Category Archives: Recipes – Bread

Creating a Yeast-Free, Sugar-Free Hamburger – Part 1: The Bun

This story is filled with twists and turns, emotions, suspense and a happy ending. So sit back, pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy this story about a girl and her hamburger.

As I have mentioned before, I really enjoy a good steak or hamburger, especially grass-fed beef – I have wonderful memories of celebrations, picnics and other gatherings where I have shared deliciously grilled items with people I like and love. So last fall when I figured out I had sensitivities to yeast and sugar, I remember thinking about how I was supposed to enjoy a hamburger without the accompanying tasty bun. I had no answer because I could not find any bread in the supermarkets that did not contain yeast, let alone one without yeast and sugar. The winter passed without me eating a hamburger. As the springtime weather emerged I began to worry – what would I do come summer when I am at a picnic and am forced to eat a (gulp) bun-less burger? (Pause here for dramatic effect.)

What is this I hear about steam-risen bread? A friend’s sister-in-law who was in culinary school said it was mentioned in a class. I scoured the Internet for recipes and found information on the theory behind the bread: a steam-risen batter has more moisture relative to a yeast bread so that when it bakes in the hot oven, the steam forces the flours to rise. Ok, this sounds promising – I went to the kitchen and preheated the oven.

Bun Attempt #1: Disappointment
I could not find a steam-risen recipe, so I put my understanding of the theory to the test starting with a recipe for gluten and yeast free bread. I removed the sugar and replaced with honey. The batter was kind of runny, and when I scooped it onto the baking sheet, it just kept running away. SensitiveHusband and I tried to contain the oozing scoops with our hands without much luck. Oh well, into the oven they went. The result was the strangest looking flatbread loaded with bumps and divets although it tasted good. However, I would not be proud to serve it at a picnic.

Bun Attempt #2: More Disappointment
Our friend, Stever, suggested using bread flour because it has more protein and would rise more than the all purpose and whole wheat varieties. So for my second attempt I just used bread flour.

Wow, bread flour sure is strong! The batter was the thickest I have ever dealt with, and it took two of us to wrestle it onto the baking sheet. It also took us awhile to prepare the buns for the oven – alas, the result was another flatbread, although it was thicker than the first attempt. At this point I thought about Julia Child who sometimes had to tinker with recipes before getting them just right. Could I bake a bun that was tasty and pleasant to look at? I would have to keep trying.

Bun Attempt #3: Hope for a “Batter” Future
Not to be outdone by a batter, I strategized about how to change my recipe. I decided that I would invest in a muffin top pan. That way my batter would have a better chance of rising up rather than spreading out. I searched high and low for a muffin top pan and struck out in a number of stores. I had success online and ended up purchasing this pan by Chicago Metallic. I adjusted the flour mixture again, adding all purpose and whole wheat flours for some texture and bread flour for maximum lift. Success! The muffin top pan kept the batter from running out and the moisture in the batter allowed the buns to rise enough so I could split them in half! Now I just need some ketchup…tune in for Part 2 of this exciting tale.

Here’s my recipe for now, I’ll keep working to refine it…and welcome any suggestions on flours, steam-risen bread recipes, or other alternatives.

Yeast-free, Sugar-free Hamburger Buns
Yield: 6 buns
1 cup bread flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk (or water)
Sesame seeds (optional)

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 1 muffin top pan.
2 In your electric mixer, beat the flours, salt, eggs, honey and milk on high speed for 7-10 minutes. This should produce a batter with a consistency between soft butter-cream icing and cookie dough.
3 Working quickly, spoon this mixture by 1/2 cup portions onto prepared muffin top pan. Allowing the batter to sit for more than a minute will result in deflated buns.
4 If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds or coarse salt.
5 Place in heated oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and puffed.
6 Allow to cool completely before slicing. As the buns cool, you will see a slight deflation of the buns.

I am also sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, This Chick Cooks, Lady Behind the Curtain, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Food Trip Friday and Cybele Pascal Allergen Free Cuisine.


Use the Summer Bounty to Make Zucchini Bread

Reason #2,764 Why I Love Summer: Farmers’ Markets. During this time of year I have to factor in extra driving time because I brake for roadside produce stands. I can’t resist native fruits and vegetables particularly berries, lettuce, peaches, squash, honey…well, you get the idea. Thinking about all of this food has me in the mood for a snack so I will close this blog post with a great recipe for zucchini bread. My original inspiration came from The Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary Edition and I modified it by changing the flours and flour ratios, using honey instead of refined sugar, and increasing the baking time. This is an excellent way to use the extra produce that you buy at a farmer’s market…that’s what I plan to do!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan. Whisk together:
–1 cup all purpose flour
–1/2 cup whole wheat flour
–1 teaspoon baking soda
–1 teaspoon baking powder
–1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Blend well in a large bowl:
–1/2 cup honey
–2 large eggs
–1/2 cup canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
–1 teaspoon vanilla
–1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir in the dry ingredients. Blend in with a few strokes:
–2 cups grated zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture
–1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Pour batter into greased pan. Bake until inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Makes one delicious loaf of bread.

I am also sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, This Chick Cooks, Two Maids a Milking, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Food Trip Friday, Something Swanky and Sweet as Sugar Cookies.

If you still have extra zucchini and need some cooking inspiration, consider my recipe for zucchini fritters.

Thankful for Oatmeal Bread

As you can probably tell from previous posts, I am a fan of oatmeal. However, this food never rated high on my list until quite recently. I grew up eating toast with butter and jam so when I found out I had sensitivities to yeast and cane sugar I needed a new breakfast habit. My friend, MaryAnn, knew of my dilemma and scoured her recipe files for a yeast-free, sugar-free bread. The next day a fresh loaf was waiting for me along with the recipe. It is really tasty plain as well as toasted with butter and sugar-free jam, plus it has the health benefits of the oats. Since then I have made this bread a number of times and always think back in gratitude to that day I found the prepared loaf waiting for me. It is really comforting to have the support of others when trying something new and challenging like revamping one’s diet. I hope that you enjoy making this bread too, and if you feel thankful for something while baking it, all the better!

