Whether you are cooking gluten free for yourself or for a loved one it can seem intimidating at first. It need not be. Cooking gluten free is just like cooking with gluten. The food is just as good and the process is just as fun.
There Are Substitutes For Nearly Everything
No matter your recipe, there is a way to make it without gluten. It may taste slightly different. The texture may change. Breads may be denser, cookies more cake-like, but they will still be enjoyable. Oats, nut flours and cornstarch will replace most of the tasks you once used wheat flours to do.
- To thicken stir-fry or gravy use arrowroot or cornstarch
- To make roux use rice flour.
- Use cornmeal for a crunchy breading.
Cook by Weight
According to the National Foundation of Celiac Disease, 1 in 133 Americans or 1% has celiac disease. A gluten free recipe will generally not be measured in cups of flour. Instead, the non-gluten flour will be measured in grams or ounces. This allows the flour, which is often a blend of flours, to be able to be used well. For example, if flours where measured in cups, a light fluffy flour would be used in the same amount of as a heavy dense flour. Your baked goods would not bake as well.
Blend Your Flours
When cooking with gluten flours you will normally be using just one at a time. Gluten-free flours are different. To get the best textured breads and cookies most gluten free recipes will use a pre-prepared mixture of of several flours.
This is generally done before you plan to cook. Pick the flours that are called for in most of your recipes. Use a large bowl and a fine sieve. Pour the flours through the sieve until the color is smooth and consistent. Store in an airtight container until use.
Practice Makes Perfect
Gluten free baking is a whole new world of cooking. See here for a guide to gluten free baking. Your batter will feel different. Gluten-free bread, for example, will have a dough that is more like pancake mix then it is like traditional gluten bread dough.
Learn the new smells, tastes and textures of your new doughs. They will be different but in the end your baking and cooking will be just as tasty.