Preparing to Bake in Your GFCF Kitchen

Last week we started talking about stocking your GFCF Pantry. Part Two of my kitchen review includes things I use for baking and preparing things like waffles and pancakes. Please keep in mind that you don’t need to buy everything on this list. When I first started baking without gluten or casein I bought 5 things: rice flour, sorghum flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum, and soy milk. Like a lot of folks, I already had things like baking powder, sugar, baking soda, vanilla, and eggs laying around in my fridge and cupboards. Gradually I started experimenting with other ingredients; keeping the things I liked and tossing the rest.

• Flours and starches: Look for a variety of these to try. Some of my personal favorites are sorghum, rice, tapioca, arrowroot, buckwheat, and potato. Others include amaranth, millet, almond, garbanzo bean, soy, quinoa, teff, and corn. Gluten free flour is different from conventional, all-purpose flour. In order to simulate the results of using “regular” flour, you will find it necessary to mix different varieties to make you own baking mixes. In addition to baking, some of these flours and starches make great thickening agents for sauces, gravies, and puddings.

• Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Yeast, Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum: These ingredients serve the same purpose in gluten free baking as they do in conventional baking. Some brands of yeast contain gluten, so please be careful in looking at ingredients; the same holds true for baking powder. Guar gum and xanthan gum are stabilizers that help baked goods hold their shape. I use xanthan gum in most of my baking. Guar gum can be used in xanthan gum’s place, but you’ll only need to use half as much.

• Milk substitutes: Rice, almond, soy, hemp nut, potato, and coconut are among the many varieties of milk substitutes on the market. Some manufacturers use gluten in their products, so it is very important that you look at the ingredients. Most have a mild flavor that holds up well in cooking and baking. Lately I’ve been using hemp nut milk for smoothies with delicious results.

• Sweeteners: In addition to granulated sugar, there are a number of wonderful sweeteners to try. Agave nectar, fruit juice concentrates, honey, molasses, brown rice syrup, and maple syrup are delicious, and they make great alternatives to refined sugar.

• Eggs and egg replacements: Eggs are a very important component in baking, so try to keep eggs on hand. For those who are allergic to eggs, egg replacer powders can be used. Egg replacer powder is available in most health food stores.

• Other Items: Vanilla extract, canola or olive oil, cider vinegar, lemon juice, and unflavored gelatin powder are good to have as well. Just as in conventional baking these items seem to find their way into many a recipe. And they have applications one might never have thought of. For example, I take one tablespoon of cider vinegar or lemon juice, place it in a measuring cup, then add enough soy milk to measure 1 cup, and voila! Buttermilk, without casein.

Next week, we’re getting in the kitchen for our first baked treat! If there is a particular favorite you’d like to try gluten and casein free, please let your voice be heard. What would you like to try?

5 Responses to Preparing to Bake in Your GFCF Kitchen