Day Five: Mixes and Muffins- recipes!!

After dessert, my next focus on my journey to allergy-free eating was breakfast.  Let’s face it, the “norm” for breakfast is all about grains: cereal, toast, bagels, english muffins, muffins.  Muffins also make an easy portable food for eating on the go, and freeze well so you can make them ahead of time.  (I always take frozen muffins when I travel).

My first step in making muffins was finding an easy mix I could use.  Pamela’s All Purpose Baking mix is hands down the easiest and most “normal tasting” of any mixes I have tried.  It can often be subbed into regular recipes, with sometimes a little tweaking.

Pamelas does contain dairy, however, and xanthum gum, which is grown on corn, and sometimes a problem for people with a corn allergy.  If you can eat dairy and corn, Pamela’s is a life saver.  It is, of course, more expensive than other mixes, and is just that, a mix, but like I said yesterday, sometimes you have to ask yourself what the priority is on a given day!  I will still occasionally use Pamela’s in a pinch, but I now have my own mix that I make up and keep on hand, that doesn’t include any of our allergens.

Many mixes you can find recipes for online often contain corn meal (just like the boxed GF foods).  Being allergic to corn, it took me a while to come up with something that works AND we enjoy.  My new most favorite homemade mix is not the highest protein one I have used, but we really just don’t like the bean-y flavor  in those higher protein mixes. (When I serve baked goods, everyone eats the same thing- guests, too!) This flour mix is a compromise balancing  taste, price, convenience, and health.  I will often add ground flax to the final recipe as well to increase the nutritional content.  We love the flavor and texture of this mix, and use it to make muffins, waffles, and pancakes regularly!

Mary Frances at the Gluten Free Cooking School first gave me the idea of using almond meal instead of cornmeal, in one of her newsletters.

My daily flour mix was: 1 c. sorghum, to 1/4 c. millet, to 1/4 c. tapioca starch.  This worked well for me for the first two years, but now I like the almond meal added in.  Rice flour is also cheaper than millet flour, but I still use millet sometimes, too.  I have to credit Karina’s blog for much of what I have learned about baking allergy-free.  She has an incredible amount of info on her blog.  She has even helped me trouble shoot some recipes (like the donuts I linked to yesterday) via her comment section, as I tried to make her recipes work for my own allergies.

OK! So here is my daily flour mix, a combination of things I learned from Mary’s blog, and others I mentioned on Day Two:

Spring’s Favorite Baking Mix

  • 6 c. brown rice flour
  • 6 c. tapioca starch
  • 4 c. sorghum flour
  • 2 c. almond meal

I keep this mixed up in an airtight container in my fridge. (If I am running low on almond meal (the priciest ingredient), I’ll make up the difference by adding ground flax to the recipes).

I add  1/4-1/2 tsp of guar gum (this is corn-free, unlike xanthum/xanthan gum) per cup of flour in a recipe for its help with binding and sponginess.  Don’t skip this ingredient! It makes all the difference, even in such small amounts.  It may seem pricey, but you will use it in such small amounts it will last a long time.

Here is my own muffin recipe- using this mix!

  • 2 c. flour mix (plus 1-3 tbs if needed at the end to get the right consistency)
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup (if you use sugar, increase the rice milk to compensate)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder  (I make my own, to keep it corn-free)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp guar gum
  • 1/3 c. light olive oil
  • 2 eggs (or 1 duck egg)
  • 1/4 c. rice milk + 1/4 tsp vinegar*
  • mini chocolate chips (maybe 1/2 c.), or lemon flavor and poppyseeds added are our favorite flavors

I mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then combine, and bake in muffin tins (lightly greased or using paper liners) at 350 for @17-20 minutes.  I usually check them at 17 minutes, because they don’t always need the full 20.

I learned from Karina that gluten free flours are finicky… you can’t just go by exact measurements, you have to learn what the batter is supposed to look like.  I am always prepared to add a little more liquid or flour mix depending on how the ingredients are mixing.  This was a huge challenge for me, as when I cooked in the past, I was usually writing a song in my head or some other unrelated thing, not really noticing what I was working with.  I was more of a follow-the-recipe-kinda-gal.  I am excited to think back on all I have learned about cooking and baking, thanks to my food allergies!
* When I made this recipe today, I forgot the vinegar.  They did not fluff up as much as usual.  So even though it’s a small amount, I would put it in.  I’ve been wondering what would happen if I forgot the vinegar- now I know! 🙂

A final thought on mixes:

I have also tried Bob’s Red Mill mixes; the all-purpose mix can be too beany in certain recipes,  and I don’t love the bread mix, but the banana bread recipe on the all-purpose package is fabulous.  We use the Bob’s Red Mill pizza crust mix fairly often, but I just got a new book with a recipe to try… blogging on that one next week! 🙂  I have used some Namaste brand mixes… again, the bread flavor is not my fav.   Namaste Spice Cake Mix is amazing!  I use it for gingerbread!

More to come on Breakfast, tomorrow!

This is part of a 31 Days series on Less Stress in Allergy-Free Eating.  To view a list of all the posts in the series you can go here. To subscribe to my posts via email, you can go to my homepage, and type in your email address in the box on the right-hand margin.  To view the list of over 700 bloggers participating in this 31 Days blogging challenge go here!

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  1. great post! i almost want to cry every time i open up these e-mails! gluten-free is not so intimidating to me if i just buy the packaged stuff, but it’s simply too expensive to do that all of the time. and yet, i am not an intuitive cook. . . meaning, it doesn’t come naturally to me, i don’t just “know” what things need a little more of. so today, when you mentioned having to get used to knowing what the product is supposed to look like and adding things here and there–that just felt like a fresh breath of grace, giving me time to get used to baking and cooking this way and being patient with myself in the process.
    again, thank you for these articles and for making them so relevant and usable. i’m thoroughly enjoying them.

    1. Spring

      Hi Steph- I am so glad these posts are helpful! “Not Intuitive” is EXACTLY the words I would use to describe myself about cooking. I”ll be mentioning more about I have been learning to cook all over again, and hoping to try working on videos when I make some things, so you can see what the batter is supposed to look like- this is the one thing I always wished I had and couldn’t find! Thanks so much for sharing!

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