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Monday, September 29, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     At this time of year I love to go apple picking.  There are several orchards nearby.  When my son was young we would make a day of it.  At the orchards they set up fun activities for the kids.  You can take a free hayride to the pumpkin patch where everyone searches for the perfect Halloween pumpkin.  The hayride takes you through a path that has been decorated with cartoon characters and Halloween scenes.  At some point during the ride a man in a gorilla suit will jump out of the corn stalks and scare you.  You can pick gourds also and they sell multi colored dried corn and other decorations for the Fall.  
     Next we would go to pick apples.  Of course you eat one right off of the tree as you go picking.  Fresh picked apples are so crisp, juicy and flavorful.  My favorite varieties are the Stayman-Winesap and McIntosh for baking and homemade applesauce; and the Stayman-Winesap and Gala for eating.  I used to (used to is the operative phrase here) make a large batch of apple sauce and can it.  Family and friends would look forward to getting some homemade applesauce and I loved grabbing a jar of homemade apple sauce to have with potato pancakes or roasted chicken.  The apples were so naturally sweet and flavorful no sugar was needed to make the sauce; just apples and water.  Now that I wrote about it, I am thinking that maybe this year I will once again put up some jars of applesauce.
     The last stop of the day was at the orchard farm store.  We would buy some fresh pressed apple cider, home baked pies and apple cider doughnuts.  Now that I cannot eat wheat, I must bake my own pies and doughnuts if I want some.  It had been at least seven year since I had an apple cider doughnut.  This week I actually made a batch and they came out great!
     At the orchard the doughnuts are always fried, but I just do not like to fry foods and with gluten free dough being so soft it is easier to use doughnut shaped baking pans and bake them in the oven.  At the orchards the doughnuts are sold, plain and with powdered or cinnamon sugar on them.  I used to love the cinnamon sugar ones, but with baked ones I don’t think the cinnamon sugar would stick well.    The plain baked doughnuts are just the right sweet for me, however I saw a photo of doughnuts with a caramel glaze and had to try the glaze.  All I can say is that you can go into a sugar coma from the sweetness of the glaze.  I cut the sugar down to less than a quarter of what was called for, but it was still way too sweet for my taste.  All I could taste was overwhelming sweetness with a hint of caramel, but the doughnuts looked great.  Here is a link to the glaze recipe if you want to try it. 
Doughnut with overwhelmingly sweet caramel glaze.  

     This recipe was adapted from my pumpkin spice doughnut recipe, replacing the pumpkin and milk with apple cider and omitting some of the spices. You can taste the cider in the doughnuts and I love the soft cake like texture.  They came out as good as any wheat cider doughnuts that I can remember.  You could hear my wheat eating friends mumbling through bites how good the doughnuts were as they were gobbling them all up.    

Makes about 16 doughnuts.

1 cup Sorghum Flour
½ cup Chickpea Flour
½ cup Tapioca Flour
1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1 tsp. Salt
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Cinnamon             
1 cup  Sugar (I use evaporated cane juice.)
½ cup (or 1 stick or 4 oz.) Unsalted Butter (for Dairy-Free use ¼ cup non-hydrogenated margarine such as Earth Balance and ¼ cup of non-hydrogenated shortening such as Spectrum)
1 cup Apple Cider
2 large Eggs  
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease doughnut pans. 
    Doughnut pan sprayed with cooking oil.
  2. In a medium sized bowl add flours, cinnamon, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder.  Mix with a whisk until well blended.  Set aside
  3. In a small bowl add the apple cider, eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer cream sugar and butter or margarine until fluffy.
  5. Alternately add 1/3 of the flour mixture and then 1/3 of the cider mixture to the sugar mixture.  Beat in well after each addition.  Repeat until all the flour and cider mixture is used.
    Finished batter.
  6. Place batter into a large plastic baggie and cut the tip of one corner large enough to allow batter to squeeze out in to the doughnut pan.  Or use a disposable piping bag and cut off the end.
    This is a photo of my pumpkin spice dough which is thicker than this recipe.
    I just wanted to show the technique of using a plastic bag
    to pipe the batter into the doughnut pan.
  7. Squeeze the batter into the doughnut pans.  Batter should reach just under the top of the pan.  
  8. Bake in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes until the doughnuts spring back when touched lightly with a finger or when a toothpick inserted in the thickest part comes out clean.
    Baked doughnuts in pan.
    With baked doughnuts one side is a bit flat.
  9. Wait 1-2 minutes and then invert the pan to loosen the doughnuts and allow them to cool on a rack.  If they cool too long in the pan they will stick.
    Baked doughnut on a plate.
    Upside down it looks more like a doughnut.
  10. These are best eaten the day they are made.  They will keep, well covered, at room temperature for two more days.  Freeze the freshly made doughnuts for longer storage.  Just let them thaw at room temperature for about half an hour before eating.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

