Serious Eats: Recipes

Gluten-Free Tuesday: Pumpkin Bread

[Photograph: Elizabeth Barbone/]

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 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.

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