Chia for Flax? 2: The Great Stretch

Excuse the quality, I was using my phone. Also excuse…well, everything. Thanks!

Yeah, look at that thinness, that transparency, that lack of tearing that so epitomizes so much of these free-from pastry recipes. This is the promised sequel to Chia for Flax and I tell you, it is glorious. Such wonders as I have never seen in a kitchen without gluten. Such majesty, okay, all joking aside I have some pretty awesome finds to report. I finally tried a chia-egg in my Buckwheat Flour Tortillas (I have to update that too, ummmm, later) and the results are incredible. I’ll try and break it all down as best I can and you know, if you’ve been here before, that this is just the beginning. It may take weeks, but I’ll run the chia-egg gauntlet and share the results.

This is so incredibly thin, yet I still was able to move it, shake it and throw it around.

Firstly all I used here was a chia-egg, 1 tbsp ground chia and 3 tbsp water, instead of my usual flax-egg. Now, I really though this was a failure because it needed extra water and a lot of kneading with some extra flour, but not too much. It takes some effort to get the chia-egg combined with the flour, but like I say it was worth it. I rolled it and it actually stretched and snapped back. I had to hold one side to roll it out as it keep pulling with the rolling-pin, not tearing though, no, it took a finger poking through it for it to tear. If you’ve ever worked with a single GF-flour dough then you know how unlikely that is. It was wonderful, I haven’t felt dough like this in all my experiments.

No more odd thick chips when you can roll the whole thing out without tearing.

So I naturally had to try the dough two ways. The first was in baked chips, they turned out light and crisp. Closer to real tortillas than I’ve ever seen. Similar to the flax version, but I didn’t have any thick parts to the dough as I could roll it out as thin as I wanted. The second thing I tried was a pan cooked tortilla, with just a splash of water, instead of oil, this time. It took a while to cook, but it was lovely and light and airy. It’s amazing how a uniformly thin pastry changes these simple variations. This is the best I’ve seen these turn out. Sure it takes a little more work to get the dough to form, but it is worth every second.

Light and slightly crisp, but softer than the oven baked variety.

So, we now have the question of whether I trust a chia-egg for flax. The short answer is no, it’s too gluey to sub directly, but I will be trying it in Soba Noodles, Pastry and whatever else takes my fancy because it really is amazing how well it binds the dough. It’s closer to a gluten based dough than I’ve ever seen. I’ve never used gums or starches so I can’t speak for those, but if chia can do this then it’s aces in my book. I’m really excited to see what this combination can do. I think I may be able to use it to make hand-pies as I’ve always found I could never get the pastry thin enough that it didn’t overwhelm a filling, or elastic enough to cover a filling without tearing. This is what it’s about for me, small tests that combine into something greater. You’ve just got to take risks, prepare to fail and know you can always try again. Until next time, true believers.

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