   Summer has ended and it is getting a bit colder already.  Frankly, I feel a bit cheated out of a real summer this year.  Usually, here in New Jersey, it is very hot and humid especially in August.  This year it was on the cooler side, only a few days of those dog days of summer where it is over 90 degrees and the humidity is almost unbearable, and that was in September...go figure.  Not that I should be complaining, because really what is so great about 100% humidity when it is not even raining?  
     My wife has requested that I make my potato salad once more before it gets really cold, so I decided to make a post of this recipe.  
     This potato salad is very flavorful and so delicious. There is a secret to the depth of flavor.  While the potatoes are still hot I season them with oil, lemon juice, finely chopped onions, salt and pepper.  By the time the potatoes cool down enough to add mayonnaise the onions have cooked a bit so there is no strong raw onion taste.  The potatoes are also infused with the flavor of onion, lemon and oil.  Even without the mayo the potatoes taste really good.  Add the mayo and chopped hard boiled eggs and you have a potato salad that stands out.
     When baking, measuring needs to be exact.  With cooking, not so much.  Usually I go by, ‘this looks good”, “that should be enough” and then I taste and adjust the seasoning.  This time when I made the potato salad I actually weighed and measured what “looks like enough” and wrote it down so that anyone could replicate the recipe, then I lost my notes.   So here is the recipe for my famous potato salad as well as I can remember the measurements.  Naturally gluten free.


3 lbs. Russet Potatoes - washed and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup Very Finely Chopped Onions
3-4 Tbs.  Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
To taste Salt and Pepper (I used 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper)
1/2 tsp. Granulated Onion Powder
4 Hard Boiled Eggs - chopped
1-2 Tbs. Fresh Parsley Chopped

  1. Wash and cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces about 1” long and wide. Place the potatoes into a steamer basket and steam over boiling water until fork tender and taste fully cooked when tested. 
    Raw potatoes in a steamer.
  2. While the potatoes are steaming chop the onions into very fine pieces (1/8-1/16 of in inch wide) and set aside.
    Very finely chopped onions.
  3. Juice a fresh lemon and this should yield about 1 Tbs. of fresh lemon juice. If it is a little less than a Tbs. that is fine, do not juice another lemon to make up a small amount of juice.  Set aside.
  4. Chop the fresh parsley.  Set aside.
  5. When the potatoes are fully cooked drain the water from the pot and then transfer the potatoes from the steamer basket into the empty pot.
  6. Pour the oil, lemon juice, parsley and chopped onion over the hot potatoes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Use a large spoon to gently mix the ingredients together.  Don’t mix too vigorously or you will have mashed potato salad.
    Onions, oil, lemon juice, parsley and seasoning put on hot potatoes.

    After the oil, lemon juice and seasonings were mixed in.  
  7. When the potatoes cool to room temperature add the mayonnaise and chopped eggs and mix in.  Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
    Adding chopped eggs.

