Baking Quick Breads (by ratio) & Orange-Saffron Muffins [Gluten-Free]

17 Fri, 2011 § 10 Comments

Early mornings are meant for the kitchen.  Flours dust the counter tops as the sun slowly reaches its way across bowls & bamboo mixing spoons.  Sometimes, 4am (or even 5am) feels too early to be awake & baking breads; but often, I relish this unique perspective of our home as the house fills with light & sweet aromas.

While I enjoy this intimate time with myself, it’s not purely selfish.  Dave doesn’t seem to mind waking to smells of freshly baked millet muffins or Summer-infused quick breads.  I look forward to sending him to work with a scone, a fresh slice of sweet bread or a muffin.

I have taken to creating more baked goods rather than buying bread from the store, especially as I am delving into gluten-free varieties.  Baking my own is less expensive, but more than that, it’s rewarding & sparks creativity.  Experimenting with gluten-free flours is becoming more interesting than sticking to whole wheat, though I still rotate in batches made with kamut.  There is much more variance & diversity of flavors & textures when you explore what lies beyond all-purpose & wheat flour.  Corn. Oat. Rice. Buckwheat. Amaranth. Almond.  Each is distinct in its nuances & offers something different to your baking.

I am becoming very partial to the combination of almond & oat.

Orange & saffron as well.

I have just started baking with a scale & following weight ratios rather than measuring by volume (ie measuring cups), which immediately amped up my confidence in creating rather than simply following recipes.  Baked goods each have a ratio of flours to liquids to eggs to fats.  What makes bread different from pancakes — & these different from pizza dough or a croissant — is not just the ingredients, but how those ingredients work in proportion to each other.  Of course, there are still many recipes out there I have fallen in love with which need little to no adapting; but baking by ratio gives me the freedom to make these recipes my own by more easily swapping flours or the type of liquid or fat I use.

Try it.  My kitchen scale set us back only $20 & is more than worth it.

To ease you into this, I did translate my recipe back into approximate volume measurements.  These will only be useful if you use the exact ingredients I did though, because each flour, oil, etc has its own specific weight.  I’m a newby just playing around, having fun & certainly no expert.  This is a great post if you are interested in learning more about cooking with ratios.

The ratio for baking quick bread is 2 parts flour: 2 parts liquid: 1 part egg: 1 part fat.  To fill a 9 x 5 loaf pan, you would need 227 grams of flours, 227 grams of liquid of any kind, 113 grams egg (2 of them) or egg substitute & 113 grams of fats.   This ratio also works for making muffins.

Almond Meal Muffins with Orange Zest & Saffron

makes 12 muffins

or slightly fewer if you want a higher muffin top

  • 110 g almond flour (~heaping 3/4 cup)
  • 117 g oat flour (~heaping 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 131 g orange blossom honey (~1/2 cup)
  • 63 g coconut milk (~1/4 cup)
  • 34 g fresh orange juice (4T) & zest from one orange
  • 2 eggs (113 g)
  • 113 g coconut oil, melted (~1/2 cup)
  • tiny pinch of saffron, seriously only a few strands

Preheat oven to 350*F.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Combine wet ingredients separately.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients & mix.  Fold in zest & saffron.  Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling to the rim. Bake for 13 – 15 minutes until muffin tops are lightly golden & a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These are crumby & moist, best eaten with a fork, fresh & warm from the oven.


Do you bake using ratios?

p.s. The first bread is my vegan variation of Marla’s Strawberry Snack Cakes.

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§ 10 Responses to Baking Quick Breads (by ratio) & Orange-Saffron Muffins [Gluten-Free]

  • This is awesome! I so rarely follow a recipe but am also a little oblivious to the necessary ratios. The results are mixed-often the texture is off and occasionally I hit it out of the park. I suspect better results in my future now that I know the basic ratios!

    • Allie says:

      I know exactly what you mean, so I’m pretty excited to be cooking with ratios now, though I am still pretty oblivious about most of them — thank goodness for Google! I’ve heard this is a good book on the ratios of specific baked goods.

  • Dave says:


  • Natalie says:

    I’m with Dave. I would love to wake up to freshly baked muffins:). This recipe looks fantastic! Maybe a position as a baker is in your future…

  • Julia says:

    I’ve never heard of ratio baking but would love to learn more, and I’m so glad you posted the ones you did. I’m always wanting to create my own recipes, but usually just end up tweaking someone else’s because I’m never quite sure what is necessary and what is not.
    That strawberry snack cake/bread looks absolutely amazing!

    • Allie says:

      Ratios make tweaking other recipes even easier & more predictable. Because flours differ in weight, if you substitute according to weight rather than volume (cups), the textures & such should stay more true to the original. Example: I made my millet muffins this week but wanted to try incorporating millet flour along with the kamut. I left out a cup of kamut flour, which weighed 2.6oz or something but wasn’t equivalent to the weight of 1 cup millet flour; I actually needed 1 1/2 cups (or something, I forget exactly) millet. If I had just subbed 1 cup, my dry ratio would have been off, & the muffins may not have held together or ended up too oily.
      The strawberry bread was delicious (better after a day or so). You should check out & play around with her recipe.

  • Luke says:

    I love the idea of baking with ratios…what a great way to exercise my creative side in the kitchen! I am wondering though…do fruit purees like banana and pumpkin fit into the liquid category when making quick breads? What about zucchini, is that just an additive or does it fit into one of the ratio categies?

    • Allie says:

      Hi Luke,
      I’m still learning & experimenting with this, but if you are subbing the puree for an egg, you might just swap 1:1 for the egg. If not, I would consider it a liquid. So quick bread is 2 parts flour/2 parts liquid/1 part eggs/1 part fat. As for zucchini, I would consider it an additive but keep in mind its water content. If it is really wet or hasn’t been strained really well, you might want to decrease your other liquids slightly. Sorry I am not more help! Let me know what you try & link your recipe if it is online.
      Also, I’ve heard this is a good reference for baking by ratio, though I haven’t read it myself.
      Good luck!

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