Gluten-free is just as trendy today as bellbottoms were in the 60’s. Walk into any grocery store or coffee shop and you will find a gluten-free selection. Yeah, it’s getting to be a bit much, but since I don’t react well to gluten I’m hopeful that the trend is here to stay.
Gluten, derived from the Latin word “glue”, is primarily used in baked goods to contain yeast. If you’ve ever made bread before, you’ve seen this first hand. The dough magically doubles, or triples, in size right before your eyes. Just like its name suggests, the gluten forms a glue-like barrier around the yeast, holding the yeast captive and causing the dough to rise.
Although gluten has been around centuries, over the past 50 years it has become a staple in the Western diet. With obesity rates as high as they are, everything “Western” is under a microscope – including gluten. There has been a lot of research studies looking at the role of gluten in obesity and other maladies, but so far none seem 100% conclusive.
Mark Sisson, a primal diet activist, sheds light on two contradicting studies: one promoting gluten-free and the other promoting gluten’s health benefits. Mark sides with the gluten-free folks, but there is obviously a lot of public confusion. Hmmm….
Since my body doesn’t seem to respond well to gluten I try to avoid it when I can. I’ll eat it here and there (especially when dining out or traveling,), and as long as I keep things in moderation I’m ok.
At home when I’m craving a baguette, bagel, or tomato mozzarella sandwich, I turn to spelt, a low gluten flour. Sunday morning I was really looking for a good American brunch, so I whipped up a batch of Spelt Pancakes. I think they are better than the real deal!
Spelt Pancakes with Rhubarb Strawberry Preserves adapted from Bon Appetite
You will need:
~ 1 cup spelt flour
~ ¼ cup oat flour
~ ¼ cup rice flour
~ 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
~ 2 teaspoons baking powder
~ ¼ teaspoon baking soda
~ 1 teaspoon salt
~ ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
~ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
~ 1 cup whole milk
~ ½ cup plain yogurt (whole milk)
~ 3 eggs
~ 3 tablespoons olive oil
~ 2 tablespoons butter for the griddle
First, mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. To mix thoroughly use a sifter. Then add in vanilla, milk, yogurt, oil, and eggs (make sure to mix eggs first in another bowl incase a piece of the shell breaks off). Whisk together the ingredients until a smooth batter is formed.
Use a griddle over medium-low heat and melt butter. Make sure butter is evenly spread on pan (I use the back of a measuring cup). Pour about ¼ cup batter onto the griddle (I have a large griddle and can cook three pancakes at a time). Let cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. Your key to knowing when to flip the pancakes is the amount of bubbles rising through. When there are a lot, flip! Cook on the other side for about 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with maple syrup and rhubarb strawberry preserves. Enjoy!!!