Gluten-free Baking in Japan: Classic Rice Flour Pancakes Recipe

June 8th, 2012 yum Posted in Baked Goods, Brown Rice, Dairy, Gluten Free in Japan, Gluten-free Japanese Label Reading, Pancake, Rice, Soy Free, Travel, gluten-free international travel 8 Comments »

Hello from Mutsu City, Aomori Prefecture Japan!

Dear Readers, I’m sure that many of you have wondered what on earth happened to me. Around the end of May I actually got on a plane with the DH and dear Toddler Yum in tow and flew to Japan for a three month fieldwork trip for my dissertation. Preparation kept me quite busy initially, and then once I arrived in Japan I found myself extremely busy going to my field site, doing surveys and interviews, and then trying to keep myself fed and cared for. Not only that, when I’m not actually in the field but come down to our monthly apartment, Toddler Yum has been a busy girl requiring my attention. I started her in a Japanese daycare, and it has been a wonderful, enriching experience but also brought its own difficulties. My dear girl is learning some Japanese and about Japanese culture and loving it- but separating from Mommy in the morning has been a trial. We’ve had to bust out the favorite “Llama Llama Misses Mama” book for some of the bad days, and gone back to drawing Mini Mama and Mini Grandma on her hand to keep her company. She has a little uniform that is so cute, though. And luckily she seems to be doing well on a wheat-diet, so can eat the delicious, healthy, handmade lunches they make at her pre-school. My girl loves Japanese food!

Me in the Field, being Visited by Toddler Yum

I love Japanese food too, but my food options are severely limited. As usual, while living in Japan I consume seafood, but it is quite a challenge to avoid wheat when soy sauce is used to season pretty much all of the convenience prepared foods and flavors most restaurant dishes. I can’t buy any prepared gluten-free baked foods, but I brought things like gluten-free pasta from home, as well as a few baking mixes and brown rice flour. Over the past month, I’ve been experimenting. This morning my Dad (who joined us when the DH had to return home for work) made me these awesome gluten-free pancakes. All you need is one burner, so they are good for the gluten-free girl (or guy) on the road or even in a dorm room. I’ve also been experimenting with baking in the toaster oven (our apartment doesn’t have a regular oven) and have come up with an excellent mini banana bread recipe that I will be sharing soon.

In other Blog News:
I’m sure many of you have given up hope about the Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger Event, but starting this month some dear gluten-free blogger friends are stepping in and helping to host the event.

Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger Event Schedule
June: Shannon of Enjoying Gluten-free Life
Live: Signups for Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger!

July: Sunny of And Love it Too
August: Alta of Tasty Eats at Home

I’ll be back hosting in September! Thanks ladies, you are lifesavers!

Here’s the ingredients I bought in Japan to make this recipe! You can buy all of the ingredients in the States, too, so no worries.

*I brought the Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice flour from home. You may be able to find brown rice flour in Japan, but I haven’t found one that wasn’t packaged in bulk with gluten items yet… If you live in Japan and are frustrated by your inability to find safe brown rice flour, you can substitute more white rice flour for the brown OR grind brown rice with a good mill to make your own gluten-free brown rice flour for this recipe.*
Note the milk in the picture. If you don’t buy lowfat milk in Japan, you’re likely end up with some VERY thick and creamy milk. Delicious if you like cream… and it certainly it makes a delicious latte, but it is quite the figure-buster. lol. I learned early on in my Japanese life to seek out the lowfat stuff for drinking and baking. I’ll be making a dairy-free version for Toddler Yum using the easily available soy-milk or the soy-almond milk, and I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

Read Japanese Labels for Gluten-free Shopping in Japan!

White Rice Flour / Kome Ko
I found this in an unusually large bag at a Japanese chain store called Sanwado found in the Tohoku region of Japan and Hokkaido. [English review of Sanwado in Misawa]
I love this store, which is like a combo between Walmart and a very small Costco. I found large, American-size cans of Chickpeas and Red Kidney Beans, neither of which are typically available in Japan, and if they are available are typically expensive and only sold in small quantities. I also can buy thai rice paper wraps, rice noodles, and cans of veggie green curry there. Yay!

Note that this rice flour is NOT mochi rice flour or sweet rice flour, but like the regular rice flour sold by Ener-g Foods or Bob’s Red Mill. It is 100% rice flour (wetland) and doesn’t have a notice about wheat being produced in its factories so should be a pretty pure source.

Almond Flour/ Almond Powder
I was surprised to find Almond flour, aka Almond Powder, in Japan, sold with the cake ingredients. I have seen large bags (I think at Sanwado) but purchased this small bag that was sold next to the cake sprinkles. It also doesn’t have a warning about shared production lines.

The Homemade Cake brand is owned by Kyoritsu Foods. They have many different products including gluten-ones. I’m not sure how the packaging happens, but since they don’t have a warning about wheat production lines, the risk of cross contamination seems fairly low. They do mention that dairy products are produced in the same factory, for any who might be concerned. The quality is similar to Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour.

Baking Soda and Baking Powder
I was surprised to find this baking soda at the “hyakku En Shoppu” Daiso, which is like a Japanese dollar store. It was reasonably priced. I found the baking powder in a regular grocery store, but wouldn’t recommend this particular brand as it has a warning that wheat products are produced in the same factory.

Gluten-free Pancakes in Japan
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. apple vinegar
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 tbsp. almond powder (almond flour)
2 tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
2 tbsp. melted butter
Combine milk and vinegar in a large bowl and let it sit until it thickens slightly and the milk turns sour.

Combine your dry ingredients (brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond powder, sugar, baking powder and salt) in a medium bowl. Whisk together until ingredients are

Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat (or use your favorite cast iron pan with a little butter or oil as needed).

