Dr. Bakker’s Guide to Gluten-Free Baking
March 5, 2015 | Published by Dr. Eric Bakker
Many people have told they believe gluten-free baking to be a bit of a myth: something that sounds good, but is too good to be true. I’ve heard horror stories of inedible, unrecognizable rocks coming out of the oven. I can assure you: it doesn’t have to be this way. In this blog, I’ll cover the basics of gluten-free baking.
Baking and Cooking Gluten-Free
Once you’ve mastered gluten-free baking and cooking (and it really is easy), you won’t want to go back. The important thing to remember is to keep it simple. Once you’ve learned how to use white flour alternatives, and there are plenty, you’ll be able to incorporate them into all your recipes requiring flour.
As with any new venture, don’t fear failure. Your first batch or two may turn out to be more useful as hockey pucks, but keep your sense of humor and don’t get discouraged. Baking in general requires trial and error, but once you get it you’ve got it.
But What About the Leavening?
The only problem with gluten-free flours is that they often require an additional leavening agent. I recommend using xanthum gum as a leavening agent in your gluten-free flour recipes and mixes. Alternatively, you can purchase pre-made, gluten-free flour and pancake mixes. You might be surprised at how well these pre-made mixes can turn out! As always, check the label for any funny business.
What About Oats?
Not all rolled oats are free of gluten. In fact, oats in general can be a real problem for those with celiac disease or a high sensitivity to gluten. Often times the oat crop is cross-contaminated with another crop, like wheat. If available, organic, stone milled oats are a good alternative. These may still contain trace amounts of gluten, which I’ve generally found to not be a problem for my gluten-sensitive clients.
If your digestive system is sensitive, you may have to get used to the high fiber content in rolled oats. My advice is to start low and go slow, perhaps preparing a half cup of oatmeal once or twice a week, and see how that goes for you. You can add more as your tolerance builds. Be sure to drink plenty of water, and taking a probiotic can be helpful as well.
White Flour Alternatives: The Breakdown
White rice flour: Plain white rice flour can have a gritty texture. It’s perfectly fine for baking, as long as you’re using it in something you don’t mind having a sandy texture. It can be good for biscuits and some cookies.
Sorghum flour: This flour tends to be soft and sweet with a smooth texture, and can be great for baking.
Brown rice flour: I find this flour to be superior to white rice flour. It contains more nutrition, and tends to give more body to your baking, especially when blended with lighter flours. I’ve also found that both brown and white rice flour work well as a thickening agent in gravy.
Almond flour: This flour can add a subtle but great flavor to your baked goods. It also adds protein, fiber, and essential minerals like calcium and magnesium to the mix.
Buckwheat flour: This is my go-to flour for making pancakes. It tastes great, and has great protein content. Note: even though it’s part of the name, there’s no relation to wheat. Buckwheat is actually part of the rhubarb and sorrel family.
Millet flour: Millet flour is an alkaline grain that is high in fiber and protein.
Quinoa flour: This flour is quite high in protein, but should be used sparsely as it does have a strong flavor. Quinoa flour is best used blended with other flours.
Coconut flour: Coconut flour is amazing! It’s high in fiber, has a great taste and is quite versatile. This flour does soak up moisture, so be mindful of the amounts you use. I recommend using about a half cup in a gluten-free flour blend for best results.
Note: Almond, buckwheat, coconut and quinoa flours are generally denser and work best blended in small amounts. Start out with 1/3 cup and do some experimenting. It really comes down to application and personal preference.
Dr. Bakker’s Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 1 cup tapioca or potato starch (Important: do not use potato flour.)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup almond meal, buckwheat flour, millet flour or quinoa flour
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (this is essential to avoid making ‘bricks’)
Gluten-Free Self-Rising Flour Mix
- 1 cup basic gluten-free flour mix (you can use the previous recipe)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (check to be sure it’s gluten-free!)
- 1/2 treaspoon salt (I recommend Celtic or sea salt)
I have more gluten-free recipes available on my website, including bread and pizza base mixes, which you can find here. There are also excellent gluten-free muffin recipes available on this blog here.
About the Author: Eric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 27 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida, psoriasis, as well as adrenal fatigue, thyroid and digestive disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. He has also written what may well be the most comprehensive Natural Psoriasis Treatment Program available. You can find more articles by Dr. Bakker on his blog at www.ericbakker.com
Categorised in: Nutrition