Dear Readers and Subscribers,
I am delighted to present another guest review post from the author of pepsfreefromkitchen.wordpress.com one of my favourite blogs with original and unique recipes you will never find anywhere else. One of the common ideas that appears in many culinary blogs and review publications, dedicated to gluten free or especially grain free baking, is that nothing delicious can be baked with acceptable texture using single flour. Add to that the necessity to exclude any starches and gums, and the task becomes practically impossible to achieve. At least this view is often brought to our attention, which severely restricts imagination. But there are individuals that dare to step in and contradict this common view and prove that in free from baking clever use of unique qualities of each individual flour can be used in simple, reliable, and what is most important, delicious recipes. I am most grateful to the author of this publication, the champion in my view of single flour gluten free baking with the most diverse list of single flour recipes under his belt, that he accepted the offer to write this review with direct links to the several chosen recipes. More recipes can be found in the blog here.
This is the third invited review, and I used the same approach, as in the previous one, baking one of the recipes myself. This time it was quinoa biscuits with very simple preparation, fast baking and absolutely delightful taste, not overly sweet, with pleasant quinoa flavour, crunchy crust with cute cracks, and soft crumbly texture, nice in both warm and rested cookies.
Enjoy the review and be inspired.
I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to write another post on a topic I’ve learned quite a bit about since I last wrote about it on this site. It’s one of the pleasure of free-from baking, the fact that there is so much to learn still and in learning we’re enabled to teach others and spur their creativity. For this post I’m going to look at some of my recipes that use quinoa flour, without any additional flours, though a few use flaxseed meal as an additional binding agent, and without any added starches or gums. The basic idea of this post is to highlight the versatility of quinoa flour on its own. I’d like to talk a little about quinoa flour, from my own experiences, rather than reiterating dry facts you’ve certainly heard before.
Quinoa flour is second only to buckwheat in my estimations. It has proved itself useful in ways you’ll see when I get to the recipes. What makes it worthwhile is that it has a unique texture when used correctly. It can be light and airy, even more so than with gluten based flours, this is in part thanks to its sturdiness even when used as the only flour in a recipe, but also because of its absorbent properties. There needs to be a balance in adding liquid and the amount of flour used to get that perfect light and airy quality. Depending on what result is required this can be achieved with the addition of flaxseed meal to help the structure and add even more absorbance, in other cases the addition of vegetable or fruit purees can add additional moisture without creating too runny a batter. To put it simply: Quinoa flour is a very special flour, difficult to use if you’re new to it, but with the recipes below you’ll find yourself with fluffy baked goods, but also loaves with crusts that can crisp with additional toasting. Not bad for just one little seed, is it?
I’ll list a recipe and give a brief summary of it, there will be a more detailed post on the recipe page, but hopefully this guide will help familiarise you with all the options there are with quinoa flour. There are other recipes on the site using a mix of flours, usually buckwheat and quinoa, but to avoid confusion I’ll try to stick to just quinoa flour recipes. One word of warning: If you’re using store bought quinoa flour there can be issues with bitterness, it varies from brand to brand, but if you find yourself with a bitter bag of flour you can toast it yourself, just pop it into a fan oven at 175C until it starts to turn a light golden colour and starts to smell fragrant. You can also make your own and avoid any issues. A short guide can be found here.
Sometimes simplicity is best. As this is served in the mug there is no need for any egg. It’s the perfect way to discover the light and crumbly texture that can be achieved with quinoa flour. As it takes very little flour it’s a very useful way to experiment with quinoa flour. In larger recipes eggs and binders will be required.
A wonder bread. It might sound arrogant, but it took a lot of experience, effort and experimentation to make this loaf. It’s a beautifully textured bread, light, but firm and in no way soggy. It even features a crust, which is very rare in free-from breads like these. It can be toasted to a crisp, fried in butter to very firm crunch and even soaked in egg for French Toast. If you try jut one recipe here consider trying this.
Similar to the bread in that it has a slightly different texture from the usual breads you find in free-from recipes, which vary from too dry to too moist, my own too on occasion meet these criteria. It’s a pleasant balance of moist, but firm. What’s useful here is it shows how much a loaf can have added to it, saving you from using too much flour at once and allowing you to bulk it up and increase its nutritional value.
This really showcases the light crumb that quinoa flour creates. It’s somewhere between a cake and a cookie. In many ways this isn’t very different from a wheat based recipe. There are no tricks here, just clever use of ingredients. You’ll notice that even with a little flour a whole egg is required. Quinoa will need moisture, but moisture alone will cause it to fall apart.
When I mentioned that quinoa flour can make baked goods lighter than some wheat based ones I wasn’t joking. This is just like biting into cotton candy. It’s so light as to be almost in substantial. A very unique recipe. I haven’t yet matched this exact airiness in any other recipe.
A very simple recipe, but it will help you understand the ratios you should be aiming for when making anything with quinoa flour. Simple recipes such as this are amazing for learning about a flours uses, much better than just combing different flours and creating a homogeneous mix.
I think I’ve given you a far bit of food for thought. There are more recipes on the blog, but this cross-section of quinoa flour recipes should give you a great start with this under appreciated flour. I can only do so much by myself, it’s why I love to share these recipes, so that others can take them and make them their own and hopefully gain some understanding and eventually, it does take time, learn to craft their own. As always I’m extremely grateful to Irena for the chance to share what I’ve learned. I’m sure if you look through those recipes you’ll start to see what can be done with quinoa flour and I hope in the future that I’ll be trying your recipes. Thank you for reading this.
I hope this publication will convince you that with motivation, knowledge, dedicated efforts and experience anything is possible to achieve with a single flour, especially with such a gem among pseudo-grains as quinoa.