Before I had opened them up, I started reading Elizabeth Hasslebeck's book, "The G Free Diet". She even mentioned Pamela in her book. If I remember correctly she mentioned that even her non-gluten free family members get into her Pamela's cookies. I had a good feeling about this chick, Pamela.
When I did finally give into the call of the cookies, they were amazing. So much better than any of the other brands of cookies I had tried up to that point. They were a nice size, more than one or two bites. They had some thickness to them. They had a wonderful texture, so wonderful. As you may have noticed by now, I've got a lot of texture issues that are only enhanced now with trying to adapt to the new texture of gluten free foods. I would buy these cookies even if I did not have to eat gluten free, they are that good.
I made my way to a natural food store a few towns over and was so thrilled to find a ton of gluten free foods and they were at decent prices. Their sale prices were even better. They were aware of Pamela too. They had her flour blends and mixes on sale. I'd seen these also at Whole Foods but hadn't paid too much attention to them because at the time, I was still hesitant about paying the price for these mixes.
However, this was the day I got over it and realized that if I were to ever bake again that I needed to accept the fact that it was going to cost more money. Also, I had to accept the fact that it was very likely that I would fail a lot at the beginning and be wasting some of that money I was spending on these ingredients. I opted for the bread mix and flour blend since I have been missing making bread so very much.
I've had success with the mix. There has been nothing technically wrong with the things I've made with this blend/mix.
I first made the Amazing Bread recipe from the back of the bag. It was easy to put together. I love that you don't have to knead gluten free bread...no gluten to develop! It rose like I couldn't believe. It looked lovely when it came out of the oven. It looked lovely when I sliced it. It tasted great and had a really decent texture. There was something though, I don't know what it is. The more I ate it, the more I wasn't so sure about it. I can't say it was the taste and I can't say it was the texture. It just wasn't as pleasing as I wanted it to be, I guess.
I even have a very not-fancy picture of it:
I can't say that I won't make it again and give it another try. I rather think I'd like to make the Cinnamon Bread variation of it that is also on the back of the bag then cut it in thick slices and make French toast with it. That, I think, is what this may be more suited for. Lots of flavor to go along with it.
I then made the Crispy Buffalo Wings found on the Pamela's website. The website is amazing for recipes. It's broken down really well. You can search by meal, type, product or diet. There are 10 pages of recipes for the bread mix and flour blend! The wings were really good. I tweaked it to use boneless chicken breast tenders and we each picked our own sauce to dip them in once they were done. I actually ate them plain as I thought the flavor of the breading was very good. It was a success but I hate frying so I don't know how soon I'll be making it again. Plus, all that frying does not help that 10 pounds that's stuck to me.
The third and final thing I've made up to this point is the Fococcia recipe from the website. I touched on this a bit in another post but, I had hoped that this bread recipe would be different from the Amazing Bread recipe because it omitted the eggs that the Amazing Bread recipe required. I really couldn't even tell the difference at all between the two. I put some coarse sea salt on it before I baked it and it wasn't bad. It kind of tasted like a soft pretzel....kind of. I still was not thrilled with the bread.
At this point, I wasn't sure how I was feeling about Pamela. I loved her cookies (I also tried the swirled shortbread in the meantime) but was having a love/hate relationship with her flour blend that I had bought.
I had mentioned last week that my husband was having some travel trouble. He was in California. Near where he stays when he goes there is a grocery store called Mother's Market & Kitchen. He tells me I would absolutely love it. I'm sure I would. He asked if I wanted him to look for anything special there when he went this last time. I looked up their ad and saw that they had Pamela's mixes on sale. I looked up the kinds of mixes and blends on the Pamela's website and sent him a list.
I noticed two things on the website that I had not seen around here. One was a Pizza Crust Mix that looks like a new product and the other was a product called Whenever Bars that came in different flavors, one being Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut. I put these on my list hoping they'd have them. Turns out they did and, they totally have made Pamela my new bestest friend.
First off, the bars. So good. Another thing I'd totally eat even if I didn't have to eat gluten free. They are so easy to grab in the morning when I haven't had time to feed myself. There's nothing too special about them but they are soft, chocolate-y, coconut-y, oat-y...it's all stuff I'm a huge fan off and I'll be grateful if they show up on the shelves around here.
Now, and I think, more importantly, the Pizza Crust Mix.
Not only is it another not-fancy picture, it is pizza that turned out really, really well.
I was so nervous to make this. The directions were saying to handle the dough very gently. What if I was a little too un-gentle with it? The pressure. I mixed it all up and set it aside in a warm spot to rise. While the bread mix rose like crazy, this seemed like it hardly rose at all. Was the yeast it came with bad? After 2 hours, I decided to go for it. It did seem to rise some so I figured at least something happened. I divided the dough into two 10 inch pizzas, pre baked as instructed then topped them off and finished baking.
Still very nervous, despite the fact that they looked good, I took my first bite. It was good. Really good! The texture was totally different than that of the bread mix. I suspected that there may be tapioca flour in it based on the Against The Grain copy cat recipe I had made. I checked the ingredients and sure enough, there was some in it. When I got to the end, the crust, I was so happy...it was crunchy! I've not yet experienced crunchy/crusty bread yet unless I've accidentally burnt my bread under the broiler trying to toast it because we still have not gotten a second toaster for me to avoid cross contamination when I want toast. I cannot tell you how happy I am with this pizza crust mix. I did try another brand, I can't even recall the name of it, and it pretty much tasted like a biscuit, not good for pizza. This however, is just lovely.
I checked the list of ingredients in Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend and they are somewhat similar to the Pizza Crust Mix ingredients. This will be my next purchase from Pamela's line. I'm trying to not get my hopes up too high but I am somewhat hopeful that this blend will produce a bread that is a little more pleasing to me. The little I've played with tapioca flour, I've noticed it does seem to produce a gummy result but I'm hopeful that it being balanced with the other flours that are in the Artisan blend that it will work out to make something that will be just right.
I will be sure to post my results when I get it and I might even post a not-fancy picture or two!