    Potato salad after the eggs and mayonnaise are mixed in.
  8. Cool completely in the fridge or you can serve it warm.  
  9. After the salad rests for several hours it may be necessary to add a bit more mayonnaise if it has gotten too dry.  (The potatoes soak up some of the mayo and oil.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

THE BEST GLUTEN FREE PIZZA THAT I HAVE EVER HAD! With Dairy Free and Vegan instructions.

Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     (I just updated this recipe to make it simpler to make and better tasting.  I replaced the original brown rice flour with sorghum flour.  This makes the pizza more flexible and tastier.) 

     I have been trying every GF pizza dough recipe that I could find.  I wanted real pizza, not a crisp cracker like crust, not bread shaped like a pizza, not a soggy chewy crust, not good for gf, not good but different from regular pizza, but a real pizza just like wheat pizza dough. I have found it!  A recipe that makes REAL gf pizza dough.  You put your pizza toppings onto the raw dough and when you bake it there is an edge crust that bubbles up and has a nice chew, a real bottom crust, and real pizza taste.  Perfect gf pizza.  I am totally in pizza heaven.  My gf and gluten eating testers loved it.  It is not just good for GF it is as good as wheat pizza.
    Bread baking is not my forte.  Desserts of any sort are easy for me, but bread and bread like gluten free items are a real challenge.  I am not an inventor, more of a refiner. Usually, I take a wheat recipe and can easily recreate a gluten free version of most desserts with an occasional need to make it more than once to perfect it.  When it comes to bread or bread like baked goods it always takes me many many tries to perfect a wheat recipe into a gluten free one.  With pizza dough I decided to just start with recipes that were already gluten free.  I first make the recipe exactly as written and then tweak it.  All the pizza recipes I tried tasted really good, but just were not exactly what I was yearning and searching for.
     The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day Cookbook by Jeff Hertzberg and Zöe François is where I found the basis for the perfect gf pizza dough recipe.  The authors of this book are coming out with a GF bread baking book in October.  If this pizza recipe is any indication of how their other breads will come out, I definitely recommend that you buy it!  There are several GF recipes in the New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day cookbook.  I did not try the others yet.  There is one recipe on their blog for a GF Crusty Boule that you can try.
    I could not use one of the main ingredients in the recipe, so I spent some time experimenting with substitutions.  I also reduced the water a tiny bit.  I am not sure how the dough texture comes out if you can make it exactly as written, but the way I adapted the recipe the dough is like a thick fluffy cake batter.  I will post the recipe with my adaptations.  You can buy the book to get the original recipe which might well be even better than this adapted one. 
     As is typical with most gluten free recipes, it is necessary to invent a way to work with the dough.  Gluten free dough rarely handles just like its wheat counterpart.  With this recipe I put cornmeal on parchment paper, plopped 8 ounces of the pizza dough on it and then wet my hands and spread the dough out to a 10-inch circle.  I kept rewetting my hands as needed to keep the dough from sticking as I spread it out.  I tried to cover the dough with plastic wrap and roll it out, but the dough was way too sticky; using wet hands is much easier, faster and more effective.  Just a word of caution (learn from my mistake) do not use foil instead of parchment paper.  The baked pizza sticks a lot and the crust does not get crisp, it stays a bit soggy.  I think the parchment paper allows the moisture to escape as the crust bakes, but the foil traps the moisture preventing a crisp bottom crust.
     I have two pizza stones.  I put one on the very bottom level of my oven, as recommended in the book.  I put the other stone on a rack above this level with just enough room to fit a pizza onto the bottom stone.  The bottom level was the optimum one.  The pizza crust cooked to a better crispiness with the cheese perfectly browned.  On the level just above the bottom one the crust did not get quite as perfectly crisp and the cheese was not as perfectly browned, but the pizza was still way better than any other gf pizza I had ever had.  The two stones were convenient when I was making pizza for four people as two pizzas at a time could be made.  It takes 13 minutes, in my oven, to bake each pizza, so for just two people I bake one pizza at a time using only the bottom level of the oven to get the most absolutely perfect crust.
     In the book ingredients are listed according to weight in grams and ounces as well as by cups and tablespoons, etc.  With any sort of bread like baking it is best to measure out ingredients by weight.  The results are more consistent and most likely to resemble what the recipe should come out like.  Grams are the most accurate way to measure out ingredients.  My scale can measure in both grams and ounces.
     In the New Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day cookbook the authors recommend making a large batch of dough that can then be used up to 5 days later (mine worked even 7 days later) to make a pizza (or other recipes in the book for breads, rolls, etc.) when the mood strikes you.  If the dough will not be used within that time you can freeze portions and then let them defrost overnight in the fridge when you want to make it.  I have not tried to thaw and bake any of the dough yet.
     I recently made a vegan version of the crust for my son and it came out just as wonderful as the egg version. 

