Flops / Duds / Kitchen Fails

photo 4
The miserable gluten-free rogue at the heart of my recent GF failures.
She is more menacing in person, I swear.

If you like to challenge yourself in the kitchen, you’re going to have kitchen fails. It’s part of the process. I don’t love them, but I’ve been having a lot of them because I’m experimenting with gluten-free baking in honor of a GF house guest. Plus, I’ve just messed up a few things lately. It happens.

Relevant Reading:
Babycakes NYC Gluten-Free Cookbooks

Humidity Killed my Rustic Loaf
One of the quirks I love about bread making is the responsiveness to its environment. The water matters. The outside temperature matters. The moisture content in the air REALLY matters. If you don’t watch out, you’re going to have a really wet ball of dough and then you’ll keep adding flour to compensate and you’ll wind up with spongy, blech bread with no crunchy crust. This may or may not have happened to me recently……Follow the link above for The Best and most useful series of humidity adjustments I have ever seen.

Dry and Bland Gluten-Free Bread
The author of My New Roots was so excited about this one. I hope hers turned out better than mine. Ultimately, the whole was less than the sum of its parts. Beautiful grains and nuts, but overall needed sweetness and moisture. Working with the psyillium husks as a binding agent was tricky as well. On my first go the whole thing fell apart ALL OVER the inside of my hot oven.

*Neurotically clean person’s tip: If things like cornmeal and chia seeds seem to coat the inside of your oven on a regular basis, you might try letting the whole thing cool and then busting out the vacuum. Saved me a thousand times.

Sticky Gluten-Free Homemade Pasta
This was the classic gluten-free fail. I made the dough with Bob’s Red Mill all purpose GF flour, then ran it through my pasta machine and the thing started falling apart. I had to cut it with a knife instead of the fettuccine slicing attachment and neither the texture nor flavor were pleasing. In fairness, I used guar gum instead of xanthan gum as a binder. You know what is a delicious and remarkably effective binder? Gluten.

Soggy Meringue Cookies
Ok, fine. This one was seriously my fault. I saw The Kitchn adding all kinds of things to their meringues in the recipe above and I thought I could splash in some bailey’s irish cream. Nope. The egg whites never stiffened.


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