Ten Gluten-Free Baking Tips

Gluten Free Baking Tips

October 20, was the 15th anniversary of Gus’s diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes. 15 years ago today the results of blood tests confirmed his endocrinologist’s suspicion that he also had Celiac Disease. We have advice to share having been on the gluten-free baking path ever since. Some is noted in our recipes, but lists are nice and concise.

1.  One learns a lot from mistakes; don’t be afraid to experiment.

2.  Pamela’s Baking Mix makes great “training wheels” for those new to GF Baking. You’ll enjoy consistently good results, helping build the confidence to go “scratch.”

3.  Finely ground GF flours work best. The texture of rice flour has improved over the last decade, but be aware that some are still not milled finely enough to avoid grittiness in baked goods. Shop around; shop on-line.

4.  GF flours with higher protein content add body and strength (quiona, sorghum, oat, millet…), but are best used in tandem with starchier flours.

5.  Fat is an excellent preservative for baked goods which go stale sooner than their conventional counterparts, so don’t be afraid of butter and oils. They are your friends with respect to GF baking. (And the tide seems to be turning with respect to the healthiness of butter. Doesn’t mean it’s not going to go out again, but….)

6.  Oil helps promote a tender GF cake “crumb.” We often use it instead of butter.

7.  Baking cookies and scones using a sheet covered with parchment paper helps distribute the heat for more even baking. Be informed about your parchment paper choices.

8.  Ingredients at room temperature, and so batter at room temperature, helps insure the center of GF cakes will be fully cooked when the edges and tops are set.

9.  Xantham Gum helps provide a sense of (elasticity) that comes from the gluten molecule absent in GF baked products. If using, it’s helpful to let batter rest for a few minutes before baking so that the xantham has a chance to (cure).

10.  Bean flours (garbanzo, fava…) are rich in protein, but have a strong earthy flavor that doesn’t always work well with the flavor profiles of baked GF sweets. I’ve never had a tasty garbanzo bean flour cupcake. Ever.

To be continued…


13 thoughts on “Ten Gluten-Free Baking Tips

  1. Good article, but I use a lot of chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour in my baking recipes mixed with starchier flour without a strong flavour like potato starch flour. As far as sweeter baked products go I do tend to use other foods like dried fruit, nuts, grated fruit and veg, almond and vanilla extract and find that works well. I actually sell my almond and sultana cake and gluten free rolls at craft fayres that I co-organise and the same people come back for more at each event. It must come down to individual tastes. 🙂 I personally hate the taste of soya and buckwheat flour in any baking.

  2. Thanks for the baking tips Gus. I always appreciate hearing other ideas and methods for cooking and baking, and I always learn something new. I did not know for instance, that using baking parchment encourages a more even heat distribution with biscuits.

  3. Wonderful tips! If I may add one of my own, some people react badly to xanthum gum. If you’re baking for one of these people (or are one of them!), 3 tsps of ground flaxseed can replace 1 tsp of xanthum gum. It does change the appearance of the finished bake, and isn’t quite as elastic, but it works surprisingly well.

    I use this for all my pastry and bread making, and as flaxseeds are so darn healthy it improves the overall nutritional content too! Not a necessity for everyone, but a good tip to know!

  4. Great list! I totally agree about using mixes (we loved Pamela’s pancake mix early on) in the beginning. There is no shame in NOT making stuff from scratch, especially when just getting started…and even when you’re not 🙂

  5. Great tips! And I completely agree about the garbanzo bean flour! That’s why I use my own flour blend instead of some of the pre-made ones as I find garbanzo bean flour is often an ingredient in them.

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