Oatmeal Bread* Ingredients:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs honey
1 1/2 tbs butter, softened
2 cups milk (any type)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine all dry ingredients, then mix in butter with a fork.
3. Add milk and honey until well combined.
4. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan. Make a cross-cross with a knife on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

*Other options include: adding nuts, seeds, raisins, herbs or spices; using different flour types like spelt; substituting yogurt or seltzer water for the milk for a lighter consistency; and substituting canola oil for butter.

Celebrate Summer with Strawberry Bread

This recipe caught my attention right away since I love breads and strawberries – so why not put the two together? Originally published about 20 years ago in a USA Weekend food section, the recipe was recently re-published. With a few modifications including adding whole wheat flour, switching the sugar to honey, and substituting vegetable oil with canola oil, I baked a delicious and “sensitive” quick bread. My sensitive-in-laws really enjoyed the sweet strawberry and tart lemon flavors. What a wonderful way to use the produce that is in season! My honey-sweetened version is noted below:

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup honey
2 eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
3/4 cup chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans (optional)

Mix together the flours and baking soda in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Mix in oil, lemon rind and honey. Stir in the flour mixture until just blended. Fold in the strawberries and nuts.

Butter and lightly flour an 8- by 4-inch loaf pan. Put the batter into the pan, and bake on the center rack for 1 hour at 350 degrees or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cut in squares or slices and savor a great taste of summer.

I am also sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, This Chick Cooks, Something Swanky , Food Trip Friday, Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Everyday Sisters and on my Facebook page.

Fabulous Yeast and Cane Sugar Free Cinnamon Raisin Buns

Please excuse the corniness of this statement, but I can’t help it…these buns are cinna-yum! The heartiness of the dough, the combination of raisins and cinnamon, the sweet topping – and you can enjoy this delicious treat without eating yeast or refined sugar. That’s right, these buns are cinna-yum!

Thanks to Katie at This Chick Cooks for the original recipe for Quick, No-Rise Cinnamon Buns. This recipe immediately caught my eye because it had two of my favorite qualities in a baked good: being quick to make; and being no-rise, or yeast free. My revisions involved removing the refined sugars by replacing with maple syrup and a dash of maple sugar. Instead of making a sugary glaze topping, I drizzled a natural sweetener. My final change included adding some whole wheat flour to give a rustic texture. These buns have received rave reviews from sensitivehusband, my coworkers, my in-laws and myself. Picture a lot of nodding and happy noises as people eat – these buns really do have a positive effect on folks.

One more note: if you do not own a rolling pin, you can roll the dough out using a tall glass (thanks, sensitivehusband, for that idea – the result was better than just using my hands). However it is faster and easier to use a rolling pin (thanks, MaryAnn, for picking one up for me – I hope you enjoy the thank you bun).

And now for the Fabulous and Quick, Yeast Free, Cane Sugar Free Cinna-Yum Bun Recipe…

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
3/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons maple sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Mix the flours and then add baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in maple syrup and then cut in butter with two knives until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Beat the egg and the milk together, and then mix into the flour mixture until just blended.

Turn out the dough onto a very floured counter and roll it out in an approximate oval or rectangle shape. Sprinkle with raisins and half of the maple sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough like a jelly roll. Slice it into 1 inch rounds, place on cookie sheets and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon and maple sugar. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes and serve hot. Drizzle with agave nectar, honey or maple syrup for an extra sweet treat.

I am also sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Something Swanky, Food Trip Friday, Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Joy of Desserts and on my Facebook page.

The Best Banana Bread is Just One Bowl Away!

I have always loved “quick breads” for breakfast because they come in a range of flavors and are a little sweet. Quick breads do not require any time for the dough to rise because baking soda or baking powder is the leavening agent. Now that I am making this recipe regularly, I find that I love quick breads at any time of the day or night. This is my go-to bread, a terrific and wholesome snack! Below is my adapted recipe; for the original version without butter or eggs, or for a variation with maple syrup and raisins, please visit Katie B’s Banana Breads at The Kind Life blog. This recipe meets all of my criteria in a homemade quick bread – first of all, it’s delicious. Second, it’s easy – a real “one-bowl wonder.” And lastly, there are not too many ingredients involved. It’s time to eat a slice! Enjoy!

3/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
3-4 very ripe bananas, smashed
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon flax seeds (optional)
Chopped nuts (as many as you like; optional)

Mix ingredients in a bowl in the order given.
Pour into a greased loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes.

I am also sharing this recipe on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, These Chicks Cooked, Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Food Trip Friday and Joy of Desserts.

Pistachio-Chai Muffins

These muffins are superb! I got the idea from a Cooking Light, May 2011 recipe and made a few modifications to remove the cane sugar and boost the whole wheat flour. The result? A fabulous snack for any time of the day! Plus, now I know that I am a fan of chai, which is a blend of spices like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and pepper.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 chai blend tea bags, opened
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup low-fat buttermilk*
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup shelled dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
agave nectar, to taste

*combine 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and let sit for five minutes; may be used as a substitute for the buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Combine flours and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Cut open tea bags; add tea to flour mixture, stirring well. 
3. Combine buttermilk, maple syrup, butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and egg in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
4. Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle nuts evenly over batter. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack.
5. Drizzle agave nectar evenly over muffins.

Makes 12 delicious muffins.

I am also sharing my recipe on Muffin Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Sweet as Sugar Cookies and Facebook.