Gluten-Free Cooking

Everything you see in this blog that has been baked or cooked by me, is gluten free. Everything.

I am always getting emails and tweets from people asking what types of GF products I use, how I adapt recipes etc. The simple truth is – I just cook. Period. I don’t buy anything other than GF flour (usually Orgran if I can get it). I even use it in gravies, roux, sauces, everything requiring a flour.

I do also buy a pre-made rough puff often, it’s expensive but works better than mine when I want a rough puff.

Here are some practices I use to avoid the most common mishaps in Gluten-Free cooking and baking.

**Make sure ALL of your ingredients are at room temperature, ESPECIALLY your eggs and your flour I keep my eggs on the benchtop and flour in the pantry. I have heard many a person tell me to keep GF flour in the freezer – SKIP IT, your results will fail or not work as well.  Otherwise, place them on the benchtop for about 30-45 minutes prior to using, or, if short on time, stick your eggs in a bowl of water for 15 minutes.

**Make sure that your baking powder is fresh. Discard if expired, as this will affect the rise in your baked goodies. You can tell if baking powder is still good by combining 1 teaspoon baking powder with 1/3 cup hot water. If it bubbles, good. If not, replace it.  To test if your bicarb soda is still good, add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to 4 tablespoons of white vinegar.  This should fizz up.  If not discard it.

**Spoon Gluten Free flour into a measuring cup instead of using measuring cup to scoop out your flour from the container. Important because if you scoop your flour out, you will cause the flour to compact, causing more dry goods by volume than necessary.  This will dramatically affect the result, disrupting the balance of dry to wet ingredients greatly alters your results.

**Always sift your gluten free flours and all dry ingredients together (either with a sifter or with two spoons) to give your product a lighter, airier result. I get lazy here, but in all honesty, it does produce a better result. Often you will blend plain and SR flour together to create a recipe – this blends them all thoroughly together.

**Here is a big one:  Check your oven temperature. A ten degree temperature difference in either direction can make a big difference.  If you know, for instance that your oven always is actually 10 degrees hotter than what you set it at, then when a recipe calls for something to be cooked at 180, you can actually set it at 170 degrees to get correct 180 results. Use a thermometer to check your oven temp just once, when you next bake. Does the gauge and the oven thermometer give the same result?

**When using glass, reduce the temperature by about 10-20 degrees so that the top can brown before the bottom burns. With metal, heat radiates through the pan and then warms the food.  With glass, the radiated heat passes through the food more quickly.

**Do not overfill your baking pans. Only fill 2/3 of the way full.  If a baked good reaches the top of a pan during cooking and still needs to rise more, it will collapse in the center.  It needs something to grip on to the sides in order to keep going up in the middle!

**Do not overmix your batters – stir until ingredients are just incorporated and then gently fold in any nuts, dried fruits, or any other ad-ins. Gluten-Free goods do not rise as much as it is, so over-mixing can deflate your batter and ruin your rise.

**On the note of rising: beating your eggs until they are foamy (or even separating the whites and the yolks and then beating the whites until slightly stiff and gently folding them in to the rest of the mixed batter) will often help to give more rise to a baked good. If you are fussy. (I’m not).

**Bake all of your batters as soon as the ingredients are all assembled. This will help prevent deflated baked goods.

**A good trick when making cakes is to cut  a piece of baking paper to the exact size of the bottom of the pan that you are using (without letting it go up the sides). Grease the pan as usual, taking care not to grease the sides much.  This will allow the batter to cling to the sides and rise in the center, and then helps you to remove it from the pan without sticking to the bottom.

**And Most Importantly: READ LABELS!!  “Wheat Free” is NOT the same as “Gluten Free”.

You will find all my gluten free recipes right here or in the top menu. Have fun and please – let me know what works for you – and what does not!

If you have any tips of your own that have given you success in your kitchen, please share them here! I can always add them to the list above.

5 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Cooking

  1. A lot of those tips would be relevant to all baking, not just gluten-free I would imagine!

    I love the tips, I would love to be able to bake really good stuff. I will keep these ones bookmarked!

  2. Thanks for all these tips. I also use the Orgran brand. I had to smile when I ready your little notes on the side of the blog about “Cooking by eye”. I’m the same when it comes to cooking meals after years of cooking you get to “know the feel” of what is the right amount. But I must say if I don’t follow cake,biscuit and pastry recipes pretty well exactly then the result is not so good, maybe I need a bit more practice! Thanks again, regards Ros (Eagleye Images & Design)

  3. Great post. It is handy to have all those tips pulled together All in the one place. And flour in the freezer – so logical in theory, but no one wants inevitably damp, cold flour!

    My only comment is the spoon and scrape method is a great rule of thumb, but it can depend on the recipe author’s preference -many do it very differently. If only everyone baked by weight, sigh!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Matthew. I should add, I do keep nut meals (nut flour?) in the freezer. I don’t find they go damp at all, they’re in a airtight container so that there is no danger of wandering smells (eeew). By the time it’s measured and in the bowl, which takes a few seconds, it’s at room temp and ready. If I am at all worried, a quick shake will endure it’s all separated. I usually mill what I need to suit, but sometimes have excess. I’d love for you to share some of your flour secrets too :)

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