Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gluten Free Baking

I've said this before, but it bears repeating:  I do not consider myself to be a good baker (many others would agree) but, I occasionally get lucky.  However, I do feel like I know my gluten free flours and I actually seem to have more success baking G.F.  than I did before I stopped eating gluten.  How is this possible? Not sure.  

Anyway, quite a few of my friends have recently given up gluten for various reasons and have been asking my advice.  
I will give one final caveat:  You can most definitely find all of this information (and more) from actual cooking blogs and/or G.F. cook books.   
Regardless, here's a brief summary of the flours I typically use, and their personalities (as it were).  

I compiled this list originally for a local friend, so any readers who are not local will have to find their own sources.  Some brand names may be available in other places, others may not.  

Brown Rice flour:  I get this in bulk at the Belfast Coop.  A good all around flour, I use this in almost all baking recipes.  

White Buckwheat Flour:  This is actually an herb (according to the packaging) and is grown in Maine.  "Bouchard Farms" is the name, it is in a grey bag in the baking isle at Hannafords, also found at the Coop.  This is light weight and good for muffins and pancakes--it bakes up really soft and crumbly, not great for cookies or pizza crust.  Not to be confused with the dark or "blue stone ground" buckwheat available in bulk at the coop (which is really heavy and dense and best used in very small quantities--I think.  

Tapioca Flour and Potato Starch:  These two seem to be interchangeable.  I usually buy the "Bob's Red Mill" bags of these, I think there are other brands as well.  These are light weight and good for "white flour cooking", anything I want to be light and cakey. 

Sorghum Flour:  "Bob's Red Mill", either Hannaford or Coop, occasionally Reny's or Job Lot's.  This is sweet and grainy.  It lends a wholesome texture to muffins and pancakes.  I use it a lot.

Quinoa Flour:  "Bob's Red Mill"  is what I buy.  This has a strong, savory flavor.  I tend to use if for non-sweet baking, such as corn bread type muffins (I also cannot eat corn, but the two would go well together).  

Xanthum Gum: "Bob's Red Mill"  You only need 1-2 teaspoons of this per recipe, so it lasts forever.  I've been Gluten Free for almost 3 years and have only bought maybe 4 bags of this ever.  Used as a binder.  If you forget it everything crumbles apart.

Almond flour:  you can buy this but it costs a ton.  I typically get bulk almonds from the Coop and grind them myself in a food processor or small coffee grinder.  I store whatever  I don't use in a container in the fridge.   This is like the secret ingredient in G.F. cooking.  It makes everything taste better.  Can also be used to coat fish or chicken for frying.

For a typical baking recipe I substitute approximately (everything I make is approximate) 2 parts Rice flour, 1/3 part tapioca or potato starch, 1/3 part sorghum, 1/3 almond flour.  I keep baking soda or baking powder, and liquids the same.  1-2 tsp. of Xanthum gum added with the dry ingredients.  Once you get to know the other flours you can add them in in small quantities to best appreciate their different tastes and textures.  

So, for typical pancake recipe that calls for 1 1/2 cups flour, I would probably use 1 cup rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, and 1/4 cup of sorghum or light buckwheat flour, plus the xanthum gum.  

For muffins calling for 2 cups flour I would use 1 cup rice, 1/3 cup sorghum, 1/3 c almond, 1/3 c tapioca.  Plus the xanthum gum.  I also like to use a ground flax in my muffins.  

Cookies are tricky, I have a good recipe that has worked well for me on my blog in the entry here . 

Here's the link to the Gluten Free Girl blog that I like.  She is a great baker and has all kinds of good advice.

Aside from baking we also eat plenty of "Nut Thins" Rice Crackers, and rice cakes with almond butter or cream cheese.  The rice wraps at the Coop in the freezer section are good for quesadillas.  We make homemade pizza, typically with the "Bob's" crust mix, or a homemade dough.  The "Joy" brand rice pasta is decent, we also do a lot of green veggies, roasted root vegetables, soups, yogurt and granola, fruit, nuts, eggs, frittatas and some meat.  

I hope this is helpful.  Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. We have been working on going pretty strictly paleo or primal here, but I haven't really ventured into the world of baking. I may have to give some of these a try. All these flours seem pretty costly to me, have you ever looked into buying online in bulk? I wouldn't mind having some coconut and almond flour to use, but I just can't swing the price in the grocery store.


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