Gluten Free Cooking Class
with Sam Tucker
Sam Tucker, pastry chef at Watermark, and former sous chef and current friend of Laura Wilson of Grow Local Kitchen, offered a gluten free cakes and muffin class at the Nashville Farmer's Market. I am interested because it seems that the older I get, the less tolerant I am of wheat. There is a lot to love about wheat products, but they just don't love me back. It was great to take a class with Sam because his household lives gluten free. And not only his house, he has a whole gluten free portion of his dessert lineup at Watermark too! Yes, you read that correctly, if you dine at Watermark, and are gluten free, you CAN have dessert and eat it too! He wants everyone to be included in the dining experience, including dessert, so he always has a gluten free dessert.
sponge cake batter
So this is what I learned, Bob's Red Mill has gluten free flour, and the company tests the flour to make sure that there is no detectable gluten in what they sell. If you want to get your own flour, teff flour is good and is the same stuff that injera is made. Millet (amaranth) flour and quinoa flour are also gluten free. The blend that Sam likes best, and he thinks it resembles wheat flour quite well is equal portions of almond flour, brown rice flour and white rice flour. Tapioca flour, the same stuff use in some white noodle covered dim sum, is also a nice flour to cook with.
We learned how to make a sponge cake, and zucchini bread without wheat flour. Part of the technique I learned was that you can't cream the butter or butter - egg mixture too much. The more blending and beating, the more air gets mixed into the butter and eggs, and the lighter and fluffier the cake or muffin will be. And when adding flour, don't put it in the mixer, gently fold in the flour until incorporated so that the air bubbles don't deflate.
There were a few mulling around after class, and Sam showed us how to make a pate a choux. A pate a choux is a dough that can be used for beignets, eclairs, and gluten free buns. The pate a choux is made by boiling a liquid, and then stirring in flour until it "dries". Then after it looks dry, add eggs until the dough is a wet dough that folds quickly under the finger test. This is a similar method to make har gau dim sum noodle wrappers, but I have never seen anyone make it before, and now I have. I have some confidence to try making both pate a choux and har gau noodles.
I am having a ball taking all these classes offered at 4:30 pm on Sunday afternoon. I have taken fermentation 101, canning, whole fish, oysters, and now gluten free baking. I learned how to make kim chi, sour kraut, gluten free muffins and cake, and how to cook a full dinner with whole fish and oysters. There are offal classes, and butchering classes too, which I am interested in. Until next time!