Coming Events: GIG Gluten-Free Fair, May Class at Bob’s Red Mill and Gluten Free Expo

Portland GIG Gluten-Free Fair

The Portland Metro GIG has announced the date and venue for this years spring Gluten-Free Fair. It will be held Saturday, May 19th, 2012 at Mittleman Jewish Community Center on Capitol Highway near Multnomah Village. More information here on Grain Damaged.

May Class at Bob’s Red Mill

The May schedule of classes at Bob’s Red Mill is out. They only have one gluten-free class this month, but it looks intriguing. Here’s the description:

Gluten Free Baking with Dr. Jean Layton! Have you been frustrated that your gluten-free goodies have been less than stellar? Using a simple way of measuring for perfect results every time join Dr. Jean Layton co-author of Gluten-Free Baking for Dummies for a tantalizing and tempting baked treats. Her recipes include: Crunchy Hazelnut Biscotti – twice baked cookies that are perfect with a cup of tea, Maple Walnut Tea Scones – using no sugar, just pure maple syrup for sweetening, Sweet Potato Biscuits that use the sweet potato puree for tenderness and flavor, allowing the biscuits to be lower in fat and higher in antioxidants, Cranberry Orange Muffins, this vegan muffin is the perfect quick breakfast treat, Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes with a sweet lemon glaze, and Perfect Pancakes. Bring your gluten free baking questions, Dr. Jean loves to share her 6 years of experience with gluten-free thriving.

Supplies to Bring: enjoy the sampling! Class fee $45.00

When: Thursday, May 31, 2012, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Where: Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Cooking School, 5000 S.E. International Way, Milwaukie, Oregon 97222
Contact: Call Bonnie at (971) 206-2208 to enroll.

Chicago Gluten-Free Expo is This Month

The Living Without Gluten Free Expo is coming in two weeks, in Chicago. A quick look at the class schedule reveals two prominent Portland folks, Kyra Bussanich of Crave Bake Shop, and Laura B. Russell, author of the Gluten Free Asian Kitchen. There’s a spot on the website where you can go and vote for them to come to Portland, here. Do it!

Fine Print: We are not affiliated with the Portland GIG, Bob’s Red Mill, or the Gluten-Free Expo.

April Classes at Bob’s Red Mill

Two new upcoming gluten-free classes at Bob’s Red Mill:

New to Gluten Free with Lori Sobelson! Thursday, April 19, 2012 • 5:00-6:30 p.m. Are you new to the gluten free lifestyle? Do you feel overwhelmed not knowing what is safe to eat, what products to buy, how to bake without using gluten flours? In this class Lori Sobelson, Director of Community Outreach with Bob’s Red Mill will walk you through the basic steps of converting to a gluten free lifestyle. We will discuss what it means to live a gluten free lifestyle, talk about brands you can trust, sample gluten free baked goods made from Bob’s Red Mill gluten free mixes as well as learn tips that will make your new menu planning easier. You’ll leave with a recipe packet and a better understanding of all that’s available to make your new lifestyle easy to adapt to and worth the change!

This class is specifically designed for those who are new to gluten free. It is an informational class only; no cooking demonstration will be given. Class Fee: $25.00

and…

Spectacular Spring Salads with Laura B. Russell! Thursday, April 26, 2012 • 5:00-7:00 p.m. Join food writer and cookbook author Laura Russell as she incorporates grains, beans, and lentils into spectacular spring salads. Many are main-dish worthy, such as Quinoa Salad with Chicken and Grapes, Wild Rice Salad with Smoked Trout and Lemony Dill Vinaigrette, and Cannellini Bean Salad with Tuna and Watercress. The others, Lentils Vinaigrette with Toasted Almonds, Tropical Rice Salad with Mango, Avocado, and Cilantro, and Buckwheat Salad with Roasted Asparagus, can be served as side dishes or light main dishes. We’ll talk about cooking grains and beans, making homemade dressings, and ideas for varying the recipes as well.

All of the salads in this class are gluten free. Class Fee $40.00

Where: Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Cooking School, 5000 S.E. International Way, Milwaukie, Oregon 97222
Contact: Call Bonnie at (971) 206-2208 to enroll.

Gluten Free Class at Bob’s Red Mill

From the flier:

New to Gluten Free with Lori Sobelson!
Are you new to the gluten free lifestyle? Do you feel overwhelmed not knowing what is safe to eat, what products to buy, how to bake without using gluten flours? In this class Lori Sobelson, Director of Community Outreach with Bob’s Red Mill will walk you through the basic steps of converting to a gluten free lifestyle. We will discuss what it means to live a gluten free lifestyle, talk about brands you can trust, sample gluten free baked goods made from Bob’s Red Mill gluten free mixes as well as learn tips that will make your new menu planning easier. You’ll leave with a recipe packet and a better understanding of all that’s available to make your new lifestyle easy to adapt to and worth the change! This class is specifically designed for those who are new to gluten free. It is an informational class only; no cooking demonstration will be given.

