I've been very reluctant to bake GFCF bread because I've made "regular" bread years ago and although it wasn't THAT difficult it was more time consuming than I wanted and messy at times too. I also didn't have a bread maker and decided it would be much easier if I had one. However, I'm tired of buying loaves of bread that aren't that great tasting, and at $5 loaf how can I not at least try?

After baking the bread I realized that NOBODY should avoid baking their own GFCF bread if at all possible. I don't know how a bread maker could make this any easier unless it can get the ingredients out of the fridge for you. I need to find someone that has a bread maker (and bakes GFCF breads in it) and see how different the prep and end results are.

Thank you Gluten Free Cooking School for this great recipe. I have experimented and made a slight change or two. As I've said before, I'm amazed at how much more I'm willing to experiment and not freak out if I don't have the EXACT same ingredients as called for in the recipe and learned that I can add things too.

1 Tbsp active dry yeast (1 packet is fine and make sure it's gluten-free. Fleischmann's is.)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups water (105 degrees or a little less than hot)

2 1/2 cups GF all-purpose flour mix (blend of your choice)
2 Tbsp GF ground flaxseed meal (optional)
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt

2 eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cider vinegar

Before I start gathering ingredients I turn my water faucet to hot. I have found that the hottest temperature my faucet spits out is a great temperature for the yeast. I did measure the temp the first time I made it but since my hot water already comes out the right temp it saves me from having to temp it each time. After you have gathered all your ingredients combine the yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Don't use a cereal-sized bowl or it might overflow as the yeast grows. (Ask me how I know that!) Add the water gently while whisking the yeast and sugar. Let this mixture rest while you mix the rest of the ingredients. If your yeast is good you will see bubbles and foam form on top. The first loaves I made were from packets I had in my pantry for almost a year. They hadn't yet expired but when I ran out and purchased a new jar of yeast there was a SIGNIFICANT difference in how it proofed (resting/growing period).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour mix, xanthan gum, and salt and stir well. You can also add ground flax seed meal if you like. Besides the nutritional value, I think it adds pretty flecks of color to the bread. You can sift or use a whisk. I prefer the whisk! In a 3rd bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, and vinegar until the eggs are well mixed. It will appear a bit frothy.

By this time the yeast mixture should be pretty foamy and ready to use. Add the yeast mixture and the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until all the ingredients are well mixed. At this time you can scoop the dough into your bread machine and bake on the 80 minute setting. (I haven't used a bread machine so I don't know how well this step works but I'm sure it's lovely!)

Side view of bowl. You can see how much foam there is while proofing the yeast.

View from top of yeast. The "foam" almost appears like a thick batter

If you don't have a bread machine you can grease a
loaf pan with shortening,  ghee, or your favorite allergen-free butter substitute. Scoop the dough into the loaf pan and smooth out with a spoon. I like to get a little tough with the bread and push it down into all the corners of the loaf pan before smoothing it out. I have had times where a pocket on the side of the loaf didn't rise well. You can see the pocket in the lower right-hand corner of the pan. With good fresh yeast, this really isn't a problem but if you are concerned about the age of your yeast go ahead and fill in the corners. Older yeast within expiration (and possibly shortly after expiration) will still rise but it might not be as effective. Cover the bread loaf with a damp towel and let it rise for 45-60 minutes until loaf has doubled in size or reaches the top of the pan. It is not necessary to place on top of a warm surface like a warmed oven or on top of the refrigerator/freezer where it can get a little warm on top. I have set it on my counter and let it rise with no problems.

