Heart-warming ginger bread and a word on gluten free baking

It´s getting colder outside, the days are getting shorter and we cannot deny that winter is finally knocking on our door. Nipping on my warming cup of Scottish breakfast tea, my thoughts went back to our last holiday in Scotland where I was warming up myself with a similar cup of tea and a delicious ginger bread after visiting Eilean Donnan Castle in the Scottish Highlands on a pretty chilly day . And of course I was instantly missing this moist and spicy cake next to my mug of tea. Browsing through various food blogs I finally found a promising gluten free recipe and after playing around a bit with the flour combinations, I got a fabulous, moist, spicy and rich ginger bread, which was a delicious accompaniment to our Scottish tea. Mulled wine would work as well, if you are running out of tea ;-).

As announced upfront a few words about gluten free baking:

There is plenty of literature out there about gluten free baking and everybody seems to be totally convinced that gluten free baking is super easy an that it is no problem to replace gluten. I think it is! I was bitterly disappointed a lot of times. Gluten has unique characteristics which are crucial for a lot of baked goods. Therefore my first attempt is always to find a recipe that´s naturally flour less. In the past I was never happy with store brought or my own mixed all purpose gluten free flour mixes: Strong taste of starch, crumbly and dense baking results with a high specific weight instead of light, fluffy and elegant bakery. Furthermore it seems that you need at least ten different flours, which are often hard to get (Australia has a different market that Germany and probably different options than Great Britain) and become easily rancid once they are open for a while – super annoying! And no – you don´t need xanthan or guar gum. Use super fine grinded psyllium husk or try a mix of finely grinded linseeds, chia seeds and psyllium husk. Recently I found some suitable instructions on this blog (https://glutenfreegirl.com/) and finally a flour mix that worked for me. And nobody asked whether the ginger bread was gluten free or not – seriously! The clue for me is the sweet, also called glutinous, rice flour from the Asia shop. I think with everything else you can play and reduce the needed varieties of flours to a minimum (Here I use quiet a lot of different flours, because I still had them from my previous trials, so I want to use them before they get too old.). OK – no more talking, let´s get into it! Here comes my recipe for an all purpose gluten free flour mix and of course the lovely ginger bread!

Ingredients for 1 kg of all purpose gluten free flour mix:

  • 400g    sweet rice flour
  • 50g      tapioca starch
  • 150g    corn starch
  • 50gb    quinoa flour (strong taste!)
  • 150g    gluten free oat flour
  • 200g    brown rice flour

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Ingredients for the ginger bread:

  • 385g all purpose gluten free flour mix
  • 3 tsp psyllium husk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder (I like to use “Weinstein” baking powder)
  • a fair amount of freshly grated ginger (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • a fair amount of freshly grated tumeric (if you can get your hands on this, otherwise use powder)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaped tsp Glühweingewürz (spice mix for mulled wine)
  • 4 grinded allspice corns (I grind them freshly in a mortar)
  • 1 tsp ground cloves (I grind them freshly in a mortar)
  • ½ tsp groud nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • a good pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp grinded vanilla or seeds of ½ – 1 fresh vanilla pod
  • approx. 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 70g dark brown sugar
  • 70g granulated sugar
  • 2 large or 3 medium eggs
  • 70g molasses
  • 100g plain yoghurt
  • 70g hot water
  • a pinch of whiskey, calvados or rum

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 200°. Butter a loaf pan.

Combine the dry ingredients: Mix the flour with psyllium husk, baking soda and powder, salt and the dry spices. Whisk together. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars: Put the butter and sugars into the bowl of a stand mixer and run at medium speed until they are fluffy together, about 5 minutes. Plop in the eggs, one at a time, and run the mixer until the eggs are incorporated. Add the wet spices. Add the molasses and yoghurt. At this point, the dough will look speckled and perhaps even curdled. Don’t worry, this is what is supposed to happen (it looks terrible!).

Finishing the batter: Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients about 1/2 cup at a time, slowing down to make sure it is incorporated before you add more. When you have finished with the flours, add the very hot water and mix for 1 minute more. It should all look lovely and toothsome now.

Baking the gingerbread: Spread the batter into the pan and even out the top with a rubber spatula. Slide it in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool the gingerbread to just-warm in the pan.

Serve lukewarm with a little bit of salted butter (but don`t tell your Scottish friends that you have Irish butter in the fridge). Feeds about ten (well, maybe less, depending on how grateful everyone is for gingerbread).

Recipe modified from:

https://glutenfreegirl.com/2009/11/gluten-free-gingerbread/?v=3a52f3c22ed6

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