gluten-free pumpkin bread

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My first project for my P.E. independent study was to research the gluten-free diet, and to connect this project more closely to P.E., if following a gluten-free diet is beneficial for athletes. The idea to research the gluten-free diet  came from my advisor for my independent study, who has a daughter with celiac disease. My advisor also mentioned that he had heard that athletes can benefit from following a gluten-free diet. I have always been curious about the gluten-free diet, and because my research would more than likely be interesting to my advisor because of his daughter, and I would gain personal insight as an athlete, I decided to embark on my first project.

(Source: http://www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/healthy-eating/food-labels-decoded-10000001712034/page12.html)

I spent one day researching the basics of a gluten-free diet, i.e.: What is gluten? What is celiac disease?, as well as the diet and athletes (this information is currently being transformed into an informational flyer), and one day researching the basics of gluten-free baking. When I first chose to research the gluten-free diet, I knew that I also wanted to supplement my project by producing a gluten-free baked good. This was my favorite part of my project; I enjoyed using new-to-me baking ingredients, the suspense of waiting and waiting to taste the end result, and knowing that I would share my baked good–if it turned out okay–with my advisor and his daughter. I am sure that my advisor’s daughter does not have as many opportunities as others to enjoy baked goods, and I wanted to give her something delicious and satisfying.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread recipe adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess

As I poured this bread batter into the loaf pan, I was very skeptical; the batter only contained 1/4 cup of canola oil, and it was thick and gummy–not at all like the oil content or consistency of “regular” pumpkin bread. But, as this was my first attempt at gluten-free baking, I stuck to the recipe and hoped for the best. Triumphantly, my gluten-free pumpkin bread turned out quite tasty! The bread is sweet (although a bit too sweet for my personal taste), yet spicy (from cinnamon and amaranth flour), slightly pumpkin-flavored, and has a dense, hearty, moist, slightly grainy texture that I love. When I make this bread again, I would like to try decreasing the amount of sugar, swapping the amaranth flour, which has a distinct flavor and smell that I cannot decide if I like or not, for additional brown rice or buckwheat flour, and adding extra pumpkin for a more pronounced pumpkin flavor. Overall, however, I enjoyed the simplicity of flavors of and preparing this bread, and I was very pleased with my first experience with gluten-free baking!

  • 1 cup brown rice flour (or other “base” flour)
  • 1/2 cup amaranth flour (or other “base” flour)
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (or other “nutritional” flour)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch (or potato starch)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray one loaf pan liberally with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk all dry ingredients, including sugars, until combined.
  3. Add canola oil to dry ingredients, and beat until mixture is crumbly.
  4. Add pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla, and beat for about two minutes; the batter should come together and be sticky.
  5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until the top is firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow bread to cool in loaf pan for about 10 minutes, and then transfer it to a cooling rack to cool completely.
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