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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Gluten-free Diet / Celiac Disease / Some Gluten-free Tips
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    Some Gluten-free Tips

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    Fri Oct 05, 2007 6:31 am
    Forum Host
    Gluten-free cooking can be quite a challenge.

    Focus on foods that you can eat and accept the challenge. There is much to learn about following a gluten-free lifestyle. We all learn through reading, experimenting with our cooking and by sharing our experiences, hints and tips with each other. Recipezaar is a great place to meet others cooking gluten-free and share recipes with each other.

    When initially commencing on a gluten-free diet you will already have your favourite recipes, all of which are based on gluten containing flours.
    Cooking gluten-free is basically learning to cook with alternate ingredients to those containing gluten. The main challenge is that there is no single flour that contains all of the qualities of wheat or gluten containing flours.

    What is the function of Gluten?

    Gluten is the protein that provides the strength and elastic properties to flours containing gluten. It helps trap gases in baked goods and provides binding qualities. Gluten gives kneaded dough its elasticity and supports the rising dough. It provides stability to baked goods.

    When substituting wheat flour with gluten-free flour, you'll usually get best results with recipes that have only a small percentage of flour in them. Your health food shop or perhaps even your supermarket will sell some or a variety of gluten-free flours. Many supermarkets will stock a range of pre-blended general-purpose gluten-free flours.

    Starting out on Gluten-free Cooking
    Learning to cook gluten-free baked goods will be challenging. Gluten-free cooking takes practice. Learning about qualities of different flours helps, but the best way to do this is through experience. Expect to have some failures, but don’t be afraid to try again. Stay positive and accept the challenge. Don’t expect gluten-free goods to look or taste the same as wheat based products. Gluten-free cakes will generally not be a high-rise cake

    Becoming gluten-free is not something that you have time to learn before doing. Initially it is easier to commence eating a basic diet of meats, poultry, rice, vegetables and fruits. During this time you will take time (a whole lot of time) to read labels whilst shopping to find gluten-free foods and read up about following a gluten-free diet. Start by cooking recipes that have already been adapted or developed for a gluten-free diet. There’s great recipes posted on Recipezaar as gluten-free, just use the recipe sifter to locate them.

    Over time you will want to extend your recipe base and try converting some of your favourite recipes to being suited to a gluten-free diet. Expect some recipes to work out great and others more suitable for the trash bin.

    Some Gluten-free Cooking and General Tips
    In recipes using very little flour (11/2 cups or less) just replace regular wheat flour with a gluten-free blend.

    In baked goods gluten-free flour can produce a crumbly product. Gums are used to stabilize foods and replace the function of gluten. Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum are the most widely used and available. Some recipes will also use Psyllium husks, flax, gelatin / knox or a gluten-free gluten substitute.

    As a guideline for adding Xanthan Gum, start with: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon should be added to GF flour for a cake, 1 teaspoon to a pie crust, 1 tablespoon for bread in a bread machine.

    A combination of gluten-free flours will usually produce a far better result than using just one. All the gluten-free flours have different qualities but not one has all the qualities of wheat flour.

    Biscuit dough and pastry are much easier to handle if refrigerated for about 30 minutes prior to rolling. They will be much softer that when using wheat flour.

    Use sheets of baking/silicon or waxed paper to roll out pastry dough between. This will make it easier to move and not stick to your worktop.

    Handle gluten-free pastry very gently and carefully, as it will be quite fragile.

    Leave gluten-free cakes and biscuits to cool in the tins/trays for 5-10 minutes before turning out. This should help reduce failures at the last minute. Baked gluten-free goods are much softer than those containing gluten. They to take that extra time to firm up.

    Use heavy-duty bread or cake tins as the heat is distributed much more evenly. This should reduce having a firm cooked crust and an uncooked centre. Dark bake-ware may require either a lower temperature or shorter time cooking. I have found a little of both to be the most successful.

    Have the cooking temperature on your oven checked. This can make a major difference when following another chef’s recipe.

    Sometimes adding an extra egg or a little gelatin to a recipe will help give some strength to your baked product.

