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RECIPE TESTER FAQ

 -- What happens if I use sliced almonds to make almond flour?

 At least one tester has found this gives her a better result! She said that when she used sliced almonds in my coffee bean grinder she ended up with a finer grind of almond flour than when using whole almonds. The resulting flour was not granular as I experienced with the whole almond flour. The finished baked product was much nicer and had a better taste.  If you try this, please note that you did in your survey so we can track the result.

 --I bought ingredients in bulk - how should I store them? 

 The Higher fat ingredients are subject to rancidity and if not needed for an extended period of time should be stored in the freezer although storage for up to 2 months in the fridge should be fine.  Those ingredients include most of the seed and nut based ingredients in the ingredient lists.  If you have the ability to vacuum pack them, that helps keep the flavors fresh to by keeping moisture in and freezer burn away.  If you don't have a vacuum device use a zipper lock bag and  squeeze out all the air you can.  For xanthan the non fatty ingredients like xanthan gum or guar gum, no special storage is necessary.  Keep them tightly closed to keep out moisture.  

 

-- I'm using New Roots Stevia Sugar Replacement and I've read in different places that it should be substitued 1:1 or 1:2.  Which is correct?    

 The original information about New Roots Stevia Sugar Replacement  was taken from the products website and is probably incorrect. The tester who originally brought the product to the our attention wrote to me when she wanted to make a correction to our first email from Peter.  She indicated that "new Roots Stevia Sugar replaces regular sugar at the rate of 1 part Stevia Sugar to 2 parts regular sugar.  This information is on the link given as well as on the bottle."  If you use the product as directed by the label 1:2 that is most likely your best option.  If doing that doesn't give you a good result be sure and report it.  As it becomes clearer how this substitued is used we'll send out another note. Just for clairity - 1:2 means for each cup of sugar you use 1/2 cup of the New Roots product. 

--Can I use vegan egg replacers?

 An excellent question. The eggs provide, as Kittee pointed out, the functions of structure and nutrition in the dough as well as levening if they are foamed, and since we created the recipes with regular eggs we still need to know if the replacers will work as well. So, my suggestion is to follow the recipe as written, substituting the suggested amount of egg replacer for the eggs in the recipe, and let us know how it goes. My feeling is that the primary function is for binding, as opposed to leavening, but binding does help support rising/leavening so Kittee's tests, as well as any other vegans, is critical for us.

--How much should I buy? The ingredients are pricey, that’s for sure (and something that those of you who have already been baking gluten and carb free know). The mail order options are good if you plan to bake a lot and to test many recipes because bulk prices are better. But, at the beginning you may want to purchase locally in smaller amounts, such as Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour or other brands which are available at local natural food markets. Here is a list of some ingredients that you can buy in smaller amounts:

--Stevia powder and liquid stevia. Not every recipe calls for these and the main reason to have them in large quantities is if you plan to make one or both of the GFCF sugar replacers (GFCF stands for Gluten-Free Carb-Free). There are currently four approved GFCF Sugar Replacers: the two I will provide in a separate recipe file when we start, plus Splenda Granular and ZSweet, both of which can be found at many natural food markets. We developed the first two as an alternative to Splenda Granular because, even though Splenda Granular tastes the most like sugar, I’m still not convinced that it’s as safe as they claim. I hope it is, but for those who share my concern we are offering these alternatives and I hope that some of you will try them so we can see if you like them as much as the Splenda Granular versions. Splenda Granular, of course, is easy to obtain so if you can’t get or make the others, go with the Splenda Granular. Incidentally, my co-author, Denene Wallace, who has done most of the recipe development and ingredient research, says that she uses both stevia (powder or liquid) plus one of the GFCF sugar replacers in many recipes because using two different sugar replacers can sometimes help mask, or balance out, the distinctive taste that every sugar replacer has. Keep that in mind as you report back, as we’d like to see if this proves out. (Note: Polydextrose and stevia powder is one GFCF sugar replacer; the other is erythritol and powdered stevia. Recipes for these will come soon). Anyway, start with one small bottle of both powdered and liquid stevia. They will last for awhile.

--Baking powder: Why are we offering a baking powder replacement? While most people can handle regular powder, there are some highly gluten- sensitive folks can’t, so we’re offering a simple substitute. Whenever a recipe calls for baking powder you can either use that or you can make up a replacer consisting of about 1 parts baking soda and 2 parts cream of tartar (yes, it’s the old Rumford formula for single-acting baking powder--but I will send the exact recipe in a subsequent e-mail, along with the GFCF Sugar Replacer). If you plan to go that route, I’d suggest making up about a cup or so, so that you can just dip in as needed. NOTE: Some recipes call for Baking Powder and some for Baking Soda. Please read carefully when you make each recipe and use the correct one.

--Unsweetened semi-sweet chocolate chips and chocolate bars: There are only a few recipes that call for these so don’t go crazy stocking up, and use the ones you can find. Just let us know in your responses which one you used so we can track which ones test out best. We love ChocoPerfection but it’s hard to find and the chips seem to have dropped off the grid. Every company uses their own secret sweeteners so we’d love to know which ones you prefer.

