Gluten Free Multigrain Sandwich Loaf

Just look at that beautiful loaf of bread!  In the gluten free universe, this is what dreams are made of!  Not only does it taste great, but it is also nutritious and wholesome, made with a combination of grains that delivers real bread flavor without the gluten.

If you like to mix up your own flour blends, then this recipe is for you!

I adapted this recipe from one of my own, Gluten Free Sandwich Thins.  I always made them for lunch when I worked in an office, but now that I’m home most of the time I find that I like to have sliced bread in the house.  When you make a loaf, you can slice it as thin or as thick as you want for sandwiches, toast or just to go with dinner.

This bread is wonderful for sandwiches.  It doesn’t need toasting, doesn’t fall apart in your hands and the middle is not wet or tacky at all.  It’s a gluten free dream come true!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 1 tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 127 g. whole grain sorghum flour
  • 183 g. brown rice flour
  • 56 g. tapioca starch
  • 56 g. arrowroot starch
  • 56 g. potato starch
  • 21 g. teff grain, ground
  • 1 tsp. gelatin
  • 1.5 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 cup warm milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp. milk, for brushing
  • sesame seeds
  • poppy seeds

Preparation:

Line a 1 lb. loaf pan with parchment paper and mist with cooking spray.

Combine the yeast, ground chia seeds, sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients, sorghum flour through salt.

When the yeast has bloomed, add the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer along with the egg, olive oil, milk and water.

Whisk it all together, and then add the dry ingredients into the wet.  Mix for 5 minutes with the paddle attachment.  The dough will be heavy and wet.

Scrape the dough into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula dipped in water.

Covered with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Brush the top of the loaf with milk, and sprinkle with sesame and poppy seeds.

Quickly make 2 diagonal slashes across the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.

Place the loaf on the middle rack of the oven, close the door and drop the temperature to 375º.  Bake 50-55 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 205º (use a thermometer).

Cool in the pan 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack.

Cool to room temperature, then bag it and let the loaf stand at room temperature overnight.  Resist the urge to cut into that loaf right away, and your patience will be rewarded with this amazing crumb!  It is truly worth the wait!

Notes ♪♫ You might be interested to know that I mill some of my flour from the whole grain.  In this recipe, I used my KitchenAid grain mill attachment to mill whole sorghum berries into flour.  For the teff flour, I ground whole teff grain in a coffee grinder.  Storing grain in its whole form will keep it fresh longer, great for those infrequently used ingredients.  If you would like to learn more about using a grain mill, check out this post.

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Easy Gluten Free Pumpkin Pasta

Look at that pasta!  The dough is enriched with egg and pumpkin puree, giving it a beautiful color and texture.  Yes, it is from scratch, and completely gluten free!

In the years before my Celiac diagnosis, I prided myself on my homemade pasta.  I made endless batches both by hand and with my KitchenAid®.  It’s been a while, but with the cooler weather I decided it was time to try it again.  This fall inspired pumpkin pasta was easy to make and I was so happy with the result!

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I don’t make huge batches of pasta anymore, as Mr. Cucina is diabetic and we both watch our diets pretty carefully.  This little test batch was just enough for the two of us.  The recipe is scalable, so you can adjust it to make dinner for two or a feast for the family.  I give you ingredient measures for 2, 4, 6 and 8 servings.

I used a Malloreddus board to create the ridged shape.  You can find them at specialty shops like Fante’s.  Similar to a gnocchi board, it’s a cool little gadget to have in your collection!  Did you know that traditional Malloreddus pasta is made with semolina?  Of course, that is off limits on the gluten free diet!

So, for this pasta I used Better Batter Original Gluten Free Flour, and wow, just wow!  The resulting dough was beautiful and silky smooth.  It was so easy to work with, reminiscent of the Italian 00 flour that I would have used back in the day.  Most importantly though, the pasta cooked beautifully, and had great taste and texture.  Even the leftovers remained al dente.  Now that is a gluten free success story!

When you shop Better Batter, use my code MGFC30 at checkout to receive 30% off any non-sale item! 

Ingredients:

INGREDIENTS: 2 Servings 4 Servings 6 Servings 8 Servings
Better Batter Flour 70 G 140 G 210 G 280 G
Olive oil 3/4 tsp. 1-1/2 tsp. 2-1/4 tsp. 3 tsp.
Salt 1/8 tsp. 1/4 tsp. 3/8 tsp. 1/2 tsp.
Egg 1 large 2 large 3 large 4 large
Pumpkin Puree 1 tbsp. 2 tbsp. 3 tbsp. 4 tbsp.

