Gluten-Free Chocolate Buckwheat Zucchini Bread

Airpockets in a gluten-free loaf = major success. Plus it tastes good. 

Back to updating this blog. I didn't go anywhere, except Asia. I'm not even that busy here, just in a new pace of life. One that does not involve as many hours around a computer. Seriously, I used to update The Cantaloupe on my lunch break and before going to work. I was shackled to a computer at least 10 hours a day. Now I'm scouting every wine glass, dish, ingredient, decoration, and detail while planning the menu that will make up my upcoming bistro wine bar in Taipei. That story is for another post, and this is the end of my excuses. On to the gluten-free baked goods.

This gluten-free bread recipe turned out well! It did. It rose. There are air pockets in this loaf unlike the other heavy, mushy failures I have turned out. There is moisture (thanks zucchini) and flavor (mmm chocolate chips, buttermilk etc). What I have not fully nailed is the mouth-feel. Gluten free baked goods have a tendency to dissolve in a gritty puddle. Its the opposite sensation of tearing into a chewy, pillow-y baguette or croissant. Even if gluten-free baking isn't a part of your baking  life please take away this crumb of knowledge: chocolate and buckwheat are delicious together. This recipe was adapted from this gluten-filled Cooking Channel version.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Buckwheat Zucchini Bread

1 medium zucchini
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
(I ground up some buckwheat groats in my coffee grinder)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/4 cup cocoa

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
(double check the bag to see if they are gluten-free, should be)

Shred the zucchini in food processor or with a grater. Toss with 1/4 tsp salt and place in strainer. Rest strainer over a bowl, and cover with a weighted plate. Let sit for 1-3 hours, pressing and squeezing to remove liquids. Excess water is the enemy of baked goods.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x4x4 inch loaf pan. Don't be shy with the flour. This recipe is a little trickier to get out of the pan.

Sift corn starch, chick pea flour, buckwheat and xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa together in bowl. Sift that's right, I said sift. I haven't suggested anyone sift, maybe ever, because its mostly a dated practice. The dry chickpea flour and starch will clump up, so it does indeed need to be sifted. If you don't own a sifter or fine mesh sieve then press out any lumps with your clean fingers.

Combine buttermilk, oil, vanilla, eggs, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Combine on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes until very well mixed. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix for another minute until mostly combined. Add drained zucchini and chocolate chips. Mix until fully combined. Let sit for 30 minutes, allowing the xanthan gum to gel. The xanthan gum is what give the bread structure to trap the air bubbles. I learned this little factiod when I called the King Arthur Baking line. Don't hestitate people. Its an excellent free resource.

Bake bread for 60-80 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Remove from oven, and run a knife around the edge of the bread pan to loosen. Let cool fully in pan about 1 hour. Yes you have to wait. Turn out on to a board, and dig in. Its never better when its fresh. I did wrap up this bread in foil and a freezer bag and kept it in the freezer for a few weeks. Then I shared it with my gluten-free friends, and oh what a joy it was at tea time


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