Saturday, June 23, 2012

Trial and Error

I like to be creative with recipes when I am cooking. But when it comes to baking, I am clueless and I have to follow each step to a tee. There is so much food science behind baking, which makes creating recipes even harder.

A while ago, I won a $50 Bob's Red Mill gift certificate from a fellow Kentucky food blogger My McDonald Meal. I love Bob's Red Mill, they have so many types of flour that I have never heard of. I thought I would be adventurous with some of their products. I ordered 10 grain flour, rye flour, flaxseed, coconut flour, and buckwheat flour. I was most excited about coconut flour. I have never made gluten-free baked products before, and this was my opportunity.

f/4.5, 1/100, ISO 800

Coconut flour has a fragrant toasted smell, it has high fiber and absorbs liquid well. Unlike all-purpose flour, a little bit of coconut flour goes a long way. Therefore up 20% of total flour can be replaced with coconut flour. Since it absorbs liquid well, additional wet ingredients are needed. All coconut flour recipes I looked at require 3 or more eggs, sometimes up to half a dozen. I wanted to create a muffin recipe without using so many eggs.

Here was what I did the first time around: I used this honey muffin recipe as the base of my recipe. I wanted a dozen of muffins, so I doubled the recipe. Instead of adding 3 more eggs, I added 1/4 cup of fat-free yogurt.

My ingredients are:
3 eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder.

 The batter turned out very moist and after 15 minutes in the oven, the muffins were still soggy.

f/2.8, 1/80, ISO 1600, +0.3EV

For the second time around, I used the same recipe as above but added 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour (hence, not gluten-free anymore) and omit the blueberries. More muffin-like product, but on the chewy and slightly dry side. The coconut flour flavor and honey are still there and taste was good, but the texture was off.

f/3.5, 1/125, ISO 800

Back to the drawing board.

I think I am going to use brown rice flour to make this recipe gluten-free. Then use 1/2 cup coconut flour and 3/4 cup brown rice flour. Maybe a couple more tablespoons of milk? One more egg? One more tablespoon of butter? Maybe that was the texture of coconut flour products, but what could I do to make the muffins more fluffy?

The combination is endless, only trial and error will tell.

f/10, 1/250, ISO 100


  1. I seriously struggle with the science of baking. I always have to try, try again. :) I don't do much gluten free baking, but I do use a lot of whole grains. Good to the Grain is a great cookbook for whole grain baking. I need to try coconut flour. Love that last photo!

    1. Definitely try coconut flour! It smells delicious!

  2. Have you ever read _Ratio_? I'm not sure how helpful it would be for gluten-free cooking, but it is immensely helpful for understanding the science and ratios behind baking. Good luck with your experiments!

    1. Thanks, Mindy! Yes, it definitely comes down to the ratios and a good understanding of baking science.


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