Measure your ingredients according to serving size.  Be sure to use a scale to weigh the flour.  Whisk the egg, pumpkin, olive oil and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the flour and mix with the beater attachment to form a smooth, soft dough.

Gather the dough into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest for 15-20 minutes at room temperature.  This is a good time to wash the mixer bowl and attachments. 😉

Lightly dust a cutting board with flour.  Use a bench knife to cut the dough into 4 pieces.

Roll each piece of dough into a rope.  This is the moment when you know you have a good gluten free dough.  It rolls out beautifully without crumbling or breaking.

Cut each rope into 1/2″ pieces.

Using your fingers or a bench knife, gently roll each piece over the pasta board to create the ridges.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and dust with flour.  As you form the pasta place it on the baking sheet.

Important- Always follow food safety guidelines.  If you are not going to cook the pasta immediately, refrigerate until ready.

How to serve it

You can dress this beautiful pasta with a simple brown butter sage sauce that comes together in minutes.  I grew sage in my container garden this year and it is amazing with browned butter.  If you don’t have an herb garden, try to find fresh sage at the market (or just leave it out).

INGREDIENTS: 2 Servings 4 Servings 6 Servings 8 Servings
Butter 1/2 stick 1 stick 1.5 sticks 2 sticks
Fresh Sage Leaves 8 leaves 12 leaves 16 leaves 20 leaves

When ready, set up a large pot of salted water for the pasta.  Bring the water to a boil while you make the sauce.  Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet.

As soon as the butter begins to foam, add the sage leaves.

As you stir the butter, you will notice the white solids beginning to separate.  Use a slotted spoon or spatula to push them to one side of the pan, skimming off as much as possible.  Watch carefully that the butter doesn’t get too dark.  Remove from the heat when it is just beginning to turn brown.  This shade is perfect.

When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for about 3 minutes for al dente.  The pasta is done when it floats to the top (taste to see if you like the texture).

Use a spider strainer to remove the pasta and add it directly to the sauce.

Toss well to coat for 30 seconds and transfer to a serving platter.

More Serving Ideas:

This pasta is sturdy enough to hold up to a thick and chunky sauce, like my Harvest Pasta Sauce.  Made with tomato, carrot, squash and pumpkin, the flavors pair beautifully with the pumpkin pasta, perfect for a fall inspired dinner.  Enjoy it as a side dish or a main course.

Notes ♪Not all gluten free all-purpose flours are created equal.  In fact, they can vary greatly in terms of ingredient content.  You can try other brands, but I strongly recommend you use Better Batter Gluten Free Original Blend for this recipe.  It was absolutely perfect for making pasta, and what a pleasure to have a smooth silky dough that doesn’t crumble in your hands.  I also used this all-purpose flour to make a gluten free version of My mother’s Italian Wine BiscuitsTry it, you will not be disappointed!

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Easy Gluten Free Italian Sausage Patties No Salt

Why make your own sausage?  Today we have so many brands of gluten free sausage that are widely available.  Why am I going through the trouble of making it from scratch?  The short answer, sodium.

As a woman of a certain age, I can tell you that when that check engine light goes on, you had best take it seriously.  So, a couple of years ago when my blood pressure started going up, up, up I decided to embrace low sodium cooking.

Just as when I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease, I went through everything in my pantry and checked the labels.  This time, instead of gluten I was looking for sodium.  Like gluten, it’s EVERYWHERE!

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I have replaced my favorite convenience items like chicken broth, canned tomatoes and beans with the unsalted version.  Some of my purchased spice blends had to go, and I’m ok with that since I can make my own without salt.

Now back to the sausage.  I love using Italian sausage in my recipes.  I add a little to my Meatloaf, Meatballs, Pizza, even my Shepherd’s Pie!  Alas, the store-bought sausage has way too much salt and now it too had got to go.

So today I made my first batch of Italian Sausage with NO SALT.  With this base, I can use it freely without worry about adding yet more salt into a recipe.

Maybe you’re not worried about sodium.  Why make your own sausage?  Because you control the ingredients.  Want less fat?  Instead of all pork use a combination of pork and turkey or use all turkey or chicken.  Don’t like fennel?  Leave it out.  Like it spicy?  Add more hot pepper flakes.  You get the idea.

My mother used to say that no one really knows what is in sausage.  Make your own and you will know!

