Ever heard the saying: “Necessity is the mother of invention”?
Well for this week’s featured baker, the above is most certainly true. In her case, however, necessity was the mother of a gluten-free and mostly vegan bakery venture in eclectic Woodstock, Cape Town.
10 years ago, Stephanie Donachie discovered that she was gluten and dairy intolerant. As a child, Stephanie led the way in the kitchen cooking up delightful meals, and more specifically delicious baked treats for her family. So it was a natural progression for Stephanie to set about the task of learning to cook and bake from scratch in her new gluten-free world.
For years Stephanie fed her passion for food development and recipe adaptation by creating tempting eats that were safe to eat for those who are gluten intolerant.
Then 2020 struck and like most people, Stephanie’s found herself retrenched and job hunting amid lockdown. Enter the mother of invention! 2020 gave Stephanie the courage to pursue her true passion and in June 2020, she started her own gluten-free and mostly vegan bakery, The Nibbling Rhino. A bakery with a cause.
Here’s what Stephanie had to say about her business.
“I ensure that my kitchen is 100% gluten-free and go to great lengths to ensure my suppliers can guarantee no cross-contamination. Most of my products are also vegan. My goal is to create delicious, affordable food that anyone can enjoy (whether or not they have food intolerances like me).”
A bonus is that all Stephanie’s packaging is eco-friendly, biodegradable, and reusable.
But what is even more exciting is that Stephanie plans to partner with an Elephant Park to ensure that the proceeds of her rhino-themed products contribute towards Rhino Conservation.
We absolutely love a business with a cause! So watch this space!
65g gluten-free flour blend (I use a blend of brown rice flour, white rice flour, cornstarch, potato starch and tapioca starch)
1 tsp xanthum gum
50g butter (or dairy free alternative)
2-3 large eggs (total weight of yolks and whites should equal 120g)
- Mix flour, xanthum gum and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over a low heat.
- Add water to melted butter and bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and immediately beat the flour mixture into the water and butter, continue beating until it forms a ball and is smooth.
- Allow to cool until it is cool enough to touch.
- Preheat oven to 220C and line two baking trays with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- Beat eggs in a small jug for easy pouring.
- Gradually beat eggs into cooled mixture making sure to completely incorporate each addition of egg.
- Transfer to a piping bag with a 1-1.5cm nozzle or cut a bag to size.
- Pipe into sausage shapes about 10-12cm long on baking tray making sure to keep the piping nozzle touching the tray as you go.
- Bake for 20min at 220C and do not open the door.
- After 20min reduce oven temperature to 150C and open the door briefly to allow some heat to escape.
- Bake for another 8-10min until the pastry is golden brown, hollow and crisp on the outside.
- Remove from the oven and poke a small hole on either end of each one to allow the steam to escape. Allow to cool completely on the trays.
250ml Cream (or vegan alternative like Orley Whip or coconut cream)
1 tsp Icing Sugar
- Beat cream and sugar until the cream is stiff enough to pipe.
- Place into a piping bag with a 5mm round nozzle.
- Placing the nozzle into the holes made earlier in the cooled eclairs, fill with cream.
100g coconut cream
120g dark vegan chocolate
- Chop up and weigh chocolate into a heatproof jug or bowl.
- Heat coconut cream gently over a low heat until it just starts to bubble.
- Remove cream from heat and pour over chocolate.
- Allow to sit for several minutes before mixing until smooth.
- Cool until it is the right consistency to dip the eclairs without dripping off.
- Dip the tops of the filled eclairs into the ganache and leave to set. Eclairs will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge or can be frozen in an airtight container once the ganache is set for up to 3 months.