Gluten -Free Baking “Secrets”
Eats and Treats Gluten Free Baking “Secrets”
by Chef Marissa Menth
Who says Gluten Free baking has to taste like cardboard?! Add these professional tips to your baking artillery and have your family guessing which “bakery” you stopped by on your way home? I highly suggest beginning with gluten free recipes until you have a strong foundation of what texture and consistency works best for your oven and altitude. Then get crazy and mix your own gluten-free flour mix and substitute it in your Grandmother’s famous Chocolate Cake recipe.
1. Do not over-mix dough. It makes for a dense final product that will end up sitting in the freezer for months. But, if this happens to you don’t fret, whip up a delicious GF bread pudding and WOW your family and friends! I also prefer the creaming method when it comes to gluten-free baking. (That means mixing your room temperature butter and sugar first, then add you dry ingredients.)
2. Use room temperature ingredients. Allow time for batter to “rest” before baking. Allowing the ingredients to come to room temperature, means that all the ingredients will disperse evenly in the batter. Also “resting” your batter or dough, gives time for the dry ingredients to absorb the wet and leave you with a delicious finished product!
3. Garbanzo Bean flour is great for savory recipes. Like Socca’s, not for cakes, cookies, or crumble topping for your pies. I suggest using almond flour, coconut flour, or rice flours. In addition to the flours, adding a binder such as xantham gum, psyllium husks, or guar gum. If you are baking for a crowd always go with a rice flour or rice flour blend to protect your nut allergy friends.
4. Beginner Bakers should use pre-mixed Gluten-free flours. Get your practice and experience in gluten-free baking first, then dive into mixing your own flour combinations. I began using Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour and it stands the test! In my humble opinion, it’s the best gluten-free flour on the market. Use it in baking and cooking,
5. Substitute Greek Yogurt for butter or any dairy product called for in any recipe. Gluten is a protein and when removing it, there needs to be something added back in to achieve quality baked goods. Greek Yogurt adds protein back into your muffins or cakes and makes for a healthier baked treat! Just in case any of you are watching your figure.
6. Ground Flaxseed or Chia Seeds are a great Egg replacer. For all of our vegan readers or if you have an egg allergy, this is tested and endorsed by Eats and Treats, Chef Marissa. 1 Tbsp. of ground seed of your choice + 3 Tbsp. water = 1 egg, stir well and let sit in fridge for 10 minutes or until gel-like consistency.
7. Don’t waste the scraps! Who doesn’t like cake tops and extra icing? Make cake pops! Bake extra pie dough scraps with jam in the center and toss in cinnamon sugar! Bake mini cookies and drizzle with powdered sugar glaze! The options are endless and who doesn’t love a bite-size treat in the middle of the night!
8. Keep a clean and organized workspace. “Clean as you go” I learned this principle from my first Pastry Chef in culinary school and it has stuck with me. It is a life saver, unless you have a Sous Chef assisting you in the kitchen. Who wants to clean up all the dirty dishes after baking in the kitchen all day? This principle also “wow’s” your family and friends and makes you look like a professional.
9. Avoid cross contamination by using separate equipment for gluten-free baking. I prefer to have designated equipment for gluten-free baking and cooking. It takes the guesswork out of the equation, especially if you have Celiac or are highly sensitivity to gluten. If you are unable to do so, thoroughly wash equipment before using for gluten-free purposes. Also using parchment paper liners and non-stick spray are lifesavers when baking. The last thing you want is your cakes sticking to the bottom of the pan, spray before and after you apply the parchment paper.
10. Be Creative and Have FUN! Give yourself permission to mess up and strive for excellence not perfection. Remember, spending time in the kitchen is supposed to be relaxing and soothing for the soul. An exciting activity to do solo or invite the kids to join in on the fun! Mistakes will happen but just shake it off, smother them in icing and sprinkles, and Enjoy the fruits of your labor!