Glutenfreies Zopf : Gluten-free Zopf

Today’s post I’ll try to do semi-bilingual, so you can laugh at my German or skip ahead.

Normally I don’t miss bread, but Zopf is something else. Zopf is something very Swiss and to be Swiss, well… it has a lot to do with our food here too. It is part of the culture. The idea of not being able to eat Zopf anymore is pretty damn depressing. That’s why for months I haven’t attempted to bake any bread, let alone Zopf. But  last weekend I decided to give it a first go, and I’m glad I did!

There is barely anything about normal Zopf in English, let alone gluten-free varieties, so you need to consult Google in German if you are going to find a recipe. Luckily, there are actually a lot when you search in German! I normally used a recipe from Laughing Lemon, so I had to find something suitable to replace my go-to recipe.

Normalerweise vermisse ich Brot nicht, aber Zopf ist etwas besonders. Für mich ist Zopf etwas wirklich schweizerisches. Ein Schweizer zu sein bedeutet viel, auch mit alle unserem Essen hier. Also wenn ich andenke, wie ich nie mehr Zopf essen kann, könnte ich fast weinen. Darum habe ich seit Monate nicht versucht, Brot zu backen. Aber dieses Wochenende, dachte dass das schon Zeit war zu ausprobieren.

Wenn man glutenfreies Zopf will, musst man auf Deutsch im Google suchen. Leider kennen nicht viele Ausländer was Zopf ist. Am meisten denken sie dass es Challah ist. Zum Glück gibt es schon viele Rezept! Normalerweise habe ich ein wirklich gutes Rezept von Laughing Lemon, dass ich seit 2008 gebraucht habe.

I decided to start with a Zopfknöpfe (Button braids) recipe from Betty Bossi, who is kind of like Betty Crocker over here. I wanted something traditional and easy.

Zum Anfang habe ich entschied ein Zopfknöpfe Rezept von Betty Bossi zu machen, weil Betty Bossi traditionell und einfach ist. For my recipe, I used 400g of the Migros Aha flour mix.

Ich habe 400g Migros Aha Mehlmischung benutzt.

I didn’t know where to get fiber husks from, or what they even were in German before I made this, but we found them at Müller Reformhaus. They are supposed to help the dough stick together.

Die Flohsamen haben wir in Müller Reformhaus gefunden, bei alle andere glutenfrei Sachen. Sie sollten den Teig helfen zu kleben.

The recipe didn’t say, but I warmed the milk up like Laughing Lemon always suggested. It’s important not to heat the milk above 40ºC or the yeast will die.
Der Rezept hat nicht gesagt, aber ich habe meine Milch in der Mikrowelle gewärmt. Sie sollten nicht mehr als 40ºC sein, oder die Hefe sterben werden.

I made a “sponge” like Laughing Lemon suggested as well. You do this by mixing all the dry ingredients except for the salt, which you sprinkle around the outer edge and then you make a well and pour some milk mixed with the yeast in so that it can get started.
Ich habe auch ein “Schwamm” gemacht wie Laughing Lemon sagt. Das gibt die Hefe Zeit zum anfangen.

After 15 minutes the yeast is ready.

Nach 15 Minuten ist die Hefe schon fertig.

The recipe also didn’t say how long to knead it and I wasn’t sure because it’s gluten-free dough if I am supposed to knead it less or more. I used to knead my Zopf for 12 minutes and it was fine, but I kneaded this for only 5 because I was insecure.

Betty Bossi hat auch nicht gesagt wie lang ich den Teig kneten soll, also ich habe ihn für 5 Minuten mit meinem Mischer geknetet.

I also oiled my dough up with olive oil like I was taught. After 40 minutes in an oven heated to 50ºC, the dough should double.

Ich habe den Teig auch geölt. Nach 40 Minuten in ein 50ºC Backofen, der Teig ist verdoppelt.

The problem was, the dough was incredibly sticky! It was like glue.

Problem war aber, der Teig war unglaublich klebrig! Wirklich wie Klebstoff.