Please note that I am not grinding my own meat nor am I using casings.  Remember, I called this an easy recipe.  ????

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. peppercorns, ground
  • 2 tsp. parsley
  • 2 tsp. garlic granules
  • 2 tsp. onion granules
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar

Preparation:

Measure the spices before you begin.  I used a coffee grinder to break up my peppercorns, fennel seed and red pepper flakes.

Add the pork and turkey to a large bowl.

Use 2 forks to break apart the meat and mix it together.  This will take some time and patience, as you want it well mixed but not compressed.

Add the vinegar one tbsp. at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Whisk the spices together and sprinkle over the meat, using the forks to incorporate the spices throughout the mixture.  If you’re not watching salt go ahead and add some here.

I used a scale to measure out 4 oz. patties.  I pressed them between wax paper squares.  This recipe yields 8 patties.

The patties need to rest for 12 hours in the refrigerator prior to cooking, this allows the flavors to meld, and the vinegar tenderizes the meat.

After 12 hours in the fridge the sausage patties are ready to be cooked or frozen.  They are great for breakfast or in a sandwich.

Use them in meat sauce, casseroles and stuffing.

Notes ♪♫ In most of my recipes I will recommend that you add salt or seasoning to taste.  Whether you need to limit salt for medical reasons or just a personal preference, when you cook from scratch you are always in control.

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Homemade Espresso Powder

Like many, I’m getting ready to do a little holiday baking.  Desserts are not my forte, but I do like to indulge in the occasional treat.  That being said, I really do not want to spend money on pricey, seldom used ingredients like Espresso Powder.  So with a little research, I learned how to make a small amount at home that cost me ZERO$$$!  That’s right, the only ingredient needed are spent coffee grounds.

So get your morning coffee brewing and let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • used coffee grounds

Preparation:

Brew coffee and reserve the grounds.  Let them drain for a bit, then spread the grounds in an even layer onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake the grounds for 1 hour at 250º, then turn off the oven and leave the pan in for another 2 hours.  The grounds should be very dry to the touch.

Transfer the grounds to a coffee grinder and process into a fine powder.

Store in an air tight container, I used a small Ball jar.

Use in recipes that call for espresso powder.

Notes ♪♫ I’m a New England girl, and we love our Dunkin Donuts coffee!  That’s what I used in this post, of course you can use real espresso or any roast you prefer.

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Gluten Free Millet Bread

I have my favorite toasting breads for breakfast.  They are dense, hearty seeded loaves that hold up well in the toaster like Mighty Tasty Toasting Bread and Millet and Buckwheat Toasting Bread.  But as much as I love their texture, sometimes I’m craving a soft, enriched bread to make sandwiches, or maybe French Toast?  This Gluten Free Millet Bread fits the bill.  It has a soft, cake-like crumb with just a hint of sweetness.

I used Bobs Red Mill whole grain millet in this recipe.  The loaf pan is from USA Pan, made in the USA!

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I used freshly ground millet in this recipe.  Milling your own flour is a great way to add fresh, nutritious whole grains to your baking.  Learn more about using a grain mill here.  Feel free to use purchased millet flour, if you can’t find it in stores it is widely available online.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Whisk together the dry ingredients, millet flour through salt and add them to the bowl of your stand mixer.  In a separate bowl, microwave 1 cup of milk for 30 seconds.  Whisk in the yeast and honey and let it stand for 10 minutes until bubbly.

Whisk the eggs, canola oil and cider vinegar into the yeast mixture.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually pour in the wet ingredients.  Once incorporated, increase speed and beat 3 minutes with the paddle attachment.  The dough will be heavy and clinging to the paddle.

I baked this loaf in a 9″ x 4″ x 4″ pullman pan, the higher sides support the loaf as it rises.  I always line my loaf pans with parchment paper, to easily remove the finished loaf.

Scrape the dough into the pan and use a wet spatula to smooth it out evenly.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let it rise for 1 hour.  I set my pan on top of some padding, so that the pan wasn’t resting directly on the cold counter surface.

Preheat the oven to 350º.  Just before placing in the oven, mist the top of the loaf with water and quickly mist the sides of the oven.  Bake for 45-50 minutes.  The internal temperature should be between 195-200º.

Look at that beautiful loaf!  I was worried that the dough hadn’t risen much but look at the oven spring!  The high sided loaf pan definitely helped with that!

Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

This is exactly what I was hoping for.  It looks like French Toast is back in our breakfast rotation!

