Friday, October 4, 2013

Allergy Info... what is it all about?

A few days ago, a new member posted on corn free support group in hope to get reactions for his wife's baked goods that could be for sales. He didn't get a warm reception at all. It was a combination of the posted picture of corny sweets and the not knowing the ingredients his wife used to bake with were actually not 100% corn free.

It occurred to me that I needed to post a blog to clarify what is the Allergy Info that I ended with on all of my recipes actually mean. So here goes.

Everybody's intolerance to food is different. Keep that in mind when you bake for yourself, your family, or your friends. I just discovered a few months ago that Brek definitely has dairy intolerance. By how much, I don't know. However, he can have sheep's milk products, such as yogurt or manchego cheese, with no allergic reactions. I know this much that he can have a small scoop of ice cream made from cow's milk or cream. But last week, we went out for mozzarella pizza. He ate two slices, came home, and threw up two hours later. Since I am the one who diagnosed his dairy intolerance, I will never know what exactly in the dairy he is allergic to. I mentioned this to my friend whose child (same age as Brek) also has dairy issue. I suggested that she cooks and bakes with sheep's or goat's products. Since her son is allergic to casein, she said it is found in sheeps and goats too. Well, that was a revelation.

I also make suggestions on products in my recipes. In the beginning stage of my allergy free diet adventure, I was baking with organic all purpose flour. Oh man, was that expensive. When I switched to regular all purpose flour, I noticed the texture of my sweets were different. Not all flours are created equal. Even though I suggested a product next to an ingredient, it doesn't mean you have to use the product. Just keep this in mind that if your sweets don't turn out well, adjust the ingredients next time.

The products also change as time goes by. There was one brand that carries corn free mandarin oranges. As of today, that brand is no longer corn free as I saw citric acid added in the ingredients. So I always read the ingredients listed on the package.

Allergy Info

Dairy: When my recipe indicates that it is free from dairy, I always mean that the dairy is from cow's products such as cow's milk, butter, heavy cream, hard or soft cheese. Most of the time, my dairy is from sheep, such as sheep's milk yogurt or cheese (manchego).

Eggs: Most of my current recipes will have chicken eggs. Sometimes I do use quail or duck eggs. If so, the free from eggs would be written as "free from chicken eggs". If there are no traces of eggs at all, then it would be written as "free from eggs". If you can have quail eggs but not chicken eggs, substitute 5 quail eggs for 1 chicken egg. I stay from duck eggs when making something sweeter as they taste gamey to me. Plus, duck eggs are HUGE!!!

Corn: This is a tough one. I don't often declare that my recipe is corn free because my kitchen, the ingredients I use, the products in my home may not be corn free. With that said, all of my recipes can be made corn free with your corn free ingredients.

Legumes: Have you ever heard somebody said that they or their kids are allergic to peanuts, thinking that peanuts are from the nuts family? No, no, and no!!! Peanuts are legumes. I knew this only because Camden has G6PD and needs to avoid all legumes, such as peanuts, all types of beans, especially fava beans. I used to bake with tofu, but I decided to omit it in all of my cooking and baking. If the recipe asks for tofu, I substitute it with mashed banana. My sweet recipes are most likely legumes free.

Wheat: I use only gluten flour such as King Arthur's all-purpose flour or bread flour. Even though the texture and taste may changed, gluten free flour may be used as a substitute. If I test a recipe with gluten free flour, I will note it on the Allergy Info section. Keep in mind that gluten is not created equal in all flours and the brands. I find good results with King Arthur's flours.

Nuts: My family and I have no nuts allergy. But my kids are not nuts fan. I should let them go gather nuts for Earl (our backyard squirrel). If you have nuts allergy, omit the nuts ingredients or substitute with seeds. Most of my recipe calls for coconut milk, coconut oil, or coconut butter. If I use coconut milk or oil in my recipe, the Allergy Info on nuts would be written as "nuts (not coconut)".

Fish: No fishy allergy here either. But seriously, who add fish in their something sweeter? Not me!!! I do cook savory meals with fish sauce. Soy sauce or sea salt can be substitute for fish sauce.

Remember, if you have any question about my recipes, please feel free to contact me. I will be happy to answer and help you create your very own something sweeter. Happy baking!!!

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