Finding out you have a food sensitivity or allergy can be an emotional experience.  It was for me at least.  No bread?  My first thought was, “Yeah…that’s going to be a problem.”  My second thought was, “I’m going to need some toast while I think this over.”

gf baking 101 _11.4

Gluten-free living is kind of all the rage these days;  it’s practically trendy at this point.  Well, the unfortunate reality is that it’s much more than a trend, and more and more people are discovering they do quite a bit better when they move away from the stretchy protein known as gluten. We’ve had over a thousand participants in our programs this year, and you know what we keep hearing?  Whether they’re sensitive or not, lowering the amount of gluten-filled items (think bread, pastries, cookies, crackers, flour tortillas…etc.) in their lives has served them well. Why?  Well gluten has been linked to lower energy levels, digestive upset, even disrupted brain function.  So here we are, with a ton of us going gluten-free and having to completely re-think the way we approach some of our favorite foods.  If you love to bake  and you love the holidays, you’ve found the place. This will be the first of several installments covering The Art of Baking Gluten-Free, just in time for the holidays.  So keep checking in, we’ll be coming at you with more and more information.  

So first and foremost I’m going to get real with you – if you are really into baking, and you want to make baked goods that knock people’s socks off instead of them thinking “yeah it’s ok…for gluten-free…”  then this is the number one tip I can give you: buy a kitchen scale.  Why?  Because all flours have different weights, and if you’re swapping out flours you want to go by weight, not measurement.  You’d be surprised how much 1 cup of flour can vary depending on air, measuring tools and by the actual baker .  Kitchen scales are pretty darn cheap and can make all the difference!  Some cooks and bloggers (and all bakers outside of the US) will only post recipes in grams or ounces instead of cups.

gluten-free-flour

Let’s do an example: if your recipe calls for 1 ½ cups of flour, and you’re trying to replace it with a gluten-free blend, you would use this chart to determine that you need to substitute with 187.5 grams or 6 ⅝ ounces of your gluten-free blend. Print it and tape to your cupboard!  I was always intimidated by baking with the scale until I tried it and found it makes recipes SO much easier to follow.

Next week: Gluten-free flour – store bought and how to make your own.  

You’re gonna be a kitchen sensei in no time.  Want our favorite gluten-free bread recipe?  No prob, here you go.