After the dough has risen, bake in a 375 degree oven (preheating is not necessary) for 60 minutes. When the bread is done it will have a crisp brown crust and it will pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the oven. You can remove from the pan immediately or let it cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. You may need to use a butter knife around the edges and be careful not to cut into the loaf of bread. It's very easy to cut into your loaf where you don't want to. I like to wait about 5-10 minutes and then let it cool a little longer before slicing into it with a large serrated knife. I usually slice it up and then store in a freezer bag for later use. You may want to date it so if you store more than one loaf in the freezer you will use the freshest loaf first. I have found that if you slice it while it's still warm, it can get difficult as you get towards the warmer center part of the loaf. It's usually a little sticky feeling when it's warm from the oven. My loaves always seem to be a little dark so I think I fear it will burn and pull it out around the 45-50 minute mark so it's possile it's not completely baked and may explain the stickiness but it has never affected the texture of the bread when eating. Also, I try not to waste too much in general, so the crumbs left over from slicing the bread go into my bread crumb container that I use for chicken nuggets or for breading other foods.

When I remove a loaf from the freezer I keep it in the refrigerator for storage. I don't know how long it would take for the bread to go bad because it's usually consumed in 2-3 days which is probably about right. The bread will feel a little dry when you take it out of the fridge - not like "regular" bread. I put the bread on a paper towel and heat on defrost or medium low for about 30 seconds and then turn over and do the same thing. That will take the cold off the bread and soften it up a bit.

The bread is great for sandwiches, toast, french toast, breadcrumbs and whatever else you'd like to try. I hope that baking bread is a little easier for you now and that you will enjoy it! My 12 year old son said this bread was waaaay better than any bread we have ever bought and my 6 year old daughter who isn't on a special diet loves the bread. I love how it makes our home smell too!
This is one of my favorites to make. I used to buy Ian's chicken nuggets which were perfectly acceptable and my son liked them but I hated paying $6-$7 for them. I could usually break one box into 2 meals but I had heard it was super easy to make your own so I finally gave it a shot. I haven't perfected it yet but it's pretty good.

1 cup Nutty Rice cereal (or any of your favorite cereals)
1 pack Hol-Grain rice crackersd (or any of your favorite GFCF crackers)
1 cup mashed potato flakes
1 cup crushed potato chips or corn flake crumbs for extra crunch (optional)
spice to your liking with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika
oil for frying

Cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces. I usually stock up on chicken tenderloins because it's often sold at the same price as the boneless skinless chicken breasts and it is less time consuming to cut. It's also great if you want to make chicken fingers because it's already cut for you!  Add about 1/2" of oil to a skillet and heat on medium high. I don't recommend olive oil as it has a tendency to smoke at high heat and burns easily. I have used it in a pinch or sometimes I mix olive oil and canola oil, but generally I use canola. I think peanut oil would also be good but I haven't tried that yet. While the oil is heating mix 2 eggs in a bowl. I prefer to idp my chicken in just egg, but experiment by adding a tablespoon or less of milk or water to the eggs. Crush remaining dry ingredients together in a food processor or in a Ziploc bag. Crush it to the consistency of your liking. It doesn't have to be fine and powdery unless you want it that way. I love making these because it is so forgiving in what you add to the breading. You can even try other herbs and spices that you may like such as rosemary and thyme or for an Indian flavor you could try curry powder and cumin, or for a Mexican flavor try chili powder or taco seasoning mix - so many choices to make! I was thinking about trying to marinate the meat in a sauce of some kind in advance but haven't tried that yet.

You will want to coat your chicken in the eggs and then into the breading and then to the skillet. Some people like to coat their chicken in a bag while others like to use a plate or bowl. I never feel like the chicken is fully covered when using a bag and I end up having to recoat it with my fingers anyway so I don't often use a bag system. Set up your workstation to your liking.

By the time you have all the other prep work complete (don't forget your tongs) your oil should be ready. You can check the temp with a thermometer (about 350 is good) or just take your chances. Keep an eye on your oil during prep time to make sure that it isn't burning. Often you will see the oil start swirling around itself which is a good indicator too. Dip your chicken into the egg, and then coat with breading, and place the nuggets or tenders in the hot oil (please don't burn yourself - use the tongs and be careful). Heat for about 2-3 minutes and flip when golden brown. Heat other side for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Carefully remove the nuggets from the oil with the tongs and place on a plate lined with paper towels. I usually make a whole package of tenderloins at once because they can easily be frozen and reheated. Store in single serving sized bags or all in one bag if you prefer. Date and label the bag. Do not freeze until cooled to prevent ice crystals from forming from the steam of the hot chicken.

