7 tips to gluten-free (guilt free) baking
In my continued efforts for the ever-unattainable “good life”, I was instantly drawn to a Gluten free baking masterclass I saw advertised on Edible Experiences. It’s run by Jayne Totty of www.supernourished.com. And you may have guessed from the clever web name, her speciality is Gluten free, dairy free and raw foods.
Luckily for me it was a really small group which meant I got to pester Jayne mercilessly. Here I’ll share my layman's tips and 2 amazing recipes.
The gluten-free trend has passed the ‘fad’ status many initially gave it and is now firmly entrenched in everyday life – from your local supermarkets all the way to Pizza Express. It’s not just Coeliac sufferers who are buying it. It’s well-known celebrities and sports people all the way to the everyday person who read an article about gluten’s downsides (from bloating to vascular damage).
So what about the gluten free breads and pizzas you buy in the supermarkets? Are they healthy? Or simply a bit healthier? And more importantly, does taking away the gluten take away the guilty pleasure?
Well the answer is, in most cases:
- If you can’t pronounce a long-named ingredient (even after a glass of wine), chances are it’s (annoyingly) not very natural or good for you.
- It doesn’t need to be such a bind. You can find naturally gluten-free cooking in lots of cuisines. Japan’s sushi diet for one. The Spanish and Italians have been making great almond cakes for years, while South Americans cook with a lot of Yuka flour.
- Sadly some things just can’t be imitated, but maybe we just need to get over that. Jamie O does a pretty decent gluten free pizza and you can always pop into a Pizza Express for theirs if you are desperate. Truth is, if you’re willing to expand your view on what a pizza is, there are some pretty good alternatives.
- Yes, there is plenty of enjoyment in gluten free cakes, bread and brownies. I have just hoovered down a Coeliac convention’s worth.
Ready for your first gluten free bake? Here are 2 recipes from Supernourished to start you off:
And here are 7 tips for great gluten free baking to help you on your gluten-free guilt-free high-way:
- Mix it up. A lot of the celebrity recipes use supermarket gluten free flour mixes – so definitely buy some, but you’ll be wanting to create different textures for your cakes, muffins, brownies and breads so it’s best to know how to make and adjust your own mixes.
- It's an art as much as a science so be ready to experiment. To start with try 50-75% starchy flour (e.g. rice flour, potato flour) with a good amount of a protein-rich flour like Gram (chickpea), Soya or gluten free Oat flour. The rest can be nut flours (almond, chestnut, coconut) and seed flours (Quinoa, Buckwheat).
- Think about the flavour and texture you want and use flours to suit it. For example, gram flour, coconut flour and buckwheat are a dominant flavour so may overpower other flavours. Quinoa and chia seeds work amazingly for a soft and tasty bread, while almond and buckwheat flour made amazing brownies (almond flour is very moist).
- Grind it. Buy a really good grinder to freshly grind the seeds and coarser flours. I’ve gone with the Nutribullet which also makes more-ish smoothies. Oh... and cocktails.
- Vegan friendly is easier than you think. You can buy lots of egg-free alternative binding agents like Xantham gum and Chia seeds (which are v nutritious too).
- Gluten free bread will last as long as you like (if you freeze it). You can quickly toast or heat up a really tasty gluten free treat on demand.
- Get stocked up. Here are the kitchen cupboard essentials (flours, seeds, fats and oils, sweeteners, raising and binding agents - all readily available in big supermarkets):
White rice flour
Brown rice flour
Almond flour (ground almonds)
Bean / grain flours:
Gram (chickpea) flour
Gluten free oat flour
Healthier sweetener options
Chia seeds (great source of Omega 3)