Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fermented Grain Applesauce Snack Cake - Gluten Free

{No pictures, I know. Picture a thick moist spice cake without sugar or frosting}

Because I've considered experimenting with gluten-free yeast bread too time-consuming and high in the sacrifice of fiber for fluffiness and gluten-freeness, I've been experimenting with soaked/fermented grain quick bread. It's time-consuming if you count the soaking time, but not if you count what you actually do. Plus, there is only one wait-time between initial preparation and preparation to dump in the pan. The last batch of this cake-like bread that I made turned out addictively moist, grainy and delicious - as well as easy to digest, thanks to its hearty soaking.

It is unfortunate that I am an unprincipled dumper when it comes to cooking and baking. I smell, feel, look and jiggle and taste and, for the most part, hopelessly fail to measure. But I tried to keep track of some important things in this last and most-successful cake of moistness and tender, glutenless crumbs.

So here is the recipe!

STEP 1 - Before your all-night or all-day soak.

In large glass measuring cup or mixing bowl, combine

2 cups of gluten-free grain flours:
 (I used - 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
 - 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
-1/4 cup fine buckwheat kasha)
You could use brown rice flour, sorghum, teff, oats or oat bran (if you can) millet flour etc. - just make sure to use a combination of several, since most gluten-free flours have a flat, distinctive flavor when used alone. Coarse flours like cornmeal, oats and fine kasha lend a nice chewy texture, and a small amount of starch like arrowroot or tapioca adds softness and springy-ness).
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put on stove or in microwave to heat till hot - near but not fully boiling:
1 1/2 cups water

While the water heats, add on top of the mixed flours, but do not stir yet:
1/2 cup natural (un-sweetened) applesauce, or cooked 'seconds' apples (and/or prune baby food)
1-2 tsp. dark (blackstrap) molasses 
1 T Bragg's apple cider vinegar

Add hot water to flour and apple sauce and stir together till nice and batter-y. Add more flour or water or applesauce if it looks too dry or too wet. Cover with a plate or something and let sit over night, or all day , or all day and all night (or until next week if you are adventurous or have ADD). Feel free to stir it whenever you walk through the kitchen, but make sure it has time to soak - at least 8 hours, or longer if your kitchen is cold. You want the batter to sour and ferment a little. It might begin to smell 'spoiled' depending on what flours you used, but that's okay - the baking will take care of it.

STEP 2 - Before baking:

Grease an 8x8 baking pan with butter.

Uncover your wonderful smelly grain goop and add, stirring heartily with a fork or whisk after each addition,
2 eggs, or 2 egg-yolks and an egg
1/4 cup softened/melted butter, grapeseed oil, coconut oil or other desired fat
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves (and/or of nutmeg, ginger too - whatever you like)
1/2 tsp. buffered Vitamin C powder (optional!)
1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder or baking soda, or half of each

Pour batter into pan. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts, or cinnamon or nutmeg, or coconut flakes, or nothing; or drizzle with rice milk and gently swirl with knife for an extra-moist bread. Bake at 350 - 375 F (I did 365) until set in center and brown at edges. (20 minutes? I didn't time it - it's too appetizing to forget about). Let cool in pan 10 minutes before eating. (Ha, as if I did that). Enjoy!

Refrigerate if any remains overnight, or it might start fermenting again. Not quite yummy. If you leave it out and that does happen, simply crumble the remainder of the 'spoiled' bread into your next batch for even better flavor. I often do this if there's some old stuff left when I want to make a new batch. No need to eat the old, stale bread when you can just crumble it into the new.

If anyone tries this recipe, let me know how it works and what you tweaked.