As someone who used to bake all the time before being diagnosed with celiac, I can attest to how daunting it is to attempt gluten-free baking.
I was confused about which flours to use for what foods, how much to add, and when to add xanthan gum, let alone figure out what it was! Gluten-free baking is tricky, and just a couple of failed attempts can be enough to scare you away for good.
But relax… we have compiled a list of handy tips and tricks and a recipe for you to make your own gluten-free baking flour!
When it comes to baking gluten-free, a simple 1 to 1 flour substitution will not yield the same results as baking with wheat flour does. If you have baked both gluten-free and with “regular” ingredients, you know this well.
In this post, we’ll walk you through exactly how to approach this conundrum.
To create a gluten-free replacement of a standard recipe you love, you’ll need a flour, a starch, and possibly some extra egg whites and some xanthan gum to give it the viscosity that regular flours provide. You’ll also want to weigh the flour and measure by weight as opposed to by cups or tablespoons. A while back we gave you a rundown on the most common gluten-free flours and starches, and what dishes they are best for.
The good news is that once you get the hang of gluten-free baking, it can be even more fun than baking with wheat flour. I’ve found this because there are so many flour options, there are different flours that suit different dishes, making quiches, breads, pancakes, and cookies actually taste unique and even better than when made with the same flour.
Gluten-Free Baking Tips
- Recipes requiring pureed fruits or yogurt are your friend! These products are going to help your baked goods stay moist, something that gluten-free baked goods struggle with. Any recipes requiring bananas, applesauce, sour cream, yogurt, or any pureed fruits or veggies will be great with gluten-free flour.
- Use Add-ons! A ½ cup of chocolate chips, shredded coconut, raisins or fresh fruit goes a long way to give a flavor boost to your baked goods. When I add chocolate chips and walnuts to my gluten-free muffins my husband can’t even tell they are gluten-free!
- Use flavor boosters! A big issue with gluten-free baked goods is that they have an unfamiliar taste that takes some getting used to. Good flavor boosters are 2 teaspoons of honey, extra vanilla, agave nectar, or spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Freeze. There is a good reason that most gluten-free baked goods are in the freezer section. Freezing will improve their texture and stop them from hardening up.
- Bake at room temperature. Unless you are making pie crust (when I would recommend using chilled ingredients), make sure your ingredients are at room temperature for optimal results.
- There is nothing wrong with failure! You will fail. Gluten-free baking is a science, and it takes some learning and tweaking to get it right. There is no substitute for practice (and more practice). The good news is, the majority of baked goods are still tasty even if they fall apart on the plate. You can also throw failed recipes into the food processor and save the crumbs for future recipes!
Basic Gluten-Free Baking Flour
Gluten-free flour mixes are great. They can be purchased specifically for certain kinds of baked goods, and they usually stand up well. But let’s be honest: they cost a pretty penny. You’ll usually pay twice the price than you do for regular wheat flour and get half the flour. Learning how to mix your own flour allows you to both save money and switch it up depending on what you are making.
Here is one recipe we love from Gluten-Free Goddess:
- 1 cup sorghum or millet flour
- 1 cup potato starch or other starch blend (not potato flour!)
- ⅓ to ½ cup almond meal or hazelnut meal
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
Make sure to mix your flour combination separately before adding it to your baking recipe! Try substituting ⅓ – ½ cup buckwheat or quinoa flour for savory recipes, or coconut flour for a recipe you want a bit sweeter.
Also, check out this gluten-free baking cheat sheet plus another great flour mix recipe from Thank Heavens!