Gluten Free Baking

Baking is a beautiful art and magnificently delicious. Until you add the gluten free aspect. Gluten free in years past has received a bad rap for tasting lifeless, like dirt or worse, like cardboard. But food manufacturers are making great strides in creating beautiful blends of flours and artisan flours that enhance the gluten free baking and cooking experience.

My first go around with gluten free baking started with rice flour. Totally unaware of other bulk flour options, I perused the Whole Foods baking aisle like a versed pro and eyeballed the rice flour. I brought it home and immediately began firing up all my utensils and breaking out the chocolate chips. I was going to prove all the naysayers wrong about gluten free. Who could deny chocolate chip cookies?

Needless to say I wanted to deny them. After the prep, the bake time and cooling time, our moment of truth had finally arrived. Taste testing. First bite was amazing. Tender. Gooey. Granules……like sand, but sweet, but kinda crunchy.

Not at all what I thought these cookies would taste like.

So I found the most interesting texture for chocolate chip cookies with rice flour. Only to discover a more smooth texture by using warmed ingredients. Go figure.

Not all gluten free products and or flours are the same. Advancements by food manufacturers and millers are resulting in smoother and silkier flours specifically for baking. More so you can even make your own flours at home for about a fraction of the cost.

gluten free, pamelas, oat flour, pancake recipe, recipesSome of my favorite baking flours are made by Pamela’s. I adore Pamela’s brand for their consistency, quality and taste. The packaging is bright and is chock full of recipes, most of which I have modified to some degree here on this blog and with my past Thanksgiving that was served gluten and dairy free. Costco also has been carrying a great gluten free product as well which is the Nutiva brand coconut flour. Coconut flour is excellent for flavor, consistency and protein. Believe it or not but the flour is high in protein and it is a high liquid absorber. Great care should be taken when using coconut flour to ensure proper hydration of your recipes, the coconut flour acts like a sponge and before you know it you have play-doh as opposed to cookie dough.

Last but not least is making your own gluten free flour. I have a 20 pound bag of  organic brown rice and my Blendtec that I love using to make flour. My brown rice cost about $10 for the entire bag from Costco and I have definitely got my monies worth. I just scoop into my Blendtec, hit the button and VOILA! Flour. Another favorite for gluten free flour that is jam packed with protein is oat flour. I adore oat flour for the smooth taste and flavor. I found WinCo foods carries bulk organic oats for less than one dollar a pound. YES! $.99 per pound for organic rolled oats.  A true gem of a find that I bought 10 pounds of rolled oats and stored at home in bulk to use for various recipes and flour. Oat flour for a single pound costs $10.

Please taste test and see for yourself. My favorite oat flour recipe is corn bread:

1 c. corn meal

1 c. oat flour

1 c. buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk use almost a full cup of milk and add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar)

4 tsp baking powder

2/3 c. sugar

1/4 c. coconut oil

1 egg

Mix ingredients in their entirety. Pour into a cupcake pan. Bake @ 450 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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