One GRITS Journey To Convert Beloved Southern Recipes to Paleo Approved, and Darn GOOD too!

This is my story of how I am striving to change my family's life, nutritionally, for the better. Here in the deep South Paleo is a foreign word. No one has heard of it, and gluten free is really almost as unheard of...
After reading Gary Taubes enlightning GOOD CALORIES, BAD CALORIES I was determine to change! Armed with my own two hands, the internet (thank God for, and all those wonderful blogs and podcasts available now, I am beginning my journey.
Please feel free to join me as I try to adapt all of our Southern Favorites into Paleo Appropriate Scrumptiousness!!! (and all Gluten Free) I will try to post all of the good ones, and may even blog about some failures along the way.

07 March 2011

Ratios, Percentages, Scales- Hey Maybe That Math Class was Useful in the REAL World!

RATIOs and cooking/baking...what a concept!
If you stop and think for two seconds it so basic. Of course when baking bread, or making a muffin there has to be a ratio of ingredients...a certain amount of flour to liquid....
But I never stopped and thought about it any further, extrapolated out that Ratios don't change in baking, therefore if you learn the ratios for each situation, you will NEVER need a recipe, and your possibilites are endless!!!
The ratio becomes your blueprint, and then you are then the architect that builds the final product into what you want it to be by tweaking this or that, adding this or that ingredient, this or that spice, etc.... Brillant!!

Why did I never think of this? I was reading Shauna (my fav gluten free blogger), from a few days ago and her blog discussed Michael Ruhlman's book Ratio

and my jaw hit the floor. This book is on my wish list. I want it BADLY! But the concept is stuck in my head, and I get it. 
This makes fundamental sense.
I have always HATED recipes, I just have really never used them for anything other than ideas. Now, I LOVE COOKBOOKS. LOVE THEM. But I rarely end up making many of the recipes more than one time, if any times exactly as written.  Unless they are BAKING recipes, then I have always felt TRAPPED, because of the exactness required.... 
Just memorize the ratios for BREAD, Muffins, Pancakes, Cakes, Biscuits, etc... and from there you can just play!
and even better, these ratios work Gluten Free!!!!
Enter the SCALE....
Not all Flours have the same weight... For real??? 
Before going gluten free I never gave this any thought.
But with gluten free baking, we use such a variety of flours, and starches...and they all have different densities, different weights.. If you measure them out by the cup, well  you are just never going to get the results you want, and trying to adapt recipes to get the exact taste you want becomes a nightmare....
Enter the SCALE as I said,as I learned from SHAUNA, if you weigh every thing then you can just change things out as you please in any mix to come up with your own mix that pleases you taste or you allergy allowences. Simple. Done. Plus no more measuring in those stupd cups, leveling off with a knife, making a huge mess, wasting PRECIOUS EXPENSIVE FLOURS!!!, I could go on.....
You get the picture!!!!
Scales and Ratios ROCK!

Ratio Examples:
Pancakes are
4parts Flour: 4 parts Liquid: 2 parts Egg: 1 part Fat

so you can make as small a batch or as big as you want using the above ratio. Lets start small.
Say you want to use 1 oz of butter (fat.)
So you need 2 eggs (lg egg - 1 oz)
8 oz liquid- lets say buttermilk
8oz  Flour mix of your choice 

or if you did it in grams and you were going to start with 50g butter for this recipe then---

50 g  butter
100 g eggs 
400 g buttermilk
400 g flour

then on top of this you would add in your extra ingredients to make it your own--
you would need a baking soda-- 1/2tsp prob good for the above recipes
you would want some spices??? maybe some cinn/allspice/ grated orange zest, maybe a tsp cinn, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1 tsp orange zest, could even use a little orange juice in place of some of your liquid???
this is where you have endless possibilities....

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