Baking Tips for the Gluten-Free Diet
By Lana Bandoim
It is easy to make a gluten-free salad. Simply avoid the croutons, eliminate other sources of contamination and make sure the salad dressing is safe for celiac disease and does not contain gluten. However, baking cookies, pies or cakes can be more complicated. Not only do you have to find a safe gluten-free flour, but it is also necessary to find a binder that can replace the stickiness of gluten in normal recipes. Consider these baking tips for the gluten-free diet before experimenting in the kitchen.
Why Baking Is Harder on the Gluten-Free Diet
People are often disappointed by baked gluten-free products. They tend to be dry, crumbly and fall apart quickly. Sometimes they do not taste or look similar to the versions that have gluten. There are several reasons why it is harder to bake on the gluten-free diet.
Many people are used to baking with white flour made from wheat, so it is harder to switch to gluten-free flours and make adjustments. In addition, gluten acts as a binder and makes things sticky. When it is eliminated, you have to replace it with another binder to keep the baked products together. It can take time and effort to change old recipes.
First, it is important to find a binder to make baking easier. Common gluten-free binders include xanthan gum, guar gum, eggs, chia seeds and psyllium husks. Binders can help the finished baked product keep its shape. They can also improve the structure and elasticity.
Second, you have to use the right gluten-free flour for baking. Different recipes will require a variety of flours, so it is important to experiment. Common gluten-free flours include corn, rice, tapioca, quinoa, millet, flax, amaranth and potato. Learn to adjust recipes to accommodate people with celiac disease who are on the gluten-free diet.
Consider blending different gluten-free flours together to make a better combination. You may need to increase the amount of baking soda and baking powder while using gluten-free flours. In addition, consider lowering the oven temperature because some gluten-free baked goods can turn brown quickly.
Before making an old favorite or trying a new recipe, consider these baking tips for the gluten-free diet. By focusing on the right flours and binders, your family may not notice the final products are gluten-free and safe for celiac disease. They may even taste better than the wheat versions and may surprise everyone who eats them.
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