Friday, July 18, 2008

An Example of How to Alter a Recipe

My Mom's Banana Nut Bread
1/2 c margarine
1 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
4 bananas
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups wheat flour 1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c nuts

My Alterations:

1/2 c margarine: 1/2 c vegetable oil

4 eggs:
for 1 egg: 1 tsp baking powder, 1 T vinegar, 1 T water
for 3 eggs: 1/4 c flaxmeal + 1/2 c water

Explanation: This is a lot of eggs to substitute! I thought I'd use the 1 tsp baking powder, 1 T vinegar, 1 T water mix that I've mentioned on my "egg substitutes" post. I chose the baking powder substitute because I thought it'd help prevent too much soda taste, as the recipe already calls for baking soda. I imagine the soda mix would probably work just fine. I really would like to learn more about baking soda v baking powder, if anybody knows about their properties and best uses. At any rate, either of the b soda or b powder combinations are to work for 1-3 eggs. I don't want to double these amounts- too much baking powder definitely doesn't give a pleasant taste! So I use the flaxmeal/water substitute for for 3 of the eggs. The amount of flax and water is the amount to substitute for 2 eggs, doubled(a little more than doubled for the water). So I have substitute proportions for 5 eggs. When altering recipes, you want to try to keep wet to dry proportions roughly the same. But I do have a little extra of the dry ingredients as well, in adding the xanthan and arrowroot on top of 3 cups of flour.

There are lots of ways this recipe could be changed. Really, I have the extra baking powder to make up for leavening properties of egg, and I could just use an extra banana to make up for a couple eggs, and this would help with the binding. (see my substituting eggs post). I don't think the flax is necessary. But I like the "nutty" flavor it contributes, and the nutrition it adds(if it's enough to count!). It is an excellent "binder", too, but then, bananas are binders as well.

3 cups wheat flour:

1 c soul dog gluten-free mix(garbanzo-bean based mix you can make) 1 c oat flour(just grind quick oats or old fashioned oats) in blender 1 cup rice flour(I use 1/2 brown, 1/2 white, or all brown, for nutrition)
1 T arrowroot starch (or tapioca flour)
1 tsp xanthan gum

Explanation: With the experimenting I've done, I like the flavor and texture of about 1/3 garbanzo bean flour mix(soul dog's recipe), 1/3 rice flour, and 1/3 oat flour, for muffins and banana cookies and banana bread. When making blueberry muffins, the oat and rice combination rose pretty well, was fluffier than muffins baked only with the garbanzo mix. They were, however, a little "gritty," and the muffins were pretty flavorless. Muffins made only with garbanzo bean mix(soul-dog gluten-free mix) had great flavor and a moist texture, but a little compact. In the rice flour I include a little tapioca flour or arrowroot because it's supposed to help with lightness and moisture. The xanthan gum is to help make up for lack of gluten. It is to provide structure to help the bread to rise.

You could experiment without the tapioca and xanthan gum. I read that cornstarch can be used instead of tapioca or arrowroot. Or maybe, because of the bananas and flax in the recipe, the arrowroot doesn't play an essential part in lightening and adding moisture to the product. (though it does seem to promote a little springy-ness and crispness in the crust). For now, I include it. In my alternate flours post, I include rules of thumb for adding arrowroot and xanthan gum. I used less arrowroot than the rule of thumb, and less xanthan gum than seemingly more common rules of thumb, as well. But these amounts seem to be be sufficient.

I may still experiment with this recipe, especially to see if it can be successful without expensive ingredients not commonly stocked in people's homes: the xanthan gum, arrowroot, flaxseed meal. I think it has potential to be good without them, as it's flavorful and moist because of the bananas. But I really enjoy it how it is. It's flavorful, has a chewy/crisp crust, some "spring," and a moist inside. (Do let me know if you tweak it and have succesful results).

"Homebaker's" new altered recipe:

See post titled "Banana Bread"

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