Saying goodbye to favorite family foods can be the hardest part of going gluten-free. While more and more gluten-free options are appearing every day, there are still some foods you can't buy at the grocery store—like the cookies your mom would make when you were feeling down. This is why I love converting wheat-filled recipes for gluten-free eaters.
One day I received an email from Rosie. She told me that while she didn't consider herself a baker, she always baked pumpkin bread for her family. This bread became an integral part of her family life. Although she was coping well with her celiac diagnosis, she really missed the pumpkin bread—as did the rest of her family.
The recipe Rosie sent me intrigued me right away. It was dairy-free and contained orange juice. This is what I love about baking. Even the simplest recipe, like pumpkin bread, has the ability to surprise you. Thanks to Rosie, I discovered that 1/2 cup of orange juice in pumpkin bread adds a delicate flavor without screaming, "ORANGE."
After a little tinkering in the kitchen, I created a gluten-free version of Rosie's spicy, sweet bread. While developing the gluten-free version of the recipe, it was important to me that the pumpkin and spice flavors came through. I didn't want to mute the flavors of the bread with strongly flavored gluten-free flours. To help with this, I looked to white rice flour and cornstarch. They did the job nicely. Not only does the flavor of the bread shine, they also combine to create a great texture. The crumb is damp and soft, like a good quick bread should be. If you prefer to bake with brown rice flour, however, you can substitute it successfully in this recipe. Brown rice flour adds a slight nutty flavor and a bit of a coarser texture to the finished loaf.
If you are on a medically restricted diet, what food do you miss? I'd be happy to convert recipes to share in upcoming Gluten-Free Tuesday columns. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message in the comments. For now, enjoy Rosie's pumpkin bread. It's a nice way to welcome fall!
Adapted from Easy Gluten-Free Baking by Elizabeth Barbone. Copyright © 2010. Published by Lake Isle Press. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- 10 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) white rice flour
- 2 1/4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) cornstarch
- 5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 24 ounces (about 3 cups) granulated sugar
- 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- Gluten-free non-stick cooking spray
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum. In separate bowl, mix together eggs, oil and orange juice. Add sugar and pumpkin. Blend until thoroughly combined.
Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients. Mix until ingredients are thoroughly combined and a smooth batter forms (use medium speed on a handheld mixer or medium-low speed on a stand mixer. If mixing by hand, use a balloon whisk and mix for two minutes). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl once or twice with a rubber spatula while mixing.
Divide batter evenly between prepared loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Remove pans from oven and place on a wire rack. Allow bread to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove bread from pans and place directly on wire rack. Allow bread to cool before slicing. Store bread wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for 3 to 5 days, or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.