Friday, March 20, 2015

Gluten Free Play Dough

Why I Make Play Dough At My Age 

I hate that when I take care of my grandson, he can't play with his Play-Doh. (Play-Doh is made with wheat flour.) He will help cleanup but he is too young to do it all by himself. Every child loves to play with it. Even adults, including myself, enjoy playing with it. There is so many activities one can do with the Play-Doh. With guidance, play dough activities can help with the physical, mental and creative development of a child. That is a good reason to make a play dough tool box.

So that my grandson could play with play dough at my house, I invested the time to look up gluten free recipes to make a copykat of the Play-Doh. I found this site and the dough is pretty. Found this site that includes several recipes. One of the recipes is very much like the recipe we used in chemistry to make goop or Oobleck - which is a type of non-Newtonian matter. The Oobleck can be made with or without borax. Notice the cautions of making the Oobleck with borax. Students love playing with slime and Oobleck. Didn't want the slime nor Oobleck this time - that's for later.

Substituting Ingredients and Methods

The problem with finding a recipe was that most of the gluten free play dough recipes call for rice flour. Yes, I understand that using rice flour gives a white dough to begin the coloring. I also know that it makes a beautiful baked product but I don't use it; it has a very high glycemic index. More and more gluten intolerants are reading about rice flour and choosing other flours. It is a matter of choice. So, now, the experiment begins. Probably the best choice for substituting rice four is millet flour or sorghum flour.  Just pick one. I compared the color and millet was whiter and I went with it.

I have Jeanine Friesen's Everything Guide to Living Gluten-Free. In the book, she included the play dough recipe that is on several websites. The recipe is also on her website. I used the recipe ingredients "as is" except substituting millet flour. I did use a different cooking method. I'll explain that in a minute. Some of the recipes on other sites call for 1/2 cup salt. I figure that the extra salt helps the dough dry out better but it's going to cause the hands to dry out more also. I kept with the 1/4 cup salt.  Jeanine states to use vegetable oil but other sites use other oils. One frequent ingredient was olive oil but I never saw coconut oil used. I also didn't use the glitter -- this time.

As the dough cooled and I kneaded it, I didn't think that extra salt was needed. More food coloring can be added as the dough is kneaded-- if needed.  It is hard to get the color right by placing the dye in the water and oil, but you can add more dye as you see fit while kneading.

Dough before kneading

I used the microwave to make the dough. I heated the water in a glass pitcher, added the oil and dye; then I added the dry ingredients. After stirring it until smooth with a whisk,  I put it back in the microwave on HIGH for 15 seconds. I took it out and stirred with a large wooden spoon. I did that 5 or 6 times until it was beginning to dry or had a good texture. I emptied the dough on parchment paper on the counter, let it cool a little and then kneaded it until it was no longer sticky. I stored it in a plastic zipper bag in the refrigerator.

If it remains sticky, knead in a little more cornstarch.  Add it a half teaspoon at a time. If you make a mistake, adding to much cornstarch, wet your hands and knead the dough until it is the right texture.

Gluten Free Play Dough

1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon of oil
Liquid food color, gel food color or Kool-Aid powder
1/2 teaspoon chunky glitter (optional)  

1.  Whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
2.  Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the oil and food coloring. Gently stir.
3.  Stir the dry ingredients, including the glitter if using, into the boiling water. With saucepan still on the heat, continue stirring until the dough is drier and has a rubbery texture.
4. Turn the dough out on parchment paper on the counter. Let cool slightly - enough to handle. Kneaed until completely cool -- adding food color if needed. It will be sticky in the beginning but will be less sticky as it cools. 
5.  Put dough in a zipper plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.

Creative Mommy says that the dough lasts a couple of years and she doesn't put it in the fridge. Hmm - guess the salt keeps the dough from molding. She made several different colors in one recipe by adding the color while kneading the dough. She reminds us that when mixing colors, add the light color first. Check out the colors of the play dough she made. 

Both Betty Crocker and McCormick make neon food coloring. Going to try those next time I make the play dough. 


"Allergy-Free Play Dough Recipes | AAAAI." Allergy-Free Play Dough Recipes | AAAAI. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <>.

 "Best DIY Gluten Free Play Dough Recipes -" Onecreativemommycom. N.p., 25 Feb. 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <>.

"Gak, Flubber, Silly Putty, & Oobleck Recipes." A2Z Homeschooling. N.p., 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2015<>.

"How Much Arsenic Is in Your Rice - Consumer Reports." How Much Arsenic Is in Your Rice - Consumer Reports. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015. <>.

"Non-Newtonian Fluids." Science Learning Hub RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2015. <>.

"Steve Spangler Science." GAK. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <>.

"The Price of Eating Rice" - Jessica Corwin  (Also in Go Gluten Free Spring 2014)

Disclosure statement: I have not received compensation for any products mentioned or used in this post.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Make It Sourdough - Gluten Free Sourdough Morning Glory Muffins

Finding the Morning Glory Muffins Recipes

I came across a recipe by accident on the Whole Foods website. These are great recipes and you won't be able to eat just one. One of the recipes is for gluten free Morning Glory muffins. The second recipe is not gluten free but the recipe for whole wheat Morning Glory muffins shows how to lighten up the sugar and oil in the Morning Glory muffins with sweet potato puree and applesauce.

