Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Is Gluten Free Baking TOO Complicated for YOU?

One of my mother's favorite complaints is the amount of food I keep at my house, which is funny because we have a hard time keeping the food that we want on hand. For a long time, my gluten free baking was the largest section of all in my pantry. I had 30 kinds of flours and mixes, not to mention the usual items: baking soda, baking powder, flavorings, nuts, sugars, etc. I mostly try to follow her advice, though to make tasty, gluten free baked goods, you often NEED several kinds of flour and to follow the recipe exactly. Missing a cup of one type of flour means you must rush out to the store to buy it.

Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour
However, there is a solution. If you want to simplify your gluten free pantry so that you need only ONE type of flour, I recommend Bob's Red Mill's All Purpose Baking Flour. This flour is very versatile and it has the health benefit of garbanzo bean flour being its first ingredient. Note that this won't work well for breads requiring the dough to rise. You can instead buy mixes as you need them.

Some healthy, gluten free diet advocates recommend sticking only to nut flours, although I feel that is excessive for most gluten free individuals and unnecessary. It IS a good idea to include those flours in your baking. And I DO recommend going of all grains, at least temporarily, if you have Candidae or if grains seem to cause gastrointenstinal distress even after going off all gluten. Although when I had an skin allergy test, I reacted to almost every commonly used grain, by going through the elimination diet several times, I determined I'm only symptomatic with wheat, barley, rye, oats, and dairy. Most grains don't bother me, so my only concern is a healthy, gluten free/dairy free diet and eating enough to fuel my exercise habit.

I often use this flour, or a mix that I combine myself, add about a teaspoon of xanthum gum, and follow a regular, wheat flour recipe for cookies, pies, and sweet breads. For dessert-type of baked goods, it almost always turns out great! For breads that require the dough to rise, you'll need to be more careful and follow the directions as precisely as possible unless you want to experiment many times.

What type of flours do you use? Please leave a comment below:

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