cake question, what to use instead of sugar and flour
so if a recipe calls for you to cream the butter and sugar... what do you use as an alternative?? I'd like to try and adapt my favourite recipe for lemon sour cream cake. I tried making it once using almond flour and it was just miles too heavy. I havent tried without sugar yet. Just interested to know if anyone has had any joy at replacing these items in any of their favourite recipes.
If I need something granular like sugar, I use Z-sweet erythritol.
I wonder if that is something I would find in NZ?
The truth is that you cannot successfully adapt a recipe that uses flour and sugar to produce an end product that is primal. You can make something new and different, but not the same as before. Baking relies on specific chemical reactions and leavening agents. Without the chemical reactions and the ability to incorporate the carbon dioxide that results from the leavening agent (baking powder/yeast/baking soda) you will not obtain the results you're accustomed to.
For example, think about double acting baking powder, the kind commonly used for cakes and cookies. First, the baking powder reacts to the liquid and then it reacts to the heat. If there's an acid in the liquid (lemon juice, buttermilk), the baking powder has an even stronger reaction. The baking powder needs light, airy ingredients to make its leavening ability useful. If you substitute heavier flours such as almond or coconut for traditional white flour, the new flours are not light enough to gain the desired response as the baking powder rises. Also, because these flours don't have gluten in them, which is the protein that stretches and becomes an elastic web, capable of capturing the gases that are created by the leavening agents, your product simply cannot react to the properties of the leavening agent.
The sugar in your recipes also plays an important role in the finished product. All sugars absorb moisture, keeping that moisture intact while protecting the proteins (structure builders) in the flour and eggs. You incorporate the fat and the sugar to combine oxygen, building a fluffier end product that can't be matched without the sugar. If you decrease the sugar, there is more moisture available for the flour to absorb, and the end result will be tougher and much less palatable, regardless of the sweetness. Sugar plays an important role in increasing the stability of whipped egg whites, which is why less sugar in a meringue results in a flatter, tougher, far less enjoyable product.
I think the chemistry of baking and cooking is absolutely fascinating, and it helps to understand it when you're trying to adapt recipes. Rather than attempting the transformation of a recipe that relies on chemical reactions that are only possible with non-primal ingredients, it's easier to adapt recipes such as brownies, which don't rise much even in traditional recipes, or crumb crusts with creamy fillings. Or, of course, become accustomed to heavier results.
My question is, why bother making things that aren't Primal?
Griff, I think the OP is trying to primalize a non-primal recipe, which I totally agree is simply a waste of time. But, for some people, creating baked goods helps their family respond better to primalizing their food. For others, it's a misguided attempt to keep their diet as close to "before" as possible.
Since I began following the PB, I haven't been tempted at all to create what Dr. Kurt Harris refers to as candy cigarettes (http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2...igarettes.html). Actually, maybe quoting Dr. Harris here is the best idea:
"Does anyone agree that “paleo pancakes” taste like complete shite unless absolutely smothered in hepatotoxic sucrose/ and or butter?
Why not just have 4 eggs fried in butter, cream in your coffee, and a few ounces of unfried almonds?
Why mash it together into a “pancake” if it’s not about the sugar?
If it’s because your kids will scream without a sugar vehicle (we all know 4-year-olds are more physically powerful than crossfitters and are messed with at your peril!), what will your kids do the first morning at University in the breakfast line when there is pile of all-you-can eat pancakes? Will they know there’s wheat flour in place of the ground-up almonds you’ve been conditioning them with?
Would it not be better to train your kids, and yourself, to avoid Neolithic food by the simplest expedient there is? So simple a child could manage it?
Something as simple as a simple rule.
A rule like:
Don’t eat anything that looks like Neolithic food, especially Neolithic food."
I think that you have a valid point, and yes it is true that we should not expect to be able to make fluffy Viennese confections in our primal ways. It is however fun to build on grandmother's baking in a new and healthy primal way. When we do eat baked goods, they are usually not very sweet and only get consumed on higher carb days. You may also want to take a look at our pancakes or mark's daily apple pancakes they are amazing. :-)
It continues to amaze me that our friends cannot teach their small children to appreciate real foods. I just hope that with each one of us here in the forums, our blogs, our interactions, we can help people eat just a little better and become healthier...one bite at a time.
Thanks for all of your insight!
As sharon said, I was wondering how to primalize one of my favourite cakes. Maybe I should just stick to 80/20 though and have cake when I feel like it... which to be honest is pretty rare to begin with. But I thought it might be nice to try and make something that tasted similar but being a more "healthy" option for me to take to work with me one day. (i have just got a new kitchen installed and my workmates keep having me on about bringing in some baking)
Originally Posted by Griff
Some very interesting comments though. I hadnt really given any thought to the chemistry of baking.
I'm not sure what Lemon Sour Cream Cake is, but it sounds cool, moist and creamy. Perhaps you could experiment a bit to create some sort of primal smoothie with similar flavors instead?
Edit: As for baking for others, I get asked to do this as well (since I'm awesome at it ) but I've found that the more I care about whoever it is, the less I want to feed them unhealthy things.
Last edited by MmmFat; 04-20-2010 at 03:28 PM.
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