Gluten free baking is becoming more main stream as an increased number of people are discovering the health benefits of such a diet. Going gluten free takes a little getting used to, as many bakers are so accustomed to the results of gluten based ingredients. Here are some great tips to ensure that your gluten free baking efforts will produce some wonderful and delicious results.
What Does Gluten Bring To The Table?
In order to successfully bake gluten free, it’s important to understand what gluten does for traditionally baked goods. Here’s the effect gluten has on baked items.
Gluten Free Baking
So now that we know what gluten does, how do we go gluten free, but still create irresistible baked goods?
A Thousand Mile Journey Starts With The First Step
Doing anything new can be a frustrating experience. Even if you are a more experienced baker, going gluten free can be a whole new ball game. As you start out on the gluten free journey, don’t try and be the next great chef right out of the gate. Start simple by creating rather fool proof items like cookies, brownies or even pancakes. These kinds of recipes come together easily and there is not much room for error. By starting out small, you can easily discover what to try next time in order to improve the outcome of your gluten free products.
Gluten Free Flour Blend
Over the years, bakers have discovered that using a single kind of gluten free flour will lead to dry, crumbly products. Experience has taught that a blended, gluten free, flour formula will provide much better results. Many people have had success by mixing different, high protein, whole grain flours together. There are a number of very good, gluten free, all- purpose flour blends on the market today available for purchase.
Check out this blog to learn more about gluten free flour substitutes.
Up The Leavening Agents
If you are transforming a traditional recipe to gluten free, one really good tip is to increase the amount of baking powder/baking soda by 25%. Want the easy math on that? Take the amount the recipe calls for and multiply it by 1.25. Leavening agents (also referred to as raising agents) produce a foaming action in doughs/batters that result in a lighter and softer texture. By adding more leavening product, you are helping to replace the baking characteristics of gluten-infused flour. Don’t forget to ensure that the baking powder/soda being used is gluten free as well.
One of the common results of gluten free baking is a lack of moisture in the finished goods. Staring with moisture rich recipes can go a long way in compensating for whatever moisture is lost in the gluten free process. Cakes and breads such as carrot, coconut, pumpkin, banana or zucchini tend to be moister than other choices, so these are good ones to experiment with as you begin to go gluten free.
Don’t Trust The Toothpick
Traditional techniques to confirm whether a baked good is completely done doesn’t work well with gluten free products. For example, putting the proverbial toothpick into a cake isn’t always reliable, nor is pressing on the cake’s top. Fully cooked gluten free products are often wet inside, appear underdone or feel spongy to the touch. Only when these goods start to cool off can the starches do their job and begin the firming up process. Paying more attention to baking time rather than traditional methods of “doneness” will often serve you better when producing gluten free products.
Gluten free baking can be very satisfying, but does take patience and some creativity. Once you have travelled down the gluten free road for a while, you will start to quickly learn what works and which techniques to avoid. After some trial and error, you will soon master the process and start to produce some really delicious baking products for all to enjoy. Ready, set, go gluten free!