Gluten is a protein and helps give structure and stability to your baked goods, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to get that moist, chewy delicious texture we’ve all come to know and love. Don’t settle for dry, crumbly baked goods when you go gluten-free. Fluffy bread and tender muffins can still be yours without wheat flour. Here are some insider tips:
1. Add Protein to the Mix
When you take out the gluten, it is important to replace it with another protein that will help to give your baked goods structure. Without this structure baked goods tend to be flat and dense. Examples of high-protein gluten free flours include: Amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, teff, bean flours and nut/seed flours.
2. Use Multiple Alternative Flours
Try not to just use a one gluten free flour. For better results, use a blend of at least two gluten free flours (remembering to use at least one with significant protein) and a starch.
Gluten free flours to try: sorghum flour, amaranth flour, quinoa flour, white or brown rice flour, certified gluten free oat flour, millet flour, buckwheat flour, bean flours (like fava or garbanzo beans), coconut flour, nut/seed flours
Examples of gluten free starches: arrowroot, tapioca, potato starch (different from potato flour), cornstarch
Chef Deb’s Favorite – Angel’s Recipes Flour Blends
3. Store your Gluten Free Flours in the Fridge or Freezer
If your flour contains oil such as nut flours, flax seed, etc. store them in the refrigerator to prevent them from going rancid. Other flours can be left at room temperature, but ensure they are in an air-tight container and are kept in a cool place. Refrigeration is good for preserving most flours, especially if your home is regularly above 80 degrees. If you have the space, the best option is to store your flours in tightly sealed container and keep them in the freezer.
4. Measure/ Convert Flour Ratios Correctly
Dipping a measuring cup down into the flour container and scooping packs down your flour, making it more dense and increasing the likelihood of over flouring your recipe. Instead use the spoon-and-level method. Simply spoon the flour into your measuring cup, then use a flat edge, like the back of a butter knife to scrape across the measuring cup to level the flour.
Some of the more strict bakers will even go so far as to weigh flour on a digital kitchen scale. One cup of wheat flour weighs approximately 125 grams. So, for each cup of wheat flour in a traditional recipe, measure out 125 grams of the gluten free flour blend. This is very helpful for converting “old favorites” that are made with gluten-filled flour.
5. Don’t Over Flour
Resist the urge to add more gluten free flour or starch to a recipe until you’ve first tested the recipe as written, even if the batter seems too thin. Gluten free doughs are generally ‘wetter’ than traditional, wheat flour doughs due to the lack of gluten. Some gluten free bread dough is so thin it can be poured into a pan – like cake batter.
Tip for handling overly sticky or wet dough: keep your hands a little wet. It helps the dough sticks to itself instead of you.
6. Some Flour Blends Already Have Xantham Gum
When the recipe calls for individual flours to be used and you want to substitute with a pre mixed flour blend from the shelf that some have xantham gum already in them. Always check the recipe. When modifying recipes to make them gluten free the ratio of xantham gum or guar gum that you must add to replace the gluten binder is:
- Sandwich Bread/Pizza Crust | 1 teaspoon per cup of flour mix
- Cakes/Muffins/Quick Bread | 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour mix
- Cookies | 1/4 teaspoon per cup of flour mix
Whether you’re tackling a new recipe or converting a traditional family favorite, it may take a few experiments before you can get the texture just right. But don’t give up. That perfectly moist muffin, or deliciously delicate bread loaf is possible.
Ready to Start Baking? Try – Secrets to Baking the Best Gluten-Free Bread