Adventures in Gluten Free Cooking (and Eating)

Oatmeal Yeast Rolls

Just out of the Oven

These posts will be out of date order for a long time. I apologize. I’ve been writing them on pieces of paper, as I cook and I just did NOT have the hang of blogging for so long.. or was too exhausted to sit down and write. So, please, be patient with me.

I’m going to be using this blog as my recipe holder/cookbook. I’m happy if you’d like to do the same. All the recipes will have credits where needed ~except where I really don’t know where I got it in the first place. Many of the recipes I’ve used over 30 years will be here, redone for the gluten free diet. However, I will be very honest about whether it’s my recipe or not. I guarantee that the conversion to gluten free status will be of my own devising… except of course where it’s not. 😀 On to the rolls!

This recipe was written on a card I filled out in the ’70s and probably came from a magazine like McCall’s. (I used to LOVE that magazine. In fact, it was McCall’s and their Buy a Pack of Recipe Cards A Month program that taught me to cook well in the first place! I still use those cards to this day.)

From the time I turned 19, I decided to make my own bread. First loaf was a doorstop. (isn’t everyone’s?) I spent most of my life making my own bread, so I have lots of recipes that I couldn’t eat any more when I had the realization that bread was killing me. That was a sad, sad day.

I’ve made many GF breads from recipes from all the major cookbooks in the field. Sorry, all, but they just dont’ have the texture, crust, happiness that my bread always had. Talk about major disappointment!

However, I grew accustomed to no more sandwiches.. sadly.

Wandering the web one day, like we all do nowadays, I found an ad for a different (well, to me it was) GF flour  mix. On to their site I went. (http://www.betterbatter.org) Made an error in my order. Called to correct it. Met a very nice lady who I assumed (incorrectly) was the order taker person. Turns out it was the Owner. Doh! Color me a bit embarrassed!

We talked. She was very much on the same page with me with my disappointments with my GF cooking experiences. She cancelled my order and kindly sent me a generous sample of their mix to ‘bake with as I like’, gratis!

It arrived when I was out of town. Aaagh!

And then I was sick when I got home. This meant that bag of flour was sitting on my table, talking to me, telling me what it wanted to be… daily. I recovered and made a bread I hadn’t made in at least 20 yrs.

And it was wonderful… I cried. I did.

Thanks for reading my story; now for the recipe itself and pictures! I made this recipe on Sept. 1st.  

1 tablespoon yeast

3/4 cup lukewarm water (115 deg)

1-1/2 cup scalded milk

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup cooked oatmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Oatmeal. It was freshly cooked and a bit loose)

4-1/2 cups of Better Batter Flour Mix, sifted before measuring

Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water. Pour milk over the shortening, sugar, and salt; stir occasionally, till shortening melts; cool to lukewarm. Stir in oatmeal and 1 cup of flour mix. Add yeast and rest of flour mix. Using a wet spatula, in the bowl you just used (I have a stand mixer), push down the flour mix, and dome the top of it. Cover and let rise in a proofing oven. (I start my oven, and let it get to about 150; turn it off, and leaving the oven door half open, I put the bowl right in there.. make sure it’s not too hot! Don’t want to bake the bread mix at this point!) Let rise for 50 minutes to 1 hr. It should be almost double. Though double is good too.

Stir batter down; cover again and let it rest about 10 minutes.

Using a silpat mat (these things are something you HAVE TO HAVE if you’re cooking GF, btw), flour with more of the Better Batter mix. You’ll be working some of it into the sticky batter you’ve got going while you shape your rolls. (I ended up adding about 3/4 to 1 cup of extra flour mix.) I didn’t do the usual bread making, make a long snake and cut into same size pieces. I was too excited. 😀 But I dumped some onto the silpat with the spatula, cut off a chunk about palm size, comfortable to my hand (I have medium size hands) and rolled them around, like ‘real’ bakers do, picking up flour all the time. The batter is rather soft, but not too delicate, working gently into a very nice rounded shape. As seen below, I was a bit too gentle with it at first; you can see they aren’t as nicely rounded as the second group.

First batch

Second batch

I placed the rolls on shortening greased baking sheets, and let rise again about 40 minutes until probably about double. I began preheating my oven at 30 minutes of rise time.

I then baked them in a 400 degree oven, 20 minutes. I cooled about 10 minutes before performing the ‘pull test’, you know, where you pull the bread apart to see how it does? It passed. Yippee! Rolls were a little on the soft side, nice crust but not overdone, and had a good flavor. I should have gotten 30 rolls, but because I made them rather haphazardly, I got 23.

On Sept 3rd, bread is now in the third day, kept out at room temperature; pull test is still good, though not quite as nice as first day and the rolls are a little on the dry side. However, even wheat based bread would fit that description at that age! We lightly warmed them up in the microwave, and they were just fine as sandwiches, again.

First batch out of oven- LOOKS GREAT doesn't it??

Nice internal texture is evident

Made a small 'slider' ham sandwich immediately!

Update: as I write this, it’s the evening of the 9th of Sept. Today, a friend visited, one who should always be GF and I know she cheats 😉 so I try to encourage staying on the diet with her. I had 3 of these rolls left over; put one in the microwave for about 25 seconds, pulled it out and demonstrated it to her.. “See?” I say as I gently palpate the roll, “It’s delicate and soft!”.. Her eyes go up in surprise and she reaches out to touch it.. We prepare some tuna salad, as she’s tearing that first roll apart, just eating it from her hands.. “Nice flavor!” she says, as I sit another roll in front of her with some tuna salad.. it’s very quiet while we eat our tuna rolls. And very satisfying. How many times have we eaten a sandwich in disappointment???