Makes enough for 4-5 individual pizzas 


1¼ cups + 1 Tbs./160g/5.5 oz
Sorghum flour
3 cups/385 g/13.5 oz
Tapioca Flour
2/3 cup/95 g/3.4 oz
Sweet Rice Flour
1 Tbs.
Yeast (I used Saf-Instant)
1½ tsp.
Himalayan Sea Salt
2 tsp.
Xanthan Gum
2 ¾ cup 
Water - warmed to 110° F
2 large
Eggs - lightly beaten
For Vegan mix 3 Tbs. Ground Flax Seed + ½ cup Water (allow the mixture to rest until it thickens then add to the other ingredients.)
1/2 cup/115 g/4 oz
Vegetable Oil (such as canola or olive) or Melted Unsalted Butter
For Vegan or Dairy Free use the oil

1)  Add the flours, yeast, salt and xanthan gum to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix well with a whisk.
2)  Add the water, eggs or flax eggs, and oil or melted butter.  Using the paddle attachment, beat until smooth - about 2 minutes.
Dry and wet ingredients ready to mix.

Smooth batter after mixing for about 2 minutes.
3)  Oil a large bowl or container and transfer the batter into the bowl or container.  Cover with a dish cloth and let it sit for 2 hours at room temperature.  It should rise to double in bulk.
Dough in oiled bowl.

Dough after rising.
I should have used a larger bowl.

Vegan dough before rising.
Note the flax seed flecks.
4)  You can use the dough right away, but it will be easier to handle if it is chilled.  Keep the dough up to 5 days in the fridge in a covered container.  Use 8-ounce portions of the dough for each pizza.  Freeze dough in 8-ounce portions in baggies for longer storage.  Thaw in the fridge overnight when ready to use the dough.


1) Put a rack on the very bottom of your oven.  Put your pizza stone on this rack.
2) Preheat the oven to 500° - 550°.  It can take half an hour to reach the right temperature.  Use an oven thermometer to check the that the oven is hot enough.  The pizza crust will not be crispy and rise well if the oven is not hot enough.
3) While the oven is heating up prepare the pizza.
4) Cut off a piece of parchment paper about 12-inches long.  Sprinkle it with cornmeal or brown rice flour to keep the dough from sticking.
Parchment paper sprinkled with rice flour.
I also tried this with cornmeal.  I prefer the cornmeal.
5) Plop 8-ounces of the dough onto the center of the prepared parchment paper.  The dough should be about the size of a grapefruit.
6) Wet your hands and spread the dough out into a 10-inch circle.  Keep wetting your hands as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.  Keep an elevated lip of dough (about 1/2-inch high) around the outer edge of the circle.  Trim the parchment paper so that there is only about 1-inch of it showing around the dough.  This will keep the paper edges from burning while the pizza bakes.
Raw dough spread into a circle with wet hands.
Note that there is a small lip of dough around the edges.
7) Put the topping of choice on the RAW dough.  I used homemade sauce, mozzarella cheese and vegetables (onions, peppers, mushrooms and chopped broccoli), a little drizzle of olive oil (or garlic olive oil), some parmesian cheese and oregano.  For vegan or dairy free pizza I used Daiya mozzarella cheese and Go Veggie dairy free parmesian cheese in place of the dairy cheeses.  I also made a pizza with cooked butternut squash, spinach (put the spinach on the bottom to keep it from burning), mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of garlic olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  The butternut pie was different and delicious.  Be careful not to use too much sauce or the pizza will not crisp as well.
A raw pizza ready to be baked.

