Breads Here Revisited Part 3: Microwave Breads

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Now, I know, some of these are cakes, but I make most of these without the sugar, with a little salt and they make the best quick breads. There are a lot of “mug cakes”, which I do have recipes for as well, but I think of the difference thus: A mug cake is eaten from the mug, whereas the bread is removed from the baking vessel. Now I know that seems a trifle pedantic, but what makes these work so well as bread is that they can be sliced. So, let’s think of them as breads and see what we can see, shall we, dear reader?

Microwave Amaranth Flour Bread
Microwave Banana Flour Cake
Microwave Buckwheat and Rice Flour Cake
Microwave Buckwheat Cake
Microwave English Muffin
Microwave Flax Muffin
Microwave Quinoa Flour Cake
Microwave Rice Flour Cake
Microwave Sorghum Flour Bread

You could be a pain and question whether these are breads and you can feel free to do so. I’m calling them breads and phooey from me to you! What I love about these is that they take very little in the way of specialised ingredients, the ground flaxseed might not be so common, ground chia works too, but other than that it’s pretty basic. The recipes themselves feature numerous options, covering so many diets. The only catch is the egg is necessary for the texture and rise, the original recipe used banana if I’m not mistaken, but it was more of a cake, there are cakes in these too, but for this post I’ll focus on the bread. And, yes, this started as a single recipe that I adapted from another. It uses a total of eight (We’ll count flaxseed as a flour, shush) different flours. I’ve found success with so many, barring ground almonds, too fatty I think, so I can only imagine any free from flour would work here. This recipe is great for using up the dregs of flour as it uses so little. You can easily mix and match as needed. When made using only a single flour it really highlights the unique taste and texture of that flour. I usually make these in a jug ad they just pop right out so there isn’t much clean up.

To talk at length about such mundane things is a gift, dear reader. What you have here is the closest thing to a free-from sandwich bread, no crust sadly, but you can’t have everything, without using gums or added starches. They come out springy, light, different flours yield slightly varying results, but it’s pretty consistent across the board. The reason they come out so light is because of the egg swelling, reacting to the baking powder too I assume, and setting before it can fall. The flax and flour help to stabilise. There isn’t an eggy taste as you’d imagine as the egg is well cooked through when the bread is ready. This is great for making a quick meal, spread on the nut butters and jams or slather sauce and spiced meat and eat it open-faced. It’s filling, again varying on the flour used, and you’ll find you don’t need a whole lot to make it a meal. They’re best eaten on the day, but you could probably freeze them.

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So, there you have it. I would have scoffed at a microwave bread if I hadn’t scarfed so many in my time. Many a time I forgot to leave out something for tea and found myself hungry and in no mood to get cooking. A quick mix up in a jug and there it is: Bread! I like recipes like these, they’re almost foolproof and if you find yourself with a free-from flour that’s lacking in uses you can try something like these and you’ll be almost guaranteed success. I primarily make them with rice flour as it’s the cheapest and least versatile flour in my cupboard. I have found sorghum delicious and wonderfully light. Quinoa works best for a cake and banana flour is slightly revolting if I’m honest.

You’ll notice that the breads I use often are pretty easy to prepare, that’s hardly surprising. I’ve lost count of how many loaves I’ve made over the years. The ease of making them has helped me stick to my diet. The variety has kept me from getting bored and fed up. I hope you’ll find something to interest you in this series, dear reader. There are other breads on the site and maybe they’ll suit you better. The reason I started this series was to showcase a few recipes and to encourage people to look at the recipe page, there are so many recipes that are sadly under-loved. Perhaps if this is popular enough there’ll be another series of posts using those recipes. I’ll see you again next time, dear reader.

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Sorghum Flour Crumble

 photo WP_20170615_027_e_zpsfwbkheqe.jpgAll my crumbles look the same and come in the same dish.

I’ll be honest with you, dear reader, I can’t even remember which crumble recipe is the original any more. They’re all pretty much the same, the only change is the flour and that works because of the ground almonds. It’s a pretty nice crumble, can’t grumble. I usually make crumble to either use up flour that leftover or to use fruit that’s been in the freezer for too long. I realise I’m not selling you on this, but if you want crumble, here it is, if not, meh. I’m making room in my freezer for my imagined bountiful harvest of fruit. The raspberry harvest is picking up and the yellow strawberries are dong decently. I’ll probably make a few jellies rather than jams, though I do want a yellow strawberry jam for novelty, because the raspberries are really seedy and they get stuck in my teeth. Besides, I can buy jam easily, but jelly is apparently too exotic. Worry not about waste, the compost will be enriched by the seedy pulp. I may also go harvesting wild blackberries. I’ll start saving small jars now and hopefully have enough. Well, that’s it for me, just a quick recipe. See you later.