Btw, these rolls were never frozen, and were refrigerated only the day before, for one night total. And please note that though I got the flour mix free, I don’t ever lie about a product; I don’t even stretch the truth out. If it doesn’t work for me, I’m honest about saying so.

The Story of How I Got to Be Gluten Free, Part I

I’ve been gluten free now since Feb 2007. It started as a ‘detox’ diet.. got rid of most everything, then added a little in the second month, then added a little more on the third. During this detox diet, which we were both on, James lost 35 lbs, and I lost 15. (To be fair, for the 3 months we did the detox diet, I was recovering from foot surgery on the ligaments of my right foot, so I was in a cast to my knee for 4 months. And per the doctor, I was in bed most of the time, with my foot elevated above my head.

The diet was called The Two-Edged Sword Diet, by Dr. Brice E. Vickery. (You can read his own promotional material on his site by clicking on the link above.) The diet was pretty much the Adkins Diet, with a few changes, which I’d lived on in my first marriage (he had body issues.) The Two-Edged Sword Diet worked pretty well for what it was supposed to do. We took his supplements (which I still prefer over many others, even now!), and followed the diet pretty rigidly. James was cooking during this time, since I was bedridden, so he’d feed me when I asked, just not WHAT I asked. 😀 And was quite the Diet Nazi. I did feel starved a lot of the time. Greens and meat can only go so far! I got pudding though, and jello, for snacks, when allowed.

It was in the third month, when we began to add in small amounts of gluten-ridden products that the problem surfaced. I became sick. Sicker than I’d been in a long time. Also, James experienced unexplained anger and irritation. (I’m sure I did too.) We read up, did the food elimination thing, and found out that we were responding to gluten. (He’d get mad; I’d get instant diarrhea.)

So, we did the smart thing.

We went off gluten.

I bought some cookbooks. (LOL I now have 35 of them.) Failed a lot in the beginning at cooking this way. Thought about it rationally. Still didn’t work well. Gluten free products on the shelves in the stores tasted miserably similar to playdoh, without the palatable salt. Found out the good products and stuck to them. Used box mixes, which went entirely against my grain as a life-long scratch cook. Dreamed about REAL bread and REAL cookies and REAL pasta, all things I normally eat very little of. (Addiction? It’s been proven that Gluten Cravings are a REAL addiction.) See: http://glutenfreesimplicity.wordpress.com/tag/gluten-cravings/ , http://thecravingscoach.com/blog/gluten-wheat-intolerance-transcript/ , http://www.sott.net/articles/show/128348-Food+Cravings,+Obesity+and+Gluten+Consumption , for some opinions on that. Eventually, I’ll find an article more ‘official’ and post that here.

Back to cookbooks: I didn’t like the long ingredient lists of most recipes, nor the whiteness of all the ingredients. Not much fiber. Not much taste. Not many vitamins. Not much of anything good at all. But there were lots of calories, oh my yes.

By this time, I thought I’d cleaned up my kitchen of gluten. But I’d get sick after eating something I KNEW was safe. Then realized the pot I cooked the pasta in, you know my ‘regular’ pasta pot? Gluten had worked its way into the non-stick coating. Then I looked at all my pans. And my colanders. And my wooden spoons. And, god, my flour sifter………

And the toaster. And the butter and margarine: dip a knife in it and put it on the toast; repeat. You’ve just contaminated the spread. Entire container.

I became paranoid about eating at friends’ homes. Here’s a  true story:

Our good friend Jack, who we saw infrequently because of his traveling schedules, invited us to Comedy Club and dinner at his place. He insisted on cooking. We discussed the problems, tried to talk him out of it, but he’d not have it. He insisted he could do it. So, we went…

When we arrived, his stir-fry was being prepared, and we (I) kept him gluten free. After all, most natural foods, non-processed foods, in the world are gluten free. (Did you know that? It’s a fact!) Veggies come with no gluten attached. So does meat. We even walked down to the neighborhood Whole Foods to get a gluten free soy sauce. (Soy sauce is not soy. Were you aware of that? Nope, it’s fermented wheat berries.) While there, I found this loaf of gluten free Sun Dried Tomato bread that Whole Foods makes; it looked awesome! (It was. :D)

So, cooking right along, all ingredients safe and yes, I asked, and he’d scrubbed the wok into submission. Food was almost ready.

Jack’s a beer drinker. I didn’t mention that, did I? Yup, a big one. And yes, he was drinking one……. and yes, all of a sudden, out of who knows where, Jack said “I’m adding a little beer… Everything’s better with beer in it.” as he poured half a bottle into the previously gluten free SAFE dinner. Beer, for those of you who don’t know, is made of hops, sure, but the main ingredient? WHEAT. Fermented. Again.

So, my nice safe dinner just became poisonous. We were flabbergasted. Floored. And speechless.

I’m sure our mouths were open, as in ‘jaw on the floor’ because Jack looked at us and said “What?”

I ended up eating frozen veggies, heated up of course, and my nice new bread, toasted in his oven. (Since we knew the toaster wasn’t safe.)

I had to comfort poor Jack. And he didn’t cook for us again. But we still joke about that comment: “..everything’s better with beer in it.”

One Response to “Adventures in Gluten Free Cooking (and Eating)”

  1. Pam McVay Says:

    Hi Meran! I’m going to try these rolls really soon. It’s so nice of you to share. Thank you.

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