I tried three times to make “buttons” like the recipe said and it was almost impossible to get the dough off my fingers. “This can’t be right,” I thought, so I added in around 60g more flour and oiled my hands. Then I could sort of make knots, but they weren’t the prettiest Zopf ever. 🙁

Ich habe versucht drei Zopfknöpfe zu machen, aber nachher dachte ich “Nai, ich muss etwas wechseln. Etwas stimmt nicht.” Ich habe zirka 60g mehr Mehl zusammen gemischt und nachher versucht mit Öl den Knöpfen zu formen. Dann geht es relativ OK, aber sie sind nicht die schönste Zopfknöpfen der Welt. 🙁

After 10 minutes in the 50ºC oven again I coated the rolls in egg and let them rise another 15 minutes before baking for 25 minutes. I also added a bit of milk to the egg mix before coating.

Nach 10 Minuten wieder in geheizt Ofen lassen, mit Ei bestreichen und nochmal 15 Minuten lassen vor backen.

25 Minuten backen…

And finished! They smelled really nice and looked better than pre-baked gluten-free bread that you can buy in stores.

Und los!! Sie haben gut gerochen und sehen besser aus als fertig gebacken Brot das man im Coop kaufen kann.

I was pretty darn excited about Zopf again.

Mmmm, Zopf!! Habe ich mich wirklich gefreut.

We tried them while they were still warm.

Wir haben sie probiert während sie noch immer warm waren.

…and I have to say, they tasted pretty close to the real thing!

Ich muss sagen, es schmachte gut! Mmmmmmmm.

The problem was that the next day they already seemed much drier. Kay disagreed, but I brought one of the ones to work that had more flour added and it was really too hard for me. It was OK for Kay and he ate them all week for breakfast, almost like in the past.

Das einziges Problem ist am nächsten Tag habe ich sie wenig zu trocken gefunden, aber Kay sagt dass das nicht stimmt. Sie wären noch OK für ihn. Er isst sie diese Woche zum Frühstück, fast wie früher.

I still need to perfect my recipe, but this was an OK start. Gluten-free dough is really different than normal dough and I’m not sure how easy it will ever be to roll out some gluten-free Zopf. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make my big braids again, but I’ll try.
Ich glaube dass ich noch weitere Rezepte versuchen werde, aber diese finde ich nicht schlecht. Glutenfreier Teig ist einfach anderes als normaler Teig. Eines Tages werde ich noch mal ein grosses Zopf backen!

Gluten Free Zopf:

400 Gluten Free Flour
1 Tablespoon fibre husk1 TBS salt1 Packet of dry yeast (Swiss variety I assume, which is what I used)50g soft butter in chunks2.5dL milk, lukewarm… not higher than 40ºC180g créme fraîche1 egg, mixed up to coat the finished rolls

1. Mix all the dry ingredients, except the salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in 1dL of warmed milk mixed with the yeast. Mix together a little with the flour and let sit for 15 minutes.2. Add salt and the rest of the milk and butter and creme fraiche. Using the beaters on your hand mixer, mix the dough until it is smooth and soft.3. Roll the dough in a ball and coat lightly in oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled. You can use the oven at 50ºC.4. Quickly knead the dough again and portion the dough in 8 pieces. Roll them out and tie into knots. Place on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. Let them sit 10 minutes in the warmed oven again.5. Coat them in egg mixed with a bit of milk. Let them sit 15 minutes out of the oven while you heat the oven up to 180ºC. I used the bread function on my steamer oven to aid with the gluten-free baking. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Original recipe in German / Original Rezept auf Deutsch

Gluten Free Appliance Wishlist

When I overhauled our kitchen and got rid of all of the plastic, wood and most of the kitchen appliances, I started forming a list of things that would need replaced and also things that would help make gluten-free eating easier.

It was kind of frustrating to have to re-do the whole kitchen less than a year after moving in and receiving all new pots and pans with the flat. The whole process made me wish we had a wedding registry, but I at least tried to view it as a chance to buy the things for my kitchen that I really want and to replace appliances that were broken or poorly designed.

Some of these kitchen appliances are things I’ve wanted since before the diet change and some are definitely new ideas, thanks to gluten.

Things we already owned that need replaced:

Waffle Iron: (Image Source)
We still haven’t replaced this and Kay wanted to make waffles awhile ago. It’s kind of annoying to want to make something that used to be a weekend staple, but since we haven’t found the perfect (or at least not as crappy as the old one) waffle iron, I haven’t attempted GF waffles yet.

