Hello there, today we are going back to basics and focusing on gluten free baking 101. Now, this might seem blinking obvious, but to successfully bake gluten free it’s important that you start with gluten free flour. And not just any gluten free flour, but a quality product that will be a versatile gluten free flour that can successfully meet the majority of your baking needs. Grab a coffee and settle in, as at the end I will be sharing some secret tips from my own kitchen and some fail safe gluten free baking recipes.
Gluten free Baking 101 – Let’s talk Flours
Not all gluten free flours are created equal. All our mixes use my very own blend of gluten free Self Raising Flour which I developed over 16 years ago. This blend gives great results time after time. It’s smooth and silky as opposed to others that have a gritty/cornflour feel. When you are creating food from scratch then this mix can be used in all your favourite recipes and will give you creamy soups, smooth gravies and sauces, a fine texture in biscuits, cakes, muffins and slices, and even a superior dough texture. In fact, your family, customers or clients won’t even suspect your cooking is gluten free. That’s how good Melinda’s Gluten Free Self Raising Flour is. I stand behind it 100%.
This vegan safe self raising flour has the raising agents already added to it, and are of course, gluten free rasing agents. When adding baking powder to recipes you do need to be mindful and check the ingredients list as some rasing agents contain gluten. This of course means the whole dish will no longer be gluten free. But no fear of that here, as we have already sourced the best possible raising agents. You may choose to add some Xanthan Gum to some recipes if you find our flour a little dry and crumbly. We like to keep our chemicals and additives low and don’t feel it’s necessary for most recipes so we don’t include it in the blend.
Gluten Free Baking 101 – Starches and Proteins
What makes our gluten free flour special is the ratio of starches to proteins. We use three different kinds of flour blended together to give the most ‘gluten like’ results without the negative side effects associated with eating gluten. Clever right. This means we have sorted the starches so they are in the right amount to thicken, add bulk and texture, but not too much so. No one wants a thick, gluggy mess. No thanks.
We also make sure the flours we use in our blend don’t have a strong flavour. Some flours do, like those made from fava beans. That’s why we stick with rice and soy flours. This means your baking will taste like it should and the flavour will be from your add in ingredients, not from the flour.
We use a blend of flours to ensure that your baked goods hold together the way you would expect. When using a single source gluten free flour the risk is your baking might be crumbly or not rise as you would like it to. Rice flour, used alone, is a good example of this. Its gritty texture means that the crumbs are larger and don’t bond as well as a mix of gluten free flours would.
Flours not to use in Gluten Free Baking
When choosing your gluten free flour be mindful that these flours all contain gluten. It’s not just wheat flour that you want to avoid when going gluten free. You should be sure to avoid:
- All-purpose flour
- Plain flour
- Bulgar flour
- Sauce flour
- Bread flour
- Self-rising flour
- Brown flour
- Semolina flour
- Cake flour
- Spelt flour
- Durum flour
- Triticale flour
- Granary flour
- Wheaten cornflour
- Graham flour
- Wholemeal flour
- Kamut flour
Top Tips for Next Level Gluten Free Baking
Gluten free baking can take a little bit of trial and error to get the best result, but with our gluten free self raising mix, we aim to take some of the guess work out of it for you.
Now, as promised, there are a few tips and tricks I’d like to share with you to keep you on a happy gluten free baking pathway. Here are my top tips for successful gluten free baking.
When I want to add volume and structure I look towards one of the gums or psyllium husk. The most common are xanthan gum and guar gum. I use xanthan gum over guar gum when I want extra volume or something thickened. I use psyllium husks when making bread or pizza bases.
You might consider adding a tablespoon of vanilla or unflavoured protein powder to your sweet baking as a sneaky way to up the protein count. You can also add an extra egg.
Sometimes gluten free flours, like coconut flour, can really grab and hold the moisture from your baking. Adding an extra egg white is something I do if the mixture is too dry. This is a double win as it adds more protein too.
Buttermilk verses Milk
When you have a recipe that calls for milk consider swapping out for buttermilk for a better result. You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of full-fat milk. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes. Adding vanilla essence is a good thought too. Add half to one teaspoon, if the recipe does not already call for it. This tones down the flour flavours and gives a vanilla ‘sweetness’ without adding more sugar.
Bake in smaller sizes
As holding shape and structure can be an issue in gluten free baking, try baking smaller cookies or individual cakes for a better result. Mini muffins, for example, can be a better option than giant Texas muffins. Baking in smaller batches is also a good idea, as is freezing your baked cookies and cakes. Sometimes freezing can improve the stability of the baked item. Just use sheets of baking paper between the layers of cookies so they don’t freeze in one lump.
Easy Gluten Free Recipes to Get You Started
Now to get you on your way I suggest trying my gluten free Banana Bread as this is an easy one for beginners to have success with as the mashed bananas make up volume, contain moisture and aid the stability of the loaf. Then try these gluten free muffins with a secret ingredient that makes them extra yummo. Then it’s onto an old fashioned treat with a twist, custard biscuits with white chocolate. Just be sure to use gluten free custard powder.
Well, that’s all from me for now. See you next time as we continue to explore the world of gluten free everything.