When speaking to people with coeliac disease about following a gluten-free diet, the reoccurring dissatisfaction relates to manufactured gluten-free bread and the disappointment with nationwide adored past-time of baking!
Here at DINE, we are passionate about getting people back into the kitchen and re-engaged with food! Following a gluten-free diet for coeliac disease patients can be an adjustment, so here are some top tips for approaching baking gluten-free!
You may be wondering why gluten-free baking is a challenge in the first place? So first thing’s first!
It’s important to understand why recipes list certain ingredients in order for the bakes to be a success! It’s not uncommon to think that we can modify recipes by leaving out non gluten-free ingredients and then get frustrated when the bakes aren’t a success…. guilty as charged!!
To understand why the structure of these failed bakes aren’t working, we need to understand the role that the ingredients play…
Gluten in its culinary context within wheat flours gives dough its elastic qualities and helps trap gas (produced by the addition of a raising agent e.g. yeast) within baked goods, to give rise to a desired airy crumb structure.
Without gluten, air pockets don’t form and the crumb structure is likely to become dense and dry. Therefore, replacing the gluten with ingredients that can replicate these qualities is essential.
Gluten can be found in many food products, even in ones you perhaps wouldn’t expect e.g. sauces and salad dressings!
Gluten-free recipes will often refer to using “gluten-free flour blends”. These can be bought from supermarkets (often in the gluten-free aisle). However, they are not always as easy to get hold of compared with gluten-containing flours. Essentially, these pre-made blends contain a range of gluten-free flours mixed together mixed in with a binding agent (often xanthan gum). So why not have a go at making your own?
Eggs aren’t just a good source of protein! They are often a key feature in gluten-free baking, due to their ability to bind ingredients together and help create structure to foods.
However, there are 2 other ingredients that often feature in recipe lists – Guar gum and Xanthan gum (you can find these in the baking aisle of supermarkets). These are usually interchangeable and help to stabilise/ thicken gluten-free baked goods, so make sure you keep a pot of these in your cupboard!
• Create your own nutritious gluten-free flour mixes by using a combination of gluten-free flours.
• Where possible, use whole grain or enriched, gluten-free flours (these will contain extra vitamins and minerals)