Gluten-Free Baking

The Scoop on Safe-to-Eat Flours

New gluten-free products, such as sorghum flour and specially formulated baking mixes, can also help home cooks revamp recipes for family favor ites. However, trying to approximate the crust, crumbliness and interior structure of baked goods typically made with wheat flour takes a bit of experimentation when using gluten-free ingredients. Sometimes just one type of flour will work, such as almond flour for waffles, rice flour for cake batter or buckwheat flour for pancakes. Other baking recipes require an assortment of gluten-free flours.

Different types can combine to resemble the taste, color and texture of wheat flour, for ex- ample. Most gluten-free flour blends use rice flour as a base, with potato starch, tapioca flour, corn flour and/or cornstarch added for softness. Other flours, such as buckwheat, chickpea (garbanzo bean), millet and sorghum, can improve flavor, color and texture.

Xanthan gum, an additive made from corn, typically provides structure for yeast dough made with gluten-free flour. Eggs, vinegar, sweeteners and applesauce or pumpkin purée soften and round out the flavor of the dough.

Gluten-free flours, flour blends, and xanthan gum most often appear in the specialty baking section of a grocery or health food store; helpful brands include Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour. Using alternative flours, homemade treats can remain a delicious part of gluten-free living.

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