Whether you’re switching to a gluten-free diet by choice or because of a health concern, here are some baking tips to consider to help bake following a gluten free diet.
Celiac disease, wheat allergies and the prevalence of gluten sensitivities are just a few reasons why people are incorporating gluten-free diets into their lives. In today’s society, there is a great deal of buzz surrounding the word gluten, but a lot of people don’t truly understand or know what gluten is.
Gluten is the name for the main proteins found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. For individuals who have a wheat allergy or celiac disease, the body’s immune system has a negative reaction to these proteins, which can cause damage to the intestinal lining and make it difficult to absorb nutrients. By adapting a diet free of gluten, the body can work more efficiently, resulting in less discomfort for the individual.
For many baking is a family tradition. Growing up in the sixties the Betty Crocker Cookie Cookbook was the base for many family fun days as my Mom created holiday treats. And buying pre-packed cookie mixes to bake is just not the same.
But attempting to bake without gluten can be quite the challenge, not to mention just a little bit terrifying. But it doesn’t have to be. Follow these seven pantry essentials to master the art form of gluten-free baking.
Seven baking tips:
- Whole Grain Flours
It’s necessary to have several different flours on hand including brown rice flour, chickpea flour, quinoa flour, teff flour and millet.
Arrowroot flour, Cornstarch, Potato Starch and Tapioca Flour are great thickeners when baking gluten-free. They’re easily digested and great for thickening sauces and puddings.
- Baking Soda and Baking Powder
You’ll need to increase the amount of these leavening agents by 25% when adapting a recipe to one that is gluten-free. Often gluten substitutes do not have the same elasticity as gluten, so many gluten-free foods need extra leavening power.
Xanthan Gum is added to gluten-free baked goods to bind, stabilize, emulsify, thicken or lend structure or suspension to your baked treat. When gluten is removed, the binding agent is removed as well, and xanthan gum is needed to take its place.
- Buckwheat Flakes
These are a wonderful substitute for anyone avoiding oats. Even though “wheat” is concerning, buckwheat has actually no relation to wheat or cereal grain. It’s a fruit seed in the same family as rhubarb or sorrel.
- Ener-G Egg Replacer
This is used to replace eggs when baking for anyone with a food allergy that needs to avoid gluten, as well as dairy. This is also helpful to vegan baking!
- Gluten Free Mixes
Try saving time with some pre-made blends of most baked goods, including everything from pizza crusts to cupcakes.
Bonus Tip: Here is a recipe for creating your own gluten-free flour blend.
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup potato starch
- 1/4 cup white rice flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum (optional- not necessary)
Blend together and store in a secure container in a dry place (I prefer a large mason jar).
This can be tricky because gluten free flours react differently in pretty much every recipe. But in general, use in place of all purpose or whole wheat flour in a 1:1 ratio. For extra binding (since there is no gluten) you can add a pinch of xanthan gum depending on the recipe, but I don’t find it necessary.
We hope these baking tips are helpful, and feel free to share your recipes on our social media oages.