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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mmmmm Gluten-free and Low-Carb Muffins!


UPDATE:  I no longer use the bake mixes below.  Look for my Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix.  :)

I made batch after batch of muffins and my conclusion is still the same.  I like this recipe below.  The coconut flour I used, Aloha Nu, is from a small company and is not always reliable as far as having the stock available at Netrition.  However, Bob's Red Mill Coconut flour seems to be the favored one in the low-carb community.  I personally have not tried it in this recipe yet (still have plenty of coconut flour on hand), but I'm sure it will be fine.

I made a regular banana loaf with this bake mix.  I live in the tropics and buy a crate of bananas a week to feed the beautiful, colorful birds.  They were handy and I was using my son as a taste-tester and banana loaf is his favorite (so that's my excuse).  I have to tell you Daniel is not one for muffins made with regular white flour.  He doesn't like them.  However, he really really liked this bake mix in the muffins, loaf and cookies I made.  It just so happened that a friend gave Ian some banana loaf while he was visiting their home.  Of course, it was made with white flour and sugar.  Ian brought some home and comparing the two and even after they were both refrigerated, my banana loaf was much nicer - everyone in the family agreed!  So, basically, although not perfect, this bake mix can produce muffins, loaves and cookies that are comparable or better than high-carb equivalents.  I have not tried this bake mix in cakes, but I assume it would make a dense, moist type of cake.  Cakes can also be made solely with nut flours and egg whites for leavening for fluffier textures. 

To be perfectly honest, I cannot eat more than two muffins with this bake mix a day without tummy issues.  This bake mix is self-limiting for me and perhaps that is a good thing. Baked goodies should be a treat and not something we eat every single day.  Freeze the rest or share with friends for tea.  However, I know many people enjoy recipes with much more coconut flour and other fiber in them without problems.  Certainly my sons had no problems and especially my younger son ate so much of my baking in one day, I was worried, but he was fine.

Compare the ingredients in these muffins to regular muffins with white flour and sugar and you'll notice they are healthy ingredients comparatively speaking.

Ultimate Gluten-Free Bake Mix:
1 1/2 cups ground almonds or almond flour
1 cup certified gluten-free oat flour
2 tbsp sifted coconut flour, OR 1/4 cup golden flax meal (with flax use 1 tsp Xanthan gum)
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan gum

Yield:  2 1/2 cups, 10 servings, 1/4 cup servings:
126.2 calories; 4.7 g protein; 8.0 g fat; 6.4 g carbs (5.9 g carbs with flax meal)

To see how to use this bake mix and for conclusions, click here

Re Ultimate Gluten-free Bake Mix with flax meal:  Keep in mind that wet/liquid ingredients may have to be decreased by 1/4 to 1/2 cup.  When replacing flour cup-for-cup in regular recipes with this gluten-free low-carb bake mix, add 1/4 cup extra bake mix.

FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE MY SPLENDID LOW-CARB BAKE MIX OR THE VITAL ULTIMATE BAKE MIXES - they may be substituted for any of the gluten-free bake mixes cup-for-cup, keeping in mind that liquid requirements may occasionally be slightly different, but not usually.

This Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix came to me after prayer as I was stumped after trying to remove the coconut flour completely from the Ultimate Gluten-Free Bake Mix.


Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix: (batter made with this mix tastes wonderful, however, I am abandoning it - too many problems with it)
1 2/3 cups ground almonds or almond flour
3/4 cup certified gluten-free oat flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp Xanthan gum

Yield:  2 1/2 cups, 10 servings, 1/4 cup servings:
125.8 calories; 4.5 g protein; 8.5 g fat; 6.3 g carbs


Advantages of these two bake mixes:

1)  They may be used interchangeably in recipes, although I will only mention the bake mix that I use to test a particular recipe.

2)  Substitute 1/4 cup extra bake mix when substituting for white flour.  This usually means the same amount of liquid/wet ingredients in the recipe will be required or 1/4 cup less (rarely) or 1/4 cup more depending on the recipe.  Therefore, always start by withholding 1/4 cup liquid/wet ingredients and adding in as necessary.  Process the batter 1/2 min to a minute and it should thicken up. 

3)  More bake mix options so that people can pick and choose what suits their budget and lifestyles, likes and fiber sensitivities best.

4)  The baking is lovely and moist with a soft crumb.

5)  The Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix has an incredible taste - yum!  


Disadvantages:

1)  The baking rises well, but then sinks overall ever so slightly upon cooling with these two bake mixes.  This is due to the fact, in my opinion, that the bake mixes absorb plenty of moisture - too much for the actual structure of the delicate bake mixes.  The Coconut Flour Gluten-free bake mix and the Flax Gluten-free bake mix (flax option above) will not have this problem.