    GF cakes are best eaten within 24 hours of cooking. Any leftovers can be sliced and covered in cling wrap in individual serves - great to take to work or school.

    Stale gluten-free bread can be used to make breadcrumbs. Use these to directly replace crumbs used in regular recipes. Slice bread then place in a slow oven on a baking tray. Cook until the bread is golden and then process to a crumb using food processor or use a rolling pin with the bread inside a large ziplock bag. Store in an airtight container in pantry, fridge or freezer. Use in place of regular breadcrumbs in stuffing mixes or burger patties

    Check medication is also gluten-free. Many medications and pharmaceuticals contain gluten.

    Gluten-free baking powder- make your own using 1/4 cup bicarbonate soda (baking soda) combined with 1/2-cup cream of tartar. Mix well and keep in an airtight container.

    Look for 'debittered’ soy flour, as it has a much milder flavour.

    Be always aware of cross-contamination of foods that are gluten-free with those containing wheat or gluten. Keep a high shelf in your pantry for gluten-free products only.
    If you have a child on a gluten-free diet try to store any foods that they shouldn't eat out of their sight and reach. Suitable snacks can be kept where little hands can easily reach them.

    If cooking two meals in the oven, use the top shelf for the gluten free version. This will eliminate cross-contamination by any cooking overflowing or crumbs being transferred.

    To flour chicken pieces or fish before cooking, just use a gluten-free flour such as rice flour or brown rice flour.

    For crunchy toppings try crumbled corn tortilla chips, rice chips, or potato chips.

    Brown rice flour is a whole grain and has more nutrition. It works well in recipes if balanced with lighter flours. You can easily mix 50/50 brown rice flour with white rice flour for use in recipes calling for rice flour.

    Adding a nut meal, such as almond meal, or a GF baby cereal like Farex will help lighten a recipe and can give a moister result. Try replacing a small amount of the flour called for in a recipe.

    Adding some coconut, chopped nuts, dried fruit or GF chocolate chips can go a long way to improving texture and flavour. Start by adding 1/2 to 1 cup to your biscuits or cakes. They’ll help break up the heavy texture of gluten-free biscuits or cakes.

    Use more flavouring, spices and herbs than called for in your regular recipes. Gluten-free cooking can be much blander than your previous diet.

    It’s much more economical to bake your own gluten-free goods. Have fun and accept the challenge!

    Please feel free to add your gluten-free tips here also.

    The best tips are those learned through experiences and experiments with cooking.

    Last edited by **Jubes** on Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:56 am, edited 3 times in total
    Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:14 pm
    Forum Host
    Great info! Thanks!
    Sat Oct 27, 2007 6:23 pm
    Forum Host
    Hi Rita wave.gif

    Thanks for your encouragement to post my tips here. icon_biggrin.gif

    I'm hoping that others will add the tips that they have picked up or learnt along the way as well icon_biggrin.gif
    Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:58 pm
    Forum Host
    **Jubes** wrote:
    Hi Rita wave.gif

    Thanks for your encouragement to post my tips here. icon_biggrin.gif

    I'm hoping that others will add the tips that they have picked up or learnt along the way as well icon_biggrin.gif

    icon_wink.gif Your family is really Great looking! Congratulations on your niece.
    Mon Oct 29, 2007 1:16 am
    Forum Host
    Thanks.....and we are very proud of our new niece Erin .... she's three months now.
    My youngest Holly says she is "my baby" icon_biggrin.gif
    Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:16 am
    Forum Host
    **Jubes** wrote:
    Thanks.....and we are very proud of our new niece Erin .... she's three months now.
    My youngest Holly says she is "my baby" icon_biggrin.gif
    Happy Halloween to you and THEM!
    Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:24 am
    Forum Host
    Happy Halloween Rita, to you and your family too!

    Gluten-free brew icon_wink.gif
    Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:40 am Groupie
    These are just a few simple tips :

    icon_arrow.gif Have two sets of measuring cups and spoons. Use one set for the wet ingredients and the other for the dry.

    icon_wink.gif When you find a baking recipe you like and intend to make regularly, you can save a lot of time and mess by multiplying the amounts of dry ingredients, mixing them all together and storing in a large container. This way all you need to do is add the wet ingredients. Some maths will be required to determine the amount of dry mix to use.

