See that baguette? It’s gluten-free, of course.
I shouldn’t say of course. You know we wouldn’t post a photo of food that contained gluten on this site. Still, you probably wouldn’t guess this is a gluten-free baguette. Look at those air holes. That crust. That bread is pliable and soft in the crumb and crisp on the outside. It’s a baguette.
And the recipe for this baguette — the recipe we have worked on for 8 years now — might be yours soon. It will be in the PDF of 10 recipes reserved exclusively for supporters of our Kickstarter. Everyone who pledges $25 or above will be receiving this PDF. How about a great gluten-free baguette for the new year?
Of course, if you’d like to learn how to make that baguette, plus sourdough bread, great pie crust, and any other gluen-free baked good of your choice, there are a few pledges that might interest you.
Tickets to the gluten-free Thanksgiving baking class ($250) we ran last week have all been snapped up. There was so much interest that we’re adding a December holiday baking class, for a pledge of $250. (That gets you two tickets!) It will be in Seattle this time, at our favorite bookstore/teaching space, Book Larder. We’ll be offering the class the evening of December 2nd, at 6:30 pm. You’ll learn how to make this baguette for holiday party appetizers, plus pie! And other delightful goods. If you pledge to Kickstarter soon, you could be part of this exclusive baking class.
If you’d like to gather a group of friends together, and come to our kitchen studio on a 12-acre farm on Vashon, then we have a $1000 pledge on the Kickstarter. That sounds like a lot, but if 10 people go in together, that’s only $100 a piece. There are only 4 of these pledges left for the in-person class. You could also do it virtually, if you live outside of Seattle.
Of course, if you want us to bake for you, there are a few options left.
We have the holiday gift basket for $250: copies of all three of our books, the 10 recipes exclusive to the Kickstarter, and a tin of gluten-free biscotti. There is only one left!
And if you are feeling concerned about a gluten-free Thanksgiving, let us make your pumpkin pie. This is a limited offer for only 10 people. We’ll make your gluten-free (and dairy-free, if you need it) pumpkin pie. Pickup will be on Vashon and in Seattle.
Folks, we’re doing all of this to help you bake. It’s our first and most important goal. Help us help you by pledging to the Kickstarter today.
p.s. Look again. That’s a gluten-free baguette. And it’s easy to make. You want this recipe.
Remember this gluten-free sourdough bread I showed you the other day? The one from our upcoming cookbook, American Classics Reinvented?
If you help fully fund our Kickstarter to bring the Gluten-Free Girl Flour Blends to market, you can make this sourdough bread yourself, with our grain-free flour blend.
We really love the grain-free flour blend we’ve developed. We think you will too.
About two years ago, I started hearing from a few readers, asking for help. More requests arrived in my inbox, then more. These gluten-free folks had discovered, through various means, that their health improved if they avoided all grains, not just gluten. Some of them did better without all those easy sources of carbohydrates. Others felt the inflammation plaguing them still remaining after giving up gluten seemed to disappear when they gave up grains. Some had started committing to the Paleo diet and saw a big shift in their health and well-being. Others suffered from Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis and found their guts just couldn’t take whole grains anymore.
And they all asked us the same question: “Can you help us come up with a grain-free flour blend for baking? We trust your recipes. I know if you make it, this flour blend would work.”
While we felt a little overwhelmed by the requests, we listened. Danny and I both do this work to help as many people as we can. How could we not want to help?
Over time, as we began playing with different nut flours and starches, we had some frustrating baking attempts. But we kept playing — and how lucky we feel that this is our job, to combine different flours and bake banana bread until we love it —we found a blend we loved.
Almond flour, buckwheat flour, and arrowroot starch. It’s a magic combination. It’s also utterly delicious.
To our surprise, the grain-free blend we developed over time has become a flour blend we love. We use this grain-free flour blend as much as we use our all-purpose blend. In fact, we use it more often.
This is our family’s flour now.
We’d like to make it your family’s flour as well.
Years ago, we developed a whole-grain flour blend we liked very much. Tired of all the white flour dominating the gluten-free food world, we wanted a more wholesome flour, something with a little heft and depth. (Before I found out I had celiac, I liked sourdough bread from bakeries I trusted and baking with whole-wheat flour.) We ended up with a blend that was almost all whole grain with some starches. (Even the more wholesome flour needs a little starch to keep from making baked goods that weigh as much as lead.)
When we started developing the grain-free blend, it took us awhile, but we realized that the grain-free blend worked best with the formula we developed for the whole-grain blend (or something close to it). When we began thinking of the grain-free blend as just another flour blend, instead of something meant to be all protein or no carbs or something “healthy,” (which is often code word for “not very good, but at least you feel virtuous when you eat it!”), we found the flour blend we loved.
It turns out that our whole-grain blend and this grain-free blend are pretty darned similar. They’re both wholesome and hearty, warm and a little nutty. They’re both great for everyday baked goods like muffins and quick breads, breakfast bars and mostly for breads. We make sandwich bread with this grain-free blend, as well as dinner rolls and bagels. With all that protein in there, this grain-free blend makes great gluten-free breads.
