There are two big problems that people have with gluten free baked goods. The first is that they don’t really like the taste as a lot of bakers choose the wrong wheat flour substitute when baking. The other problem that people have with gluten free bakery is that they are not too high on the textured of the baked good. Once again, the choice of the wheat flour substitute is to be blamed. In addition to that, flaws in the baking technique can lead to a poor texture of the baked good. When you are baking gluten free, these are two issues that you need to address to make sure that your baked good does not turn out to be a complete disaster.
What Gluten Does to the Texture
To understand why people have problems with the texture of gluten free baked items, you need to first know what gluten does to the texture of cake or bread. The purpose of gluten is to act like glue and improve the elasticity of the baked item. As a matter of fact, gluten comes from a root word that means “glue”. The proteins that are contained within gluten can arrange themselves to trap gas bubbles. It is this alignment that causes the bread to have a certain degree of elasticity. In the absence of gluten, it can be quite difficult to achieve the airy cell structure that we so commonly associate with beautifully baked bread and cakes.
Traditional Flour Alternatives
Gluten free baking is not possible without the use of flour alternatives. Wheat flour is the primary source of gluten. If you use wheat in your bakery, you will have to consume gluten. Low gluten wheat flour is not really an option for people who are suffering from gluten intolerance or celiac disease. There was a time when the only wheat alternatives that you could find in the market were corn, rice, pea, potato and tapioca flour. These wheat substitutes aren’t always the best options when it comes to baking at home. Even when these ingredients are properly ground, the baked goods that are made with their flours tend to have a gritty or rubbery texture. The softness and stickiness that you associate with high quality bread is simply not present.
Modern Flour Alternatives
Thankfully for people with gluten intolerance, the gluten free industry has progressed in leaps and bounds over the last few years. To meet popular demand, manufacturers have come up with amazing alternatives for wheat flour that are much better ingredients for baking than the traditional flour alternatives mentioned above. For example, you can now use millet, amaranth, kasha, quinoa flour, coconut flour, nut flours, gluten free oats, bean flours and teff for baking. If you bake with these “new flours” you will discover that they have much better flavours and textures to offer to your baked goods. Moreover, you have products such as xanthan gum, guar gum and a host of other binders in the market that enhances the elasticity and taste of gluten free baked recipes.
5 Ways In Which You Can Improve the Texture
Improving the texture of your gluten free baked goods requires a bit of effort and skill. It is all about getting your baking selections and technique spot on.
1) Do Not Use Milk or Water
When a recipe calls for you to use milk or water, simply use buttermilk instead. The reason for that is because buttermilk offers a much finer and lighter overall texture. You can also use carbonated water in place of regular water in pancake recipes. The purpose of this change once again is to give the baked item a much lighter texture.
2) Use Flavoured Gelatine
Unflavoured gelatine is a fantastic gluten free binding agent. People who have used unflavoured gelatine in their baking before report that this ingredient prevents crumbling of the bread, cookie, cake or pastry. The key here is to soften the gelatine in the liquid of the recipe before using it as an ingredient for baking.
3) Make Use of a Combo
Using a combination of gluten free flours can give you a much better texture than relying on a single flour to do the trick.
4) Use Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum or guam gum can be very important for baking certain gluten free items, especially those that are prone to crumbling. Make sure that you add the gum to the dry ingredients. It is worth noting that the xantham gum is a better option than the guam gum as the latter can cause stomach ache in certain people.
5) Let Your Dough Rest
This is a very simple step that you should never ignore. Don’t start baking with the dough immediately. Let it rest for a period of at least 30 minutes at room temperature. The dough becomes softer during the resting period.