Low carb baking and Cheesy Oatcakes

I'm hi-jacking Patrick's blog while he is working so hard. Patrick and I both try to follow a low carb vegetarian diet. While there are plenty forums and recipes for carnivores, there is not a lot of information for vegetarians. And when it comes to low carb baking, well there's even less.

Patrick has a bit of a sweet tooth and I'm not averse to something sweet every now and again so I've been practising low carb baking. My main recipe sources are Rose Elliot's Vegetarian Low-Carb Diet Cookbook - read about it - here, and Colette Heimowitz Atkins cookbook - have a look at it - here.

Colette's book has a section dedicated to low carb vegetarian main dishes but she also includes vegetarian options under the other sections such as snacks, side dishes, soups and stews. She goes into quite a bit of detail explaining low carb baking. I found her book helpful.

Coconut powder, wholewheat flour, soy flour, almond powder and gluten
She uses Atkins baking mix which is immediately a problem as it's almost impossible to buy. It's not freely available in supermarkets in the UK and I definitely can't buy it in South Africa.

I've been playing around with the following flour substitutes: -

Gluten flour on it's own is too sticky. The vegetable gums are great for binding but you need very little. Almond flour and bran used alone don't hold together very well. Soy flour has a distinct flavour which isn't pleasant and coconut and flax powders soak up lots of liquid. The easiest combo is a mix of gluten flour, soy flour, coconut powder and wholewheat flour in a ratio of 25% each.

The next issue in low carb baking is replacing sugar. Agave nectar, molasses and honey are also out due to their high carb yeild. Xylitol loses it's sweetness when exposed to heat so it can't be used for baking. Some of the other sugar substitutes are manufactured by really scary methods. I'm not convinced that aspartame and saccharine are safe. Rose likes stevia and Collette likes sucralose under the Splenda brand name. Stevia does have a slight licorice taste but it is the safest and most natural of all sugar substitutes. The trick is getting the proportions right. Stevia is super sweet and you need to add small amounts of it slowly. You can read about replacing sugar - here.

Colette likes to use spices and flavourings in her recipes to take the edge off the taste of soy flour. She uses spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves. She likes lemon, lime and orange zest and she also uses unsweetened cooking chocolate. Who knew you could eat chocolate on a low carb diet?

Cheesy Oatcakes
Both authors prefer unsalted butter and they use unsweetened soy milk which is lower in carbs than cows milk. I made Colette's Lemon Poppyseed bread and modified her Cardamom Butter Cookie recipe. I replaced the cardamom with cocoa and I used unsweetened chocolate chips. Both those recipes will be on Patrick's blog in the next two weeks. Meanwhile here is the easiest and yummiest recipe ever.

Cheesy Oatcakes
You need a really big block, about 500g, of extra mature cheddar cheese and 500g oat bran. The cheese must come to room temperature and be soft. Grate the cheese and place in a large bowl. Add a pinch or two of dried herbs. Add the oat bran to the bowl and mix the oat bran into the cheese with your fingers.

Take small pieces of the cheese and oat mixture into your hands and roll them into balls. Place the balls on a baking tray covered with baking parchment. Press the balls flat with the palm of your hand. Bake in a 180'C oven for approximately 30 minutes or until light brown.

The recipe page is updated regularly. Visit it - here - to see other low carb, low GI, baking and vegetarian meals.

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