It is essential for gluten intolerant people who are interesting in baking their own desserts and savoury treats to learn the art of working with gluten free flours. How well you work with the wheat flour substitute will determine how delicious your baked item will turn out to be. Flaws in the baking technique will also lead to problems with the texture of the bread or cake that is being baked. If you are struggling to work with gluten free flours such as quinoa, buckwheat, corn flour, gram flour or potato flour, then you will find the following pieces of advice immensely helpful.
1) Weigh the Flour
Weighing the flour is a way of measuring its amount. Normally when we bake we take the volume of the flour into account to measure its amount. This is why baking recipes define the amount in teaspoons or cups. However, it is a much better option to weigh the flour when you are baking a gluten free item. The reason for that is because you are working with a wide variety of flours here. Some of these flours are quite dense while others are light. Therefore, to follow the recipe correctly, you would need to measure the weight of the flour and adjust the amount accordingly.
2) Do Not Hesitate to Experiment
Experimentation is the key to achieving excellence in gluten free baking. A lot can be learned about how a particular type of flour behaves or reacts with different ingredients by combining it with a few drops of water and turning it into dough. You will discover that some gluten free flours, especially the traditional wheat flour substitutes, are not very stretchy. This is because of the absence of gluten as it serves as the glue in the dough. When you are facing such a problem, you could try to improve the elasticity of the dough by adding a bit of bicarbonate soda or gluten free yeast. Wait and observe what happens to the dough. If there is any improvement in the texture, then continue working with this flour. If no changes are noticed, then you should move on to a different type of flour.
3) Use Deep Pans
Baking with gluten free flours can turn out to be quite messy, especially during the experimental stages. The reason for that is because gluten free flours don’t really rise too well. They are also not known for holding their shape for an extended period of time. If the dough crumbles or falls apart, then you would have a mess in the kitchen to deal with. To avoid this mess, use deeper pans than normal. With the deeper pan in place, the dough for cakes, loaves, muffins or cupcakes isn’t going to fall over or crumble.
4) Get Used to the Substitute Practice
It is never a good idea to simply stick to the text in the book. You need to be flexible and you need to find gluten free recipes that are flexible. This is your best option of learning how to work gluten free flours. It pays to look at numerous recipes before deciding which flour you need to use to substitute the wheat. In most supermarkets, you will find a wide range of gluten free pre mixed flours that are labelled as “self -raising”. You don’t have to use the flour mixes sold in the supermarkets. You can come up with your own blend of flours for certain baked goods. As mentioned before, it is all about spending time in experimentation and figuring out which flour or combination of flours works best for a given recipe.
5) Use Moist Ingredients
To improve the texture of the baked good, you should make all the ingredients a little more moist than they usually are. You are not being asked to soak the ingredients in water. Rather, you should use certain moist ingredients such as grated apple or apple juice to increase the overall moisture of the mixture. When you are baking savoury treats, you can add vegetables like zucchini that add a lot of moisture to muffins. If your kids don’t like moist vegetables in their zucchini, then you can easily hide it with a bit of cheese. You could also add an extra egg to raise the moisture level. Besides, the extra egg increases the protein content of the baked item.
6) Freeze the Flour
If you are not going to use the gluten free flour regularly, then store it in the freezer. Gluten free flours that are made from nuts or ground legumes contain a fair amount of fat which attracts bacteria. Unless you want your flour to rot, keep it away from the heat when not in use. Using airtight freezer containers is the best way of keeping gluten free flour fresh.