Many of the readers of this blog are living the gluten free lifestyle. If you are just starting on this journey you may enjoy this article dedicated to helping you substitute gluten free flour into your regular baking routine. Many delicious gluten free treats can be devoured at tea time. So get creative! Send me your recipes and I would be happy to post and share them with our readers.
How to Substitute With Gluten Free Flours When Baking
By Gloria Freedman
So you are on a gluten free diet and think you can never enjoy baking again? Not true! I have been baking since I was a little girl and was devastated when both of my daughters were diagnosed with Celiac Disease and had to go on gluten free (GF) diets. I thought I would have to give up my passion for baking for my family, but I was wrong! After experimenting and trying different recipes and methods, I now know it’s not that hard after all. Here are the simple basics:
First of all, look up a list of all the flours that are gluten free and get familiar with the properties of each. This way you will know what qualities each kind may bring to your recipe, good or bad. (i.e. brown rice flour has good nutrition, but can make the texture grainy if you use too much).
Next, look up ideas for gluten free flour blends. I found MANY over the years, just by reading recipes online and in cook books. There are literally 100’s of different combinations. I have found that if you try a few and find one that works – just stick with it. The main idea is that you need to use several different GF flours together because they all bring a different element to your baking and the result is a product that is similar to one made with standard wheat flour. My mix includes equal parts rice flour, tapioca flour and corn starch with a bit of potato flour. I mix up a big batch and keep it in a big air tight container labeled “Gluten Free Flour Blend”. I use my GF flour blend cup for cup to thicken gravies, make a rue, bread chicken or fish, etc., but when it comes to baking you cannot just substitute your GF flour blend cup for cup for regular flour. There are two things I always do:
First, for about 2/3 of the amount of flour that is called for in the recipe, I use my chosen gluten free flour blend. The remaining 1/3 of flour called for I use either sorghum flour (in cookies) or millet flour (in breads, cakes and muffins). Both of these flours improve the texture of the end product and make it more like its gluten containing counterpart. Experiment to see if you like the flavor and texture they add and adjust accordingly.
Second, I always add xanthan gum (about 1 teaspoon for most recipes). Xanthan gum replaces the gluten and helps hold your baked goods together. Without it, your gluten free product will be crumbly and fall apart. If you find the texture is too ‘elastic’ and not crumbly enough, cut back a little on the xanthan gum the next time around.
You will learn more with time and experience, but with these few basic tips, you will be on your way to delicious and successful gluten free baking!