I love all the random surprises Manila throws my way. Sometimes it’s tables full of wooden dishes, home decor that imports to Pottery Barn and sometimes the surprise is local ingredients that are exponentially cheaper here and exist in most grocery store aisles in The Philippines.
My middle son has intense asthma and after years of struggling, too many hospital stays, a whole lot of dollars and a sickening amount of medications we begrudgingly and desperately took gluten out of his diet and his asthma has disappeared. Luckily, a perk of The Philippines is that a gluten free diet is super manageable, especially when you eat like a Filipino. (see photo below)
Everyone once in a while the American sneaks up on him and he asks for donuts or bread. Healthy Options actually carries a great white bread loaf but they are often out of stock (that phrase that makes you cry inside a little) and I wanted to see if I could make something a bit cheaper. This Artisan Bread in 5 recipe is a winner. It ended up costing around 100php a loaf and 3 loaves being made out of the total flour mix. I was excited to find so many of the ingredients are naturally occurring in most grocery stores. I used to buy these random ingredients at way too high a price on Amazon or the local health food stores in Seattle. The white rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch (also known as cassava starch.) I have heard friends say, “Oh they have that here!” And I am thinking, “Really, where?” I want the photo of where exactly I can find it in the store when I am flustered. So, if you are like me here is what the aisle looks like this in SM stores: And packaging looks like this:
For whatever reason I wanted to grind my own white rice flour so I got out the old Kitchen Mill and made a complete mess but alas, my own ground rice flour. Next time I will surely buy it. They have it for 60php per bag at Wonderbake. I have also asked the owners of Wonderbake if they can make a local version of sorghum flour and xantham gum, they sounded hopeful. I am keeping my fingers crossed. Here is the recipe but I recommend visiting their site, Bread In 5, for step by step directions with photographs:
6 1/2 cups (2 pounds 3 ounces / 990 grams) flour mixture #1 from our book, which is reprinted at this link. We tested all our recipes with Bob’s Red Mill unblended flours, not their gluten-free flour mixtures.(White Rice Flour: 6 cups, or 36 ounces, or 1,020 grams; Sorghum flour: 3 1/4 cups, or 1 pound, or 455 grams; Tapioca Flour or Starch same as cassava: 1 3/4 cups, or 8 ounces, or 225 grams; Potato Starch*: 1 1/4 cups, or 8 ounces, or 225 grams; Xanthan Gum or Psyllium Husk Powder: 1/4 cup, or 1.4 ounces, or 40 grams)
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar or honey (we find that the gluten-free dough needs the sugar to brown nicely, although it is optional)
4 egg whites, plus enough warm water to equal 3 3/4 cups (*see picture below) – if you don’t want to use eggs, then just use 3 3/4 cups water.
It’s easy to get discouraged if Manila isn’t producing our specific home ingredients but I love the trade off of finding these unique and specific ingredients in the aisles for a fraction of the price. You will always find what you are looking for. May you seek and may you find them.