Tag Archives: bread

{gluten-free} Cranberry Bread for The Baker Chick’s Virtual Baby Shower!

Audra's Shower

Hooray for babies!

Today some ladies across the internet are showering our friend Audra of the Baker Chick with some sweet loving, as she prepares for the birth of her first child, whom I cannot wait to meet!

Audra and I met first through our Milk Bar Mondays group, and then in person for a Blogher luncheon. Since then we’ve met occasionally to trade stories of baking, acting and nanny-ing in the city, and the absurdities of it all. It was Audra (and Lauren of Keep it Sweet Desserts) who encouraged me to keep blogging even as my health starting slipping and my inspiration for exploring on this site was waning a tad. She’s a genuinely warm and caring person, and I’m so thrilled that we’re celebrating her today!Gluten-Free Cranberry Bread - The Dusty Baker-2 Continue reading

Insanely Healthy Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Insanely yummy, healthy Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Yesterday morning I awoke to Autumn, not Spring, dripping its way down my New York City windows.  It was chilly, much more so than I’d want for a May morning. And though I had very little time to get a bunch of stuff done before yet another commute east for rehearsal, I found myself craving something grainy and warm.

And luckily there’s always time for… muffins!I love making muffins because of how easy and versatile they are.  I obviously wasn’t going to go out to get any ingredients, and I didn’t have an apples or rotting bananas on hand.  So I scoured my pantry and found an old can of sweet potato puree left over from my waffle experimentation.

Voila!  Naturally gluten-free, these muffins are chock full of fiber with flax seed meal, have a little boost of protein with quinoa flour and contain no processed white sugar.  You can also easily make them dairy free (directions below).  They’re moist and dense, but not very sweet.  Because of this you can toast one up for breakfast or serve as a dinner “roll”.  If you need them sweeter, I suggest slathering with some jam or dunking in maple syrup or honey.  Butter is also delightful… mmmmmmm…

Yields 12 insanely delicious muffins


  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax meal (not flax seeds)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot or potato starch
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 4 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, soy or cow’s milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup


  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line 12 muffin tins with liners or spray with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
  • In a smaller bowl, mix eggs, sweet potato puree, maple syrup, butter and milk thoroughly until smooth.
  • Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated and a bit lumpy.
  • Fill evenly into tins and smooth with a spoon.
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes or until slightly browned on top.

Yields 12 muffins.

For nutritional info please go to this recipe on CookEatShare.

Yummy, moist and slightly sweet Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Recipe is loosely based on one by Michelle at TasteAsYouGo.  Please support her blog!

Gluten-Free Portuguese Easter Bread (Masa Sovada)

Spongy, chewey, eggy delicious gluten-free Portuguese Easter Bread (Masa Sovada)

I miss my grandmother, my Avo, very much right now.  Today is Good Friday, and though I am not personally religious I grew up in a very Catholic family, with Easter being sacred.  And because I love and respect my family and this faith that led me to mine, I still feel strongly connected to this holiday.

Masa Sovada – Portuguese sweet bread – is always made in my family for Easter.  For as long as I can remember my mother starts on Holy Saturday, mixing dough and shaping loaves, and by the time we go to bed the house is filled with sweetness.  We then dig into the bread for breakfast, cracking the hard-boiled eggs baked inside.  That is, I enjoyed the bread until I developed an allergy to milk and gluten.  After that Easter morning meant either indulging and feeling very sick or abstaining and being jealous – neither a fun feeling on such a spiritually cleansing day!

Masa Sovada

Mom learned from her mother-in-law, my Portuguese father’s mother.  And though Avo didn’t teach me this recipe, I inherited several family recipes, skills and techniques from her through my mother and my Tia Vidalia.  I bake so much, so often.  But it’s when I’m baking these rare, sweet, simple family recipes that I feel that much more connected to my food, and to home.