2) Some folks might taste the Xanthan gum a bit in the Ultimate Gluten-free Bake Mix (I don't) and some folks might actually react to the increased Xanthan gum or even the coconut flour with tummy issues.  There are 2 other alternatives to try - guar gum and pre-gel starch.  I'm thinking the latter sounds interesting.  This bake mix is a bit more robust than the Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix, also tastes incredible and produces lovely, moist baked goodies with a soft crumb.

3)  I wish I could have provided the absolute perfect, bullet-proof Gluten-free and low-carb bake mix, but alas I am not a miracle worker with the few ingredients I had to work with - only so many computations and configurations possible!  As it is I came by the Splendid Gluten-free Bake Mix after praying about it as I was stumped before that.  I wanted to eliminate coconut flour for individuals who can't come by it easily or who are reactive to it due to the fiber content.  This bake mix uses very ordinary ingredients, except maybe for the certified gluten-free oat flour that some people may have to source on the internet.  See my post about it.

Conclusions and weight loss observation:  After all those muffins, cookies and banana loaf, I didn't gain any weight, in fact, I lost a pound.  I ate less regular food than normal but I was adding a ton of calories in baked goodies.  I did some research on Xanthan gum and found this interesting article.

This is what caught my eye under the observations in man:

"The authors concluded that Xanthan gum can affect a slow but significant weight loss in individuals with varying degrees of overweight!"

Woohoo, looks like we can have our oat flour in this bake mix and eat it too and lose weight!  Bonus!

That said, if you don't like Xanthan gum, you can try guar gum or pre-gel starch apparently; they also have gluten-like properties for gluten-free baking which prevents crumbly, dry results.  I'm not familiar with the latter suggestion.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where is the muffin recipe?

Jennifer said...

I was really speaking about the bake mix trials, but since you asked so nicely I'll post it soon.

Jessica said...

Hi!

I would really like to try your bake mix! Wondering though if you thought there might be a substitute for the oat flour? My daughter has celiac and is sensitive to even the certified gluten free oats. We eat both low carb and gluten free as my husband fares really well with type 1 diabetes when we eat this way. I am always on the hunt for low carb gluten free recipes to add variety. Thanks for all that you do!!!
Jessica

Jennifer said...

I think, Jessica, you would know better than I would which gluten-free flour you like. However, have you heard of peanut flour? I'm not sure how that would work, to be honest, so you'd have to experiment. I think rice flour would be something to consider? Of course, the carbs would be higher. Then there is millet flour and it is lower carb or buckwheat flour, but both of these may have a strong taste.

It is unusual to not be able to handle certified gluten-free oat flour, as apparently there is no gluten in oat flour. The only danger was always that the oat flour gets processed in a facility where wheat products are also processed and cross-contamination can occur. Am I wrong about this?

Thank you for your kind words, Jessica. Sometimes I wonder who is appreciating all my hard work. My blog is not exactly hopping with comments as you know.

Jessica said...

Hi! Thanks for your reply. I will try peanut flour. I do have some actually. Maybe I can blend it with millet or something. And yes, you are right about the oats. Although her doctor mentioned that some people with Celiac's cannot tolerate even the GF oats for some reason. I am not sure if she can or not, but she had trouble once and is reluctant to eat them again.

It has been trying to find both low carb and gluten free recipes to satisfy everyone here, so you and Lauren over at Healthy Indulgences are VERY much appreciated here!

Jennifer said...

I think you are wise to mix the peanut flour with another flour - perhaps a little more in favor of the other flour so that you get more of the properties of actual flour. I have no experience with those flours we are talking about.

Thanks. I'm not sure where Lauren is these days. I think she must be busy with her studies. I emailed her but got no response.

Jennifer said...

Jessica, you know I was thinking about you just now. I really think you need to use a real flour in place of the oat flour, or else you may be very disappointed. Peanut flour is a nut flour and will not have real flour properties. Sorry about that. I hope you see this note.

Janet said...

Jennifer,
Your work is very much appreciated!
I see a lot of positive comments on the LCF threads.
It must be a tremendous amount of work and money to try new recipes until you get them just right.
Your family are really lucky to get to be the "taste-testers"!
I am also very sensitive to fiber and a bit to gluten.
I mix up a batch of the Splendid bake mix and 2 of the GF bake mixes and mix it all together in a large container. I use this for cakes, cookies, muffins,etc.
I can't do flax at all so I appreciate that I can sub coconut flour for the flax.
Thanks again for your hard work and for sharing with all of us!!

Jennifer said...

Janet, I think you have a good insight into what goes on behind the scenes as you sound like you're pretty good at baking too. What a clever idea you had! Wish I could use that one. Sounds good. I need to make it completely gluten-free and also need to make sure the fiber is not too much. It's been really difficult, especially when I realized I had to abandon the flax meal for us personally. I think I'm going to have to use a little coconut flour. Thank you for writing. I appreciate it.