Friday, February 1, 2013

Adding Gluten to Gluten Free Flours

Two things, "right off the bat"--
--this post is inspired by my lovely friend Ashley who is ironically both gluten and peanut free
--this post was supposed to be a 'morning musing' but that was days ago and now it is 9:45pm

The other day, I was making pancakes for breakfast.  My children officially eat so much that I have to make a triple batch to keep up with them.  It was already getting kind of late-- 7:45ish and we were just whipping up the batter.  I poured the milk and eggs and maple syrup and peanut butter (we were being creative that morning) and everything else to make my usual triple batch of pancakes into the bowl.  And then, I opened the bucket of flour. I immediately started improvising, because there was only just over two cups of flour and I needed a full three.  I could tell just by looking we were going to be short. I opened my cabinet to see what I was going to do.

I did not want to have to grind flour. I have been pretty good about sprouting it recently, but the thing is, I let the last batch go too long and then the little tails are too long to just grind up happily in my grinder-- first I have to put them in the food processor!   I did NOT want to have to go through three extra steps for less than a cup of flour.  Ok, well, I can use the rest of the corn meal.  That was about 1/3 cup. I needed at least another 1/3 cup to make these pancakes work.  Then I spied the millet flour I had made for Baby John.  Yes, it was perfect.  Just the right amount. I mixed up the batter and poured the first round.

Right away, I could tell these were not going to be my fluffy regular happy pancakes.  They needed some rise. This always happens when I substitute whacky flours in my pancakes.  What could I do? Then I thought of a conversation I had with my friend Ashely-- only days before.

"What does xanthan gum DO in gluten free baking, anyway?"
"It adds the rise so your cookies don't turn out all gross."
(well, that was close to how it went down, anyway)

I thought, I used some gluten free flours, but I don't have any xanthan gum.... what can I do? add more flour? I wonder .... can I add gluten?!?

I added about 2 TBS gluten to my pancakes.  It mostly worked.  They were not so dense and wet after I added gluten as before I added it.

My conclusion?  Adding gluten to gluten free flours to help it rise works in a pinch.  For pancakes.  I have not tried this with other baking. So don't yell at me if you try it and it doesn't work.

My second conclusion? Must obtain xanthan gum for emergencies or gluten free friends.

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