Ingredients

100g Berries, or Other Fruit, of Choice
35g Sugar
35g Ground Almonds
35g Sorghum Flour
35g Butter, Cold and Chopped

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180c (Fan).

2. Place the Berries in an oven proof dish. Set aside.

3. In a bowl mix together the Ground Almonds, Sorghum Flour, Butter and Sugar. Work together with fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs,

4. Sprinkle Crumb Mixture over the Berries and cook for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Sorghum Flour Chia Cookies

 photo WP_20170608_001_e_zpskvbaoxts.jpgAdapted from my other recipe here.

The health benefits of chia are blah, blah, blah yakety smackity. Hmmm? You should expect references to 90’s cartoons over generic spiels about the health benefits of food. We use ingredients around here, right, dear reader? Yeah. That’s why we’re still using sorghum, because it apparently makes really delicious cookies. Egg free ones no less. I did make it a speedier adaptation from the original, creaming and carefully working every ingredient is fine when the flour is better for it, but with sorghum I use it like rice flour. Rough and ready in other words. These cookies certainly haven’t suffered from a sped up preparation. As for the chia, I had thought of just adding it for fun, but then I thought it might help bind the cookies a little, less than a chia egg, but maybe enough. Anyone willing to try it both ways, with and without, can report below.

 photo WP_20170608_002_e_zpsmp0y3w3n.jpgThe one tiny cookie curse is in full effect.

Now, I had to add the step of adding the extra flour and kneading it in as it helps you handle these cookies. I did attempt to roll them and it was as disastrous as usual, sorghum doesn’t make great dough. Just pinch off what you need from the ball, squish it down into a disk and you’ll be saved a lot of hassle. There isn’t really much work here. You do have to let them rest in the fridge or it’ll be too sticky to work with and, I’m guessing, too runny when you bake them.

 photo WP_20170608_003_e_zpswxiaeeb5.jpgFunnily the honey doesn’t burn here, but they do brown fast.

They have a nice crisp texture, there’s a satisfying crack when you snap them, adding the pop of the chia seeds means this is a crispy cookie. They are just a hair shy of dry. I did opt for a, messy admittedly, simple drizzle made with lemon and fresh raspberries from the garden. That stage is up to you, it’s just icing sugar, lemon juice and raspberry. I just wanted a little extra taste with what  I had at hand. I will eventually try my hand at royal icing, but this was a quick craving killer. I like these without the egg, I already posted a cookie with egg so these are fine. If you can tolerate chocolate I’d say they could make some tasty, healthy…ier, oreos. Or Hydro if you’d rather.

 photo WP_20170608_005_e_zpsywfykdlk.jpgMessy and quick. Honest in all things that’s me. No concealment here, dear reader.

So, I think I’ve got a pretty decent handle on sorghum now. It’s similar to rice flour in that it has no binding properties. Where it shines is in it’s taste. A sort of nutty sweetness, but I know that’s as useless as it is generic. I’d say it’s a milder, sweeter buckwheat flavour. I still have some sorghum flour left, but when the bag runs out, barring me getting more for free, I won’t bother buying any more. I prefer to buy flours that make healthy and sensible recipes, this has been better in desserts and I don’t want a flour solely for desserts. Okay, that’s that, I’ll see you later, dear reader.

Ingredients

120g Sorghum Flour
50g Butter, Softened
30g Honey
20g Light Brown Sugar
10g Chia Seeds
Dash of Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt

Makes 12 Cookies.

Method

1. Mix the Butter, Honey, Vanilla Extract and Sugar until combined.

2. Stir in the Flour, Salt and Chia Seeds and until a slightly sticky firm dough has been formed. Roll dough into a ball and wrap with cling film then leave in the fridge for 30 minutes. Dough will be firm and mostly solid when removed from the fridge.

3. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 170c (Fan). Remove cling film and dust the dough with more Sorghum Flour. Knead the flour into the dough, dough shouldn’t be sticky and should be easily handled, then pinch off 1 Tbsp’s worth of dough, roll it into a ball and press it flat onto the prepared tray. Bake for 15 minutes until cookies are dark brown and fairly firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire-rack to cool completely.