 

Notes: ♪♫  Need more inspiration?  Check out this French Toast Casserole with Blueberries and Cream Cheese, or this delectable Tiramisu French Toast!  Both were made with this Gluten Free Millet Bread!

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Tomato Bean Soup with Chicken Sausage

Making soup is one of my favorite ways to clear the pantry.  This wonderful fall soup is a great example of what you can put together from little bits of this and that from your pantry and freezer.  I had a cup of dry beans, some frozen chicken sausage along with the fresh roasted tomato sauce that I made earlier (in case you missed that post, catch it here).  Of course you can use a can of fire roasted tomatoes and canned beans, but don’t shy away from cooking beans from scratch, it’s easy and they are a healthy and nutritious addition to winter meals.  Just follow my step by step instructions!

4-6 servings

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Ingredients:

Preparation:

I had a cup of dry beans in the pantry left over from another recipe, a mix of Borlotti and Great Northern.  You can use whatever beans you prefer (see notes).  Soak the beans overnight in cold water.

In the morning, the beans will have almost doubled in size.  Drain and rinse them, and return to the pot.  Cover with cold water and add 2 bay leaves.  Simmer 2 hours on low heat.

Notice that I started with cold water.  One of the secrets to tender beans is to cook them slowly and gently.  The heat is on very low the entire time, so the water comes to temperature slowly.  When it does reach a boil, I keep it on a very low simmer.  Also note that I did not add salt.  Salt toughens the beans, so we only add it during the final hour of cooking.

After a 2 hour simmer, drain the beans and discard the bay leaves.  Wipe the pot clean to remove all moisture and add one tbsp. olive oil.

To kick up the flavor in this soup, I added 2 chicken sausage links from my freezer pantry, one hot and one mild.  You can use pork sausage, ham or whatever protein you prefer, just be sure it’s gluten free.  Dice the sausage into 1/2″ pieces and cook until any liquid has evaporated and the meat is nicely browned.  Pardon the shaky photo but you get the idea!

Remove the sausage, cover and set it aside until the soup has finished.  Leave any fat and browned bits in the pot and add another tbsp. olive oil.  Add all of the veggies and season with salt and pepper.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Now add back the beans, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, sage and thyme.  Cover and simmer (keep the heat very low) for 1 more hour.

To finish the soup, stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional but I like the spicy kick) and return the sausage to the pot to heat through.

Ladle into bowls, garnish with fresh chives and serve with grated cheese.

We really enjoyed this soup, even though it was quite warm this first weekend of autumn!  I’ll be sharing more of my favorite soup recipes in the coming weeks, and I hope you will come by again to see what’s cooking in my Cucina!

Notes ♪♫  Beans are a naturally gluten free food.  However, be wary of the mixed bean packages as some contain barley.  I always rinse my beans thoroughly to limit risk of any cross contact during processing.

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Roasted Tomato Sauce

Last weekend I was gifted a bag of garden tomatoes.  They were a mix of  different colors, shapes and sizes.  Some were perfect, others had blemishes.  They sat on the counter for a few days while I decided what to do with them.

I’ve read several articles about roasting tomatoes for sauce, but have never tried it myself.  I must admit that I prefer the convenience of canned tomatoes, but with this bowl of fresh garden tomatoes in front of me I was inspired to give it a try.

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The preparation was simple.  I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and rubbed it with olive oil.  I cut the tomatoes into 3/4″ slices and placed them skin side up on the oiled baking sheet.  I drizzled them with a little more olive oil, added a few garlic cloves and sprinkled with gluten free Italian seasoning.  I roasted the tomatoes for 2-1/2 hours at 250º.

When I removed the tomatoes from the oven, the skins were split and blistered.  I used tongs to gently lift off the skins and discarded them. I also removed the garlic.

Then I picked up the corners of the parchment and poured the tomatoes and juice into a sauce pot.

I used a stick blender to puree the tomatoes into a smooth sauce.

The kitchen was filled with the aroma of roasted tomatoes and garlic!  As you can see, the sauce is orange in color.  Quite different from the red canned sauce that we usually purchase.

My tomatoes yielded just under 2 cups of sauce.  It really gives you an appreciation of how many tomatoes are needed to fill a large sauce can.

So now my roasted tomato sauce is in the refrigerator waiting to become part of another meal (check it out here)!

Notes ♪♫ Canned tomatoes are one of the few processed foods that I indulge in.  My mother always used Hunts Sauce and I prefer it to this day, maybe because of the memories it brings.  Muir Glen is another favorite brand, especially their Fire Roasted Tomatoes which by the way are a fine stand-in for this very recipe!

