The Basics Of Gluten Free Living: Baking Tips
When I first learned that I had to eat gluten free (over 5 years ago), I was a bit overwhelmed. I’m someone who likes to bake and cook, and I had no idea where to start or restart. What flours do I use? Marinades? Dressings? Etc??? Thankfully a lot has changed over the past 5 years and there are a lot more gluten free baking/cooking options.
Today I wanted to chat briefly about gluten free baking basics. What flours are gluten free and what GF flour mixes work well. It actually took me a while to figure this one out. There was lot of trial and error and researching. I also found great blogs (like Sarena) that have been doing this for years and know what gluten free flours work well and where.
Okay, let’s start with these four flours and save the rest for another post. Deal?
Tapioca flour – Tapioca flour comes from the root of a cassava plant. Same thing as tapioca pearls, like you would use for a pudding, but tapioca flour is when the pearls are grounded into a flour texture.
- Tapioca flour/starch adds structure to gluten free baking. It also helps give things a an even chewiness, which we often lack in gluten free foods. It’s great for baking things like cookies and cakes.
Amaranth flour – A high protein gluten-free grain- even more protein than wheat. One cup of raw amaranth contains 28.1 grams of protein.
- Amaranth absorbs water quite easily, which makes it a great emulsifier. But it can make your gluten free baking very dense if you don’t use it with other gluten free flours/starches. I like to use amaranth in savory dishes like pizza dough or some other kind of thick crust.
Sorghum Flour– sorghum is the probably the easiest gluten free flour to work with. Great substitute for wheat flour in baking or pancakes. It improves the texture for sure and is light in taste. It works best when combined with other gluten free flours, such as rice flour and tapioca flour.
Potato Starch –Potato starch acts like a thickening agent. Great to add to stews, soups, sauces, etc. It also can help add more moisture to your baking mixes.
Note: Also check the labels on the starches, just in case they’ve added any other agents that are not GF.
Not into making your own GF mixes? Check out all the certified gluten free mixes that you can buy pre-packaged here. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried them all.
Okay, and now for a recipe, which of course includes a gluten free flour, and is perfect for SPRING!
adapted from my favorite dessert book)
¼ cup (½ stick) melted unsalted butter (earth balance works too)
1 ½ plain yogurt (2% or full fat Greek Yogurt work well)
1 ¼ cup sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
3 large eggs
¼- cup gluten free flour (Sorghum or a multi purpose flour blend would work here)
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon lemon extract
1. Preheat oven to 330F. Grease 1 quart casserole dish, set aside.
2. Using a grater, grate the zest of one lemon. In a food processor, mix melted butter and lemon zest until combined.
3. Squeeze the juice from the 3 lemons and strain into the butter mixture. Add your yogurt, flour, sugar, extracts, and process on low for 3 minutes or so.
4. Pour the batter into the casserole dish and bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden around the edges and it springs back when touched. Let it cool slightly.
5. Best served sprinkled with powdered sugar and fresh cream and berries and on top.
NOTES: I actually baked it at 330F for 50 minutes, then another 15 minutes at 350F.
Do you have any go to Gluten Free Flour Mixes?
Cheers to GF baking!