Going gluten-free is something you may be doing reluctantly, but it can make such a big difference to your health if you are gluten intolerant that the pay-off is worth it.

And once you get the hang off gluten-free baking, you can begin to enjoy the delicious array of goodies you can still bake and enjoy despite being gluten-free.

For a start, which flours do and don’t contain gluten?

Gluten-containing flours:

• Wheat flour
• Rye flour (though sometimes better tolerated by those with a mild gluten intolerance)
• Oats can contain gluten though you do get gluten-free oats. Oats can be contaminated by being processed in facilities that also process gluten-containing grains. You need to check that the oats you buy has been processed in a certified gluten-free facility

Gluten-free Flours

Brown & white rice flour
• Millet flour
• Buckwheat flour
• Quinoa flour
• Certified gluten-free oat flour
• Nut flours such as almond flour, hazelnut flour, macadamia nut flour
Chickpea flour
Coconut flour
• Seed flours such as sunflower seed and flax seed


 


Some Tips

Starch

You can use starch to add lightness and softness to gluten-free flours. Use a 2:1 ratio of flour to starch.

• Potato starch
Cornstarch
Arowroot starch
Tapioca starch

Combinations

Combine more than one type of flour – at least one flour with one starch.

Moisture

Moisture is important so that your baking isn’t dry and helps your flour to bind and improves the flavour. Things like:

• Eggs
• Fruit purees
• Yoghurt and sour cream
• Agave nectar, raw honey or maple syrup

Binders

The major challenge with gluten-free baking is to make the flours bind together nicely. Gluten is like an elastic glue that binds flours together and adds that elasticity dough has and you need to compensate for the lack of gluten. Binders you can use include:
Guar gum
Xantham gum
• Psyllium husks, ground chia or flax seeds help bind and also add healthy fibre

Flavour

Flavouring your gluten-free baking can make all the difference and adds depth to what can be a cardboard-like flavor. Some flours have more flavour, texture and moistness, especially the nut flours and coconut flour. Things you can bake with that also up the flavour are:

Extracts such as vanilla and almond (up the dose of vanilla or in gluten-free baking)
• Cacao works wonderfully
• Spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg
• Desiccated coconut, chopped nuts, dried fruit, and choc chips

Baking powder

Increase your raising agents by 25% with gluten-free baking.

An example of a gluten-free flour mix

• 1 cup white rice flour
• 1 cup certified gluten-free oat flour
• 1 cup coconut flour
• 1 cup tapioca starch
• ¼ cup cornstarch
• 3½ tsp xantham gum

How to:
Combine all the ingredients and voila, bake your goodies.

(Taken from: http://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/gluten-free-flour-mix/)

Try your hand at whipping up a batch of Gluten-free Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies:

• 1 cup almond flour
• 3 tablespoons softened butter or coconut oil
• 3 tablespoons xylitol
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• Pinch of salt
• 2 teaspoons maple syrup or agave nectar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Chopped pecans

How to:

• Mix all the ingredients, except the pecans together in a food processor
• Add the pecans towards the end
• Roll the dough into a log and wrap in plastic
• Chill in the fridge for an hour
• Preheat oven to 180 ºC
• Chop the log into slices of about ½ cm
• Place on a baking sheet
• Bake for 12 – 14 minutes, until they start to brown
• Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for a little
• Transfer to a rack to completely cool


Gluten-free baking is an adventure that starts here, don’t be afraid to experiment and soon you’ll be A for away gluten-free and enjoying it.

For those of you who prefer a simpler option where the experimenting has been done for you, we have some amazing gluten-free flour mixes already made up for you. Take a look at The Red Basket Food Co, Health Connection and Primal Chow collections for some really convenient and tasty options as well as gluten-free baking ingredients, many of which are banting-friendly too.