Creating the perfect, light fluffy and yummy pancake has been an ongoing goal of mine, one I now think I have perfected… and it happens to be gluten free.
I have been eating gluten-free for over 10 years after finding that I was sensitive to it. My energy levels increased dramatically. At first it was a pain reading labels, and figuring out what I could eat… and missing things I could not. However, except for certain breads and pastry it is possible to find a gluten-free version of most everything that is equally delicious. Sorry to say, I have never found a really good gluten free croissant.
While traveling through India and Thailand, I discovered a bounty of amazing cuisine that is based around chickpeas, rice, lentils, mung beans, millet and other non-gluten foundations. In the U.S., flour and wheat products are in almost every single processed food product. Learning about and eating nutritious and delicious alternatives was definitely an inspiration.
Probably my favorite food ever is masala dosa, a crepe-like, crispy, tender delicious, naturally leavened flat bread stuffed with spiced potatoes and a side of soup and coconut chutney. I found a great Indian chef who in addition to helping me learn some basic principles of Ayurveda and food, taught me how to make dosa. A similar batter is also used to make idli (soft steamed breakfast cakes), punugulu (crispy fried fritters), and uttapam (a thick flat bread with vegetables and spices cooked into it).
So… I have been experimenting with even more things to do with dosa batter and fermented/sourdough batters in general. Dosa is made from 3/4 rice and 1/4 urad dal (black lentil without the skin), soaked, ground and then fermented. Increasing the percentage of rice makes them more crispy. However almost any combination of pulse and grain will create a tasty bread. Instead of buying a loaf and cutting off a slice of bread, I keep a bowl of batter on hand and fry up quick flat breads that are absolutely delicious.
In addition to being gluten-free, this mix is protein-rich due to the ‘beans & rice’ combination. The fermentation process also breaks down some of the harder to digest carbs and proteins, including some of the gluten if a gluten grain is used. A bit of planning ahead is required to get the sourdough process going, but other than that it is super simple.
My current favorite mix is 1/2 rice and 1/2 chickpea flour. I am also experimenting with sorghum flour because it is more easy to grow locally than rice. (… yes we can grow rice in Colorado, but that’s another story.)
- 2 cups rice flour (or sorghum)
- 2 cups chickpea flour
- (A pinch of salt can help with the first batch.)
- Filtered, room temperature water, enough to bring it to pancake batter consistency. (Chlorinated water can stop the process.)
Cover with a cloth or loose lid (not airtight) and let sit for 16-24 hours at above 75 degrees. This is a warm, aerobic fermentation from naturally occurring yeast and lactobacilli culture. If you have already made a starter, the fermentation time will be more like 6-8 hours.
In colder climates it is necessary to pay attention to the temperature and put the mix near a heater or stove.
It is ready when it is frothy and has doubled in volume.
The ferment on the first batch is often weak, but it will grow stronger in subsequent batches. So…
Remember to save a cup of the mix for the next batch, this is your starter! Add a couple tablespoons of fresh flour to a 1/2 cup of the batter and store it in the fridge. Once you have a starter, it will get the process going much more quickly and bring the fermentation time down to 6-8 hours.
Experiment! I’m working toward an all-local recipe… so far sunflower seeds and sorghum taste good but have a very different texture.
2 cups sourdough batter
1/4 tsp baking powder (Use a higher ratio of baking powder if your sourdough is weak.)
1/4 tsp baking soda (Use more baking soda when the sourdough is strong, or leave it out altogether.)
pinch of salt
10 drops hazelnut stevia (or some other sweetener of your choice, but the hazelnut flavor is wonderful!.)
1 tbs vanilla
Separate the egg yolk and white.
Combine yolk and all other ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Fold in the egg whites.
If it’s too thick add a couple tablespoons of water.