This month’s Gluten-Free Ratio Rally is being hosted by Silvana over at Silvana’s Kitchen, go there to see all the other great recipes created for this rally!
Baking by ratio is using specific proportions of flour:liquid:egg:fat so we can easily turn out consistent gluten free baked goods that also do not require any of the odd-named gums found so frequently in gluten free baking and elsewhere. This month’s “ratio rally” is quick breads or muffins and the universal ratio for them is 2 parts flour, 2 parts liquid, 1 part egg and 1 part fat. 2:2:1:1 for the mathematician in me.
I have been reading about baking by weight of ingredients on The Gluten Free Girl & The Chef. It made a lot of sense to me, but I had not broken down and tried it myself.
Why? Habit, laziness, fear, intimidation, unfamiliarity with the new, comfort with what I know, or a combination for the above…? So when this ratio rally was proposed I thought, hey why not join and see what’s with this ‘newfangled’ way of baking… if I was a complete dud no one would know. I had always associated weighing my ingredients with professional chefs and culinary schools. But I am not a professional chef and I am not taking classes at a culinary school!
So here I am. With fear and trembling, mixing spoon in hand and my scale at the ready. I mean really, there are some “big names” involved with this ratio rally thing. They have cookbooks in bookstores, on Amazon and everything. Some of those cookbooks are on my cookbook shelf in my simple kitchen!
Oh my what am I doing here… [gulp]…
How do I go about ‘creating’ a recipe? I have never done anything like that in my life!! OK, to be honest I did. Once. It was not pretty… or edible. Follow a recipe, that I can do. But make my up own?? So like my writing I let it all bubble in my head and prayed for creativity from the Lord.
I had the skin of two lemons left over from the lemon sorbet I made the previous week. I needed to use them, ah I could do something with lemon zest! I really like lemons zest. It is such a bright, fresh scent and flavor.
I even used to wear a lemon scented perfume as a young woman… um… in the 70′s. Yes the 1970′s. Yes, that makes me… old. I do like it here in my early 50′s. I wish I could remember the name of that perfume… the memory is the first thing to go, I forget what
goes after that…
But lemon muffins? That seems so ordinary. I wanted something a little different. Then I thought of pairing the lemons zest with the lavender buds I have. I really like lavender. Hm, I am liking this!! Off to bake my first batch to see what tweaking the recipe might need. Or would I need to go back to the ‘drawing board’??
What flours would I use? Well, I have this bag of millet flour that I only have a little bit left of, let’s start with that. And I have a 25 pound bag of brown rice flour & a 50 pound bag of sweet rice flour so I KNOW I will use them. Part of the prepping thing, buy in bulk and save money in the long run. What else, oh, I like sorghum flour and I have been trying to use coconut flour for its high fiber and detoxing qualities. I knew I didn’t want to use too much coconut flour as it tends to make everything so dry and have that stuck to your throat quality.
Flours – check.
What could I use for the liquid? Well I could use the kefirs I have been playing with or make a ‘buttermilk’ out of the coconut milk beverage. I made three different batches. Mostly to tweak the spicing and moistness of the finished muffin. One batch I used the coconut milk beverage “buttermilk”. Another batch I used cashew milk kefir. The last batch I used almond milk with a splash of orange juice. They all turned out well.
Baking by ratio and weighing my ingredients is surprisingly easy. Yes easy! On top of that I only have to dirty the bowl I mix in and the measuring cup for the liquids. I could have even dispensed with a separate container for the liquids, but wanted to play it safe. No wide array of dirty measuring cups. Clean up was such a breeze! A major plus for me.
I can also see additional benefits when making muffins. My stoneware muffin pan holds 12 muffins. I could easily halve the measurements of all the ingredients and make 2 different flavors in one baking. If I mixed the eggs together and weighed them each out into four equal portions (very easy with a scale!) I could make 4 different flavors of muffins in one baking. Or 3 flavors. Ah the possibilities!!
Lemon Lavender Muffins with Lavender Sugar – the ratio way
from the kitchen of ~Mrs. R at Honey From Flinty Rocks
1 ½ oz brown rice flour
2 oz sorghum flour
2 ½ oz millet flour
½ oz coconut flour
1 ½ oz sweet rice flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ of a ripe banana
6 oz coconut milk beverage
2 oz orange juice
4 oz grapeseed oil
½ cup raw honey
½ teaspoon lemon flavoring
2 large, pastured organic eggs
1 teaspoon organic lavender buds
zest from one organic lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan.
Weigh out the coconut milk beverage, orange juice and grapeseed oil into another bowl or 4 cup measuring cup. Add the honey, lemon flavoring and eggs. Stir together. Add the lavender buds and lemon zest and set aside.
Weigh out each of the flours into a mixing bowl, add the baking powder and whisk together. Push the dry ingredients to one side of the bowl. Mash the ½ banana with a fork against the side of the mixing bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir to combine completely and so there are no banana lumps remaining.
Fill muffin cups 2/3rds full. Sprinkle with lavender sugar made with 1/8 cup course sugar and ½ – 1 teaspoon lavender buds.
Bake for 30 minutes. They are done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let muffins rest in the pan for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from pan and eat.
Store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for a couple of days. Or in the freezer.
Makes 12 muffins.
[I didn't have time to go to the store today and pick up the coarse sugar, so I used what I had, but the final presentation would have been better with the course sugar as it doesn't melt when subjected to heat.]
I like muffins. With the right ingredients they are healthy. They travel well. Are tasty. Freeze well. Make a great addition to the Patriarch’s lunch. And a tasty, healthy treat for Arrow and me at tea time.
Shh, don’t tell them that I consider these muffins to be “nutrient-packed, muffin-shaped vitamins”. It’ll be our secret… ok?
A big thank you to my church family who is my ready-made tester group. Many of whom are gluten free. Thank you to Mrs. L who ate 4; Mrs. N who is not gluten free yet ate 1 and took some home; Mr & Mrs OB gluten free caterers and extraordinary cooks and bakers who’s judgment & candor is so appreciated. Special thanks to the lovely young ladies Miss P and Miss Y. Coarse Lavender Sugar Topping, brilliant. A truly terrific finishing touch. Your culinary expertise helps raise my simple muffin above the kitchen counter and into the tea room!