    (icon_exclaim.gif Do not add yeast to mixes, add this when actually making the recipe.)

    icon_idea.gif A wire whisk does a great job mixing the dry ingredients.

    icon_razz.gif Vinegar is added to bread recipes to correct the ph of the water and also act as a bread improver. A commercial bread improver does the same job (make sure it is GF). Lemon juice and vitamin C can also be used.

    icon_biggrin.gif Humidity, freshness of flour, brand, and type of flour can all affect the amount of liquid required in a recipe. Liquid/dry balance in GF cooking is very important, particularly when baking breads.

    icon_wink.gif If you change the type of flour called for in a recipe this may affect the amount of liquid required.

    icon_exclaim.gif Gluten-free batter has a way of going from to too dry to too wet very quickly, so add any extra liquid (if need be) slowly, about 1 tablespoon at a time.

    icon_confused.gif Baking paper (parchment/silicon coated paper) makes life a lot less sticky – I use it for everything.

    icon_idea.gif When using paper patty pans, brush or spray the inside of the paper with oil. Otherwise you will leave half of your baking behind on the paper.

    icon_eek.gif When using besan (AKA chickpea/garbanzo bean flour) in a recipe don’t taste the batter or dough. It really tastes awful raw, but the bitterness disappears when cooked and it can really improve the flavour of baked goods.

    icon_wink.gif Check Asian and Indian stores for ingredients (especially flour). They are much cheaper than a health food shop, have a greater range, and often sell larger packages.

    icon_idea.gif If , like me, you live in Australia and you intend using recipes from the internet, buy some measuring spoons and cups in US sizes. These are available at some kitchen shops and department stores. Recently I found there are more US sized spoons in shops than Australian Standard sized. I have measuring spoons which have the ml equivalent marked clearly to avoid any confusion with my Australian standard measures. Scales with both metric and imperial measurements are also very useful.

    Last edited by bearhouse5 on Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:52 pm, edited 2 times in total
    Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:53 am Groupie
    Tips for baking gluten-free bread:

    Making a good gluten-free (GF) bread from scratch can be tricky enough, let alone without the added hurdle of being egg-free (EF) as well as we are, but it is possible. It may, however, take a bit of practice, so expect some trial and error. Eventually you will get a ‘feel’ for the batter and the method and recipes that suit YOU.

    Some things to remember for all methods:

    icon_arrow.gif All ingredients should be at room temperature.

    icon_arrow.gif The humidity, type, freshness and brand of flour can all affect the amount of water required in a recipe. I find it is best to withhold about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the water (or other liquid), mix the batter, and then add more as required. This is particularly important when modifying a recipe or using a new brand of flour. It is easiest to add water to a too-dry batter than to add flour to a too-wet batter. Add the water slowly about 1 tablespoon at a time.

    icon_arrow.gif Vinegar is added as a bread improver, as well as to improve the ph of the water. Bread improver (if you can find one that is GF), lemon juice or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) can also be used.

    icon_arrow.gif The batter should be the consistency of a very thick cake batter.

    icon_arrow.gif 1 teaspoon of gelatin may be added to increase the protein in a recipe and give the yeast a little extra to work on. Milk powder, soy milk powder and almond meal can also help to increase the protein.

    icon_arrow.gif Xanthan gum is added to bread, normally at a rate of 1 teaspoon per cup of flour. Guar gum may be used instead and is cheaper than xanthan gum.

    icon_arrow.gif I find a couple of teaspoons of GF baking powder improve the texture of egg-free and GF breads.

    icon_arrow.gif When using powder egg-replacer in place of eggs use twice the amount of powder called for on the packet (but not twice the water).

    icon_arrow.gif To test if yeast is still active dissolve a few teaspoons of sugar in 1/2 cup lukewarm water, add 3 teaspoons of yeast. In 10 minutes the water should be foamy and the volume should have doubled. If not, the yeast is no longer active and should be discarded.

    icon_arrow.gif As measuring cups can vary, use the same type to measure all of the ingredients.

