5 Secrets of Gluten-Free Baking

Friends! We get asked about how we make such delicious gluten-free products all the time, so we thought we'd divulge a little info! Gluten-free baking is different from conventional baking, so listen up:

Secret #1: DO NOT throw away everything you know about baking.

We personally have a giant batch of hate for this advice. Understand that gluten-free baking will have crazy different textures, flours and even processes than you are used to, but PLEASE don't throw away everything you know.

Instead, use it as a reference. For example, our bread recipe has a consistency about half way between cake batter (the runny kind) and traditional dough. Now, if you threw away what you knew, those references would make no sense at all.

Secret #2: Mix it all a little longer.

Or a lot longer.

Our little devilish gluten molecule is properly mixed already, 100% of the time. Your flours and your binders are like a grade 7 dance: in the beginning, everyone sticks to the wall (like a wallflower) and eventually as the music goes on for a while, things get well-mixed until everyone is having a good time.

This is what you and your mixer need to accomplish with your dry mix BEFORE you start adding liquid. We usually let our mixer go on low speed for about 5 minutes with a whisk attachment before we add anything.

Secret #3: Get to know your flours.

Most of us crafty folk know that if we want to make green, we add blue and yellow together. Make a date with your flours one day and see what their individual personalities are. We suggest with flours, to make a mini pancake: flour and water, a hot griddle, a little pancake.

Learn individually the taste and texture of a flour so you know how it will play with its other flour friends. This will show you that tapioca also helps to bind (stretchy pancake) and that almond flour has no bind at all.

Share your pancake pics and the lessons you learn with us on Twitter and Instagram!

Secret #4: Get to know your binders.

Binders are the gluten replacement 'glue' in our recipes. They are not all created equal, nor do they behave the same. Adding a binder improperly may sabotage your recipe. Imagine making chocolate chip cookies and 5 of the cookies each have one or two chocolate chips and one of the cookies has 97.

As appealing as that one cookie sounds, this is not the intended result!

Mixing your binder with a matching dispersing method will ensure it distributes evenly through your recipe. Use the suggested list below as a starting point. And as always, if you have a question, message us!

·       Xanthan: Mix oil

·       Guar: Mix oil

·       Cellulose: Disperse in flour mix

·       Chia: Water and blender

·       Flax: Water and blender

·       Garfava: Disperse in flour mix

·       Aquafava: Blend with a high-speed blender immediately before adding

·       Agar: Mix with water, it must reach 100C for 5 minutes to activate

Secret #5: Wet hands or dry hands.

When working with gluten free dough/ bread/ we get ourselves into a very sticky situation. The dough is like glue and will smear and stick and be kinda monster-like to deal with.

To work with this dough, we want you to imagine the dough is like an egg yolk and you are trying not to pierce it. Use either water, oil, or sweet rice flour to coat the dough and your hands and maintain that barrier between you and the inside glueyness.

From mixer to bowl, we’ll use a spatula that we repeatedly dip in water to scrape the dough ball into a larger bowl of sweet rice flour or olive oil. Once our mixing bowl is empty, we will coat our hands (be matching: if we used rice flour in the bowl, we keep our hands dusted we that; if we used oil, we keep our hands oiled) and we will coat the top portion of the dough and get it into whatever workable shape we need.

You’re doing this right if your hands stay cling-on free. If you get dough-glued, stop and scrape it off and coat your hands again. If you allow your hands to get crusted with gluey-dough, you’ll have challenges throughout your bread making.

Use these tips and don't let the dough monster win!

For information on gluten-free myths, visit our blog. Visit us at 47 West Hastings to try our many delicious gluten-free products. Cheers!