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Maple Sorghum Cereal Flakes

When I first had to go gluten free, one of my biggest disappointments was breakfast.  I have always enjoyed whole grain wheat cereals, so I was shocked to find that gluten free cereals did not measure up.  Many are made with refined flours and are full of sugar, kid stuff!

I want an adult cereal with great flavor, texture and fiber.  So, after 2 years of choking down sugary cardboard flakes I decided to try making my own.  Why not?  I began by thinking about my favorite cereals “BC” (before Celiac!).  What did I like about them?  Not too sweet, great chew, whole grains and seeds.  I started brainstorming grain combinations that I thought would be tasty and got to work.

 

The result, my first homemade, from scratch gluten free cereal!  I tasted the crunchy flakes and thought, this is what I’ve been missing.  My husband gave them a thumbs up as well, and we could hardly wait for breakfast.  I wondered if the flakes would get soggy but no, they stayed crispy in milk as well as any of the box brands.

Now I can hear you groaning, you make your own cereal, really? Let’s be honest friends, this wasn’t hard to do.  Making the dough was simple.  Spreading it out in a thin layer took some patience but I got through it quickly.  The oven did the rest.

Seriously, you have got to try this!

Yield 9 oz. – about 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 114 g. Sorghum flour
  • 57 g. Brown rice flour
  • 14 g. Teff grain, ground
  • 13 g. Flax seeds, ground
  • 29 g. Almond flour
  • 30 g. Cassava flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Canola oil
  • 1-1/3 cups water

Preparation:

I chose sorghum as the predominant grain because I love it in my bread baking, along with brown rice.  Teff has always reminded me of cereal.  It has a strong taste that can easily overpower a recipe, but I knew that a little would add a wheaty note to the flavor profile.  I ground the Teff grain and flax seeds in a coffee grinder.

To make the dough, I first whisked together the dry ingredients.  Then I added the maple syrup and canola oil to the bowl of my stand mixer, and began combining with the flour mixture using the paddle attachment.  I added water, 1 tbsp. at a time until I had a wet dough, like pancake batter.  In all I used 21 tbsp. of water, about 1-1/3 cups.

I lined 2 large baking sheets with parchment and divided the dough between the 2 sheets.  I then used a wet spatula to spread the dough out into a very thin layer.  Start in the middle and spread the dough outward to the edges of the parchment.

I baked it for 45 minutes at 300 degrees, rotating the pans and alternating oven racks every 15 minutes.  When I removed the pans from the oven, I let them cool for 5 minutes.  The sheets of dough were already cracking in places and it was easy to finish breaking them into flakes with my hands.

For the last step I spread the flakes out and put them back into the oven, lowering the temperature to 250 degrees.  I baked the flakes for another 10 minutes to get them completely dried out and crispy.

When the flakes are completely cooled, store in an airtight container.  I’m not sure how long they would last, we ate them in 3 days.

Not only did my homemade flakes taste great but I’ve saved so much money by making them at home.  I may give up on store bought cereal all together.  Please do try the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments!  I love hearing from you!

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Potato Chips

Crispy potato chips, hot out of the oven!  Better and tastier than store bought, with no preservatives and you control the salt content.  Only 3 ingredients – potatoes, seasoned salt and cooking spray.  Kid friendly, and even picky eaters will love them!

Potatoes are a mainstay of the gluten free diet, especially when dining out.  For me, homemade potato chips are a welcome break from the usual baked or mashed that I get at a restaurant.  I sliced the potatoes paper thin on a mandoline, but you can also do this with a good kitchen knife.  Potatoes can be peeled or not, I like mine with the skins on for extra texture.

2 – 3 servings

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large russet potato
  • cooking spray
  • salt or seasoned salt (I like Lawry’s)

Preparation:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and mist with cooking spray.   Slice the potato paper thin using a knife or mandoline.

Spread the slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.  If you are doubling the recipe, do not crowd the pan.  Use 2 baking sheets.

Mist the tops with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with seasoned salt.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425º, rotating the pan halfway through.  Check them after 15 minutes.

You can make them as soft or as crunchy as you like, just keep an eye that they don’t burn.  I think this batch is perfect, the chips are just starting to blister, and the edges are starting to curl.

Notes ♪♫ I prefer to bake potato chips on parchment paper.  Be aware that the chips baked on foil will brown much faster than with parchment, so check frequently that they don’t burn!

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