Gluten-free baking can sound very complicated and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! We know that there is nothing scarier than finding out that you (or someone you love baking for) can no longer eat gluten for all the baked goods fans out there.

Unfortunately, gluten is a crucial ingredient for most dishes, but there is no reason why gluten intolerance must prevent you from enjoying baked goods! Nowadays, there are plenty of gluten-free alternatives to your favourite desserts that you can choose from, and the ingredients needed to bake on your own are available in almost every grocery store. Learning how to master the art of gluten-free baking can be a wonderful and creative experience. No matter the reasons for switching to a gluten-free life, either that be due to allergies, or if you are simply trying to cut down on your gluten consumption, there will always be plenty of options available for you to choose from.

What is gluten and gluten free?

Gluten free

To put it simply, gluten is a protein found in wheat, and that includes all the less-known species of wheat like einkorn, kamut, spelt, barley, rye, and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Gluten gives baked goods the delicate crumb-feel that we all love, and is one of the main reasons why bread is so chewy. It’s important to know that gluten activates when you add liquid to flour or stir batter or dough with a lot of vigour. 

Most pastry chefs adore gluten as they can make their cakes light and fluffy, but it can come out harsh if they put too much of it. This is the main reason why some cake recipes specify in their instructions ‘don’t over-beat’. 

Interesting fact? Most bakers knead bread to activate gluten further, and to increase their elasticity. 

What issues are there with gluten?

Unfortunately, many people can’t digest gluten properly, especially those with celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder). Ingesting gluten by a gluten-intolerant person means that they will have many issues with their small intestines, which will prevent their bodies from taking in vital nutrients from foods. Therefore, they must completely cut gluten out of their diets. 

Research states that 6 out of every 100 people suffer from gluten intolerance while not having full-on celiac disease. This means that eating out in most restaurants can become quite tricky, and buying food can be problematic, as most products are processed in factories alongside wheat or other gluten-containing items. 

Most common symptoms of gluten-free intolerance are acne, skin rashes, fatigue, bloating, depression, and mood swings. Some people avoid gluten just so they can lose weight faster, and to feel generally healthier. To remember is that wheat and gluten are not the same things, however, wheat is one of the most significant gluten sources.

Key ingredients for gluten-free baking

gluten free ingredients

One of the most significant adjustments when starting to bake gluten-free is understanding the vast array of flour options, and figuring out when and how to use each of them. Most beginners in gluten-free baking prefer to stick to an all-purpose gluten-free mix, however, as you’ll become more skilled, you can start playing around with combining your favourite wheat-free flours. To put you in the loop, there are many gluten-free flour options on the market, plus a lot of key ingredients to bring your recipes together that you must search for. 

1. All purpose gluten free mix

This is the most approachable alternative to the all-purpose flour which claims to be a replacement for wheat flour. This is a great point to start from as a beginner, so make sure to kickstart your gluten-free baking journey with this life saviour!

2. almond flour

This type of flour is made from raw almonds that have been grounded into a fine powder. It’s protein-packed and has a lovely nutty-flavour, amongst other types of nut flours such as hazelnut, macadamia, chestnuts, and pistachio. 

3. Rice flour

This is a very smooth type of gluten-free flour, made from ground rice, making it a perfect choice to thicken gravies and sauces. 

4. Coconut flour

Made from dehydrated coconut meat, this type of gluten-free flour is one of our favourites due to its pleasant coconut aroma and taste. It also absorbs moisture and reduces the amount of flour needed for some recipes, whilst allowing you to increase the wet ingredients. 

5. Quinoa flour

Another protein-packed powder with a slightly bitter taste and the ability to add a lot of density to baked goods. The best gluten-free recipes to use this flour in are savoury scones and zucchini bread.  

6. sorghum flour

This is a prevalent substitution for wheat flour, as it has a very similar texture. However, it can be slightly more bitter, but it still makes a great substitution in recipes for bread and pancakes. 

7. Tapioca flour

This is a finely ground powder made from dried roots (known as tapioca starch), and it’s great to combine with other flours so you can reach the right consistency to mimic the traditional wheat. Other great gluten-free flour options are arrowroot and teff flours. We can’t tell you which one is the best gluten-free flour for baking, so make sure to try these out and see how it goes, as they are all great substitutes for the traditional wheat flour.

8. Xanthan gum

Going beyond its scientific name, this is a widespread ingredient found in many products (from frozen foods to toothpaste), as it acts as a stabiliser. This means that it binds other elements together whilst keeping the same consistency over specific periods. 

9. guar gum

This is another excellent binding ingredient, made from dried and ground seeds of the Indian guar plant.

Gluten free baking tips & tricks

GF tricks and tips
Before you even consider baking gluten-free recipes, you must know one thing. The texture of gluten-free foods are slightly different, as well as the flavours. So make sure to let go of all your expectations, and open up to the fact that gluten-free scones, cookies, biscuits, bread, and everything in between, can be just as delicious as the conventional ones, but with slight changes.

●      Tip 1 – Separate the eggs and beat the whites until they form soft and fluffy peaks, and then fold them into the batter. By doing so, you will have a lighter baked goodie. 

●      Tip 2 – Use buttermilk instead of regular milk to give your final product an airy and delicate quality. 

●      Tip 3 – Add apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to any gluten-free recipe that has baking soda or powder into it. 

●      Tip 4 – Combine different types of flours, and don’t forget to add xanthan gum or guar gum to mimic gluten in your recipes. But in case you have gluten-free intolerance, make sure to keep an eye out on flours bought from bulk bins, as they might contain wheat-covered scoops in them by accident. 

