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Monday, November 4, 2013

Sour Cream Corn Bread (Gluten Free)

I made gluten free corn bread last night, mainly out of curiosity.  Don't get me wrong, I have dramatically reduced my gluten and wheat intake, with positive results, but this was about playing with new ingredients.

As I trundled down the grocery aisle, with a number of unfamiliar faces in my cart, I realized I had no real idea what the role of these new ingredients were in this recipe.  Time for a bit of research...

Tapioca Flour

Also known as tapioca starch, tapioca flour, made from cassava root,  is used as an alternative to wheat flour, helping to bind gluten free recipes and improve texture of baked goods.  It adds crispness in crusts and chew to breads and cookies, as well as being a great thickener in sauces and soups - it never discolors and has no discernible taste or smell.

Xanthan Gum

Basically, a bacterium that is allowed to ferment on a sugar, then dried and milled to create a powder, xanthan gum is used to imitate gluten in gluten free baking.  It gives dough elasticity, holds cookies together, and helps cakes rise and stay light.  It also is an excellent emulsifier and thickener, and creates a creamy texture.

So, now I have a container of fake wheat flour to mix with things like corn meal for gluten free baking. Perhaps a mix with chestnut flour, honey and rosemary - I'm thinking muffins.  But I digress.  Here is the recipe for Gluten Free Corn Bread:

Sour Cream Corn Bread (from Land O lakes)
1/4 C Butter (I used Crisco instead)
3 Tbsn Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1/2 C Sour Cream
1/2 C Milk
1 C Gluten Free Flour Blend
(2 C rice flour, 2/3 C Potato Starch, 1/3 C tapioca Flour, 1 tspn Xanthan Gum)
2/3 C Yelow Corn Meal
2 tspns Gluten Free Baking Powder (I used regular)
1/2 tspn salt (I don't want to oversalt, but 1 tspn instead would definitely increase the flavor)
(I added sage and cayenne pepper for a bit of kick.  I also think corn kernels would be a good addition, as well as green chilis)

Heat oven to 425 deg F.

Combine softened butter and sugar in a large bowl.  Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until creamy.  Add eggs, mix well.  Stir in sour cream and milk.  Reduce speed to low; add all remaining ingredients.  Beat until just mixed.

Pour batter into greased 8 inch square baking pan. (I baked mine in a cast iron skillet).  Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick in center comes out clean.  Serve warm.

The result is pleasant enough.  It does not have the wonderful, sweet graininess of standard corn bread though.  Rather, it lighter and breadier.  Maybe a little less baking powder?  Maybe a bit more corn meal?  I suppose more experimentation is in order.  Nevertheless, it is pleasant, and was an excellent accompaniment to the vegetable chili that you will see here next...

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