But not this month!! I’m b-a-a-a-a-ck!
What have I been doing? Well let me tell you… A LOT!!
Since my dear husband is out-of-work, I have had to ramp up my business a bit. Did you know that Aunt Mae makes handmade soaps? I do! I really love my handmade soaps… they do NOT become mushy… and I HATE mushy soap!! If you would like to know more you can see all of them here.
I have to tell you, today is a bit of a bittersweet day for me. I am writing this portion of my post on December 2nd, the 1 year anniversary of the death of my beloved Daddy-J. You can read my tribute to him here.
He was the one to give me counsel when I was starting my business 2 years ago.
He was the one to counsel me NOT to limit myself to *just* my soap line but to leave it all open to whatever may come in the future. That was sure wise advice!! I NEVER thought I would be making earrings.
I miss him very much, but I think he would be pleased to see what I have done with *our* business over this past year.
Daddy-J was also in the food business, starting w-a-y back when his grandfather started a grocery business! After Daddy-J and his siblings sold the business, he continued in the food industry until he retired.
He & mom loved to cook. About 6 years ago they came out near this time of year (when I met Daddy-J for the first time) and they cooked me a terrific birthday dinner! We even got out our real chef’s hat for him to wear! He loved it.
He also appreciated my gluten free baked goods. He was new to anything gluten free, but was an enthusiastic supporter of me and my baking.
So in honor of Daddy-J I have returned to the Ratio Rally with.. Focaccia Bread!
Our hostess for this month’s rally is Heather over at Discovering the Extraordinary. You can hop over there to see all the other Ratio Rally recipes! The Ratio Rally is a group of gluten free food bloggers who dive right in to make a variety of baked goods using gluten free flours… with one tiny twist.
WAIT!! It’s not difficult. Really!!
The one thing we have discovered is that our baked goods tend to turn out well now instead of flopping miserably. That is an important element in today’s *un-recovered* economy.
What is our one tiny twist you ask? Measuring out our ingredients by weight and keeping recipes to specific proportions.
OK. That is two things, but we’re not really *counting* now… are we? 😉
I am finishing up my Ratio Rally post on my birthday and made this Focaccia Bread to go with my Spaghetti birthday dinner! It turned out really well. Which is always a good thing for a birthday dinner!
My recipe is based on one from a close personal catering friends of mine, The O’Bs. They went gluten free about4 or 5 years ago and even changed all their recipes to gluten free! They get a charge when a dear soul comes to them, apologizing that they cannot eat this or that… and then when they find out that they CAN eat all that is before them… they nearly cry tears of joy.
So without further ado I present…
- 4 ounces water
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 10 ounces Bob's Red Mill GF flour blend
- 1 & ½ teaspoons guar gum
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Bragg's apple cider vinegar
- Heat the water to 100 degrees. Add sugar and yeast, stir till yeast is dissolved. Let sit to proof.
- While yeast is proofing, weigh out your gluten free flours of choice in the bowl of a stand mixer. I used the Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour blend. Add in all the remaining ingredients.
- Add the yeast/water mixture. Stir on low until combined. Add more water to make a spreadable dough. I did not need to add any water. Then beat on high for 3 minutes.
- Spread the dough in a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Using a wet spatula to make it even. The dough will be thin.
- Let dough rise in a warm place for about an hour, until well risen and puffy.
- Brush the top with: olive oil, as much as you want.
- Sprinkle the top with: garlic granules, coarse salt, and chopped fresh herb or dried if you don't have fresh. On half of mine I also sprinkled grated Parmesan cheese for the guys. Arrow LOVED this!
- Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until browned and done.
- This tastes best on the day it is baked, but you can rejuvenate yesterday's fresh focaccia bread by brushing with a little oil and a few minutes in the oven.
I have been using the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour blend for about 6 or more months and am really liking it! It isn’t good for everything and is really best when used in something with spices or flavoring to mask the bean flour taste. But I *LIKE* bean flours in my cookies, pancakes and… focaccia bread! The added protein is a bonus in my book. And the guys… they have been telling me that *this version* of my pancakes is “the best ones yet”!! And I have been making my pancakes with the Bob’s Red Mill gf flour blend for about 6 or more months now!
They have no idea they are eating beans with butter and maple syrup… 😉
You won’t tell them… will you?
No, I don’t like the taste of the bean flours. This flour blend works well with something that has some spice or flavoring to mask that flavor. In my pancakes I add vanilla. In my focaccia bread I am adding garlic, onion, and Italian seasonings. In my cookies I am adding vanilla, or cinnamon or… In my brownies I am adding chocolate. I do NOT use this blend for shortbread cookies.
There are a few reasons I started using Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour blend. I can purchase this at one of my local restaurant supply stores (one that does not require a membership!) for a really good price. Usually about $30 for a 25 pound bag. Trying to stretch every dollar makes this a pretty good value. Add in that there is a protein content that is missing in the normally starchy gluten free flour blends and that makes this a bit better nutritionally as well. Yet another bonus in my book!
I have a number of newly gluten free folks who don’t want to start out purchasing a bunch of flours. That is just too daunting for them initially. So, in order to help them out I needed to use an economical blend. Bob’s to the rescue!
Then there is the state of the economy and my husband’s unemployment. We need to stretch every dollar as far as it will go. You’ve heard the saying about being frugal, “she pinches pennies until they squeal?” Well I try to make mine sing an aria!
Shall I tell you something else?
To make croutons, cube your bread. Any gluten free bread will work. Take all the cubes and place back into your 13 x 9 pan. Drizzle with coconut oil or olive oil. Sprinkle with more or the same seasonings you used in the bread. Croutons need more flavor than the bread alone did. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 – 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to keep from burning. They should be browned and crisp! Let cool. Store in an airtight container. Sprinkle liberally over your salads! Enjoy.
By the way, if you used poultry seasoning in your bread, then made these croutons do you know what you would have? Your own homemade, already seasoned dressing mix! Super simple. Super tasty. Inexpensive.
WAIT! Don’t wipe off the cutting board just yet!!
See all those lovely little crumbs sitting there on that cutting board? Those my dear are *bread crumbs*. Anytime I am slicing gluten free bread I always save the crumbs in a zip lock baggie. I keep mine in the freezer… ready to use at a moments notice! I make sure to clean the cutting board very well prior to slicing my gluten free breads… just in case.
You do label your baggies in the freezer… don’t you? No more UFOs!! Those are the Unidentified Freezer Objects. Label them and use them. Waste not want not. 😉
What ways have you found to economize in your gluten free baking?
Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)
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