I had a little left over breading and was planning to make pork chops for dinner so I tried to bread them as well...not the healthiest but it could still be yummy. These pork chops were about 3/4"-1" thick so I was a little worried that it wouldn't cook all the way through and if I allowed it to cook all the way through they would burn. I was right. This would work better for smaller 1/2" thick chops. So, as not to waste them, I put them in the oven and baked them. The ones that were strictly baked and not fried, then baked, tasted better and the breading was less likely to fall off or stick to the pan when turning over during cooking.
We are 3 months into our biomedical treatment. We started this journey because we wanted to reduce and/or eliminate the medications that my son is ingesting. He has been taking medicines for ADHD and other stuff since he was 5. There were times we were changing his meds on a monthly basis, either adding or deleting one, or increasing or decreasing the dosages. He is mostly controlled and able to function with the aid of his meds but I hate not knowing what the chemicals could be doing to him long term.

We visited Dr. Kalb in Cool Springs over the weekend to review our first lab tests that were done. The urine and stool samples were collected at home and FedEx'd to Great Plains Laboratory for review. We discovered through the lab results that he seems to have problems digesting the casomorphines or milk proteins, but the gluten proteins don't seem to be bothering him so that's good. He also seemed to have an elevated yeast count. We discussed any improvements that he had been having - more awareness of the world and relevancy of topics being discussed. We explained that he didn't have his ADHD meds one weekend and we were relatively surprised at how well he did. There have been times in the last year that he didn't have his ADHD meds and it was CRAZY! But this most recent time he wasn't bouncing off the walls. He wasn't able to focus on things for very long - even the computer and video games that he could spend hours playing if I let him. Of course he eats much more when he's not using his ADHD meds but given it's a stimulant, it's easy to understand why. His school hasn't reported anything unusual or concerning. His stools seemed to have improved moderately. Despite these observed "improvements", we weren't certain if it was due to the diet or other environmental factors such as a new school, new state of residence, new home  - not to mention he's gettting older.

Due to the milk intolerance we were advised to continue with the GFCFSF diet an additional 3 months before we start introducing glutens back into his diet. He said we could try introducing soy into his diet experimentally to see if he reacts and that we can expect a reaction to take place the same day. Soy has been our greatest challenge! We also discussed what our goals were for Kaleb so he had suggested that we start him on pycnogenal which is water extract from maritime pine bark grown in France. This will be slowly introduced while slowly removing his ADHD meds to see how this improves his focus. Krill oil was suggested to help with focus and concentration. Because he had higher levels of yeast than normal it was suggested that he take probiotics (Innate-Flora) and an anti-fungal (Nystatin) to help reduce the levels of yeast.

So we sent 3 more bottles of meds/supplements to school with him since he's in a residential school. I'm sure they love us! I'm anxious to see how his first week went at school with these meds. This weekend we'll start the Nystatin and increase the Pycnogenal while cutting his Daytrana patch in half. Of course I just refilled a 90-day script for the Daytrana, but fortunately I've met my deductible for the year so I didn't have to pay for it. I heard that some hospitals have a drug recycling program where they can take unused prescription drugs and help others that can't afford prescription drugs. I hope that if this supplement works I can find someway to help someone that would like the Daytrana or any of the other meds I may not need in the future.
Today I was making meals for my son for school. Taco meat, meatloaf, and pork BBQ - all of which I will share the recipes for at a later time. I was pretty impressed with the flavor of the meatloaf given that the only seasonings were garlic, onion, and worcesershire sauce. My father-in-law (practically!) tasted a bite of it and was surprised when I told him it was ground turkey instead of ground beef. A friend of mine shared this recipe with me. This recipe will make 3 loaves of meatloaf (great for freezing!) but if you half it, beware that you will end up with one very large meatloaf unless you like to form it ON a pan instead of IN the loaf pan.

