Bake, if you dare
Gluten-free baking is not for those that get easily discouraged. I’m surprised I have stuck it out this far, quite frankly. After several failed attempts, I have come to view GF baking as a teetering cheerleader pyramid, whose success I imagine depends on the teamwork of many and a solid, strong base.
In my mind, the components of a successful gluten-free baking recipe are much the same. If you want to bake gluten-free goodies from scratch, you’ll need multiple gluten-free flours and starches in order to replace a simple regular all-purpose flour. I find this incredibly annoying. But, without a solid gluten-free flour as your base, your recipe will topple and end up in the trash, due to less-than-appetizing taste and texture.
Can’t I just use a box?
There are several gluten-free all-purpose box mixes out there, and I encourage you to try them. But we haven’t found many that we like better than the Celiac Flour Mix recipe published on Karen Robertson’s blog, Cooking Gluten-Free! For you box-lovers, this very flour mixture is now being sold through Authentic Foods as Multi Blend Gluten Free Flour Mix.
Celiac Flour Mix
*Originally from Wendy Wark’s book Living Healthy with Celiac Disease (AnAffect, 1998).
2 1/4 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2/3 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
As cumbersome as it is to use so many flours, once you have your solid base recipe, everything becomes much simpler. You know which flours to buy and which you can skip.
To make my life easier, I just dump each flour into a ziplock bag, shake it up, and I’m done. I always date it, but it never stays around long enough for me to worry about it going bad. If you don’t bake often, store your flour mixture in the refrigerator or freezer to help it keep longer.
I have tried replacing sweet rice flour with sweet sorghum flour. It’s ok in a pinch, but the taste of the sweet rice flour is definitely preferred in our home.
- Other variations are also possible.
Adding ground flax meal gives the flour a nice nutty taste and amps up the nutritional value with omega 3s and fiber.
- Or try adding whey protein powder to recipes for gluten-free granola or power bars.
- Coconut flour is also high in fiber and protein and has a smooth sweet taste.
There are many other flours out there that could be added to the base recipe above. These are just the ones I’ve tried so far.
But what if I make something gross?
We’ve all done it. Actually, I did it today, in an attempt to make gluten-free gnocchi from leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. It ended up in the trashcan, after our girls were nice enough to comment on how good the butter sauce was. LOL.
Gluten-free flour is expensive and can be hard to find, so you might be reluctant to experiment with new recipes or variations. If you are trying something new, try a half-batch of the recipe first. That way, if it turns out like a hockey puck (or a nasty dense gnocchi nugget), you’re only out half the cost.
And I will try GF gnocchi again…
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