--Where’s the yeast? It’s hard to get starch-free sugar free products to activate yeast, not to mention the fact that there’s no gluten. When we do use yeast, which is only in a few recipes like some pizza doughs, it’s just for the yeast flavor, not the leavening. Our leavening is all done via baking powder or soda.

---Is there a replacement for xanthan gum?

Yes, guar gum, but most people prefer xanthan. There might be other gums that you’ve successfully used and if you want to substitute yours for the xanthan go ahead but let us know and tell us why. You will only need a small bottle of this, as only a little is used in a recipe and not all recipes call for it.

--Can I use my electric stand mixer?

Yes, I addressed this in the original welcome letter. Just let us know if you do, and use common sense in making the adjustment to a mixer. A paddle is usually appropriate except when making egg foam/meringue. We’ll give one set of instructions in the book for how to use a mixer for these, but the beauty of the recipes is that you can make almost all of them with just two bowls, a whisk, and a spoon. Occasionally, you will need to whip egg whites and you can do that by hand or by electric tools.

--Can I double or triple the recipe sizes?

Yes, but first make them as written and then feel free to make bigger batches.

--Which is better, scooping with cups and tablespoons or weighing the ingredients?

These recipes are far more tolerant than yeasted breads, so scoops are sufficient. However, we do need to know how accurate our weight equivalents are so, if you do have a scale we’d love it if you’d weigh your scoops and tell us if our weights are correct or how far they’re off.

--Milk and nut flour products--does it mater which ones I use--can I freely substitute?

 Another perk of these recipes is that they are super tolerant of substituting certain ingredients. Nut flours, for sure. Once you make a recipe as written you are free to exchange certain nuts for others (in some recipes the option is even part of the recipe): walnut and pecans are an obvious exchange but you can also use hazelnuts or simply stick totally with almond flour in place of a second or third nut flour. As for milk, use what you like. If you are vegan, use soy or almond milk. Do not hemp or rice milk, though, because they have higher carbs since they come from grains. But always use unsweetened milk.

--Must it be blanched almond flour? No, blanching removes the skins of the almonds (which I think is the most healthful part) and some books insist on using only blanched almond flour. But these recipe work with blanched or un-blanched almond flour. Chances are, if you are buying almond flour it will probably be blanched even if it doesn’t say so (unless you see lots of skin particles). It doesn’t matter, use it. If you are grinding your own it will be un-blanched—no problem!

--Can I use my blender to grind the flour? I don’t have much success with my blender--it just creates too much heat and turns the nuts into butter. A food processor is the second best option, but a small seed/spice grinder is the best--just work in half cup units. It only takes a few seconds.

--I’m ready to start, can I? A number of you seem well positioned to get going and we’re discussing an earlier start date for those who are ready. We’ll let you know by the end of the week if we can move up the starting date. The problem is me--I am furiously trying to polish up enough recipes to get ahead of you. However, if you’d rather get started and, perhaps, have to wait later and if I do get too far behind, then we may get you going sooner.

--If I want to test a recipe a second time or even a third, can I? Yes, we will set up a mechanism so that you can re-test a recipe, perhaps so that you can try it with a different GFCF sweetener. Mark will explain the procedure for re-testing in a subsequent e-mail.

--Can I print out these recipes or save them to my hard drive? Yes, you should print them out so you can take them into the kitchen. If you want to save them for future reference, knowing that these are not the final versions, that’s okay too. The most important consideration is that you honor the agreement to keep these confidential. You can let people taste the results and comment on them (we ask for the reactions of others) but please don’t give them the recipes. Please don’t share the recipes with anyone--it’s amazing how fast they could be all over the internet, especially if someone who hasn’t agreed to confidentiality has them. Just tell them to wait, like everyone else, for the book which won’t be published till next year, probably in April, 2012.

--How long do I have to test a recipe? Take as much time as you need--you will be on your own pace. We’d like the first response back within two weeks but, after that, go as fast or as slow as you like. We know that some people will test more recipes than others--just do as many as you feel comfortable with and, if you have to drop out for any reason, no problem (just drop Mark a line so we can move someone else up from the waiting list). We’re grateful for whatever you cando, even if it’s just one recipe.

 

If we think of anything else I missed we’ll send out another e-mail and post it on this FAQ page. Thank you for your great questions so far and for all your support.

Sincerely,

Peter

 

The original information about New Roots Stevia Sugar Replacement  was taken from the products website and is probably incorrect. The tester who originally brought the product to the our attention wrote to me when she wanted to make a correction to our first email from Peter.  She indicated that "new Roots Stevia Sugar replaces regular sugar at the rate of 1 part Stevia Sugar to 2 parts regular sugar.  This information is on the link given as well as on the bottle."  If you use the product as directed by the label 1:2 that is most likely your best option.  If doing that doesn't give you a good result be sure and report it.  As it becomes clearer how this substitued is used we'll send out another note. Just for clairity - 1:2 means for each cup of sugar you use 1/2 cup of the New Roots product. 

Last Updated (Sunday, 17 April 2011 14:46)