Last week was Food Allergy Awareness Week (May 9 to 15). I wish every week were food allergy awareness week, and I’m working here to make it a little bit so. My goal is to come up with allergy friendly versions of all your favorite foods, on a weekly basis.
So if you’re just catching this column for the first time, here’s the deal: You leave me a comment here telling me about your most wished for food that you’d like converted to allergen-free; I’ll choose a recipe from the comments each week, and attempt to recreate it for you, “Allergy Friendly.” That means gluten-free and free of all common allergens responsible for 90 percent of food allergies (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and sesame).
Last week, I spared you the frustrating details that went into creating “Allergy Friendly” Caramel Cupcakes with Caramel “Buttercream” Frosting. Now that I’m through the storm that was my kitchen, I’ll spill a little secret: I made that recipe at least 10 times before I was happy.
In various incarnations, those cupcakes were sinking in the middle, overflowing, too chalky, too sweet, too small, and too large. I hope for all our sakes that I finally got it right, but I started thinking, “maybe I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here, accepting challenges, for the sake of a challenge.”
But karma came back around, and this week’s challenge came so easily, it was almost…dare I say it, “too easy”? Which is a good thing, because it means I’m still down for the challenge.
The most requested recipe at the beginning of this challenge was Gluten-Free Flour Tortillas. This one required three tries: first to test ingredients, second to perfect process, third to get pictures so I could share the steps with you. Enjoy!
And P.S., these freeze really well, so make up a big batch, freeze the extra, and defrost on demand with 20 seconds in the microwave.
Gluten-Free Flour Tortillas
Makes four 8-inch tortillas
These whole grain Gluten-Free Flour Tortillas are nutritious, versatile, low fat, and fun to make. Many of my readers were looking for an alternative to brown rice tortillas, which tend to crack and split. Well, here you are: These are made with millet and sweet sorghum instead!
- 1 cup Gluten-Free Bread Flour Mix (recipe follows)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum*
- ¾ tsp double-acting baking powder**
- ½ tsp fine sea salt or table salt
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp rice milk
- 2 tsp canola oil
- Measure out flour mix by spooning flour into a dry measuring cup, then leveling it off with a straightedge, or the back of a knife. (Do not scoop the flour directly with the measuring cup or you’ll wind up with too much flour for the recipe). Combine flour mix with xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt, whisking well.
- Heat rice milk until warm (not hot). Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients, pour in rice milk and canola oil, and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. The dough will be sticky.
- Turn out dough onto a board or work surface, lightly floured with some Gluten-Free Bread Flour Mix. Sprinkle a little more flour mix onto dough and onto your hands.
- Knead the dough about 30 seconds, until smooth and no longer sticky, then mold into a ball. Place ball into bowl, and cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel. Let rest 20 minutes. Remove dough from bowl, and cut into four pieces. Roll into four balls.
- Transfer balls to a dry plate, cover with damp towel and let rest another 10 minutes. Working with one ball at a time, sprinkle a little more flour mix on the work surface. Using the palm of your hand, press ball into a disk about 4-inches in diameter.
- Sprinkle a little more flour mix on dough; flip and roll out into about a 9-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. I usually like the heavy old-fashioned rolling pins, but for this recipe I prefer the lighter French dowels.
- Using an offset spatula, loosen dough from board all the way around, flip, and give it one more roll over. Don’t worry that it’s not a perfect circle. We’re about to fix that. Place an 8-inch bowl over the tortilla, and trim the edges.
- Remove bowl, and use the offset spatula to separate the tortilla from the board.
- Transfer tortilla to a plate and cover with the damp towel while you roll out the rest. Repeat steps to roll out the remaining three, remembering to add more flour mix to your work surface and rolling pin.
- Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat until it starts to smoke. You want that puppy really hot.
- Add a tortilla, cook 30 seconds, flip with a spatula and cook 30 seconds more until there are a few brown spots on surface. Do not overcook, or the tortillas will become brittle. Transfer to a plate, and keep covered with a dry cloth while you finish cooking the rest. Eat warm or at room temperature. To store any that don’t get eaten right away, wait until cool, then seal in a zip lock freezer bag and place in freezer.
*You may use guar gum in place of xanthan gum if you are concerned about corn derivatives.
**Hain Featheweight Baking Powder is corn free, and can be used in place of double-acting baking powder.
Gluten-Free Bread Flour Mix
Makes 6 cups
- 1 1/2 cups millet flour
- 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
- 2 cups tapioca starch
- 1 cup potato starch
1. Measure out flour by spooning flour into a dry measuring cup, then leveling it off with a straightedge, or the back of a knife. (Do not scoop the flour directly with the measuring cup or you’ll wind up with too much flour). Combine all ingredients in a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Shake until well blended. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
“Gluten-Free Bread Flour Mix” recipe reprinted with permission from The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook: How to Bake Without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, and Sesame. Copyright © 2009 by Cybele Pascal, Celestial Arts, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.
“Gluten-Free Flour Tortillas” Copyright © 2010 by Cybele Pascal
(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)
SAFETY NOTE: Because each person's food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.
Cybele Pascal is the award-winning author of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" and the "Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook." She lives in Los Angeles with her food-allergic family: husband Adam, sons Lennon and Monte, and their dogs, Izzie and Carly (who also has food allergies). Please visit her website at CybelePascal.com.