●      Tip 5 – Start with gluten-free desserts, such as muffins, cookies, cakes, bread and brownies. This is purely because it’s effortless to swap between almond, oat, and barley flour for a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe!

●      Tip 6 – Stick to the recipes to start with. As you’ve just begun your gluten-free baking journey, begin by strictly following recipes that are made to be gluten-free. By doing so, you will understand what ingredients and ratios you must use, and once you are confident enough, you can start getting more creative. 

●      Tip 7 – Buy a kitchen scale, as when it comes to measuring gluten-free flours, each variety acts differently. In this way, you will be able to measure your flours by weight, rather than volume. As a rule of thumb, for every cup of flour, substitute 140 grams of your gluten-free flour blend. 

●      Tip 8 – Get friendly with failing, as sometimes you will have to play around with the ingredients before you get it right. Accept that some of your gluten-free baked goods won’t end up as expected, and use that as a motivation and dedication to doing better next time.

●      Tip 9 – Let your batter rest properly so you can counteract the grainier texture of gluten-free baked goods. Let the batter or dough rest for at least 30 minutes before baking, as this will allow the moisture to be absorbed appropriately by the flours, preventing separation that results in graininess. 

●      Tip 10 – Cool your goodies on a rack, as some gluten-free goodies can result in a slightly gummy texture due to the xanthan gum and starch flours. Transfer your hot baked goods to a rack to allow them to cool from all sides.

●      Tip 11 – Invest in designated bakeware, especially if you have a severe gluten allergy. Baking with gluten-free cookware will ensure that you will never have to interact with gluten, creating a safe and healthy eating experience for everyone in the household at the same time.

What to avoid when gluten-free baking

gluten free bakes what to avoid
When it comes to gluten-free baking, there are some things that you must avoid doing to make sure you will achieve the results you want. 

1. Avoid overtaking your goodies

Baking times can vary depending on the type of pan or oven you use, so make sure to check the manufacturer’s advice of the pan you are using (and use the pan that best suits the recipe you are making at that specific time).

Oven temperatures can also greatly vary, so make sure to tune or test them. You can do so by purchasing an oven thermometer and adjusting the temperature accordingly. A great tip for this is to place your baked goods in the centre of a preheated oven, whilst keeping a close eye throughout the baking time (be particularly careful at colours and textures) as they indicate doneness). As a general rule of thumb, gluten-free recipes call for longer baking times at lower temperatures than traditional recipes containing gluten. 

3. don't overbuy ingredients

Most gluten-free grains and starches have a particular shelf-life, so our recommendation is to buy them in smaller quantities. In this way, you can store them in your refrigerator or even freezer to prolong their essential properties. 

 Some flours can even be made at home after buying the whole grains and then processing them with a coffee grinder. 

4. Don't forget about moisture

A crucial aspect of gluten-free baking is moisture and making sure there is plenty of it in each recipe. In general, gluten-free recipes require pureed fruits, sour creams and yoghurts that can add an extra touch of moisture to your baked goodies. 

If your recipes don’t require these ingredients, you can simply add some brown sugar instead of white sugar. Another great moisture enhancer is honey and agave syrup, but if you decide to use these two, you must cut down on the other liquids you are using in the recipes. 

5. don't forget about the substitute ingredients

There are plenty of ingredients that you can use as substitutes for the traditional ones. 

 Butter – coconut oil, olive oil and silken tofu are all suitable substitutes, and combinations of these will work best to add an extra touch of taste to your recipes

 Eggs – flax seeds, silken tofu, mashed bananas or figs can easily substitute regular milk (if you decide to use flax seeds, make sure they are milled and combined with hot water before using them in your recipes) 

 Milk – coconut, soya, rice and nut milk can be substituted for regular milk 

Sugar – maple or agave syrup, brown rice syrup and brown sugar 

gluten free baking recipes

gluten free recipes

Whether you are gluten-free or not, there are plenty of gluten-free recipes that can satisfy your sweet, salty and savoury tooth.

  • Gluten-free scones are a must-have on any afternoon tea spread or party. You can make them with fruit (or without), and the gluten-free version involves using many gluten-free flours in combination, and xanthan gum.  
  • Gluten-free mince pies are a great way to spice up the traditional boozy mince pies, without having to compromise on flavours or textures.
  • Chocolate truffle cake is a flourless, gluten-free chocolate cake with an extremely smooth consistency. In this unique recipe, what truly lifts the richness of the chocolate is the amaretto.
  • Coconut-flour banana bread is a copy of the childhood version of traditional banana bread, made with coconut flour, and it’s straightforward to follow the recipe.  
  • Gluten-free apple cake is the perfect dessert to serve for an afternoon tea. It can be easily made with olive oil instead of butter and without any refined sugars.  
  • Gluten-free hot cross buns can spice up your dining table, and not only during Easter time.

If you genuinely want to start baking gluten-free recipes like a pro, you can start levelling up your skills by following these 21 gluten-free baking recipes we love from Taste Of Home. 

However, if you are in need for tasty gluten-free baked goods, you can have a look at American Muffin Co’s gluten-free products  or from Elvira’s Secret Pantry that you can choose from and get them delivered straight to your front door!

 

At Bakers Market you can easily shop for your favourite freshly baked products, and get them delivered to you in no time, so make sure to check out our wide variety of local bakeries, and what baked goodies they have on offer today!

 

 

Alice Lidell

Editorial Team

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