The only difference between our whole-grain blend and this grain-free blend is that the grain-free blend works for more people.
If you can’t or don’t want to eat grains, this is the blend for you.
There are plenty of people who bake with only almond flour and I understand why. It’s high in protein and great fats. (We love Elana’s Pantry, for example. Elana always does great work.) But for me, baked goods with only almond flour sometimes left me unsatisfied. They’re a little dense, a little too filled with fats, not light or flaky. And having spent years thinking about the ratios of flours to fats to make something fluffy, I knew I wanted to bake with more than simply almond flour.
Almond flour is high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and has a delicious flavor. Also, the flavor is familiar. That’s important for gluten-free baking. Since most of us have grown up with only wheat flour in our baked goods, we actually miss the taste of wheat along with the ease of it. Having a taste that’s familiar, like almonds, in a baked good, makes those baked goods more easily delicious.
Plus, almond flour has been used in baking for centuries. I love this Julia Child chocolate almond cake from Mastering the Art of French Baking, for example. I’ve made with a blend of our All-Purpose Flour and our Grain-Free Flour, subbing them in by weight. It was wonderful.
Almond flour was in.
And then there’s buckwheat.
Danny always teases me that I get crushes on gluten-free flours. Buckwheat is my quiet, enduring love.
Let’s start with the name, which confuses people. Buckwheat is not wheat, folks. It’s not related to wheat at all. It’s not even a member of the grasses family, like wheat, rye, corn, barley, and rice. It’s not a grain.
I’ll let Stephen Guyenet, one of my favorite food science writers (he has a PhD in neurobiology from the University of Washington) offer this explanation from his site, Whole Health Source:
“Buckwheat isn’t a grain: it’s a ‘pseudograin’ that comes from a broad-leaved plant. As such, it’s not related to wheat and contains no allergenic gluten. Like quinoa, it has some unusual properties that make it a particularly nutritious food. It’s about 16 percent protein by calories, ranking it among the highest protein grains. However, it has an advantage over grains: it contains complete protein, meaning it has a balance of essential amino acids similar to animal foods. Buckwheat is also an exceptional source of magnesium and copper, two important nutrients that may influence the risk of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease.”
Many people have told me anecdotally that buckwheat doesn’t seem to give them sugar spikes. And I have talked to a number of naturopaths and dietitians who say that they have many gluten-free patients who don’t do well with grains, but those same patients seem to thrive on buckwheat.
These are some of the reasons we included buckwheat in our flour blend.
But here’s the real reason. Buckwheat is amazing in baked goods.
Buckwheat has some of the same properties as wheat. It’s full of protein (it’s higher in protein than wheat, actually), has a wholesome taste, and plays well with other flours. On top of that, buckwheat has this quality, this oomph, in baking. It almost melts with the other flours, cinches them in, and creates great structure in baked goods. Dare I say it? It acts a little like a gluten flour. But there’s no gluten in buckwheat.
Now, there’s one caveat. For the best grain-free baked goods, you have to use raw buckwheat flour. You might think that buckwheat is dark in color and bitter in taste. That’s toasted buckwheat flour. Almost all buckwheat flour sold in the United States is toasted buckwheat flour. The toasting makes the flour darker and the taste more intense. Raw buckwheat flour is far more neutral in taste than toasted buckwheat. It tastes a little like wheat. It’s nutty and warm and really wonderful.
I love buckwheat.
To make light buckwheat flour, you can grind raw buckwheat groats in a flour mill or a strong blender. We have for years. But we know that most folks don’t want to grind fresh flour to bake.
We’ve saved you that time by finding the best source for light buckwheat flour and putting it in our grain-free blend.
We completed our grain-free blend with arrowroot starch. I love potato starch, which is in our All-Purpose Flour Blend. But we’ve heard from people who can’t tolerate potatoes or nightshade at all. So we wanted to use arrowroot, which is neutral in taste and a great thickener. It plays well with almond and buckwheat flour.
So let’s recap. This grain-free blend is meant for those of you who cannot eat grains. It’s wholesome and hearty, like a whole-grain blend. It’s delicious. And it’s also meant for those of you who cannot tolerate rice, potatoes, or corn.
(That up there? It’s a “cornbread” made with our grain-free blend. It doesn’t have the same taste as cornbread but it has the same texture. And oh is it good for sopping up beef stew or tomato soup.
Really, it’s an amazing flour blend.
And on special occasions, sometimes, you still want pie.
This is a sweet potato pie made with our grain-free blend, coconut milk and honey. We’ll be having this pie for Thanksgiving this year. You could be having it in your home next year, if our Kickstarter is fully funded by October 30th!
Please help us bring this extraordinary flour blend to the market. This is no other grain-free flour blend on the market.
Please help us. And then we’ll help you bake, grain-free.