A raw no tomato sauce pizza.

A raw vegan pizza.
8) You will need something to slide the pizza onto the stone.  I bought a pizza peel at Marshalls for about $16.  You must use a forward jerking motion to slide the pizza off of the peel.  If you do not have a peel you might use a flat baking sheet and slide the pizza off onto the stone with a forward jerking motion.
9) It will take 10-15 minutes for the pizza to bake, depending upon your oven.  Mine took 13 minutes.
10)  Take the pizza out of the oven with the pizza peel or grab the paper with tongs and slide the pizza onto a flat baking sheet.

Baked pizza.

Baked Vegan Pizza.
11)         Cut the pizza pie with a pizza slicer and serve.  Enjoy!



     Scrambled eggs were put onto the raw crust, topped with mushrooms, onions, broccoli and cheese and then baked as a pizza.  It made a different, delicious and satisfying breakfast.


     A stromboli is a sort of turnover made with pizza like dough and filled with deli meats or vegetables and cheese.  To make the stromboli a small blob of dough was spread out into a cigar like shape.  The dough was topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions and cheese.  The vegetables and cheese were topped with a blob of dough and the dough was spread out into a thin layer over the top (using wet hands).  The edges were sealed as well as possible by pressing the top and bottom dough along the edges.  Very tasty and stromboli-like.
Dough formed in to a stromboli with cheese and veggie filling.

Baked stromboli.

Inside of the stromboli.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     I wanted a “real” ice cream sandwich, just like I used to have before having to eliminate wheat from my diet.  I converted a wheat recipe into a gluten free one.  The chocolate cookie is crisp when plain, but sandwiched around ice cream and kept in the freezer for at least one day it gets soft.  It is just like a real ice cream sandwich in taste and texture!
     I made up a vanilla cookie recipe from the chocolate one.  I know it is hard to believe, but many people I know do not like chocolate.  Being a chocoholic, I am still incredulous, but I do consider them when making my baked goods.  To my surprise, I actually loved the vanilla cookies with strawberry ice cream as much as the traditional chocolate cookies with vanilla ice cream.  It was like a twist on a strawberry shortcake.  Very delicious and a different sort of ice cream sandwich.  I also made some chocolate cookies filled with strawberry and with chocolate ice cream and vanilla cookies with vanilla ice cream.  All came out absolutely scrumptious.  I think you can use any flavor ice cream you like with any flavor cookie.
     The day I was baking I was not that patient so I did not make the cookies all uniform and I did not make them shaped just like a traditional ice cream sandwich.  I made squares on the smaller size between 2½ - 3-inches wide.  You can make them any size you like, even smaller for children.  You can use cookie cutters and make shapes.  The dough, as usual with gluten free doughs, is soft.  To get the dough to keep its shape and to work with the dough, it is necessary to chill or freeze it between steps if it gets soft.  I was not too picky that day so some of my cookies stretched out of shape as I transferred them to the cookie sheet.  I am going to make some for my sister in California.  When I make those I will be more careful and measure out the shapes to make them look just like a traditional ice cream sandwich.  I’ll post some of those pics then.


