October 7, 2012
Gluten-Free Pie Dough with Special Guest Brooke Parkhurst of Triple Oak Bakery
Today I’m releasing a very special episode of the Aubergine Chef! It’s been a long time since I’ve had a guest star on the show and as much as I would love to have more guest stars it’s actually pretty difficult. Some people are shy and other times schedules just never line up correctly – but I am so happy to be able to bring this successful gluten free baker on the show to demonstrate how easy it is to work with gluten free products.
Brooke Parkhurst is the owner of Triple Oak Bakery, located in Sperryville, VA, a gluten free bakery where she works diligently to make classical European desserts gluten free without sacrificing taste. She has seen great success with her baking regularly supplying several shops in the area with products for resale as well as an endless array of special orders. She has also opened Acorn Cafe, a small cafe-style restaurant featuring both gluten free and regular products.
I actually met Brooke through a mutual friend who just knew that Brooke and I would hit it off. After a few e-mails going back and forth I decided to go down to Sperryville to visit Brooke’s facility and check out what Sperryville had to offer. If you follow me on Facebook then you saw some of the pictures I took of my time in Sperryville and how enchanted I was with the little area.
Brooke was gracious enough to actually do two episodes. The first (episode 117a) is the actually demonstration video where she walks us through how to make her famous pie dough and turn it into apple turnovers. The second (episode 117b) is a helpful interview with Brooke where we get to know her a little bit better, find out more about celiac disease, and gluten free living. I highly recommend watching both episodes especially if you’re new to gluten free recipes like I am. Each episode is full of helpful information and tips and tricks. In fact I learned an incredible amount of information about gluten free recipes just from hanging out with her for the day.
Again if you follow me on Facebook you may remember a few posts about me wanting to learn about how to bake gluten free. This interest was sparked not because I am a celiac but because one of my favorite food bloggers, Stella at Bravetart, expressed that baking gluten free is not restrictive. Rather, Stella feels only baking with wheat flour is much more restrictive. Think about it – we are constantly looking for new ingredients and recipes to see what we can learn about baking – some of us going so far as to use special sugars like demerara or particular butters like plugra and yet we balk at the idea of trying to learn how to use different flours. It’s not the easiest transition but once you learn the basics, just like you did when you first started baking, you become a much more knowledgeable, flexible, and interesting baker.One of the things I learned about gluten free baking in this episode is that it is fairly difficult to just simply substitute wheat flour for just one kind of flour. Instead Brooke uses a blend of flours. Her blend is 1 cup tapioca, 2 cups starch (cornstarch, arrowroot, potato starch, etc.), and 6 cups rice flour. Brooke will readily admit that her gluten free flour can cost up to 5x as much as regular wheat flour (there is a narrower price difference for unbleached flours like King Arthur brand) but gluten free flour is less readily available – and besides how much are you shelling out for plugra?
Another thing I learned about gluten free baking is the use of ingredients like xanthan gum or guar gum. Since gluten free products lack gluten they tend to be brittle and difficult to manipulate. By adding in xanthan gum or guar gum you are adding in an elastic component making the dough much easier to work with or you’ll make the cake batter much light and airy. Brooke does caution than some people may not tolerate xanthan gum so it’s important to ask your guests before committing to it.
After all was said and done – and baked – the finished apple turnovers were delicious. You really cannot tell the difference between standard pie dough and Triple Oak Bakery’s gluten free pie dough. In addition Brooke’s pie dough is extremely flexible and she loves using it to make pasties or hand pies. You can fill them with meat like empanadas or keep them sweet with a fruit filling like she does in the video.
Thank you so much Brooke for being a part of the Aubergine Chef and wish you lots of success. You’re really on to something special here and you have a wealth of knowledge that you have got to share with the world! Maybe someday in the future we’ll start seeing videos of Triple Oak Bakery on YouTube! In the meantime you can follow Brooke Parkhurst and Triple Oak Bakery on Facebook or you can visit her website at TripleOakBakery.com.
Here is Triple Oak Bakery’s Gluten Free Pie Dough recipe and the videos are below! Thank you for watching!