(approximately 15 - 8oz servings)

4 cups cooked rice (any rice you prefer)
4 lbs raw ground meat (beef or turkey)
3 raw eggs
1-2 cups cubed onion (depending on preference)
6 cloves minced garlic
4 Tbs worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrin's is gluten-free)

Combine all ingredients, except ketchup, into a large bowl and mix until all ingredients are equally blended. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty, but take off your rings. Place the meat mixture into 3 slightly greased bread loaf pans. (I prefer ghee.) I recommend putting the full loaf pans on a flat cookie sheet to catch any possible grease overflow during baking. Cook at 375 degrees for about an hour or until core temp is 165 degrees. Then drain the grease and lightly layer the loaf with ketchup and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes. I wanted my loaves to look darker so I actually flipped it out upside down onto a shallow cookie sheet and coated the "bottom" of the loaf with ketchup. Some people prefer a sauce of ketchup and brown sugar. I saw someone who pressed the brown sugar into the bottom of the pan and put ketchup on top of that followed by the meat mixture. Meatloaf allows so many variations like adding salsa, green peppers, or carrots - make it your own!

I kept two portions for my son - one for this week and one for a later week. What you see is what was left!
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I'm still working on the Special Diets for Special Kids book by Lisa Lewis and I'm trying to make in advance a bunch of various recipes with the ingredients I have on hand. If I keep making baked goods I'm bound to run out of all my specialty flours before I planned to, which means a trip out of town or an online order is due. This morning I made Tropical Muffins. After I mixed everything it had a very thick consistency almost like drop biscuits. I ran through the ingredient list to make sure I did everything right - 3 times - and found no error or mention in the recipe that it should be so thick. I know some flours absorb differently than others but this is the Hagman GF flour mix that I've used in various other recipes. I added a little less than 1/4 cup extra water but that didn't make a difference and I didn't want to interfere too much with the liquid/dry formula until I saw how these turned out and make changes for a future batch. I've never made drop biscuits (that I can think of) but I could easily see myself dropping this onto a pan and forming into a meatloaf-like bread. I contemplated it but decided to make drop biscuits if I had any leftover dough/"batter." I filled the muffin tins about 2/3 full and then dropped the rest into a pan to see how they turned out.

I read somewhere that gluten-free baking is an unforgiving art because everything has to be so precise. Actually, baking in general is unforgiving compared to cooking because of the precise chemistry at play. However, the more I make gluten-free breads I think it IS pretty forgiving. Or maybe I'm just more forgiving as I've become accustomed to bread with different flavors, textures, even shapes than what I'm used to.

They actually were pretty tasty. Not a normal quick-bread density, much more like a bread so it was a lot to chew in a bite for what I was expecting. The orange extract is not overpowering as I expected it would however I don't really taste much of the coconut flavor I was hoping for, but the grittiness that most coconut-haters complain about was present. I wasn't sure if it was the coconut or granulated sugar. I experimented with dry fruit instead of raisins and I didn't like the chewy texture of the fruit. I will definitely try raisins or chocolate chips next time. Despite the issues I had with these muffins, they were pretty good. These muffins are hearty enough you could have them as an on-the-go breakfast with some juice or milk.

Tropical Muffins
(yield approx 12 muffins)

2 cups gluten-free flour (any flour or combination of flours - I used the Betty Hagman flour blend - see below)
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips (or chopped dried fruit. I used 3 individual serving bags of Welch's dried fruit snacks)
3 Tablespoon dry milk substitute (I used DariFree vanilla)
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut (unsweetened with no sulfites if available)
1 1/2 teaspoon orange extract (if using orange oil use 1-2 drops as it's more concentrated than the extract)

Directions: In a medium sized bowl mix the dry ingredients. Stir in the coconut and chips or fruit. In a smaller bowl whisk together the water, oil, egg, and orange flavor until light. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir together just until moistened and blended together. Dont' over beat - a few lumps are ok. (Mine was super thick at this point.) Grease or spray a 12 muffin tin and fill each 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5-10 minutes then remove muffins and let cool on wire rack. These can be easily frozen and take out one at a time or thawed in the refrigerator or counter overnight.