Sorghum Flour Crepes

June 7th Update: They freeze perfectly. You might need to heat them a little in the microwave, or an oven, to give them a little of their flexibility back. Freeze them flat if possible to reduce the risk of cracking.

 photo WP_20170603_003_e_zpsxpoeqfj1.jpgCook with one hand eat with the other.

I return, dear reader! Surely missed? No, don’t answer…I probably don’t want to know. I come bearing crepes. I don’t actually have much to say on the subject of these because, to be honest, you know me: Honest Jack, sure the name’s a lie, but trust me, I was cooking these with one hand and eating them with the other, yeah yeah, holding it and using my mouth, smart-mouth you got there, go stuff a crepe in it. They’re really tasty, I think of all the sorghum recipes I’ve created I like this sorghum one the best. I haven’t had any luck finding recipes that suit me, again: Honestly? I just gave up and went my own way. I’m now treating sorghum as similar to rice flour and that seems to be a successful strategy for making new recipes for this fickle flour. I did have to tweak my Rice Flour Crepe recipe a bit. Slightly less liquid, also: I tell you to heat the pan, take it off the heat, add the butter, swirl, return to the heat and then remove again to add the batter, again swirl, then back to the heat. It’s a a pain, but it guarantees unburnt butter and fairly thin crepes. I am currently freezing some and I’ll update with the success if applicable.

 photo WP_20170603_002_e_zpsutmmdytn.jpgRough first, smooth later. I just hadn’t a chance to take a better photo. Again: Eating.

I like that the first crepe though accidentally cooked in much too much butter still came out just right, though slattered in butter. It’s what a perfect world is like, dear reader. There can be no strife when we’re al freshly buttered. They don’t have that raw taste that can sometimes come about when using free-from flours in a quick cook recipe like this. I did find this needed a higher heat to bring some colour to them. They’re crepes, chances are you’ve eaten more than I have and have a much better understanding. Like most foods I had only just discovered them, started making my own and then my world changed. It’s another recipe for sorghum flour, which seem really lacking. Though I do admit I’m looking for gum free recipes so they are rarer. Less so now, huh, dear reader? See you later.

 photo WP_20170603_001_e_zpsmio5i2np.jpgBonus: I used fresh Cinnamon, Dark Opal and Genovese basil in my Sweet Basil Curry. Give it a look.

Ingredients

2 Medium Eggs
125ml Low Fat Milk (Or 80ml Milk and 60ml Water)
105g Sorghum Flour
Pinch of Salt
Butter for Frying

Makes 6 Crepes.
Can be frozen

Method

1. Add Eggs and Milk and whisk until combined, then whisk in Sorghum Flour until a runny batter is formed and then whisk in the Salt.

3. Over a medium-high heat heat the pan, remove from the heat and add some Butter and swirl it around the pan, return to the heat for a minute and then remove from the heat again and add some of the Batter, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan, swirling it around to coat the pan. Return to the heat and cook for a few minutes until slightly golden and brown spots start to appear, then flip and cook the same on the other side. Repeat until batter is used up.

Sorghum Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

 photo WP_20170531_006_e_zpszvtr9e5c.jpgIf you bought me a better camera….I’d still take mediocre photos.

You thought that I had been bested by sorghum? You thought I’d give up? Hah! Well, I would have but I was sent free sorghum flour, because I’m wonderful, shush, so here I am. I have said that sorghum keep letting me down and staying true to form, and adhering to the absurdity that is this blog at times, I made biscuits and ended up with delicious cookies. In my new capacity as corporate shill I shall endeavour to nefariously sell you on flour! Yeah…hard to shill flour, isn’t it? I’m just happy to see a company selling a certified gluten free flour, they do do mixes too, and not have to look at a wasted opportunity. If more companies sold the bare ingredients I’d be a much happier baker. Now, I’m not here to sell you on anything, but if you are looking for free-from flours, at really decent prices, check out Mannavida. I buy mine on Amazon via the fulfilled by Amazon option. It’s hard t find these a lot of the time, you just have to troll Amazon’s gluten free section or try searching for flours whilst hoping. Thankfully these have really simply packets with all the information you need clearly listed. This really shouldn’t be this difficult, should it, dear reader?

 photo WP_20170531_007_e_zps6jkdh2ly.jpgThey don’t spread too much and get a nice dome shape.

