Before I found out that I had CD, I really enjoyed baking. I always made stuff from “scratch”. Baking gluten free is not as easy as just replacing GF flour for wheat flour. So, I did buy the prepared mixes. There are several brands out there. I like Pamela’s brand the best so far. But, purchasing these prepared mixes can be a bit costly. Also, baking with these mixes takes away my own personality to what I’m baking.
Although baking without the typical all purpose flour can be intimidating, there are many GF flours that can be used. But, then, that sounds more intimidating. It’s all about preferred taste and texture. You can mix flours in a baking recipe. You can come up with your own baking mix with a couple combinations. I don’t mind experimenting…I’m fortunate that I have a household of great taste testers. The worst they can say is they don’t like it, so you can either toss it in the garbage or feed it to the dog. Even though it didn’t win approval, there is always something to learn from those failed experiments.
Here are some rules of thumb:
1) Always use Xanthum Gum!!!! The gluten found in wheat flour allows for binding. When using GF flours, this component is missing. Xanthum Gum is necessary whenever you are baking. Take note though: When you are using Xanthum Gum, make sure you are on a dry surface. Xanthum Gum and moisture creates a very difficult cleaning situation.
2) Be careful with using rice flour. I wouldn’t recommend baking cookies or cupcakes with just rice flour. Rice flour tends to crumble and create a dense texture.
3) Tapioca flours and Almond flours provide a slight natural sweetness. They go great with muffins, cakes, and cobblers. However, I recommend combining these flours with bean or sorghum flours.
4) Don’t be afraid to substitute flours. It’s all about your preferred taste and texture. Familiarize yourself with the various flours used in the prepared mixes and foods and take a mental note of some common flours used in those that you like.
This past weekend I baked Orange Coconut Muffins. I had a basic recipe but did my own touches. The recipe called for sorghum flour, amaranth flour, and tapioca starch. I didn’t have any of these items. So, instead, I used equivalent amounts of GF all-purpose flour (rice flour base with potato starch), Garbanzo bean flour, and almond flour. It was a winner. I’ll post this recipe in a little bit.