Add your egg and melted butter to the vinegar-thickened milk and whisk together. Gradually add your combined dry ingredients to the wet (egg, butter, milk, vinegar) and gently fold together.

Using a 1/4 cup measure for each pancake, pour up to 3 pancakes in your pan at a time. When the pancake gets bubbles on the top, after about 30 seconds, turn them over. When the second side is brown, remove from the pan and repeat.


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Gluten Free Bakery in Seattle: Haley’s Corner Review

September 7th, 2011 yum Posted in Gluten Free bakery, Travel, Wa, Washington State 8 Comments »

Haley’s Corner Bakery
100% Gluten-free Bakery
10216 SE 256th St. Suite 111 ~ Kent, WA 98030
Phone: 253-852-4486
Store Hours (as of 8-2011)
Monday Closed
Tuesday 9am-6pm
Wednesday 8am-6pm
Thursday 8am-6pm
Friday 8am-6pm
Saturday 9am-5pm
Sunday Closed

When we flew into Sea-Tac airport the other week on a trip to visit my grandparents, one of the first things I did was pull out the DH’s IPhone and look for a gluten-free bakery near the airport. I was hungry and remembered an earlier visit to a gluten-free bakery located near the airport. That bakery was no longer open to the public, unfortunately, but I found another promising candidate in Kent about 20 minutes away from the Seattle airport. It was in the opposite direction from our ultimate destination, Anacortes, but a good gluten-free breakfast can be hard to find. After a few token grumbles, the DH agreed.

The bakery was in a pleasant strip mall with a Starbucks. This latter fact turned out to be important because we were dying for some morning espresso. When I walked in the doors, I was so impressed that I momentarily forgot about my pressing need for coffee. This bright and airy space was cheery, and small tables arranged against the windows were welcoming. Most welcoming of all was the bountiful offerings in the bakery cases and against the wall behind the counter.

The first order of the day was breakfast. I can rarely find gluten-free quiche, so when I saw that they had one, I had to order it. The DH was intrigued by their larger-than-life breakfast muffins that emulated omelets, and he bought the Denver muffin with onion, peppers and ham. I couldn’t believe the fluffy texture when I saw him rip off a piece for Kira. I had to get a meatless one for later that had been basted in pizza sauce.

After we ate, it was time to get some baked goods for the rest of the week in Seattle. I got some of their sandwich bread as as staple food, and I was so intrigued by their sourdough loaf that I had to get some. Living in San Francisco I’m always jealous of the sourdough bread bowls filled with chowder. It was interesting though- when I brought it to my grandparents’ house and my grandpa saw it, I learned that when he was a kid, only poor families ate the stuff. He ate it and hated it- so now he won’t touch it. Actually- although I’ve made gluten-free sourdough at home a la Bette Hagman and enjoyed it, this loaf turned out to be my least favorite of the things I bought at Haley’s. It was just a bit on the heavy side for my taste, and maybe my Grandpa’s story about the hardships of sourdough as a kid made the flavor a bit sour for me.

But let me tell you about my favorite things at the bakery. There were a lot of them. The DH gave an unequivocal thumbs up for Haley’s Corner, and said “the selection is just what you would get at a regular bakery.” In many cases, he said he wouldn’t have known it was gluten-free unless he was told that it was. And amazingly, they don’t even use unusual flours- rice and tapioca seemed to be the norm.* You could buy prepared pizza slices in the refrigerator case- but they all seemed to have meat (especially chicken) so I didn’t buy any of those. I was so impressed by the sweets that I went a little crazy buying one of everything, or so it seemed.

I got pie- and who could choose between gluten-free apple pie, caramel apple pie, or key lime pie? Not me, apparently. I liked them all, but the key lime pie was my favorite. It was sweet without being cloying, with just the right tart note to make things interesting. I love cookies, so on the clerk’s recommendation I got the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie and a snickerdoodle. The former came in handy for a reunion with my cousins when they had a box of those foofie cupcakes of beauty that everyone, including toddler yum, got to enjoy. I ran and got my cookie and savored every sweet crumb. There was a slice of sweet cake for sale as a day-old goodie that also went into the rental car with us… and last but not least, tiramisu AND one lovely chocolate eclair.

I know, I really went crazy with the sweets- but this place had such lovely sweets, and would you believe for everything I bought, there was at least 3 more things that I could have tried? The selection was amazing. I enjoyed watching my sometimes critical DH dig in and enjoy this bakery, and it was fun to see Toddler Yum dart around the store, occasionally pausing to gaze in rapture at the counter, saying in her breathless, high pitched toddler voice “oh my!” She was also a fan of the cookie samples, although we stopped after two pieces because I try to limit her sugar.

I am so pleased to see another bustling gluten-free bakery in the Northwest, and I hope they are around for many years to come so that stopping in for breakfast with the DH and Kid Yum can become a tradition. I had more sweets and baked goods in the week after my visit than I usually have over a period of a few months- probably next time I wouldn’t go QUITE so crazy. After all, my grandparents did feed me, and it wasn’t necessary to stock up quite so heavily on the sweets. But… it was fun, and now I know what my favorites are for next time. I’d buy the tiramisu again… and the key lime pie… and the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. And then I’ll sign up for gym membership. Pangs over dieting aside, this bakery is one more reason to love the Northwest. I hope you get a chance to visit and love it as much as we did.

*By the way, for those allergic to rice, in researching Seattle bakeries I found out that Da Vinci bakery is not only still running but is also transitioning to be rice free.

*PS This was written while on the road in Tel Aviv, Israel, and is the first of many Gluten-free bakery and restaurant posts I’ve got lined up. We’ve been in Seattle, Manhattan, and now are in Israel. Can’t wait to share our latest gluten-free experiences with you! Adopt a Blogger adoption sign-up post should be up or linked around the 15th of this month.

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