Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gluten-Free, Corn-Free "Cornbread"

I didn't intend to come up with a recipe to post here. I'm really not a food blogger. Extenuating circumstances, in the form of some impulsively purchased produce, intervened.

There were collard greens starting to wilt in my kitchen. Greens mean beans, and beans mean cornbread. Yes, I am aware that beans and cornbread are not compulsory companions to greens. At least, I am vaguely aware in a hand waving, maybe where you come from, kind of way. Last night, I wanted sauteed greens, pinto beans swimming in thick juice, and some cornbread with which to sop it up.

 Unfortunately, corn and I aren't getting along these days. That popcorn I had about a week and a half ago is more than a distant memory, it has caused a breakout that might last forever. (You thought food allergies and intolerances were glamorous?)

I knew there was a cornbread recipe at Gluten Free Goddess, and the goddess never lets me down, so I decided to start there and work my way to cornlessness. My first choice for replacing the cornmeal was almond flour, but I used that up in a failed kiwi muffin experiment. (They were really quite terrible. And deep, dark, swampy green. I don't want to talk about it. ) So, I turned to my new favorite grain, teff. I added a bit of sorghum to mimic the sweetness of corn, and quinoa flakes to assist the texture once I removed the starches. (I'm trying to eliminate them from most of my baking. I'm not sure what I'll do about pudding.) I also subbed in a bit of my favorite hot pepper paste as I didn't have chiles, and I prefer a bit of a kick to my cornbread.

The other major substitution, or rather deletion, is the sugar. I don't know if this is a southern thing, or maybe just a my family thing, but we don't do sweet cornbread. This, of course, makes creating a refined sugar free recipe a bit easier, as I always omit the sugar anyway. I will admit to drizzling a piece with a bit of honey on the second day. Which brings me to the fact that this quick bread freezes quite well. In fact, the photo at the top of the page is of a previously frozen wedge of bread.

The result was better than any gluten-free cornbread I've turned out. It is a finer crumb, as the grains are finely milled. A more coarsely ground flour or meal could be substituted, but it might require a bit of fine tuning. Overall this works as a perfect stand in, though was never intended to replicate cornbread. In other words, it doesn't taste like corn.

UPDATE - There is an adaptation to this recipe here that makes it much tastier, but no longer nut-free. 

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Corn-Free, Cornbread Style Quick Bread

1 c. teff flour
3/4 c. sorghum flour
1/4 c. millet flour
1/4 c. quinoa flakes (not flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (corn and gluten free)
1 tsp salt

2 eggs
1/2 c. + 2T of oil (I used a blend of canola and extra virgin olive, also try light olive or grapeseed)
1 c. dairy free milk, room temp. or slightly warmer 
1 T. chia flour
1/2 tsp lemon juice

if needed, extra milk or water to create smooth batter

I added a bit of red pepper paste to mine, as I didn't have chiles. The heat works well, but is not necessary. 

Oil a 9 in round ceramic pan or iron skillet. Place in oven set to 350 °F, then allow to preheat.

Combine dry ingredients (teff flour - salt) in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, chia, and lemon juice*. 

Stir the dry ingredients in to the eggs and oil. Add the milk mixture incrementally, stirring after each addition, and stopping if the batter becomes too wet. It should be smooth and pourable, but not drippy (think cake batter or thick pancake batter). If it is too dry, add more milk or water. 

Remove prepared pan from oven, and carefully pour in the batter. Return to the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

Allow to cool slightly in pan before cutting into wedges. 

* I mixed the milk and lemon juice together first, to create a buttermilk substitute. I don't think it is necessary, as the lemon doesn't seem to react with non-dairy milks in the same way as "real" milk. If dairy is not a problem for you, you could try substituting buttermilk for the combined total of milk and lemon juice. 

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