When I weaned my children many friends were talking about gluten free, dairy free, sugar free diets for their families. I am very nutritionally minded and I naturally gravitated to learning more about excluding these foods from my diet. My children are 8 and 10 now and it’s been quite a journey; but with lots of research and experimenting, I’ve found the diet that best suits our family.
With regards to gluten, I started by completely cutting it out of our diet. Gradually, over time, I reintroduced it back in as there are many lovely flours out there which offer different flavours and textures to baked goods. I seldom use wheat flour any more, instead preferring the following:
Kamut is an ancient grain with a more digestible form of gluten than that found in wheat. It has a rich earthy flavour and is has a higher protein (17-19%) and trace mineral content than that in wheat. It has less fibre than wheat and is also higher in vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, pantothentic acid, copper and complex carbohydrates.
I find kamut makes a rather heavy loaf so I use it instead in baking cakes, muffins and biscuits. I simply use my regular recipes and replace wheat with kamut. I find it needs more liquid so I just up that a bit and with trial and error I eventually get the consistency right. Though even though something might be a bit dry, it usually still tastes great.
Spelt has a delicious rich buttery taste and makes fabulous light breads. It has a lower gluten content and higher protein than wheat (15-21%). Spelt is higher than wheat in complex carbohydrates, iron, potassium, and B vitamins and I’ve read that it contains nutrients that aid in blood clotting and stimulates the immune system. Contrary to kamut, it may need a little less liquid than what a recipe calls for.
Buckwheat comes from the same family as rhubarb, sorrel and dock. It has a strong, distinctive taste and is rich in fibre, amino acids, protein, niacin, and vitamin B, among other things. I have read that it is gluten free, though the Dove’s Farm (organic company of various flours) website states that it does, due to the adjacent growing, storage or processing of wheat. So if you need to be gluten free it is best to do a bit more research on that one.
I do not use buckwheat for making bread as it is simply too dense. I do add it to most of my baked good, especially American and English pancakes.
I simply take our porridge oats and grind them down to a powder in the blender. I add a half a cup or so to various recipes, just to add that extra goodness that oats bring.
Barley flour has a mild flavour which complements other flours. I usually only substitute up to a half of the flour called for in a recipe. It has a low gluten content and slightly more fibre than whole wheat.
Two regulars you’ll find on my breakfast table are American Pancakes (the big fluffy ones dripping with butter and maple syrup) and what we in our family call English Pancakes (the flat large ones, like French crepes).
For these, I make them differently each time, using different combinations of flours. You want to get a total of 2 cups of flour, which ever one you use, and different combinations will require different measurements of milk. I’ve given one example below:
½ cup kamut flour (80g)
¾ cup buckwheat flour (110g)
¾ cup oats (65g)
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
30g butter, melted
Combine all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and add the melted butter and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix. Allow to rest, if you can, for at least 5 minutes. Pour on to preheated, greased frying pan (I use coconut oil) to make pancakes about 3 inches in diameter. Cook for about 3 minutes or until you see bubbles. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Enjoy with butter and maple syrup, or jam.
½ cup kamut flour (80g)
½ cup buckwheat flour (75g)
1 cup milk
Mix altogether with a whisk. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Spoon one ladleful per pancake onto a large, greased, preheated frying pan and spread out so the whole pan is covered. On medium heat cook for 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Enjoy with filling of your choice (e.g., chopped bananas and strawberries, lightly stewed apples with cinnamon, cheese and ham, your favourite nut butter and jam).
If you like to experiment in the kitchen, I’d bet your kids won’t notice if you gradually introduce these flours into your baked goods. Their taste buds will acclimate slowly to the taste of richer, earthier flavours and they won’t notice the change.
Email me for more recipes or to send me some of your own. Have fun!
Erin McGuigan is a Birth and Post Natal Doula and the Co-Creator of Treasure Birth antenatal classes. She is passionate about helping families set their children up for a lifetime of physical and emotional wellness, starting from pregnancy, on through to birth and then in the early years. Erin’s experience as a doula and antenatal facilitator has given her the opportunity to work with many mothers, fathers, babies and children. To read more about Erin click here
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