Many of you know we eat gluten free at our family dinners and my husband eats gluten free for all meals. If you know my husband you know he is not a trend dieter or a natural food type person. He is the opposite. I have more fun going to the natural food stores than he does!
A couple years ago he was diagnosed with dermatitis herpetiformis. It is an autoimmune disease. Ingested gluten causes itchy rashes that are ten times worse than mosquito bites. It took a couple doctor’s visits and second opinions before he nailed down what it was. I am a “webochrondiac” and tried to convince him he had poison ivy than psoriasis. I don’t recommend doing that.
Anyway baking gluten free was a whole new adventure. How do we do it? I am still learning, but this is what I have learned so far:
Baking with gluten free flour is pretty simple. Here’s how you make it: Combine 4 cups of rice flour, 4 cups of tapioca flour, 4 cups of corn starch, 4 tablespoons of potato starch and put it in a container with a lid on it. Store in the freezer. Use this in place of all-purpose flour when you bake. When you’re ready to use it and bake, you HAVE to add xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is basically a thickener and will do the job all purpose flour normally does.
This is the xanthan gum chart we use:
- Cookies: 1/4 tsp per cup of flour
- Cakes: 1/4 tsp per cup of flour
- Muffins and quick breads: 3/4 tsp per cup flour
- Bread: 1-1/2 tsp per cup four
- Pizza Crust: 2 tsp. per cup flour
Most of the flours and xanthan gum should be available in the bulk food sections of most grocery stores. If it is not, you can probably find it at a natural food store or order it online.
My gluten free cookies almost always turn out flat. I have to scrape them off the cookie sheet and some come off in pieces. Rob does not seem to care. He likes having chocolate chip cookies to eat like the rest of us. Any cookie recipe that uses cake mix (and you can substitute it with gluten free cake mix) often turns out better. For instance I make Rob homemade oreos with gluten free devil’s food cake mix (which is now available at our discount grocery store) and they come out a little flatter, but not “scrape off the pan” flat.
Gluten free muffins and quick breads tend to turn out better. I am surprised how they are not flat at all and don’t look any different from the regular muffins and quick breads I make. Honestly I cannot taste the difference. Rob can, but only because he is more familar with the “gluten free taste.” I made him gluten free zucchini muffins a couple weeks ago and we both agreed they tasted amazing.
I’ve never made a gluten free cake (none of us are big cake eaters except maybe my oldest) nor have I made gluten free bread. Rob has made his own bread and he sometimes toasts it for a quick breakfast meal. Great Harvest Bread which is a popular bread place on this side of the country just recently got gluten free bread. We both tried it and enjoyed it. The problem is it gets crumbly and stale very fast. You almost have to eat within 48 hours.
Rob makes his own gluten free pizza at least one or two times a month and then makes a non-gluten free pizza for us. Honestly I cannot taste the difference. There are also two pizza restaurants in our area: Garlic Jims and Figaros Pizza that now serve gluten free pizza and it tastes great! The crust has a somewhat different taste, but it did not take me long at all to get used to it. Since gluten free eating is becoming a trend, I would not be surprised if more pizza restaurants jump on the bandwagon.
That is how we bake. In another post, I will share how we meal plan and some other great recipes we have discovered. If anything, eating gluten free has forced us to eat healthier and enhance our cooking and baking skills. There are always hidden blessings!