Sometimes the mistakes lead to great places.
Last week, when we were cooking out of C is for Cooking, I spied a recipe for pumpkin muffins. Remembering a can of pumpkin puree left over from the holidays, shoved in the back of the cupboard, I gathered all the ingredients we’d need.
I love teff flour in muffins and quick breads. Its fine texture brings a lightness to baked goods that gluten cannot provide. You heard me right — some gluten-free baked goods are better than the gluten ones. If you hit the right ratio of flours to fats to eggs to sugar, your muffins and quick breads will disappear the day they are baked.
So I grabbed the teff, the potato starch, the cornstarch, the superfine brown rice flour. (I’m loving this one lately too. More on this later.) I had eggs we bought at the farmers’ market, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder. Everything was ready.
Except, when I reached into the cupboard for the pumpkin, my hands came back empty. I pushed aside the walnuts, the gf crackers, the dried cherries, the Thai rice noodles. Where the heck was that pumpkin?
Not in our kitchen.
Okay. I now had the KitchenAid ready to take a spin and I was missing the main ingredient for these muffins.
Trying to decide what to do, I took a break. Lu and I played in the living room. She crawled through her blue tunnel and came out grinning. She sat all her stuffed animals on the couch and fed them Cheerios. She grabbed books off the shelf for me to read. The irritation of the pumpkin had dissipated.
And then I heard that scratching. Intermittently, Danny and I have noticed this vague scratching sound coming from the kitchen. Bird caught in the oven hood? Every time we walked into the kitchen to hear it, the sound stopped. This time, however, I wanted to know.
So I left Lu with a book and tiptoed into the kitchen, stopping every two quiet sock-padded steps. I reached the stove with the scratching still going. “It sounds like it’s beneath the oven,” I thought, and opened the door beneath it.
A small grey mouse was scurrying on the metal bottom of that drawer. The drawer where I keep the muffin tins.
Yeah, I didn’t make pumpkin muffins.
Instead, I substituted the 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree for 3/4 cup of mashed bananas. (They have different weights, you see.) And I grabbed a loaf pan from the scratching-mouse-sound-free pantry.
And thus, this bread.
Danny and Lu both want me to make it again soon. And since I’m not opening that drawer until we figure out what to do about that now-you-hear-me-now-you-don’t mouse? It’s all quick breads and cakes around here for awhile.
Banana Oatmeal Raisin Bread, adapted from C is for Cooking
I haven’t gone back to see how much these flours are in cups. If you haven’t bought a kitchen scale yet, may I kindly suggest that you do? Baking mishaps like the one I experienced are far easier to handle if you know you just have to tilt some flours into a bowl on that scale. That’s because baking by weight means far more accurate measurements, and thus far more precise batters, and so far more successful baked goods. Seriously? Buy a scale.
But if you want to convert these flours into cups, this conversion table is wonderfully useful.
2 ounces teff flour
2 ounces superfine brown rice flour
2 ounces potato starch
1 1/2 ounces cornstarch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon guar gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 cup uncooked oats (make sure they are certified gluten-free) or 1 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 cup raisins
Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a standard-size loaf pan (9 x 5 x 2 3/4).
Mixing the dry ingredients. Stir the teff flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, and cornstarch together. Sift them into another bowl. Add the xanthan gum, guar gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and ginger. Set aside.
Mixing the wet ingredients. Stir together the sugar and oil until blended. Then, stir in the egg, banana mash, and yogurt until they are blended.
Finishing the dough. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until they are just blended. Stir in the oats and raisins.
Baking the bread. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Slide into the oven and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes (in this kitchen). Put the loaf pan onto a cooling rack and allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes. Pull the bread out of the loaf pan and allow it to cool until you can eat it without burning your mouth.
Makes 1 loaf of bread.