little more liquid. I thought the lime juice would be enough, but the mixture was still a little thick, so I added some milk substitute too. Also, couldn't bring myself to add the vast amount of sugar in the original recipe…

1 Medium Courgette (finely grated)
1 Unwaxed Lime (Juice and Zest) 
1 Mashed Banana
1 Ball Frozen Chopped Spinach (defrosted)
1 tsp Vanilla Paste (or extract)
120g Dairy and Soya Free Spread
180g Wheat Free Self Raising Flour
60g Caster Sugar
2tbsp Milk Substitute

Whisk or beat the margarine and sugar together.

Mix in all the other ingredients.

Place spoonfuls onto greased muffin tins (or bun tin).

Bake at 180ºC for 25-30mins.

Turn out of tin to cool.
Drizzle with a little icing if you want… I made mine with icing sugar and lime juice.

We waited until he'd had his second one before telling him it was courgette and spinach...

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Chocolate Fudge Cake

I know I've been neglecting the site recently, so I thought I'd start with a quick adaptation to save me writing out the recipe in full. This vegan chocolate fudge cake recipe from Sainsbury's Magazine was posted on Twitter yesterday. It's already milk, egg and soya free so with only one more thing  (wheat) to change, I thought I'd give it a go.

I know from experience, that unlike biscuit recipes you can't just do a straight swap for wheat free flour in cake. rather than just upping the fluid, I decided to reduce the quantity of flour as well. I still can't just follow a recipe, so I reduced the sugar too…

As it was an experiment, and I've recently had a bad experience with a blondie recipe, I just made half quantity. This was enough to fill an 18cm cake tin, which I cut in half before filling and icing.

I didn't have any avocado either (well, I did, but it's been lurking in the back of the fridge for so long, it really wasn't usable!) so haven't tried the icing. Mine was made with an apple and apricot fruit pot and the cake filled with apricot fruit spread. 

Amended ingredients:

1 small banana, or half a large one (mashed well) - mine was 47g
4 1/2 tbsp (75mls) Milk Substitute
2 1/2 tbsp (45mls) Vegetable Oil
120g Sugar (I still found this a bit sweet, despite using less than the original, would probably try with 100g next time)
1 tsp Vanilla Paste (or extract)
1 tsp Vinegar (I increased this as acid helps the rise in gluten  and egg free cakes)
25g Cocoa Powder (mixed with 75mls water)
175g Wheat Free Self Raising Flour
1/2 tbsp Baking Powder
35mls Maple Syrup

For method, please follow link

As it is a wetter mix, please adjust the cooking time by about 5 mins, or until it feels firm in the middle.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Jam Tarts

Who doesn't like a jam tart? The problem with the free from ones is they either contain egg, or the few that are really milk, egg, wheat and soya free, contain nuts, making them instantly not suitable for packed lunch (school nut ban).
Key Stage 1 party tomorrow afternoon, with the usual helpful 24hours notice about what food I need to provide! Fortunately, this year, they helpfully suggested that rather than me providing food for 8 children (sausages/carrot sticks etc), I have only been asked to provide a plate of food for Mini Monster. Now I just need to figure out what the others will have and make sure he gets an equivalent…

Obviously, I've started with pudding...

Makes 12 tarts

200g Gluten/Wheat Free Plain Flour 
70g Hard vegetable fat (Stork(the hard one not the spreadable, which contains milk)/cookeen/trex)
5-6tbsp Dairy and soya free cream/milk substitute
Extra Fruit Jam, or Clearspring fruit spread for no added sugar ones

Put flour in bowl and rub in fat until resembles breadcrumbs.

Slowly mix in the milk substitute, using a blunt knife, until the mix begins to come together.

Kneed well.

Roll out thinly between 2 sheets of cling film (means you don't need to add extra flour and risk it drying out).

Cut rounds and place in a greased tart tin.

Fill with 1tspn fruit spread/jam.
Bake at 200ºC for 15-20mins.

Monday, 26 January 2015

'Bacon Rolls' - Tomato and ham stuffed bread

These stuffed breads are based on the Italian Stromboli I remember from my childhood. Despite not being remotely like a bacon roll, Mini Monsters name for these has always stuck in this house.
These freeze very well and are perfect in a packed lunch box (I just take mine out of freezer the night before and leave packed lunch in the fridge overnight). 

250g Orgran Easy Bake Bread Mix
220mls cold water or milk substitute (less if using the spinach)
30mls Olive (or other) Oil
2 Balls of Frozen Chopped Spinach (defrosted) - optional
Extra Flour for kneading (I use Doves Farm 
Tomato Sauce
Basil Paste/Frozen Chopped Basil

Weigh bread mix into a bowl.

Put defrosted spinach into a measuring jug, add milk substitute or water to make up to 220mls, add oil. Mix.

Add to the flour mix.
Mix with a blunt knife unto the mixture comes together.
Kneed lightly with a little more flour if too sticky.
Divide dough into two and press out on a floured surface, using your hand, to form two rectangles.
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce down the middle of each.
Top with basil and ham, before folding in the sides.
Carefully move to a greased tray and bake for 20mins at 200ºC.

Cut each into 3 pieces, cool and freeze until needed.