When: January 12, 2012, 5:00-6:30 p.m
Where: Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Cooking School, 5000 S.E. International Way, Milwaukie, Oregon 97222
Class Fee: $20.00
Contact: Call Bonnie at (971) 206-2208 to enroll.

Two New Gluten-Free Classes at Bob’s Red Mill

There are two upcoming gluten-free classes at Bob’s Red Mill. These are a fun way to spend an evening (see our review of one we took last year).

Delicious International Soups with Laura B. Russell

Laura B. Russell is the author of The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen, which we are currently working our way through.

When: Thursday, October 20, 2011 5:00 to 7:00 PM

Take a trip around the world with cookbook author and columnist Laura Russell as she incorporates whole grains and beans into hearty, satisfying soups and accompaniments. We’ll start in Africa with a Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup followed by a layover in India for Creamy Curried Millet and Vegetable Soup. Two stops in South America bring us an addictive tapioca-based Brazilian Cheese Bread and Peruvian Quinoa Chowder. Back home in the U.S., we’ll dig into wedges of Cornbread and a chunky Wild Rice Soup with Smoked Sausage. Please join us in welcoming Laura Russell to our cooking school while enjoying some of her wonderful dishes!

Note: In addition to this menu being gluten-free, both breads are vegetarian, one soup is vegan, and one soup has a vegan option.

Supplies to bring: enjoy the sampling! Class Fee: $40.00

Best-Ever Gluten-Free Holiday Desserts– But For Everyone with Kyra Bussanich

Our review of Crave Bake Shop and their amazing cupcakes. Seriously, Kyra Bussanich makes the best gluten-free cupcakes and cinnamon rolls.

When: Thursday, November 10, 2011 5:00 to 7:00 PM

Here’s how you can WOW your holiday guests and family, even those with gluten-free or dairy-free diets with a nationally-acclaimed Pastry Chef Kyra Bussanich from Lake Oswego’s Crave Bake Shop will show you how to create tender, flaky Sweet Potato Biscuits with Maple Butter, a lighter-than-air dairy-free Pumpkin Chiffon Cake, and outrageous Truffle Fudge Brownies. You can also raise a toast with Champagne Cupcakes or give thanks in style with stop-in-their-tracks Pumpkin Cheesecake. Each dessert is gluten-free, but they’re so delicious, your friends and family will NEVER know–they’ll just want more!

Supplies to Bring: enjoy the sampling! Class fee $40.00

Where:
Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store
5000 International Way
Milwaukie, OR 97222

Call Bonnie at Bob’s Red Mill 971-206-2208 (Mon-Fri 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM) to sign up for classes.

Product Review: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix

There certainly are a lot of gluten-free baking mixes available now. I was at Whole Foods a couple days ago, and noticed that Bob’s Red Mill has a gluten-free bread mix out, and that it can be made by hand or with a bread machine. I’m a little bit skeptical about a lot of these mixes, mostly because we always seem to have much better luck with our own mixes, but since it’s Bob’s Red Mill and can be made in a bread maker, I decided to give it a go. (Side note: Don’t miss our bread machine information page.)

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix

You may remember that we made scones with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free baking mix. We found that the mix had a “beany” aftertaste, and several readers chimed in to support our opinion. So I was a little worried when I saw that Garbanzo Bean Flour was the first ingredient listed. Here are the ingredients: Garbanzo Bean Flour, Potato Starch, Corn Starch, White Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, Evaporated Cane Juice, Fava Bean Flour, Xanthan Gum, Active Dry Yeast, Potato Flour, Sea Salt, Guar Gum, Soy Lecithin. For the record, the yeast isn’t mixed in. It comes in a little packet that is in the mix. If you give the mix a little taste, as one would expect, it tastes very beany, and is also surprisingly sweet. We decided to add some walnuts and chia seeds to our bread. Walnuts are great for flavor and also high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are the same seeds that go on those “chia pets” they sell at drug stores, and are also high in Omega-3.

Walnuts and Chia Seeds

The instructions on the package for making the bread with a bread machine are rather simple. You add milk, egg (and egg whites), butter or vegetable oil, and cider vinegar. The mix makes it very easy, and you’ll have everything in the machine in a couple of minutes. Our machine calls for adding the liquids first, then the dry ingredients, and then finally the yeast on top of the dry. The machine is supposed to bring everything to the right temperature, but we still raise the temperatures of everything before we add them, just so we don’t delay the yeast.

So we put the egg in some warm water, and also microwaved the milk until it was around 110 degrees. If you will be adding butter, you’ll want to melt it. We used grape seed oil. Once all the liquids are around the right temperature, you mix them up and you’re ready to go.

Ingredients in the Bread Machine

So how did it go? Well we were really amazed at how much the bread rose! We’re used to making bread and having it only raise a couple inches. Check out the difference between the photo on the top, which is from our gluten-free bread machine bake-off, using a flour recipe from Annalise Roberts’ book, Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine. The bottom photo is the loaf from the Bob’s Red Mill mix. That’s a really big difference! We had a little bit of trouble with the loaf shrinking a bit (which made the center of the top fall in a little), but not as much as we’ve had with other loaves that ended up getting big.