The first time I made the gluten free Morning Glory muffins (from Whole Foods), I made a few substitutions:
  1.  I changed half the granulated sugar for Stevia in the Raw and used Splenda brown sugar blend,
cutting the amount of brown sugar in half.
  2.  Because I had no zest and a low amount of honey, I felt that there wasn't enough acid in the batter to support the reaction of the baking soda, especially with so much veggies, fruit and nuts. I substituted baking powder for the baking soda.
  3.  To help with binding and nutrition, I added two tablespoons of seed dust.
  4.  I cut the recipe in half. (I always cut a recipe in 1/4 or 1/2 when testing.) Therefore, I needed 1 and 1/2 eggs. Rather than use half an egg, I used two tablespoons of liquid egg whites. There were no other changes when I first tried this recipe and the muffins were fantastic!

I then discovered the whole wheat lighten-up Morning Glory muffins and made notes to test the sweet potato puree and applesauce the next time I made the muffins.

Making the Morning Glory Muffins Sourdough

I was thinking about these muffins and wondered if I could make them sourdough. That would automatically make the muffin's glycemic index lower. With a few substitutions, I used a variation of a basic soudough muffin recipe. I had tried the recipe several times before  and still couldn't perfect it to my satisfaction.  The muffins were way to sour, not sweet enough and just wouldn't rise correctly. I don't use rice flour so I was trying to perfect it using other gluten free flours. I thought it was just going to take time -- well, maybe.

The Sponge

Making some newer adjustments, I made the sponge with 1 cup of my sourdough starter, 1 1/2 gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of sorghum flour, gluten free oat flour, corn flour (masa harina) and tapioca starch/flour. Other ingredients in the sponge were warm water (or whey or milk) and a small amount of honey (1 tablespoon). (I get the whey from yogurt that I make myself). I let the sponge form for about 7 hours. Letting the sponge form for only 7 hours provides a less sour taste. Remember,  making anything with wild yeast sourdough takes planning ahead.

Besides being lower glycemic, these muffins are full of vegetables, fruit and nuts. The sourdough starter is made using wild yeast, whole grains and the added gluten free flour blend is part whole grains. The muffins are full of probiotics and good for you. (Research shows that killed probiotics are still good for you).They are excellent for breakfast, snacking and any time of the day.

                                                    Dough from gluten free flour blend, whey, and sourdough
                                                   starter before sponge forms. Below, the photo shows how
                                                   water is placed in a small glass pitcher, heated and the bowl
                                                of dough is placed on top of the pitcher of hot water. The
                                                microwave door is closed to contain the heat.  This works
                                   great until I eventually get a proofing box.


The sponge has formed and a dome, which is difficult to see
has formed. The difference in color was not a chemical reaction.
 It is due to the reduced amount of light in my kitchen later in
the day; therefore, there is  more artificial yellow light.

These muffins are magical because they taste so good. If you don't want to go the sourdough route, try the Whole Foods recipes. They are excellent also. My two- year-old grandson really likes these muffins, even the sourdough ones. If you don't use my starter recipe, I'm sure yours will work. Just make sure the starter is 100% hydration.  Otherwise, the batter will be runny. Don't be afraid to experiment. 

Sourdough Morning Glory Muffins


1 cup (~200 grams) sourdough starter
1 1/2 cup (183 grams) gluten free flour blend
1 tablespoon (21.25 grams) honey
1/3 cup(118 g) water, milk (122g) or whey
2 tablespoons (20 grams) seed dust with psyllium
1 teaspoon (4 grams) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon (8 grams) baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter (or olive oil)
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoon brown sugar 
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup seedless raisins or currents
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 apple, peeled or unpeeled, cored and finely chopped or shredded


Combine sourdough starter, gluten free flour blend, water and honey. Mix with whisk for 1-2 minutes. Place in a warm place to bubble and form a sponge for 7-12 hours. 

When the batter has bubbled and formed a sponge, preheat the oven to 350℉. Place paper cups in a muffin pan and spray bottoms of cups with non-stick spay.

In a small bowl, beat eggs, butter and honey. Sprinkle the seed dust, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder on the sponge. Whisk in the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and whisk in.

Fold in carrots, zucchini, chopped nuts, raisins, coconut, zest and apple. 

With ice cream scoop, scoop batter into each cup. Bake for 22 minutes. Before 20 minutes are up, test with toothpick. Muffins are done when the toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

For Lower Sugar Muffins
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Stevia in the Raw or choice of sweetener
1 tablespoon Splenda brown sugar blend
The applesauce also adds sweetness even though it is unsweetened.

For Lower Fat Muffins
I substituted applesauce for half the fat. I prefer the small amount of fat because it helps with tenderness and moisture. Some bakers substitute all the fat for the applesauce. It is a matter of choice.

 Makes 12 large muffins or 15 medium. (Time above is for medium size. Large size will require longer time.)

Since the apple, carrots and zucchini are grated, they
are barely seen in the muffins. These are wonderful!   

The Next Thing
I will eventually try the sweet potato puree, but I decided to shred the sweet potato and substitute it for the shredded carrot and zucchini. I used pumpkin pie spice ( all spice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg), not just cinnamon for the sweet potato muffins. I left out the apple. The rest of the recipe remained  the same.

Oh my gosh, they are so good. I knew they would be good because the smell in the kitchen while they were baking was fabulous. I had the orange for zest this time. It certainly adds to the great flavor. There are so many wonderful flavors in this muffin. I haven't tried yet, but I am assuming that shredded butternut squash and shredded pumpkin can be substituted for the sweet potato in my  recipe and those of Whole Foods.

You just have to try these muffins. You will make them time and time again! 

Sourdough sweet potato muffins with all the goodness of
sweet potato, currents, applesauce, nuts, shredded coconut,
and pumpkin pie flavors. 


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"Lightened-Up Whole Grain Morning Glory Muffins." Whole Foods Market. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2015. <> Nature Publishing Group, n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2015.

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Disclosure statement: I have not received compensation for any products mentioned or used in this post.