Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Tips: Baby Steps to Healthier Living

I'm married to a carb fiend. If DH doesn't get some kind of floury, slightly sugary bit of food with his mid-morning coffee, he just isn't a happy camper.

I, on the other hand, love to bake. A marriage made in heaven? Yes, and I'd like it to last a while. So in the interests of satisfying DH's bakery cravings AND keeping him around, I add whole-grain flours to all my baked goods. I've found I can replace at least half of the all-purpose flour in any recipe with whole-wheat—and it actually improves the taste and texture. We've both become so fond of the nutty taste and pleasant tooth of things baked with whole-wheat flour, that anything made from all-white flour tastes pasty and bland (although that doesn't stop DH from buying dreadful shortening-soaked commercial doughnuts at the corner gas station when nothing else is on offer).

If you're already baking with whole-grain flours, try mixing up the blend. Add old-fashioned oatmeal to muffins and scones for a nice chewy texture. For richer, velvety waffles, replace some of the regular flour with buckwheat. And if you like to pan-fry fish or chicken nuggets, rice flour and cornmeal make wonderful coatings. They fry up crispy and light, and don't soak up oil the way wheat flour does.

P.S. If you're baking something like muffins, cakes, scones or bread with regular wheat flour, don't replace more than 1/4 with non-wheat flour or your baked good might fall apart. The gluten in wheat flour is what holds the dough together. Gluten-free baking requires a good gluten-free flour blend with some xanthan gum to act as a binder.

Happy, healthier baking!

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