Before I get to the cookies, I should say that I’m not adverse to bloggers working with companies, I just feel that we should be responsible, upfront and honest. I’m a small-time blogger, the chances of me being corrupted by greed and avarice are very small. Just know that I’ll always be truthful with you. I do feel there is a really great worth in bloggers telling others about products, as long as the opinions are theirs and not bought. There’s a lot of free-from food out there and a lot of it can be waste of money. A forewarning that a product isn’t worthwhile is a wonderful thing. Look, I’m just saying you want to buy me you better cough up something special. Joking. Jack can’t be bought! (Also: No one is trying). Now, I did say these were meant to be biscuits, right? Now…does anyone follow these links? Maybe? Okay. This is almost a foolproof recipes: Rice Flour, Buckwheat Flour, Amaranth Flour and Quinoa Flour. This time they’re cookies, but so delicious you won’t mind that too much. I have adjusted the recipe to be less fussy. We’re not working with gluten or a string holding flour so I’ve ditched the creaming stage entirely. This is a quick eggless cookie, but they just taste so sweet, the sorghum gives the whole cookie a better overall taste than just the peanut butter and brown sugar could provide. They’re light and just slightly crumbly. They’re not moist, but I didn’t mind the slight crisp dryness. Perfect for dunking in tea.

For a flax egg recipe they’re very sturdy. I have had better success with flax in this instead of an egg. I think the egg adds too much moisture and you end up with way too much spreading. If you want you could probably use ground chia, but I can’t say with certainty. The flax and the peanut butter are the binders in this recipe. I have read that peanut butter can work as a binder on it’s lonesome, but I’ve never had much luck with that, but I have found it useful in addition to other ingredients for giving a bit of firmness. Sorghum still isn’t my favourite flour, but I have  to admit that this has been my favourite version of this recipe to date. That’s all for now, dear reader. I still have a fair bit of sorghum flour left over so I will hopefully be back with a few more recipes. All going well I’ll return with them. Take care.

Ingredients

135g Sorghum Flour
85g Brown Sugar
60g Natural Peanut Butter
60g Butter
1 Flax Egg (1 Tbsp Flaxseed and 3 Tbsp Water)
1 Tsp Baking Powder

Makes 15 Cookies.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160c (Fan) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Mix together the Sugar and Butter together until creamy. Then mix in the Peanut Butter and the Flax Egg until fully incorporated. Finally mix in the Sorghum Flour and Baking Powder until a slightly sticky and firm dough has been formed.

3. Scoop 1 Tbsp worth of the dough and roll into a ball and press down gently onto the prepared tray. When all the dough has been used up bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes or until golden and slightly firm to the touch. Let the cookies cool on the tray for 10 minutes, they should be firm by then and then transfer to a wire-rack to cool completely.

Sorghum Flour Pancakes

 photo 2017-05-24-1098_zpsss9qpaup.jpg Sorry about the quality, I only had my phone today.

I had planned to make, or at-least attempt, sorghum flour gnocchi today, but I forgot to put the sweet potato in the oven. Hopefully I remember it tomorrow. I ended up making the planter and planting even more free flowers. We’re at the stage where there are too many flowers. There are bags of abandoned bulbs, buried too deep to even grow and about to be thrown away, hanging in mesh bags in my shed. I foresee a large dug out area filled with bulbs near the compost bins. Better than weeds. So, in the rush of doing too much, whilst avoiding thinking about the pending surgery reschedule, I wanted something quick and haven’t had pancakes since I bought my waffle-iron. Naturally I had to try sorghum waffles because I haven’t yet.

I did make one mistake that might have been serendipitous, I neglected to add oil to he batter and instead added it to the pan and, if you can recall, sorghum tends to stick, even with copious oil the pancake still needed a shove before flipping. Thankfully with the oil in the pan it didn’t adhere to the pan at all. I honestly think it might be the best way to make these. Feel free to experiment. As for the texture I like these. They’re fluffy and light. Though I added sugar I didn’t find them overly sweet, nor did I get much taste from the sorghum. In saying that my taste-buds haven’t been great for the last few days so you might detect it more. They cook quickly, are light and tasty, the only downside is the oil, but if you add a tablespoon for each you’ll have little trouble. I should mention that I’m using wholegrain, accurate since it is indeed a grain this time, sorghum flour. I’m not sure if there’s a hulled version, but the colour might differ with a different type of flour.

