Okay, so this isn’t really a word, but I have been using it and doing it for many years. To me, experi-baking is the process I go through to come up with new recipes, or improve on those I already have.
Over time, I have perfected this process with defined steps and usually predictable outcomes. Many years of attempts and failures, only helped me gain a vast knowledge of ingredients and processes. There’s lots of research that goes along with experi-baking and it may sound odd, but I enjoy reading cookbooks (gluten free of course) like other people enjoy a novel.
It was with great pleasure that I took on a recent challenge from a company who I have worked with for many years. Purest Foods, operates out of Perth, Ontario supplying consumer size packages of gluten free ingredients. They have a completely gluten and nut free facility. Much of the work they do is supplying large companies with custom gluten free mixes. They also have a line of consumer mixes.
My challenge (again happy to take this on) was to use one of their mixes and make two other things with it. I used their Scone and Tea Biscuit mix. I first made a list of what maybe could be made, then narrowed it down and put it in the order that I wanted to work with. I decided on two recipes, one for doughnut holes and one for coffee cake.
Coffee cake wasn’t something I’ve enjoyed very much since being gluten free, as I found it was normally a bit dry in the gluten world to start with. My challenge was to moisten up the cake, then to use a topping that would help the cake stay moist and give lots of flavour. It took a couple of tries and using some different techniques, but I did settle on a cake that I really enjoyed. To test its moistness, he cake stayed on the counter for about four days – this was hard, as I walked by it so often – and it was still quite nice. The good thing about coffee cake, as opposed to an iced cake, is that you can warm it in the microwave before serving. I was particularly excited to warm this cake, as the topping became runny and toffee-like, very pleasing.
Next I worked on the doughnut holes. I have made doughnut holes before with good success, so I had a pretty high standard to shoot for. Wow – the first recipe I tried was amazing! Gluten Free doughnuts are one of those things that are normally only bought frozen, but there is no need. These doughnut holes can be made with this mix, fried in a saucepan on the stove and ready to eat in under 20 minutes!! I used icing sugar and cinnamon sugar to coat them. I tried a couple of variations, but couldn’t settle on one that I enjoyed more than either of these. These are cake doughnuts, they aren’t the soft airy ones that are often filled. Working out the counter life (again my own term) on these little cuties was even more difficult. I actually had to put a handful in a ziplock bag so they wouldn’t all be eaten, then I tried them every day for 5 days. Still fine, no heating needed.
The last step in the experi-baking process is to have others replicate the recipes and give me feedback. I am grateful for the feedback as this helps greatly with the instructions accompanying the recipes. Each tester came back with rave reviews. In particular, they could not believe how simple the doughnut holes were to make.
You can find my recipes on my website at www.suesglutenfreebaking.com/youtube-recipes.
You can also see the process and results on my YouTube channel with these links
Here’s the link to Purest, if you don’t have a store near you that sells the mixes.
Utilising mixes to make gluten free baking easier is a win-win. You don’t have to have all those gluten free ingredients in your pantry, there is much less to go wrong, and you cut your prep time in half. So worth it – I do hope you can give these a try.
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