Wednesday, March 2, 2011

All I Have to Say on The Subject of Gluten-Free Baking.... be glad you don't have Celiac's disease.  Or if you do, I'm sorry to hear that, but thank you for reading my blog despite it.

Today we learned a little bit about baking sans gluten.  While the things we made weren't bad, per se, they lacked a certain something...what was it...mmm...oh, right: gluten.  Man, you never think about that stuff until it's gone.  Then you're thinking, "Mmm..this is interesting.  But so not chewy, delicious and satisfying like I was expecting.  And kinda gritty, too." 

I'm so new to this gluten-free that I can't really say which ingredient causes the textural change, since gluten-free flours vary in composition. We used King Arthur Multi-Purpose Flour, which is a mix of white and brown rice flours, and tapioca and potato starches.  It's also possible to find potato flour, garbanzo bean flour, and I'm sure a whole host of others, but apparently this King Arthur Flour mix is a good product, or so we were told.  We used it to make sugar cookies, brownies, chicken pot pie, and pizza dough.  The sugar cookies had good flavor (we used lots of lemon zest!), but they were a bit gritty--not soft and buttery the way sugar cookies often are.  After about 2 (they were small, I swear), I was feeling like I had sand in my teeth.  (AND!  I should point out that of the FIVE batches of dough collectively produced by the class, only ONE actually produced cookies that looked/baked the way they were supposed to, which means that this recipe is fu-ssy!)  The brownies were fine, but quite cakey, despite the generous amount of egg, butter, and chocolate used.  If, in a pinch, I needed gluten-free brownies I'd be tempted to just replace the flour in Ina's Outrageous Brownies, withe a gluten-free mix, because I think they'd be richer than the ones we made were.  The chicken pot pie had good flavor (from all the yummy veggies & herbs in the filling), but again, the crust just dissolved like sand, it lacked that satisfying, well, doughiness, that I associate with pot pies.  Finally, the pizza crust was just a bit thick and oily, although I will say that my classmates who prepared the sample did a first rate job.  While the crust was kinda blah, the tomato sauce was excellent!

So, that's all I have to say on that for tonight.  If you do happen to be gluten-intolerant, and you want some of these recipes, I will be happy to share, just let me know in a comment!  Otherwise, I will be back with more yummy, gluten-y stuff in the near future!


  1. It's not so bad! Although I'm just gluten intolerant and not Celiacs, which is way easier. But I'm surprised by your experience! The wonderful thing about gluten-free baking is that it has advanced so far just recently, and there are so many awesome GF products now. For example, Tinkyada pasta and Udi's Bread tastes so much like the real thing, I can't tell them apart. I'm very surprised that you used mixes, since you really CAN make GF baked goods that taste as good as the gluten version. BUT you can't use a set mix for them. And you neeeeeed xanthan gum. If I was going to stick with one mix forever, it would be Pamela's pancake mix. I've used it for everything, including cookies and brownines. I have to say, I find King Arthur's generally mediocre and not worth the convenience.
    There are some fabulous blogs that will walk you through some amazingly delicious recipes, sholud you ever need them:

  2. Thanks for your input Lyndsey! I forgot that you were gluten intolerant. I guess I wasn't clear when I called the king Arthur stuff a mix--it's an all purpose flour that contains multiple flours, which is why I called it a mix, but it's not a mix in the sense that you add water and it becomes something like brownie mix, say. And we used xantham gum in several old the recipes. I will definitely look at the blogs you've suggested for ideas if ever I need to bake gluten free again.