Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour… My Quest for the Holy Grail!

This post goes hand in hand with my last one, A Bakers Dilema

Since eating Paleo for quite some time, and especially since going gluten free, I miss baking for myself!!!!  I love the paleo recipes that I have found online, but sometimes I want to have a grain cheat without consuming gluten… Since I just can’t anymore.  It’s not pretty.

So I’m on the hunt for a good gluten free substitute.  But I have a list of requirements that this flour must meet.

1. Organic or pretty darn close

2. NON GMO.  This is more important to me sometimes than organic

3. Corn FREE would be nice since I seem to develop a rash now when I eat corn

4. Soy fre would also be nice, but as long as it’s non GMO soy, i’ll make an exception

5. It must taste AWESOME!!!!!  A lot of rice flour blends seem to taste a bit gritty for me.  And I don’t want any funky aftertastes either!!!!!  If i’m going to have a grain cheat, it had better be worth it!!!!

Do any of you bakers have any suggestions?  Have you found the “Holy Grail” of gluten free baking?

I’d also really like to have a gluten free option to offer my customers that is a nice, healthy alternative to the garbage in most gluten free cakes.

Do any of you make your own flour mix?  I’d be totally open to trying it out.  I would really like to have something perfected by my daughter’s birthday in July.

A Bakers Dilema

A few notes before I get to what I want to talk about….

FIRST… It’s official!!!  I’m a certified Dr. Sears L.E.A.N. Health Coach!!!!!  Stay tuned for a listing of local classes as well as online classes!!!  Special discounts on my first class!!!  I’m so excited!  And i’m so proud of myself.  In 3 weeks I will be certified in the L.E.A.N. Expectations course which focuses on pregnancy and newborns and 3 weeks from then I will be certified in Prime Time Health which focuses on adults.  I can’t wait to get started!!!!

Next… These past few weeks have been an incredible journey of health and self discovery.  While on a Disney vacation (which was totally awesome), I had a lot of food choices to make.  Paleo went right out the window, but I did stay gluten free.  Not even by choice, but by necessity.  About a month back (I don’t think I blogged about it because I was too damn busy with the class and my daughter and life…) I accidentally consumed gluten.  My chiropractor recommended a product to me (Greens First) and I gave it a shot.  It said “Gluten Free” right on the label, so I didn’t think I had anything to worry about.  Well, within minutes of drinking it, I was sick.  I was in agony.  For 3 days this went on until I finally read the FULL ingredient list.  BARLEY!!!!!!  The product was tested for WHEAT ONLY!!!!  I called the company and they then told me that barley did NOT contain gluten.  I told them they were a lawsuit waiting to happen.  I got my money back from my doctor and that was that.  I’m officially gluten intolerant.  (I also found out the hard way that i’m corn intolerant, but i’ll save that for a rainy day).

So, while on vacation I made a lot of bad choices.  I ate gluten free bread that i’m sure was loaded with GMO corn and soy, gluten free brownies that also listed corn and soy as an ingredient, and questionable meats that i’m sure weren’t organic.  It went against soooooo much of what I believe and what I strive for in my everyday life.  It was also too easy to fall into it.  But upon returning home, my senses have thankfully returned as well.  I had my fill of garbage and i’m on the road to recovery.

And now… for my topic of the day….

A Bakers Dilema.

If you know me… you know I bake.  A lot.  For profit.  And I love it.

I took a break for a while due to a broken oven (which is still broken, but i’m using my moms temporarily).  But I had an order to fill that I booked a year ago.  ONE whole year ago.  I really didn’t want to cancel it, but the thought of using ingredients filled with GMOs like my old beloved High Ratio Shortening and cornstarch for rolling out GMO filled fondant… it just sat wrong with me.  I stive so hard to find and use the best ingredients.  The best vanilla beans, the best cocoa powder… so why would I settle for anything less.

The problem is that up until a few months ago, I knew nothing about genetically modified foods and what they could potentially do to our bodies.  I only knew that it tasted good.