Makes about 24 cookies 2½ x 2½-inches (12 small sandwiches) 
Or 12 cookies 2 1/4 x 5-inches (6 large sandwiches)

1 stick - 4 oz Unsalted Butter or
for Dairy Free or Vegan use Margarine
use one with no hydrogenated oils such as Earth Balance
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 large Eggs
for Vegan use 1/2 cup water
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1 cup Sorghum Flour
1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
1/2 cup Chickpea Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1/4 tsp.  Himalayan Sea Salt
omit salt if using margarine that has salt

Makes about 24 cookies 2½ x 2½-inches
or 12 cookies 2 1/4 x 5-inches (6 large sandwiches)

1 stick - 4 oz Unsalted Butter or
for Dairy Free or Vegan use Margarine
Use one with no hydrogenated oils such as Earth Balance
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 large Eggs
for Vegan use 1/2 cup water
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Corn Starch
1 cup Sorghum Flour
1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
1/2 cup Chickpea Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1/4 tsp.  Himalayan Sea Salt
omit salt if using margarine that has salt

Directions - for Vanilla or Chocolate Cookies
  1. In a small bowl add the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum & salt (if using).
    a)For vanilla cookies: add corn starch to the other dry ingredients and mix together well.
    b)For chocolate cookies: add cocoa powder to the other dry ingredients and mix well.
Flours with cocoa added for chocolate cookies.

  1. In large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter or margarine and the sugar and cream together. 
  2. Add the eggs or water and vanilla.  Mix in well.
    All the wet ingredients well blended.
  3. Add the flour mixture and beat until well combined.
    Flour mixture with cornstarch added to the wet ingredients for vanilla cookies.

    Chocolate cookie dough.
  4. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for an hour or freeze for 15 minutes.
    Vanilla cookie dough gathered and placed on a piece of plastic wrap.

    Vanilla dough wrapped in plastic ready to go into the fridge or freezer.
  5. Roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick between two pieces of plastic wrap. Place on a flat baking sheet or cutting board and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer if the dough becomes soft.
    Vanilla dough all rolled out.
    I did not make it as thin as the chocolate dough.
    Rolling it out thinner is better. ¼ inch thick is best.
  6. Remove the top piece of plastic.  Using a knife or cookie cutters, cut out the dough into the desired shapes and sizes. A traditional looking ice cream sandwich will need to be cut into rectangles that are 2 1/4 x 5-inches.
    Trimming the edges of the rolled out dough with a pizza cutter.

    Peeling away the scraps, to be rerolled and used later.

    Dough cut into squares.
  7. Use a wooden skewer or forks or toothpicks to poke holes across the cookies.  If the dough has softened slide the dough, still on the plastic wrap, onto a flat baking sheet or cutting board and put it back in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silpat pads.
  9. Place the cut out cookies 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
    Raw cookies with holes pricked using a fork.
  10. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending upon the size of the cookies you may need to adjust the time.  
  11. Cool the cookies in the pan for at least 3 or 4 minutes before moving them or they may break.
    Baked chocolate cookies.

  12. Cool completely on wire racks.  


     There are several ways to prepare the ice cream for the sandwiches: 

1) You can cut slices of ice cream if the ice cream comes in a rectangular container that lends itself to this.  Then cut the slices to fit the cookies and place the ice cream onto one half of the cookies and top with the remaining cookies. 

2) You can let the ice cream soften slightly and spread it directly onto one half of the cookies and top with the remaining cookies. 
Softened ice cream spread on a cookie and then topped with another cookie.

3) You can let the ice cream soften and line a pan with plastic wrap.  Spread the softened ice cream evenly over the pan to the desired thickness.  Freeze until firm.  Then cut the ice cream into the desired shapes and place the ice cream shapes on half the cookies topping them with the remaining cookies.

4) For dairy free or vegan use dairy free ice cream.  I love the So Delicious Almond milk.  There are coconut milk, soy milk, hemp and all types and flavors of dairy free or vegan ice creams out there.

5) Store the sandwiches by wrapping them in plastic wrap or wrap of choice such as foil or wax paper and then put them in the freezer.

6) The cookies will be crunchy at first.  Leave them in the freezer for at least one day and the cookies become soft like a traditional ice cream sandwich.  I think after two days the texture is better.  They keep a few weeks in the freezer if well wrapped.  Of course, you can just eat them without any ice cream.  Enjoy!