I would love to hear your experiences with this recipe. I might experiment with other flour mixes to see if another mixture works better.

*Bette Hagman GF flour blend
2 parts rice flour (I think I used brown rice flour)
2/3 parts potato starch (aka potato starch flour)
1/3 part tapioca starch (aka tapioca flour)

For ease in measuring, my "parts" were cups so this made 3 cups but I find that I use most of it whenever I bake something and have to remeasure and add to it almost every time I bake. I suggest making a larger batch of this mix or one of these other flour mixes and storing in a plastic bag or container in your refrigerator or freezer.
These banana muffins are also rice free ( for those on a rotation diet) and soy free. I found this recipe in Lisa Lewis's book Special Diets for for Special Kids. The texture was very smooth and moist. They were a lighter color than I'm used to but I don't think I would have wanted to cook them any longer for fear of them drying out, but I will experiment with that at a later time. At first I thought they were a little bit sticky when I bit into them but after I let them sit about 15 more minutes they were fine. They are oh so yummy!

Banana Muffins
(yield 12 muffins)

1 banana mashed
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil (I used olive oil but use your preferred oil)
1/3 cup milk substitute or water
1/2 cup quinoa flour (I didn't have quinoa flour so I used brown rice flour instead)
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup potato starch flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup raisins or nuts (optional - I found that an individual serving size box is approximately 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil your muffin tin. I used ghee but you could use cocoa butter or any liquid oil. Keep in mind that the fats in butters tend to make the edges that touch the pan darker than if you just used oil or a spray oil. (I don't use spray oils because most of them have soy in them and we are sensitive to soy.)

As with all quick bread recipes you mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in a different bowl. Make a well in middle of the dry ingredients and add the liquid. Mix just until moistened. The less you stir, the better your bread consistency will be. Too much stirring will cause tunnels and holes in your bread.

Fill muffin tins about 1/2 full and bake about 15 minutes. If you insert a toothpick into the middle of a muffin there should be no wet batter on the toothpick. Take out of oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and enjoy warm or let cool. These will freeze well and can be sent to school for special "unplanned" events. Of course they are good for snacks or lunch box treats too!
Today I learned the value of the egg when baking. I was preparing a package of Trader Joe's Gluten Free Brownie Baking Mix (which is pretty easy to make under normal circumstances.) You just take the mix, add an egg, 1/2 cup of oil (or applesauce), and 1/4 cup water. I mixed the ingredients but wasn't happy with the texture. It was kinda crumbly and dry like nothing really dissolved but got wet. I looked at the directions to make sure I added the right amount of additional ingredients - check. I added another 1/4 cup water. Still not right. I check the directions again to see if it uses the word "spread" or "press" into the pan. It says to spread the batter but I don't really think I can "spread" it but maybe it will be okay once baked. I know! I'll add some chocolate chips to help the liquid amount in the mix better equalize. I don't remember it being this weird the last time I made it but it had been a while so maybe I just forgot. I again try to reassure myself that it will be okay once baked. This is after all a gluten-free dairy-free soy-free recipe and they do often look different before baking.

I press it flat with my hands into the 8x8 pan and put it in the oven and hope for the best. As I'm cleaning up my area I notice - the egg!! Shoot! I forgot the egg. I quickly stop the timer pull the pan out and thankfully only 2 minutes have gone by so I should be able to add the egg with no problem. Voila! It NOW looks like brownie batter and the only thing to have really "cooked" were the chocolate chips, and only partly.

The brownies were delicious and more moist than the last time I made them. I'm guessing it's the extra water I added.