The old waffle iron was really a bitch to clean with exposed heating coils, so we are really just aiming for an easy-to-wash waffle iron, but they are still not that common of an appliance in Switzerland. There is still an overabundance of sandwich grills that I will never buy nor understand the need for.

Braun Multiquick Hand Blender: (Image Source)

We looked at several hand blenders and I basically wanted the same apertive set that we bought from Braun in 2008. It has a soup blender, whisk, beaker, a large and small food processor container and our old one, pictured above, had an insert for grinding ice.

We ended up buying the newer, black version that works by squeezing to turn on and I’m not enthralled. It’s OK, but it came with a German power adapter which is clunky and big in our Swiss kitchen and it’s not easy to blend slowly with this version. For the black version they’ve done away with the ice insert and instead have an ice grinding blade, but it doesn’t make chips; it makes more ice powder, which is good for snowcones, but not caipirinha. We kept the ice insert from our original set before giving it away since we only ever used it for ice and I figured it was “clean” enough.

In this instance, it was a little disappointing having to replace something that wasn’t broken and having what should be the same or better version not live up to the old product.

Toaster: (Image Source)

The toaster was one of the first things we replaced, simply because it was a cheap buy and getting GF pre-packaged bread is pretty easy. It also tastes way better toasted than not. We opted to get a double-sided, double-length toaster this time around so we can toast baguettes and longer things if necessary. Upgrade here!

Mixer: (Image Source)

I had wanted a new hand mixer for years ever since I got banana bread dough stuck in our mixer in 2008. It had been clunking around in there ever since and I couldn’t get it out! Gross! Yep. When we finally replaced this a few weeks into the diet, I made my first dessert which were vegan, gluten-free blondies.

Deep Fryer: (Image Source)

We still haven’t replaced the fryer. Kay thinks it should be OK, but we used it for french fries, donuts, etc… and I don’t trust it. It cannot be cleaned well enough to be gluten free. I will get a new one at some point so I can make my own gluten-free donuts and fries, but it’s not at the top of my priorities.

Blender: (Image Source)

We also still need to replace the blender because I used it for making waffle batter from time to time. For now, we are making do with the Braun multiquick, but it’s not great as blender. I tried making margaritas in it a couple weeks ago and it sprayed a huge mess even with the lid held down with one hand. It’s better for slicing onions, making pesto, gazpacho, etc.

Things I’m thinking about:

Dehydrator: (Image Source)

When I started making my own gluten-free, oat-free muesli, I thought about getting a dehydrator because I could also use it to make dried fruit, fruit leather, beef jerky, etc. I’m not sure it’s worth it though. I mean, dried fruit is really easy to buy here… maybe it has too many chemicals on it… and we don’t eat beef jerky thaat often. This seems like an unnecessary splurge.

 Stand Mixer: (Image Source)

We almost bought a basic Kitchenaid mixer last year when we moved in. I saw one for 350CHF or so, which was not a bad price, but I wasn’t totally sure about it so I waited. Now I am glad I did! I would be pissed if I had to replace a stand mixer due to gluten. Now we are thinking of getting this Kenwood Cooking Chef that my in-laws rave about because it would be like a second slow cooker with some things and the Kenwoods seem to have a slight edge over Kitchenaid.

 Grain Mill: (Image Source)

One of the first things I thought about doing when I went gluten-free was making my own flour, because that shit is expensive here! But now I have a stash of all sorts of store-bought flours and I’m not sure how much use I’d really get out of a grain mill. If anything, we are thinking more of getting a grain attachment for another machine like the stand mixer.

Tortilla Press: (Image Source)To be honest, I tried to buy one of these at the Mexican grocery in Zürich already and they didn’t sell it to me because it didn’t have all the parts with it. After rolling out many tortillas at home, I’m pretty sure that I will be buying one of these at some point. I would like to make a bunch of them ahead of time and keep some on stock in the freezer for last-minute Mexican meals.


Vitamix: (Image Source)


Oh man. This is a splurge in the US, but it’s freaking expensive in Switzerland. The list price is like 800CHF, which is $886 or so. And, I mean… I know that it also can cook soups and stuff like the Kenwood Cooking Chef and it can support a grain mill of some kind as well, but it just seems like a lot for a blender. If I would need to buy this and a stand mixer to make doughs, I think that’s too much. Maybe if I win the lottery!

