First Attempt

I realized something today. I’m attempting this whole gluten free thing in the opposite manner as I usually would do something. I’ve been reading more and more about why some people believe gluten isn’t great for people and I’ve thought for quite a while that wheat doesn’t agree with me (I get a rash from flour touching my skin). Plus I know bran makes me REALLY sick. However, I haven’t really done any thorough research. I decided to do a gluten free month in the fall, and to do a trail run this week. In the past I’ve always researched things online and in books before jumping in. Well see how this new approach goes.

Judging by today, not great. After I went shopping and bought all my new exciting ingredients I decided to make pancakes. I googled ‘gluten free pancakes’, browsed though a few recipes and came to a conclusion. People who don’t eat wheat generally also seem to be vegans who only use non-sugar sweeteners that I’ve never seen for sale in a grocery store. I was really just hoping for recipes that I could read through quickly and put into action, instead I was sitting here looking through and saying, “Okay, the ground flax in a substitute for the eggs, the non dairy, non sweetened powdered milk powder is a substitute for milk…” and on and on. That did not make things easy. Plus, I quickly found gaps in both my knowledge and my grocery list. Xanthan gum came up a lot. I asked Kurt (he’s a science teacher) what the heck the purpose of this was. He told me it was a thickener because wheat thickens liquids naturally and other flours don’t. I quickly saw this is action.

I decided to just go for it with the pancakes. I mixed milk and eggs and vanilla. Then I created a combo of flours that I though sounded great. I dumped it in and whisked, and whisked, and whisked. It was as if I hadn’t put the flour in. I didn’t want to add more potato starch because I had only bought a little bag so I threw in some corn starch (I had seen this mentioned in one of the recipes). The mixture got a little lumpy, but that was the only effect. I decided, again, to just go for it. I heated up a pan and dumped in some flour juice. Strangely, it somehow worked. Of course I had to keep stirring the ‘batter’ before I poured any out because the bottom would turn into that magic mud you make with corn starch and water, and the pan had to be really hot, but they tasted decent. They were similar to Finnish pancakes.

They were better with peanut butter than maple syrup though, the syrup just seemed to make it more obvious that they didn’t taste or have the texture or appearance of regular pancakes. I won’t put a recipe because I’m going to try again. Maybe if I keep looking I can find almond flour, which doesn’t seem to require the xantan. If I can make good pancakes I might just be able to make it through the month!

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3 thoughts on “First Attempt

  1. Our son is gluten intolerant, and there are two very easy ways to overcome this problem. One is to go to your baking section in your store (or your gluten free section if they have one) and find (there are several brands) a gluten free pancake mix. The one we like the best is King Arthur Flour brand. The other option is Gluten Free Bisquick. This is getting easier to find, but may be difficult. Oddly enough, the super Walmart almost always have them. It is in an orange box, and about 1/2 the size for twice the money as normal Bisquick. Bisquick’s pancakes are okay, but not nearly as good as King Arthur’s… still better than your mix, from your description. Both call for milk and eggs. The good thing about gluten free Bisquick is the biscuits, which are the best option we’ve found. You’ll also find a lot of gluten free flours. I bake a lot, and these are the best options I’ve found. They’re already pre-mixed and work almost as well as regular flour… you just can’t roll it because it doesn’t have the elasticity of gluten.

    (I found your post, by the way, because my son is going on a hiking trip and I’m looking for ways to make these on the trail)

    • That’s great advice. For our camping trip we’re trying to keep the food simple, things like minute rice and pasta. Plus, we’re going to hit up markets along the way for fresh fruit and veg!

      • That’s generally what he does, except this is a trip to Philmont with his Boy Scout Troop… a 10 day backpacking trip, so the object is to carry as little as possible, and everything nonperishable– dehydrated everything along with rice and gluten-free pasta.

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