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.