Gluten is a complex of proteins found in cereal grains, such as wheat, barley and rye.
Gluten affects the elasticity of dough, acting as a glue to hold the food together, which in turn affects the chewiness of baked products.
Is Gluten Bad For Your Health
Gluten is only bad for certain people. These people are gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant, which means their bodies produce an abnormal immune response when breaking down gluten during digestion.
About 18 million Americans have gluten sensitivity, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.
People with gluten intolerance, are typicallyrecommended by their doctor to eat a gluten-free diet.
Gluten intolerant people must avoid eating any foods and ingredients that contains gluten, including bread, beer, French fries, pasta, salad dressing, soy sauce and even some soups, unless otherwise marked as “gluten-free.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, food products must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten in order to be labeled gluten-free.
Gluten-free (GF) baking doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite traditional desserts.
It just means modifying your desserts by using gluten-free flour choices.
Gluten-Free Flour Options
Creative culinary minds have discovered ways to bake with GF flours, and such flours can be found at your local market.
Let’s examine in short what some of your choices are.
Whether you want to make a chocolate cake or thicken up a stew, you can do it with bean flour.
Although bean flour is not as common as traditional flour, it is just as versatile, all while being healthier and suited for gluten-free diets.
Here is a list of different beans that have been turned into flour:
● Black bean
● Green pea
● Mung bean
● Navy bean
● White bean
Brown Rice Flour
This is a supplementary flour, and works great when blended with teff, buckwheat or sorghum flours. It is great for baking sweet desserts.
This is a light in color and a drier flour than most other gluten-free flours. It is best when mixed with heartier flours, like teff, hemp or almond flours.
Yes, it has wheat in the title, but this flour is related not to wheat but to the rhubarb plant.
It has a distinct taste, which makes it best when combined with other, more bland flours.
This flour alternative for use in muffins, cakes and pancakes. In order to work well with the dough, adding a starch would help, like arrowroot, tapioca, or a nongmo cornstarch.
Made from sorghum, which is a relative of sugarcane. It’s tender and adds a mild sweetness, but is rarely used alone.
This flour lends a pleasant flavor to baked goods. Since coconut flour absorbs moisture more than other flours, it is suggested for recipes that have at least as much liquid as flour required in a recipe.
Because this can be a tricky art, it’s suggested that as a beginner, when using recipes specifically calling for coconut flour, follow the recipe to the “T.”
This is a great choice for baking. Using almond flour to a dessert recipe will add moistness, binding, a light almond flavor, and a good amount of density to cupcakes, muffins, brownies, cookies, breads, and cake recipes.
Keep in mind that any nut flour cannot be substituted in equal quantities for flour, because nut flours are more dense and very high in protein.
They can be used to replace a portion of other GF flours, such as oat flour being used in the recipe.
Try These Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes – Made With Oat Flour
Buying Gluten-Free Flour
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free is a fine blend using as its base garbanzo beans, potato starch, and tapioca, to name a few of the ingredients.
See Bob speaking here about his flour choices, along with nutritional information, reviews, and GF recipes.
King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour
King Arthur Flour is a blend of white rice and whole grain brown rice flours, along with tapioca and potato starch.
What’s great about this product is that ‘it’s multi-purpose’ and can therefore be used for both baking and cooking, cup-for-cup, the same as any gluten flour product.
Tips For Beginners Of Gluten-Free Baking
Experiment, experiment and experiment. There is a learning curve when you first start with Gluten-free baking, but once you get some practice and experience you will become an expert about what works and what dosen’t.
Stay with it and don’t get discouraged. There will be failed recipes because you have to learn which flour combinations work best, but it just takes practice and testing.
It’s best to get guidance from recipe books or online guides when first trying your hand at gluten-free baking.
Begin with simple baking recipes and learn the basics.
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