Friday, August 23, 2013

What Does "GF" Mean?

Just over six weeks ago I began a challenging dietary change. I took gluten, sugar and dairy right off my menu. I'd been feeling sick, fatigued, and depressed for some time. I needed to change something. I had never thought I had a gluten issue. I mean, I mill my own grains fresh and bake wonderful homemade bread. Real bread. Really good bread. Make your tongue slap your brain good. But I read a book called The Blood Sugar Solution and decided to try a six-week reset for my body. At that point, GF to me just meant gluten-free.
Eating gluten-free has been challenging on many levels. Not the least of which is because my family is not eating gluten-free. My husband and father continue to enjoy their favorites. Many of which I make for them. And darn it, I make some good gluteny food. Soft pretzels, bagels, biscuits, homemade bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, pies (savory and sweet) - the list goes on and on.
I am faced with changes in taste and texture. Nothing but gluten produces that spongy, elastic dough that is as smooth as silk and stretchy to boot. Things just aren't going to be the same.
And I need to find new recipes and learn a new way of making baked goods. Vinegar or lemon juice are added with soda or baking powder to get a rise out of doughs. I quickly determined that I didn't like the pasty, white GF breads make with flour of potato and tapioca starches. Not enough taste or structure.

And I'm learning to use coconut and almond flours. Very tasty and nutritious. I have finally found a pizza crust I like. And the thing that got me blogging again was this "bagel" recipe. Now if you're going to be hard-nosed, you can say these aren't bagels. But try going without for a month or two and you will likely find your definition and requirements blurring a bit.

I just had to shout from the blog-top when I had one of these! Yippee! It's so hard not to eat the whole batch. This recipe comes from Laura's Gluten-Free Pantry. I did swap out 1 cup of freshly milled millet for 1 cup of the almond flour. I love millet and almond flour is admittedly pricey. Hence the switch. And I used our honey in place of sugar. Then, as you can see, I topped them before baking with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt and dried onion bits. I can't wait to toast my next one!

And you can see that these are not small. The recipe called for making them in a doughnut pan but I don't own one. However, I have lovely large English muffin rings my husband made for me. I buttered them and laid them on buttered parchment. Not a drop leaked out. And I only had six of them although the recipe says it will make seven. These are easily 1 1/2 inches thick and 3+ inches across. I'm just so tickled!!

And then I said to myself - it wouldn't be hard to make a GF cornbread. In fact, I just swapped GF flour for regular flour and again used our honey instead of sugar. It will be so nice to have some baked goods from time to time.

I'll try and share the coconut cookies recipe and multi-grain pizza crust recipe soon. Both gluten-free, of course!

So what does GF mean to me now? How about Good Foods or Great Feelings? Because that's what I'm eating and how I'm regaining my health!

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