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5 Basic Gluten-Free Baking Tips

by Elyse the Gluten-Free Foodee
5 Basic Gluten-Free Baking Tips

One question that keeps coming up when I speak to new and even seasoned gluten-free foodees (in our Facebook group) is how to bake gluten-free. While I am still a student myself, I have learned 5 basic gluten-free baking tips, that can really increase your baking successes.

Learning the basics of baking will help save you money too. As we wrote in our 7 tips for living gluten-free on a budget, gluten-free prepared/convenience food are generally more expensive than those made with gluten. When shopping – online or in-person – you should keep these 10 basic gluten-free shopping tips in mind so that you can make the best choices according to your budget and diet/palate. The goal is to stock your pantry with the gluten-free version of the same products you cooked/baked with and enjoyed before going gluten-free.

These 5 gluten-free baking tips are general guidelines to apply to recipes. They could be family recipes you’d like to make gluten-free, a new recipe you found online, or even a gluten-free recipe you’d like to improve upon. Unfortunately, not all gluten-free recipes live up to our expectations and you have to play with them to get the outcome you were expecting. These tips will hopefully make you more comfortable with doing that and getting it right.

5 Basic Gluten-Free Baking Tips

  1. Pick The Right Flour:
    The easiest type of flour to use when gluten-free baking is a cup for cup substitute flour. My personal favourite is Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 flour. I have found that it really works well in many different recipes, and acts very much like traditional all-purpose flour. The reason why cup for cup flours work so well is that they already include xantham gum. This is important because it is not just a stabilizer, but it also helps absorb liquids. Gluten-free flour does not absorb liquid the same way as traditional flour, and that’s why you must use xanthan gum. So, if you are making your own flour blend, you need to include xantham gum in it
  2. Always Let Your Batter Rest:
    No matter if it is a cake, muffin, cupcake, cookie dough, or even pancake batter- let your batter rest. By allowing the batter to rest for 15 to 30 minutes (you can cover it in plastic wrap if you like) you are allowing the liquids to have time to absorb. For example, I love our recipe for the ultimate gluten-free banana muffin and bake them all the time. Sometimes I don’t have time to let the batter sit, and other times I’ve let it rest for 30 minutes or more. While always delicious, the batter that sits for 30 minutes has a much better texture. It’s lighter, fluffier, and all-together a much better baked good. Allowing the batter to rest just makes something that is good, even better.
  3. You Need More Leavening Agent:
    Gluten-free batters tend to be quite dense, so you may want to consider upping the yeast or baking powder from the traditional recipe. For example, I have an incredible breaded cauliflower recipe, and I add three forms of leavening agents in it: 1) baking powder; 2) egg whites whipped to a stiff peak; and, 3) club soda. Now, I’m not saying to go overboard, but if it calls for a teaspoon perhaps add 1 1/2 tsp. to 2 tsp. If you are feeling unsure about it, bake with your regular amounts and if you notice it is dense, then make a note to fix it the next time you make the recipe.
  4. When In Doubt, Add More Flavour:
    I once bought the regular (meaning not cup for cup) gluten-free flour, and it had a smell I wasn’t happy with. I was making a cookie tart shell for butter tarts, and I didn’t want the crust to ruin the tart. So, I just added extra vanilla to the tart shell recipe until the off-putting bean smell from the flour was no longer present. To clarify, I’m not saying to pour a bottle of vanilla into what you’re baking or anything like that. However, if you notice a smell or taste (if you can safely taste what you’re making) you can mask it by adding more flavouring.
  5. Make Your Own Gluten-Free Cake Flour:
    Remove 1 tbs of all-purpose flour per cup and replace it with 1 tbs of corn starch. This makes for a lighter and more cake flour-like blend, which is better for baking fluffy gluten-free cakes.

These 5 basic gluten-free baking tips, will help take the guesswork out of the challenging parts and put you on your way to mastering the art of gluten-free baking. If you want to put these tips to use, check out our dessert recipes. We have a variety of dessert recipes from simple to those a little more complex so you decide your comfort level. Remember, baking should always be fun.

Do you have any gluten-free baking tips we should try? What are your favourite treats to bake? Leave us a comment below and let us know, if these tips are helpful to you. By sharing our gluten-free tips, it’ll improve all of our chances for gluten-free baking and cooking success.

Happy Baking!

5 Basic Gluten-Free Baking Tips

5 Basic Gluten-Free Baking Tips

Print Recipe/Tips
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat

NOTES/TIPS

  • Pick The Right Flour:
    The easiest type of flour to use when gluten-free baking is a cup for cup substitute flour. My personal favourite is Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 flour. I have found that it really works well in many different recipes, and acts very much like traditional all-purpose flour. The reason why cup for cup flours work so well is that they already include xantham gum. This is important because it is not just a stabilizer, but it also helps absorb liquids. Gluten-free flour does not absorb liquid the same way as traditional flour, and that’s why you must use xanthan gum. So, if you are making your own flour blend, you need to include xantham gum in it
  • Always Let Your Batter Rest:
    No matter if it is a cake, muffin, cupcake, cookie dough, or even pancake batter- let your batter rest. By allowing the batter to rest for 15 to 30 minutes (you can cover it in plastic wrap if you like) you are allowing the liquids to have time to absorb. For example, I love our recipe for the ultimate gluten-free banana muffin and bake them all the time. Sometimes I don't have time to let the batter sit, and other times I've let it rest for 30 minutes or more. While always delicious, the batter that sits for 30 minutes has a much better texture. It's lighter, fluffier, and all-together a much better baked good. Allowing the batter to rest just makes something that is good, even better.
  • You Need More Leavening Agent:
    Gluten-free batters tend to be quite dense, so you may want to consider upping the yeast or baking powder from the traditional recipe. For example, I have an incredible breaded cauliflower recipe, and I add three forms of leavening agents in it: 1) baking powder; 2) egg whites whipped to a stiff peak; and, 3) club soda. Now, I'm not saying to go overboard, but if it calls for a teaspoon perhaps add 1 1/2 tsp. to 2 tsp. If you are feeling unsure about it, bake with your regular amounts and if you notice it is dense, then make a note to fix it the next time you make the recipe.
  • When In Doubt, Add More Flavour:
    I once bought the regular (meaning not cup for cup) gluten-free flour, and it had a smell I wasn’t happy with. I was making a cookie tart shell for butter tarts, and I didn’t want the crust to ruin the tart. So, I just added extra vanilla to the tart shell recipe until the off-putting bean smell from the flour was no longer present. To clarify, I’m not saying to pour a bottle of vanilla into what you’re baking or anything like that. However, if you notice a smell or taste (if you can safely taste what you’re making) you can mask it by adding more flavouring.
  • Make Your Own Gluten-Free Cake Flour:
    Remove 1 tbs of all-purpose flour per cup and replace it with 1 tbs of corn starch. This makes for a lighter and more cake flour-like blend, which is better for baking fluffy gluten-free cakes.
Did You Try This Recipe or These Tips?
How did it go? Let us know in the comments. Tag us on Instagram at @Gluten_Free_Foodee..

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