Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Muffin Mix

I realized the other day that it had been since classes started since I had posted anything.  Time sure does fly.   I love my new job, and feel like most days I do a pretty good job of it.  Yesterday I had 35 students staring at me blankly as I tried to explain how increasing the number of contributing resonance structures can actually lower the acidity of a proton.   I want them to realize when they are confused about a concept; if it intuitively makes sense whenever I am talking, they will think they know it when really they don't.   However, I don't want to be the one confusing them.  Yesterday I felt like I accidently stepped over the line a bit.


Sunday morning we needed a snack to take to church with us, so I decided to make muffins.  As I was getting out the mixing bowl, Riley asked me if I was sure I wanted to do that, because we needed to start out the door in an hour.   By the time she had finished the question I had all my dry ingredients in the bowl, and just needed to add oil and water.  From start to finish, I had muffins baked in 25 minutes.   I have finally, after a year of needing to get to it, figured out a basic muffin mix.  I wish I had pictures for you, but our camera went belly up a few weeks before the move.


25 minute Muffins


2 ¾ cups dry muffin mix

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 1/4cup water


Mix, and Bake, 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.


So, what is in the mix? .


4 cups Sorghum Flour

2 cups Tapioca Starch

1 ½ cups Rice Flour

½ Cup Amaranth Flour (You may substitute more rice flour, I suppose)

1 ½ cups Sugar

8 tsp Baking Powder

6 tsp Xanthan Gum

4 tsp Salt

3 Tbsp Soy Powder


The Soy Powder is so that I don't have to include eggs with the wet ingredients.  For someone with a soy sensitivity, feel free to leave it out, add two eggs and reduce the amount of water when you want get ready to bake.  


I'm still thinking about the problem of egg sensitivity AND soy sensitivity, but haven't come up with anything yet.   The problem is that both eggs and soy have high concentrations of an emulsifier called lecithin, which is structurally similar to soap in some ways but tastes a lot better.  Lecithin is a great emulsifier, meaning that it holds the oil and the water together in one phase, like fat free Italian dressing, instead of allowing them to separate like normal dressing does.   One question I need to find the answer to, I suppose is whether someone with egg and soy sensitivity can use purified lecithin, or if it is the lecithin itself that is a problem.  Has anyone who can't eat soy tried purified Soy Lecithin in baking?


Using soy powder or soy flour instead of egg works fairly well in most things that I've baked.  It's really only since we moved that I've been able to experiment with soy in Gluten free baking because Hildegard, for whom I did some baking, couldn't handle soy.   1 ½ tsp soy with some extra water, like a Tbsp or so, is a pretty good egg substitute in muffins and cakes, but it doesn't work as well in bread and works horribly with waffles.   It may be the lack of cholesterol, I don't know, but they stick something awful in the waffle iron.  It may be that if I added extra oil to compensate, it would go better.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Moved-in round-up.

Time to start blooging regularly again.  I have mostly-completed moving my fanily from the Midwestern United States to Western Canada to take a Faculty Postiion at Home Town College (HTC), Canada, where, incidentally, I did not attend school.  Aside from the customs and immigration issues that were both more complicated and easier than expected, moving to another country entails a lot of adjustment, diet-wise.
It turns out that basing your entire food system around one grain doesn't work very well if you move to a place where no one else eats that food.  You'll have a hard time continuing to eat Putine everyday if you move to Texas, for example.  In my case, I discovered that Canada has, in general, not discovered the joys of baking with sorghum flour.  At the very least, I expected to find Soem small bags of Bob's Red Mill Sorghum flour at some of the more snobbish grocery stores.  But no, it was nowhere to be seen.  Since the last time I bought Jowar flour from the Indian Grocery, it smelled like wheat flour, I have been hesitant to go that route.  I finally make it to a hippy foods-type store on the west side of the city and found that they sell bulk sorghum flour for a pretty decent price.  I have ordered a 25 kilo bag of it, which they tell me should come in next week.
The interesting thing about this sorghum flour is that it appears to NOT be the sweet white sorghum that Bob's Red Mill and Twin Valley Mills Uses.  They couldn't tell me what kind it was, or where it came from except the assure me that it was a Canadian Source, and not from China.  Instead of a pale amber, this type is more reddish.  It is curious that in the mid-west I had amber soghum flour and purple millet flour, and here I have amber millet flour and red sorghum flour.  Wikipedia lists over 30 varieties of sorghum, so who knows.  This kind tastes a little more bitter than what I am used to, but it bakes the same, otherwise.
The other big news is that Canada has other types of rice pasta than I have ever seen before.  Obviously, the U.S. wouldn't have had President's Choice , but a third company, Rizopia, is in competition with Tinkyada.  I've tried them both, and they appear to be similar to Tinkyada, with the main advantage being that they are both cheaper.  I've been stocking up on Rizopia products since they went on sale, 4/$5 for the past two weeks.  That is simply unheard of with Tinkyada, which I have NEVER seen go on sale.
So I think we're set, food wise.  With the bulk Sorghum, the sale on noodles, with the 2.99/gallon Soy Milk, being Gluten and Dairy Free here shouldn't be so tough.  The last thing I need to find but haven't has been the Maestro's favourite Cheerios knock-off, the Apple-Cinnamon Perky-O's.  I saw a box at the other hippy food-type store, but it was approximately ONE MILLION DOLLARS, so I didn't buy it.
I have something to say about Egg Substitutes (bad news, sorry) and a book review that I hope to get to this week.  We'll see how it goes.  Classes start on Tuesday, and I jost got my office and a teimporary computer on Friday.  That's another post, though.