Now that I am a little wiser and a little bit further along in my journey to health… I have come to a decision.  I’m going organic.  It’s a HUGE decision to make and it took a lot of thought and consideration.  By going only organic I run the risk of losing a lot of very good customers who may not be able to afford my cakes anymore.  And while that saddens me deeply since I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without them, I just can’t knowingly serve garbage.  My customers deserve the very best and I am always striving to bring it to them.

I also plan to work on some gluten free cakes as well as grain free.  All GMO free of course.

To kick it off… I will be taking part in the Relay For Life baking contest on June 22nd in Brooklyn, NY (Bay Ridge) and I will be baking up an ORGANIC chocolate cake with an ORGANIC salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream.  Keeping my fingers crossed for first place!!!!  But i’ll settle for placing at all!  🙂

Until next time… Happy and healthy eating!

And if you want to check out my cakes… https://www.facebook.com/DessertsByLaurenNYC

or http://www.DessertsByLauren.com

A Very Paleo Birthday

Today I turned 33. Yikes! And to celebrate, I did a lot of cleaning and prepping and even some baking. Tomorrow my mom is cooking me a completely paleo dinner! I can’t wait! I found recipes for paleo coconut shrimp, paleo chicken francaise, paleo stuffed mushrooms, and even a paleo chocolate cake, which I just baked! Tomorrow morning I have to make some sort of frosting for it.

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I’ve been 33 for a whole day… not sure yet how I feel about this.  :/

Ok, a new day…. and what a day it was!!!!!  I feel old.  But here’s what was on the menu!!!!

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Everything was organic except the blue cheese!

Top left, mushrooms stuffed with spinach, bacon and blue cheese, then coconut shrimp and chicken francaise coated with millet flour (a grain cheat, but it worked well and at least it’s gluten free and organic)

Next row… roasted asparagus, roasted broccoli, and green cauliflower risotto (my favorite!)

And my paleo cake……

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It looked great.  It smelled awesome while it baked.  It didn’t rise much, but I didn’t really expect it to.  The batter was incredible too.  In really liked the cake.  It had a very fudgy texture.  Almost like a super thick pudding.  And the only sweetener in it was a cup of dates and 1/2 cup honey.  Total winner!

The frosting…. yea… not so much.

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I’m a baker.  I expect buttercream to be light and fluffy and melt on my tongue.  This had none of those qualities.  Well, it was pretty light, but not in a fluffy way.  I can’t really explain it.  I wanted to make a buttercream that I was used to, so I decided to go a little off paleo and use Swerve Sweetener powdered “sugar”.  It’s supposed to be just as sweet as sugar.  This was super sweet!  I followed my regular recipe… a cup of unsalted grass fed butter, 4 cups powdered “sugar” and a tsp. vanilla.  I tinted it with some beet juice because my daughter wanted a pink cake.

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I looked pretty… at first.

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But the frosting was just too sweet to eat.  I just kept playing with it, disappointed that I wasted so much precious butter on it.

But that’s ok… we had these to fall back on!  And a few others too, but these were the best!

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This was a breakdown of my birthday yesterday.  I woke up nice and late to find these beautiful flowers waiting for me from my babies!  Had a bit of a hectic day and then celebrated by going out to Arirangs for dinner.

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My meat eating daughter ate ALL her steak!  With her chopsticks!  Not to mention all her cucumbers, some salad, a whole shrimp, and a few raisins that we brought with us!  Not too shabby for a 2 year old!

Other than the few bites of fried rice, I think it was a pretty successful meal.  I don’t even want to know what kind of oil they use because i’m sure it was probably GMO… i’ll just take comfort in the fact that we avoided gluten and had a really great night out.

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So Happy Birthday to me!!!!!  My daughter’s birthday isn’t until July, so I have lots of time to figure out a new frosting idea.  I’ll probably do a meringue based buttercream since I’m used to making Swiss meringue.

If you’re interested in seeing some of my non-healthy cake creations… please do!