Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Heinz gluten free pasta and sauces

Another major player has brought out a range of gluten free products.  I was sent samples of Heinz's new gluten free macaroni and two pasta sauces to test. For those of you yearning for the instant fix of spaghetti hoops in a tin, this is dry pasta you cook yourself.

The pasta is made from cornflour, potato flour, lupin flour, lupin proteins, emulsifiers (monodiglycerides of fatty acids).

Those of you who have tried gf pastas know they tend to go mushy very quickly.  This pasta retains its shape well and has an 'al dente' texture.  I did wonder whether it would be good for pasta salads, another food I know people miss.  I was also curious whether it would cope with being eaten as left overs or made ahead for picnic/work lunches.  I mixed some mayonnaise into plain pasta and left it in the fridge until the next day to test this.

The pasta still had its shape a day later but the texture was rather too firm to be pleasant.  I have been struggling to think how to describe this, and the closest I can get to is the texture of an uncooked fresh pea that has been left on the plant to grow large and firm.  If this sounds ok to you then go ahead and try this for prepare ahead meals.

The pasta sauces are smooth textured and rather sweet.  I suspect they have been designed around children's taste buds.  I will be buying these, however, for their convenient packaging.  They come in small cartons, so are ideal for taking in the campervan or tucking into odd corners of the kitchen cupboards in small flats.

Overall, well done for adding to customer choice.  Not my favourite dried pasta, but it does mean that there may be a dried gf pasta out there to suit most people.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Osmotolerant yeast for high sugar doughs

Hooray, osmotolerant yeast available in the UK from  Time to start experimenting with sweet yeast breads again.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Waffles for breakfast

I fancied waffles for breakfast rather than our usual american pancakes.  It is almost the same mixture, but I beat the egg white to a stiff froth before stirring it in to the wet mixture.  The hard part about making waffles now is clambering into the roof-space cupboard to get the waffle baker, as the kitchen is too small to store intermittently used kit.

These waffles are light without being insubstantial, crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.  They freeze well so you can make a batch and have a few whenever you want.  If you have a toaster they can just be popped in frozen and come out ready to eat.

100g flour (this is my new mix avoiding corn - 40%urid, 40%tapioca and 20% brown rice flours)
1 tsp baking powder (this ratio of 1 tsp bp to 100g flour is my standard self raising flour)
1 tsp sugar
1 egg, separated
1 tsp oil
120ml rice or other milk

Prepare your waffle baker.  Set to a middle temperature setting.

Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the egg yolk, milk and oil together.

Beat the egg white until stiff.

Fold the egg whites into batter.

Scoop the batter onto the baker, filling from the middle.  I find it better to have waffles that don't quite reach the edge than barge their way messily down the outside of the baker.

I found this mixture made one complete set of four waffles with a little left over.  Cook until golden brown and crisp.  Cool on a baking rack or send straight to plates.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Feedback on my flour mix and a great day

I haven't been blogging much lately.  Life just got a bit too weird and strange for even baking to be a panacea.  I do find that mood translates into cooking, and the few times I baked when I really didn't want to nothing worked.

However, in the mean time, I took a sample of my flour over to an artisan baker that runs a cafe in Bromyard, just west of Worcester.  He thinks with his hands, and I wasn't sure if I would hear what he thought.  He had needed a good pastry for quiches, and also wants some sourdough style bread for the farmers market in Stroud.  I took him enough flour for the pastry, and asked for a sample of the potato starch that makes gluten free breadmaking so much easier to be sent to him by Solanic.

Yesterday he phoned, while I was at my glass course, to say that the flour was great and you couldn't tell the end result from a wheat pastry.  That made me feel much better about all the effort I put into researching the blend.  Now just to hope Shipton Mill will get their new gf facility up and running and make the flour.  I must get on with the books!

So, a great day.  I enjoyed learning to paint on glass - firing the pieces to be leaded next week.  The flour comment was good.  And to top it all, I got to meet Harrison Lees, my brand new grandson, who arrived Thursday afternoon.