Question: There are a number of fruit pectins now on the market--some that must be used with sugar and others that can be used with less or no sugar. I don't understand the difference.
Answer: A pamphlet from MCP Foods, which manufacturers Slim Set Fruit Pectin, explains: "There are two types of pectin. High-methoxyl pectin requires both sugar and acid to gel. Low-methoxyl pectin, such as Slim Set, requires no sugar or acid to gel."
The latter reacts with calcium, among other ingredients, to form a gel. The pamphlet goes on to say, "As a result, Slim Set jams and jellies will gel properly without the mandatory 55% sugar and/or corn syrup by weight found in traditional jams and jellies. With Slim Set, any type of natural or artificial sweetener may be used."
Both the regular and light fruit pectins on the market are examples of high-methoxyl pectins and need both sugar and acid to gel. Some formulations include sugar and acid.
Q: For some time I have been trying to find a recipe for Rice Bread. I have looked at cookbooks in the library to no avail. I have quite a few pounds of rice flour. What shall I do? Could you possibly give me a recipe?
A: The following recipe is from "The Complete Book of Breads" (Simon and Schuster, 1973) by Bernard Clayton Jr.
3 cups rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
2 cups water
1 egg, at room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon melted butter or shortening
Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in mixing bowl. Dissolve milk in water in another bowl. Add egg and 1/3 cup melted butter. Gradually add liquid ingredients to dry mixture, stirring gently. Do not overmix.
Pour batter into greased 8 1/2x4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Brush top with remaining 1 teaspoon melted butter. Allow to rest 5 minutes.
Cover loaf pan loosely with foil that has been pierced 2 to 3 places to allow moisture to escape. Bake at 375 degrees 30 minutes. Remove foil, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking about 45 minutes more or until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove bread from oven. Bread is fragile when hot, so carefully remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Serve warm. Makes 1 loaf.
Note: This bread should always be served warm. Slice quantity needed for meal and warm in toaster or oven. Store in plastic bag.
In response to the July 7 You Asked About . . . column on reviving limp celery, P. Logan suggests placing the celery in a plastic bag that has been rinsed with water and returning it to the refrigerator. It takes only a small amount of water and some time, but it always works.