What else can I say on pancakes? I like having a recipes using just a single flour. I think the more recipes of this ilk means less waste when someone buys too much of a flour and discovers that there are little to no recipes using it. I’ve been there too often, dear reader and I’m happy to alleviate the suffering of others…What? Too dramatic for pancakes? Heh. Not much left to say, one funny thing to end on: I’m reading A Confederacy of Dunces, looks to be an amazing read, and the person within referred to his readers as Dear Reader! I just hope I’m not comparable to the boated, pompous Ignatius! See you soon, dear reader.

Ingredients

2 Large Eggs
200g Sorghum Flour
150ml Low Fat Milk
25g Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder

Makes 7 Medium Pancakes. Can be frozen.

Method

1. Add Eggs, Milk and Sugar to a bowl and whisk until everything has combined.

2. Add the remaining dry ingredients to the bowl and then mix until a smooth thick Batter has been formed.

3. Over a medium-high heat 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil, for each pancake, and swirl it around a non-stick pan, then add some of the Batter, just enough to form a small circle, about 1/4 Cup. Cook for a two or three minutes until bubbles start to appear on the edges and centre and the underside is brown, then flip and cook the same on the other side. Repeat until batter is used up.

Microwave Sorghum Flour Mug Cake

 photo WP_20170521_003_e_zpsjysa1edy.jpgNope, that was bread. This is cake and eggless.

I wish I had something exciting to report on sorghum flour, dear reader, but it’s not doing anything spectacular, I’m afraid. I’m at the stage that I think I could reasonably use any free-from flour and find enough recipes to make it worthwhile having it in your pantry, if you’re fancy, or press, if you’re normal. It’s amazing to think how much can be accomplished if you doggedly stick to something. I’ve never given up on making single-use recipes work without gums or added starches. It’s become my style I suppose. I would say whenever I see a recipe claiming the need for this or that additional ingredients that it makes me angry, but I’m just too weary for that. I instead carry on as I am knowing what can be done with just a few ingredients ad will always be looking for kindred bloggers. I don’t think it makes me better, just different and different in this kind of way means that more people are being catered for. Being nightshade intolerant in a gluten free space meant I was continuously forced to adapt recipes and fight all the harder just to find them in the first place. Add starch free, well just forget it. Then a time came when I just started looking after myself. I now have recipes that can be used as templates and can be changed and adapted thanks to the knowledge I have obtained. All this preamble for a basic mug recipe? You know me, dear reader, you wouldn’t change me for the world.

 photo WP_20170521_004_e_zpsbuswvhlr.jpgDon’t eat it hot! *Burns tongue again eating it hot*

So, while I’m waiting on my basil to grow a bit more before harvesting I may as well say a bit about this mug ca…hmm? You mean to tell me that the world isn’t divided into the moments awaiting basil and harvesting basil? That’s absurd! All our waking days are purposeful because we all strive for basil! The moments without are the price we pay for the wondrous moments wherein we have basil. Seriously, I’m very close to harvest and thanks to the greenhouse it’s looking as if all the varieties will survive without much worry. I won’t count on the Dark Opal until it’s large enough, but it looks to be forging ahead. As for the cake. Let’s think. I think perhaps it needs a bit more sugar, though you can always add something sweet to top it off after cooking. I really like the taste of the sorghum and it adds a wonderfully light crumb. The cake really does crumble as you fork your way through, each morsel is a delicate, spongy delight. In truth, arrogant as all out, but who reads this far? I can say anything!, it’s better than the commercial version I used as a rough idea. Not that I ate it, but I can tell, dense and dry, not for me. Mine is richer, lighter and much more free-from. You know what has been bugging me is the idea that gluten free baking is naturally inferior and that only a choice few can really rise above the mediocrity. In truth I think too many people consume commercial products without ever tasting home-made and they also only try gluten free products with way too many additions and the best part is that a lot of wheat based commercial products now use gums and starches like their gluten free counterparts. Good food is good food regardless of the dietary labels, right, Dear Reader? I think if given a different path in life I may have tried my hand at being a professional baker. Perhaps even a pastry chef. For this life I will be Jack. That’ll do, right, dear reader?

Ingredients

45g Sorghum Flour
30g Butter
50ml Milk
15g Sugar
1/2 Tsp GF Baking Powder
Dash Vanilla Extract

Method

1. Melt the Butter, in a mug, on a low heat and when cooled slightly mix in the Sugar, with a fork, until dissolved.

2. Add in the Milk and Vanilla Extract and stir until everything has combined. Finally add in the Sorghum Flour and Baking Powder and mix until smooth.

3. Microwave on full heat for 2 minutes. Cake should be dry and springy to the touch. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.