Have your previous attempts at gluten-free baking wound up in the trash or down the garbage disposal? Stop wasting expensive ingredients. Follow these three tricks for gluten-free baking success.
As anyone who has attempted it knows, gluten-free baking can be tricky. It demands more time and dedication than when baking with wheat. There are, however, some tips and tricks that can make your gluten-free baking endeavors more successful. This is important because the absence of gluten creates challenges in replicating the taste and texture of wheat-based products.
In my previous article in this gluten-free baking series, I shared some basic tips for getting started. I also discussed the elastic properties of gluten, the lack of which makes gluten-free baking more complicated. In that last article, I emphasized the importance of accurate measurements, as well as the differences amongst gluten-free flours and gums. Today, I want to focus on the baking process itself, the leavening, and cross-contamination issues.
Gluten-Free Baking Trick #1: Be Mindful of Baking Times and Temperatures
In the gluten-free baking process, oven temperatures and times always vary. This is because we mix a variety of flours from different grains, with each of those having its own properties. For example, rice is drier than other grains, and therefore requires lower temperatures and longer baking times. The same is true of almond flour.
Another trick for successful gluten-free baking is the use of an oven thermometer. This allows you to adjust the temperature according to the properties of the dough. To go along with that, be sure to keep an eye on the oven. Check the color of your baked goods every five to 10 minutes to ensure they are browning properly.
Finally, test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. This helps to monitor texture and consistency of the dough during the baking process. Do this after 15 to 20 minutes of baking. If the dough is still sticky or wet, you’ll know it needs more time in the oven. And, as is true with any type of baking, remember to preheat your oven!
Gluten-Free Baking Trick #2: Put Some Thought Into the Leavening Process
This goes without saying but always be sure that your leaven is gluten-free. Many brands sell gluten-free leaven or flour mixes that contain leaven. Refer to my previous article on this topic for my recommendations.
Another trick is to dissolve the leaven in hot water before adding it to the mix. However, you should always the preparation instructions on the leavening package. Also, keep in mind. that there are many other leavening options. For example, I sometimes use baking soda or cream of tartar. As a general rule, you’ll need 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of flour.
A trick for gluten-free bread is to let the dough rise itself. After I finish mixing it, I cover the dough with a mold and leave it for about 30 minutes. Then it’s ready for the oven.
Gluten-Free Baking Trick #3: Avoid Cross-Contamination
Cross-contamination is of paramount importance for anyone following a gluten-free diet. Cross-contamination occurs when molecules of gluten enter the baking process and this can be really dangerous for those with celiac disease. The first trick to avoid cross-contamination is to use only certified gluten-free products. Yes, that even includes the butter, sugar, oil, and salt.
The second trick to avoid cross-contamination is more relevant to those who also bake or cook with gluten. In this case, it is crucial that bowls, pans, and utensils be cleaned throughly with soap and water or by using alcohol. Disinfecting all surfaces will also help to eliminate accidental exposure.
I really really hope these tricks are useful for you. This gluten-free baking series will continue because there is so much more to share about this important topic. Have you tried gluten-free baking? If so, what tips and tricks can you share? Let us know in the comments section below and stay tuned for more from the world of gluten-free baking.