Refrigerator/Freezer: (Image Source)

I have wanted an extra fridge ever since we moved from Winterthur to our Zürich flat with almost no freezer. We didn’t get one there because Kay thought we’d moved out of the country within a year, instead of staying three years + in that flat. Now we have a larger fridge and freezer in the flat, but because I’d like to store flours in the fridge and freeze extra goodies so we can do more spontaneous/lazy meals, it would be very helpful to have an extra fridge freezer.

We don’t have a ton of room, but I’d like to see if I could squeeze one in the pantry in the hallway. I’ve mostly convinced Kay that this would be a good idea for us, but we haven’t pulled the trigger yet because we’re in the middle of paying for our built-in wardrobes finally.

Well, that’s quite a list, and quite expensive when you add up the high ticket items. Would you add anything else to our list if you were going gluten-free?

Heading to London

OK, it didn’t happen in 2013 as I planned, but we are finally heading to London soon!

(Image source via Flickr)

I am pretty excited, but I still need to do my gluten-free research. It really adds a lot of work to each trip, even if it’s just for a few days.

I also need to look up what to see in London. I’m a little overwhelmed because A. there is a lot of stuff to see and B. I seem to know a BUNCH of people/bees that are in or around London and I feel kind of bad if I spend all my time looking at tourist attractions instead of with people…

What would you want to see most in London?

Real food: Zucchini-Quinoa Lasagna

Some bee friends posted this zucchini-quinoa vegetarian lasagna last week and I noticed it was gluten free, so on my to-make list it went!

I doubled the recipe so that it would fit a 9X13 pan, because 8″ square pans are pretty uncommon in Switzerland and I haven’t bought one yet. Plus, I wanted leftovers. 🙂

I ended up cutting fresh oregano, parsley, and both red and green basil from the garden for the lasagna.

There was a little hiccup when I forgot to double the quinoa mix in the recipe. I was making another recipe at the same time, but I was able to do another batch of quinoa before baking and we just ate a bit later.

This is the first lasagna I’ve made since we went gluten-free. Gluten-free lasagna noodles are only available at the specialty food store, so I haven’t gotten any yet, partially due to cost and laziness.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. It sure did make a lot of lasagna!

Kay gave it a thumbs up too, even if he was dismayed to learn that it’s a vegetarian recipe. Next time, he thinks it would be perfect if we threw some ground beef into the quinoa mix. 😉

Do you ever try to sneak veggie recipes into family meals? How do they go over with the meat lovers?

The Candida Diet

I am really not a “diet person” and still loathe the fact that I need to be forever gluten free for the rest of my life, but since I was diagnosed, I have been reading about the many other diets out there that are used to “cure” symptoms and problems that celiacs often suffer from.

A few I’ve come across:

  • SCD (specific carbohydrate diet)
  • Paleo
  • Dairy Free
  • Vegan
  • Candida Diet

I thought SCD soundly mildly interesting, if not ridiculously hard to find something to eat. I already cannot eat most grains and it cuts off the deadly nightshade plants like potatoes and corn. Hello?? I need something to eat! Then I read some questionable things about when the diet was created and why and it turned me off the idea completely.

I’d also heard about the candida diet, so I decided to do some digging and find out more about it since I’ve been battling some cracked corners in my lips for a few months. While it sounds nice to cure yourself from the symptoms of candida, the diet no-no’s list is daunting. Check it out: Foods to Avoid

What the heck does someone eat on this diet?? I was curious about what people do eat, so I ran across another site that gave some basic meal ideas. In the breakfast ideas they suggest mainly eggs and meat, as well as this nugget of advice:

Just use a little imagination or skip breakfast entirely.

Are you kidding me? Tired of eggs and meat for breakfast, so just skip it entirely? How could this possibly be considered sound diet advice?

It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the wealth of wonky diet advice on the interwebs. Try a lactose free diet to clear your system out, do a juice cleanse, make sure you drink this or that supplemental shake at the right time. It’s enough to scare anyone off dieting!

I guess you should mainly get your diet advice from a real dietician and not just books and self-diagnosis. Still, I find it interesting that all these different specialty diets are around and some people follow them religiously.

What do you think? Is there any merit to the candida diet or is it a load of hokey?