Bake-Off Loaves

Bake-Off Loaves

Bob's Red Mill GLuten-Free Bread

Bob's Red Mill Loaf

That’s really huge. We’ve become so used to eating short, rectangular sandwiches that this almost ends up being too much of a slice! So how is the bread?

Slices of bread

Here’s a picture so you can see the texture. Fresh out of the machine, the bread was very light, and almost spongy. (It was a pain to slice until we let it sit longer!) When it was warm, I thought the bread was delicious (Sienna thought the bread was just OK, flavor-wise, though she was pretty blown away with how much it rose), and didn’t suffer from the same bean flavor that their baking mix did. I was especially enamored of the crust, which tasted a lot like real bread crust. When it cooled down, though, the bread definitely had more of a bean aftertaste, and was kind of dry. So like a lot of other gluten-free breads, you’ll find yourself toasting this bread before eating it. I was still very impressed with how fluffy the bread was, and how well it rose. The folks at Bob’s Red Mill must know a thing or two about making bread rise.

Final analysis: This mix makes a really good sandwich bread. There is still a bit of a bean aftertaste when you eat the bread alone, but in sandwiches it isn’t really a problem. As mentioned above, like most gluten-free breads, it definitely benefits from being toasted. One thing I don’t mention above is that the mix is very easy to use. If you’ve spent any time mixing your own gluten-free flours, you’ll know how a lot of them are so fine that they end up everywhere and can make a real mess. We haven’t really looked into how the price compares to mixing your own, but based on the price of the mix on Amazon, a loaf is going to cost five bucks. Finally, the Bob’s Red Mill mix gets five stars for rising and making fluffy bread.

We want to know: Got a favorite gluten-free bread mix? Have a different experience with this one? We’re especially curious to know if others feel the bread tastes too much like beans. Let us know in the comments.

Times we have visited: 1 (so your results may vary.)
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Looks about twice as expensive as wheat-based mixes available online.

Product Review: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Bread Mix

This isn’t going to be the fairest of reviews because I used this mix for something it wasn’t designed for, and it didn’t do the greatest job. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of pancakes and lately I’ve been working on finding the best gluten free pancakes. Recently I reviewed Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix. Before that I had reviewed Trader Joe’s packaged Gluten-Free Pancakes. I also tried the gluten free oatmeal pancakes at Francis Restaurant on Alberta Street here in Portland Oregon.

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix

I started with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix. Here are the ingredients: Whole Grain Cornmeal, Potato Starch, Whole Grain Sorghum Flour, Evaporated Cane Juice, Whole Grain Corn Flour, Tapioca Flour, Baking Powder, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum. To make gluten-free cornbread with this mix, you need: 1 1/2 Cups milk (rice, soy, dairy); 1/3 Cup oil or melted butter; and 2 Eggs.

I figured this mix would make good pancakes. I don’t know if anybody reading this has been to Vita on Alberta, but they make these amazing corn pancakes that I used to love back when we ate there a lot. I heard recently that they’ve made these corn pancakes gluten-free, but haven’t confirmed it. They are one of the places in town you would expect to be gluten-free friendly and do appear on our gluten-free restaurant list. At one point I was making my own corn pancakes with oat flour and spelt, but eventually I had to stop eating spelt and haven’t come up with a good gluten free recipe for them.

The problem with the Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix is that it contains too much xanthan gum to make pancakes. Xanthan gum is an ingredient used in gluten-free cooking which is good for replacing gluten. It helps make things stick together like gluten does. Unfortunately, it can end up making batter too thick for certain purposes, and when making pancakes, you want the batter to be thin enough to pour. I ended up having to add four times the amount of liquid specified by the menu just to get a batter that was kind of OK. I actually stopped because it seemed like I was pouring liquid down a black hole instead of into some batter.

I also added some vanilla, which goes really well in corn pancakes. Here are some pancakes from when I finally got the batter so it would pour, even though it was still too elastic.

Concakes for a gluten free diet

The good news is that my pancakes turned out nice and fluffy, which is how I like them. Also, the flavor of the mix is really wonderful. The cornbread mix ends up tasting rich and satisfying. I especially love corncakes with some butter and honey, and these are great served that way as well. But for corn pancakes, I’m going to keep looking. This mix would be perfect if it weren’t for the xanthan gum, which I’m sure is necessary for making the corn bread properly, but isn’t great when you’re making pancakes. Maybe next time I’ll try to come up with my own gluten free corn pancake recipe.

We want to know: If you have a favorite gluten-free pancake recipe, let us know in the comments. Also we’d love to hear from anybody who has used this mix for its intended use: cornbread.

Times we have visited: once (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 2 out of 5 stars (for making pancakes)
Price compared to “regular”: Around same price.

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Bread Mix
Here’s the mix on Amazon.