I was out at Bob's Red Mill yesterday to visit their store and do a bit of browsing for more flours. Somehow I managed to leave without the spelt and kamut flours that intrigued me, but I did get some interesting flours. I'm not gluten intolerant like some people, but I like producing excellent foods for anyone, so I decided to experiment with gluten-free quick bread using the quick bread ratio from Michael Ruhlman's book, Ratio.
The basic ratio for quick bread is 2 parts flour, 2 parts liquid, 1 part egg, and 1 part butter. Leavening is also required, of course, and for a sweet bread, some sweetener.
Quick Bread Batter (Sweet)
8 ounces flour
8 ounces liquid
4 ounces egg (2 large eggs)
4 ounces butter, melted
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
Let's start with the baking powder. Assuming there are no extraneous ingredients, it's gluten-free. Hopefully it's also aluminum-free. I chose to make sure by making my own. The ratio for baking powder is 2 parts cream of tartar, 1 part baking soda, and 1 part cornstarch. The cornstarch is an optional addition to keep it dry and non-reactive prior to use. I left it out. If you plan to use a large amount within a short time-period, add the cornstarch and store in an air-tight container.
For the flour, I used 2 ounces of coconut flour and 3 ounces each of brown and white rice flours. Coconut flour is high in fiber and an excellent source of protein, making the bread more healthful. It also adds a bit of sweetness, but doesn't taste coconut-y. I also added a pinch of allspice, some freshly ground nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon of ground Vietnamese cassia (cinnamon). I used ¼ cup of sugar rather than the usual ½ cup because I expected plenty of sweetness from the apple juice and coconut butter I planned to use.
For the liquid, I used 4 ounces of apple juice and 4 ounces of milk. It would have worked just as well to use all apple juice, or any other fruit juice. For that matter, coconut milk would make an excellent substitution if you want to avoid dairy. To the milk and juice I added two large eggs and one very ripe banana and mixed everything thoroughly.
When you're making a quick bread, the general procedure is to whisk the dry ingredients together, then whisk the wet ingredients together, then mix the dry into the wet, adding nuts at that point. If you're working with coconut flour, be very careful to do a thorough job of whisking the dry ingredients together or you'll end up with lumps of coconut flour in the batter.
I poured the dry ingredients into the wet, mixed until the batter formed, then added toasted pecan pieces. The batter went into a buttered loaf pan, then into a pre-heated 350°F/180°C oven to bake for about 40-50 minutes.
About thirty minutes into baking, I took a peek and everything looked fine. That's when I noticed the bowl of melted butter sitting on the counter. Oops! I was supposed to have added melted butter to the liquids, but I forgot. Since this was an experimental quick bread I decided to just let it finish baking.
The texture of the bread is pretty good, although it's a bit more fragile than a similar bread made with wheat flour, and the crumb is finer, probably because of the rice flours. It's also lighter than the last batch of banana bread I made, almost certainly because it's quite low in fat. The only fats in this bread are those found in the eggs and milk. So, here's the recipe for what I made.
Gluten-Free Banana Bread
2 ounces coconut flour
3 ounces white rice flour
3 ounces brown rice flour
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
freshly ground nutmeg to taste
4 ounces apple juice
4 ounces whole milk
4 ounces egg (2 large eggs)
I'm not satisfied yet, which is why this is Round 1. I want to refine this until I have a satisfactory basic quick bread that a gluten-intolerant vegan can love, but that no one else realizes is gluten-free and vegan!