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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Squash loaf and baking...and we're live!

I have an absolutely delicious pumpkin bread recipe that I've been trying to make for weeks now.  Soft, spicy, not-too-sweet, delicious crumb and crunchy's perfect.  After a few weeks of thinking about it and promising it to whomever would listen, I finally found myself in the kitchen with an hour or two to spare.  Actually, they were supposed to be for writing a take-home exam, but you know.  Same thing.

I started mixing up my flours.  I didn't have enough rice flour on hand.  No problem, I threw in some teff and wondered why I hadn't thought of it before...the slight hit of molasses would be perfect for fall.  Then I realized I didn't have any maple syrup, so I ran to the depanneur and paid way too much to disclose here.  We were still on track.  Then I realized that, for lack of xantham gum and cinnamon, I was going to have to really tweak my already-perfected pumpkin bread recipe.  And it's, well...perfect.

Strike that.  I was making carrot cake.  I pulled out Annalise Roberts' carrot cake recipe, tweaked here: maple syrup for sugar, cornstarch and teff for tapioca and some of the brown rice flour.  I was reaching in the fridge for the carrots when I saw some leftover butternut squash.  Why not, right?  Zucchini bread is tasty, and they call it the 'summer' first blog post was born.

I am telling you this pretty mundane story because it is a good introduction to an important concept in clean eating: substitution.  Substitution is the mother of all invention in gluten-free, dairy-free and clean eating.  And especially in baking.  It is a great place to start for a foodie seeking to eat clean, and a good motivator.

Because when you understand that almost everything in a recipe that you can't eat can be replaced by something that you can eat, the foods you love and miss become available to you again.  It's like looking at this long list of forbidden and much-missed foods, and all of a sudden having it shrink, halve, and maybe even disappear entirely.

I'll bet most of the things on that list are baked goods.  Cake, cookies, cupcakes, bread, brownies, muffins, pie crust, pizza.  Soft, chewy and delicious homemade ones.  From your favourite cookbook or from your grandmother's recipe cards.  Which is why learning how to substitute can really help you out...

You can use the same amount of coconut milk for milk in recipes, even savoury ones, with great results.  If substituting for yogurt, use 3/4 of the required amount of full-fat coconut milk instead.  Coconut and grapeseed oils are a perfect substitute for butter.  Cream coconut oil with your sweetener as you would butter for cookies.  Or melt it and mix it in, and then cool your finished dough for 20 mins before baking.  Use grapeseed oil, which gives a very buttery finish and is packed with anti-oxidants, the same way--but no need to melt it.

Agave, maple syrup and honey can stand for sugar in any recipe.  If using agave, use 1/2 to 2/3 of the required amount, and cut the liquid by 1/2 the amount of agave used to compensate for the extra liquid in your recipe.  Some people use brown rice syrup, but I don't because it hardens baked goods (it's fine for cookies, though).

Flour is trickier, but doable.  With time and experimentation, you will learn the different taste profiles of the many gluten-free whole-grain flours and discover which ones you prefer.  Whichever you use, you need a 70% grain (rice, quinoa, gluten-fee oat, millet, sorghum, teff, corn) to 30% starch (tapioca, sweet rice, potato, corn) mixture to replace all-purpose wheat flour in a recipe.  And you need to replace it by weight, not measure.  That is, you cannot replace 1 cup of your chosen mixture for 1 cup of flour, because different grains and starches have different weights.  You need to use 125 grams of mixture per cup of all-purpose wheat.  And there you have it.  Now you're cooking.

That's a lot of information.  I will do all that for you on this blog.  I'll give you precise measures of flours and liquids, in cups, so you can just follow the recipe.  But if you ever find yourself without some of the ingredients listed, feel free to come back to this post and perfect this squash bread recipe.  And if you do, please let me know how it turns out in the comments section below.

In the meantime, welcome to eat joyfully and happy baking!


Accidental Squash Bread

2/3 c. teff flour
1 c cornstarch
1 tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cardamom (or 2 pods, crushed)

1.5 c. maple syrup
1.5 c. coconut oil (melted), plus a little more for greasing pans
4 large eggs (for tips on egg substitution, check here)
2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod, scraped
2.5 c. grated butternut (or acorn) squash
1 c. almonds, chopped (or slivered or pieces)
1 c. shredded coconut

1.5 tsp ground flaxseed OR 1.5 tsp xantham flour
Boiling water, if using flaxseed

- Preheat oven to 350C.  Grease two small loaf pans with coconut oil.

- Whisk dry ingredients together (it sifts them without sifting).  If using xantham gum, include in dry ingredients.

- Whisk together maple syrup, coconut oil, eggs and vanilla.

- Mix wet and dry ingredients, beat with wooden spoon.

- Fold in squash, nuts and coconut.  Pour into prepared pans.

- Bake for 45 mins, or until toothpick/fork/skewer comes out clean.


  1. Great looking Blog Toots! Looking forward to following along with future recipes + posts. xoxox Gilly

  2. i've been waiting for the 'teo's pumpkin bread' recipe for YEARS... this kind of delivers :) love the blog!! xo jobear

  3. Thanks, Jobear!! I'll get it up here for you for sure...stay tuned. xoxo