When I was diagnosed as having a gluten allergy I wanted to die. How was I going to bake? To be honest I have ‘lived’ with this diagnosis for about 11 months and only recently have I started baking gluten-free.
I am here to shed some light on how to bake Gluten-Free and help you understand what gluten is, how it affects people and how you can eat gluten free.
So what is gluten?
Put simply, gluten is a form of protein found in wheat (including spelt, semolina and durum), rye, barley and triticale (a hybrid). To get a little scientific, these grains each have slightly different proteins (gliadin in wheat, secalin in rye and hordein in barley) collectively known as prolamins. These promalins are what cause problems for people who can’t tolerate gluten in their diet. Source
What has gluten in it?
· Beers—have barley in them
· Soy Sauce—Tamari is ok
· Lots of sauces
· Veggie burgers—check
· Ice cream—sometimes
For a more comprehensive list go here
What is Coeliac’s Disease v. Intolerance?
Coeliac’s Disease is a immune response where the lining of the small intestine can not process gluten. The gluten attacks the villi (little finger-like hair on the lining of you small intestines) and makes the absorption of nutrients difficult. This can result in insufficient mineral absorption and other physical aliments.
An intolerance is not as severe and can product stomach pain and wind.
Only about 1-5% of people are allergic to gluten.
I have Coeliacs.
BAKING GLUTEN FREE/VEGAN
I came upon this AWESOME article ‘Cooking & Baking Gluten Free’ by Karina @ Karina’s Kitchen I will summarise the key points in her article and tell you how I have come to learn by trail and error the tips which she outlines.
As she states there are some great pre-maid mixes out there. I would suggest looking through her article and/or having a look at your gluten-free section of your store for some. The nice this is that you don’t have to worry about mixing different flours to make your own batch.
You should READ the labels. Make sure that there isn’t dairy, sugar, soy or any other type of product added to them that you can’t eat. I have problems with high fiber and sugar products. Much to my surprise (more so in America) there’s sugar in EVERYTHING.
Want to make your own? Here’s some recipes from Karina
Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1 part sorghum or brown rice flour
1 part cornstarch, tapioca starch or potato starch
1/3 part almond meal, buckwheat flour, millet flour or quinoa flour
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour mix
Self-Rising Flour Mix
1 cup unleavened gluten-free flour mix
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
I can’t use brown rice flour, because of the higher fiber content. So I used white rice flour. Karina also outlines more information on different types of flours and their effects on baking here as well as tips on how to add moisture to Gluten-Free products here as well.
Gluten-free products tend to try out much quicker and I believe that’s because of the types of flours which are used. They absorb moisture at much higher levels so the tips which she outlines is important to follow.
Here is some other great flour mixes and tricks
Here are some thoughts from Karina
I usually bake with organic brown sugar and cane sugar. Brown sugar adds a little extra moistness to gluten-free baked goods; cane sugar makes cookies crisp.
But if you really must avoid sugar, Darling, here’s one possible sub if you’re not a vegan: 3/4 cup honey (reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup) can be substituted for 1 cup granulated or brown sugar. Not recommended for cookies. Flavor and density will be affected.
If you are a vegan, try using maple syrup [though it will add maple flavor] or gluten-free brown rice syrup, or agave syrup. I’m experimenting with agave lately, and find it delicious.
If it is humid out, you may have to adjust your recipe, as both agave and honey are humectant, and attract moisture to baked goods.
I can’t use any of those sources, because it makes my body react. However, I have found that xylitol and sucanat don’t affect me. So what are these things?
Xylitol “is a sugar alcohol sweetener used as a naturally occurring sugar substitute. It is found in the fibres of many fruits and vegetables, including various berries, corn husks, oats, and mushrooms. It can be extracted from corn fibre, birch, raspberries, plums, and corn.” Source
I love xylitol. I have used it in pumpkin pie, pancakes, sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce. I have only recently found it and I will be using it for awhile. I have read that it doesn’t work in yeast requiring recipes, cause it does not react with the yeast.
Further, it has been stated that ‘Xylitol has virtually no aftertaste, and is advertised as “safe for diabetics and individuals with hyperglycemia.” This tolerance is attributed to the lower impact of xylitol on a person’s blood sugar, compared to that of regular sugars. source
The other is Sucanat.
Photo source: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/images/sucanat.jpg
I first heard from it because Angela @OhSheGlows uses it. Sucanat is evaporated cane sugar and can be used as a replacement for brown sugar.
Here are some tips from Karina if you wan to go Vegan and Gluten Free!
For the average recipe, Ener-G Egg Replacer is the popular choice. You can also make your own egg replacer using milled flax seeds, silken tofu, mashed banana or figs. Or simply add a liquid such as rice milk [two tablespoons equal one egg] and boost the leavening with more baking powder.
Check out Angela’s Vegan Baking Tips here
I find I do best baking egg-free when I choose recipes that are traditionally egg-free such as fruit crisps and Asian crepes. Waffles work fine. Pancakes.
If a recipe calls for one egg, I might simply leave it out and add two tablespoons rice milk and an extra teaspoon of baking powder.
Here’s my new favorite for egg replacement:
For two average eggs, combine:
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
4 tablespoons warm water
Whisk together until frothy and foamy. Fold into the recipe and mix well. This mixture won’t bind, but it seems to work in baking.
Note that recipes using tapioca starch often turn out gummy with an egg replacer; and mixes containing tapioca and lots of starches are less likely to turn out using egg replacers.
I have tired to bake gluten-free and vegan and it’s hard. However, those tips would be of help to anyone!
GLUTEN FREE RESOURCES
Being new at the whole ‘gluten-free’ world has been a struggle at times. However, I hope that this research, insights, and lists of tips will help you cook Gluten-Free.
Happy no-wheat baking!
~Michelle @ Eatingjourney
Thanks Michelle for the informative post!
Bake Sale Wednesday!!!
My Sweet Stand Against Cancer vegan/GF bake sale has been rescheduled from tomorrow (Tuesday) to Wednesday. With the bad things happening this weekend it was too hard to get everything together so quickly. Remember all winning bids go straight to my Team in Training fundraising efforts… so come back Wednesday to check out all the goods!
(Tomorrow I will post bake sale details.)
Christie is baking vegan/GF chocolate chip cookies!!!! Come back tomorrow to see what everyone else is making
Have you ever experimented with gluten-free foods?