Last night I began my second go at making this traditional Portuguese Easter Masa bread both gluten-free and with almond milk instead of cow’s milk.  Similar to the first batch I worried at the proportions, at the specific mix of flours, and if the yeast would rise.  But this batch came out even better than the last!  I mixed, kneaded, set the bowl on my radiator wrapped in towels and, less than two hours later, pulled out a beautiful mound of squishy dough.  I turned this dough out on my pastry board and kneaded it into loaves, marveling at the silkiness and elasticity.  This morning I awoke to the scent of lemon, almond, flour and yeast, and felt my grandmother with me.  This bread she’s made dozens and dozens of times.  Recipes she knew by touch and feel, not by book or blog.

I miss her so much.

Avo passed away in August.  And though we never shared a common language, and while I’ll always regret not spending more time with her in the kitchen when her mind and body were with her, I will always think of her when I bake during Easter, sitting at my table with a cup of tea, as my gluten-free masa sovada bakes and fills my NYC apartment with home.

This recipe is for her.  I am so lucky to have it.

Both light and dense, sweet and mild

Gluten-Free Portuguese Easter Bread (Masa Sovada)

Click here for my second go -they’re both delicious. The second batch was slightly less dense.


  • 16 Tablespoons / 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened milk – I used almond, but cow’s or soy will work too
  • 10 cups of gluten-free flour with xanthan gum (I used a combination that made me ten cups: 2 cups sweet white rice flour, 3 cups brown rice flour, 1 1/2 cup quinoa flour, 2 cups arrowroot starch, 1 cup millet flour, 1 cup tapioca flour, 4 tsp xanthan gum)
  • 3 packets active dry yeast
  • About 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 6 eggs at room temperature or slightly warmed
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 Tbsp whiskey (distilled liquor does not contain gluten, but omit if you’re cautious).
  • The zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Extra butter or egg, for brushing on the loaves before baking


  • Make sure your flours are thoroughly blended, either with a whisk or sifter.
  • In a saucepan, start to melt your butter.  Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave until at room temperature or warmer.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water thoroughly with a fork, until all clumps are gone.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer with the bread hook attachment, whip eggs until creamy.
  • Add sugar and whip at medium speed until very creamy, about 3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make sure butter is melted and slowly whisk in milk.  Turn off heat and but keep warm.
  • When the sugar/butter is creamy, add lemon zest, lemon and almond extracts, salt and whiskey and mix to combine.
  • Add 1o cups of flour and the butter mixture.  Mix SLOWLY until just incorporated.
  • SLOWLY add in yeast mixture (mine splattered everywhere! Oh no!).  Mix on low until incorporated, then increase speed slowly, eventually up to medium, until completely combined.
  • Mix until the dough becomes smooth and pulls together.  My visual is when the dough has “crawled” its way up the bread hook as much as possible, pulling together in a weird, tornado-looking thing.
  • Remove to a pastry board lightly floured withe some remaining bread flour and knead a few times until smooth.  Unlike gluten-full bread, gluten-free bread doesn’t need much kneading because there’s no gluten to develop! So just knead until the dough is smooth and silky.
  • Spray a large mixing bowl with non-stick spray / cover in a small amount of olive oil.  Move dough to bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and then wrap completely in a clean, large bath towel.
  • Let sit for about 1 1/2 hours or until almost double in size.  Because my radiator (for some reason!) was on, I wrapped the bowl in two towels and sat it right on top!  A nod to my grandmother and living in Queens with such radiators way back in the day.  Another option is to slightly heat an oven, then turn it off, wrap the bowl and set it in.  Or put it in the sun!  Any way, get it to a warm spot.
  • When almost doubled in size, punch down the dough to release air.  Return to pastry board and divide in half.  Knead dough a few times to pull together, and shape into loaves.  This time I shaped one half of the dough into two loaves, and the other half into four, for a total of two large and four small loaves.  But break this up however you like.  Just make sure you knead each loaf until smooth.
  • Place on thick cookie sheets and once again wrap in towels.  Let sit for about six hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Brush tops of loaves with melted butter or egg whites (I use both! First butter, then egg whites)
  • Bake large loaves for about 50 minutes, smaller loaves for about 38.  They’re ready when just springy to the touch.
  • Serve warm with butter or let cool and eat with coffee, brunch foods or… oh my goodness, this bread is so good, just EAT IT!

Happy Easter!

My Avo, Armanda Oliveira Raposo


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