    icon_arrow.gif Bread can be sliced and frozen when cooled. Place a piece of baking paper between slices for easy separation.

    icon_arrow.gif It is best to slice cooled bread, but my kids never wait always eat almost the whole loaf the moment it is cooked. icon_rolleyes.gif

    icon_arrow.gif A wire whisk is great for combining dry ingredients.

    icon_arrow.gif Non-stick baking paper/parchment can make removing the bread from the pan much easier.

    icon_arrow.gif GF rolls often cook more successfully then large loaves.

    icon_arrow.gif When modifying a recipe, write down any changes you make. I recently made a mix but I was short on a lot of the flours. I topped up with whatever I had on hand but didn’t keep a record. Of course, this mix made the best bread I have ever baked and I have no way to reproduce it. icon_cry.gif

    icon_arrow.gif If possible, use a very fine rice flour. Finer rice flours tend to produce much better breads.
    Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:21 am
    Forum Host
    Hi Bearbouse 5 wave.gif

    Great tips !! icon_biggrin.gif

    Gluten-free bread making is totally different to cooking bread with wheat. You're definitely right about getting the feel for baking breads gluten-free and getting the liquid content right.

    Thanks for posting your tips .......... I'm going to give some of them a go over the weekend. icon_biggrin.gif
    Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:47 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    Thank you Jubes for all your tips and for telling me about this
    forum. I am looking forward to learning more and becoming a better gluten free chef. Rosemere
    Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:11 pm
    Forum Host
    rosemere wrote:
    Thank you Jubes for all your tips and for telling me about this
    forum. I am looking forward to learning more and becoming a better gluten free chef. Rosemere

    Hi rosemere wave.gif

    Great to see that you've found us. icon_biggrin.gif

    Cooking gluten-free is a constant learning curve. We've all been helping each other out here icon_cool.gif

    Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:11 am Groupie
    I have been aware of the gluten free diet for 13 years now. It seemed to take about 3 years to learn to get it right. The learning, the reading of every label of items purchased. Shopping took about 6 times longer then before. There were very few things on the market that were ready made as they are now. Everyone needs a mentor. We had to educate many doctors and still are. We fight the denial of extended family members and their uneducated ignorance, and these are true battles. I cringe when I hear gluten-intolerant people say that they find they can cheat occasionally!!! EEEE!

    What I missed most were Whopper Hamburgers and Pizza, for the first 3 years, especially. Finally, I learned it was the melted cheese that I missed most and adjusted to that. My best tip is never to allow oneself to get hungry. Eating every three hours, small amounts of food, as do controlled diabetics; always have a gluten-free snack on hand when you are out and about, such as nuts. Always plan ahead, always be prepared. My whole household is on the gluten-free diet, as I cook tasty and interesting recipes, so they never want for anything that is gluten. Everyone is excited to see what wonderful thing is cooking in my kitchen.

    At last restaurants are now aware of the need for gluten free menus.
    Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:38 am
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    Thank you so much for your encouragement, Granny dragon. I am trying to switch over to gluten free cooking, but it is not easy as we have many in our family who do not seem to be sensitive to the wheat. I am thankful for the recipes that I am finding on recipe zaar and it is more exciting cooking and having success in the kitchen. I have had some compliments on some of the gluten free recipes that I have found. Anyway, I will be looking forward to trying recipes that you have posted( and others) to make our diet more exciting. Have a great day! icon_biggrin.gif
    Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:13 pm Groupie

    Everyday is an adventure, especially in cooking. Most any wonderful recipe you have loved, can be adapted to gluten-free. Remember when you get complaints, that you would also be getting them for regular recipes, as well, as we all do have our mistakes with chosen recipes. Some of the kitchen events, can become hysterically funny family stories.

    I remember as a young bride I only cooked on the highest heats on the stove. I must say, I did burn a lot. My SOH (Sweet Old Husband, young then) was very patient with me and ate in any condition, what was presented to him. I told him he was my Greek God and these were the burnt offerings.

    I do mentor Celiac people far and wide with the computer and have helped educate many doctors, as well, to this condition. The University of Maryland is my source of education, and is the center for Celiac education and information.

    What more can I do for you?
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