September 25, 2003

Oddities of cooking

I found, tonight, that rice flour is only mostly substitutable for wheat flour. It's not the lack of gluten that's a problem--I expected that, and most of what I do with flour I don't want gluten. The bigger issue is how long it takes to hydrate, and the fact that it seems to come in a much coarser grind than wheat flour. (At least the stuff I got. I think I'll have to go find some alternative sources)

The longer hydration time means you need to let it sit in the liquid much longer than you might expect. This is an issue, because wheat flour hydrates immediately. With the rice flour, you really need to leave it sit in the liquid much longer, very much like corn meal, if you want a soft batter. It also, since it soaks up the liquids slowly, tends to mislead you as to how wet your batter is. (It gets drier as time goes on as the rice flour hydrates) It's also a bit gritty, much like corn meal. If you're doing anything with baking powder or baking soda, you definitely don't want to mix the dry ingredients all together, as the sit time it needs will let out a lot of the gas you'd want for loft. Instead, mix the liquids with the flour and let sit, while you mix all the other dry ingredients together and add them after the flour's sat for a while. 5-10 minutes seems good.

Anyway, it's not a bad substitute for wheat flour, though I'm glad I didn't find the non-dairy, non-soy margarine I was looking for last night, as the grind I got really isn't a good substitute for pastry flour, and I think it would've made a sub-optimal crust. (I was going to make a pie crust with it to make apple pie) I may hit one of the asian markets around here to see if I can find a finer grind. Might make an interesting pasta. It did make a nice batch of apple fritters, though. (Might make good cannoli shells too. Hrm....)

No dairy, no soy Apple Fritters

1 2/3 C rice flour
2t baking powder
1T cinnamon
1/2C sugar
2/3C apple cider
1 egg
1 apple, diced fine

(Note that you may need to adjust the amount of flour and sugar. Flour for texture, sugar for taste. The batter should be very thick)

Heat some frying oil (I used canola) to fry temperature, ~350F.

Beat the egg, add the apple cider, then chop the apple and mix it with the liquids. (Keeps it from going brown and mushy) Mix with rice flour. Let sit for 5 minutes. Sift together cinnamon, sugar, and baking powder (Add a tiny bit of nutmeg and ground clove if you want, though I'd hold off) and mix in with flour/liquid mixture. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls into the oil and fry 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Take out and drain on a rack over paper towel. Dust with powdered sugar.

Do not drain directly on paper towels, that'll leave you with greasy fritters. Yech. Instead, use a cooling rack laid directly on the paper towels, probably upside down (you want it sitting on the towels), and put the fritters on the rack.

If you want, you could take some apple cider and calvados and reduce it until its thick, and use it as a dipping sauce, possibly with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground clove mixed in. I didn't, but I may regret that as it can be really good.

Posted by Dan at September 25, 2003 10:47 PM | TrackBack (0)