Oh my! I’m doing LOTS of gluten-free baking to get ready for the holidays. Here are some basic baking tips to keep in mind as you finish up your holiday baking. I’ve included a section on how to bake gluten free as well as gluten free baking tips.
Gluten Free Baking Tips
The holidays are a time when you create cherished memories and share the love with baked goods. I want to take the opportunity to share with you some quick tips and a new product that I am baking with so you can enjoy your holiday baking. The first thing I want you to know is that baking is an exact science. Measure all your ingredients carefully, using a glass measuring cup for wet ingredients and regular dry measuring cups and teaspoons for dry ingredients.
It’s important to read the entire recipe before you start baking and follow it exactly. I have caught myself being soft with my techniques and measuring – only to end up with a recipe fail. I remind myself over and over the importance of following a recipe. Don’t get me wrong, you can add chocolate chips to your banana bread or sprinkle some coconut on top. It’s the base recipe I’m referring to. If you don’t had the right amount of flour your baked goods could end up too dense or even fall flat. If you don’t add the correct amount of wet ingredients your baked goods could crumble.
There’s a myth that gluten-free flours don’t hold in baked goods on there own and that you always need to add a binding agent. This is NOT TRUE. If you find the right combination of ingredients you won’t always need a binding agent. There are a few exceptions, of course. I find that cookies high in fat usually still need a little help from binding agents.
In the case of sugar cookies, snowball cookies, Russian tea cakes, and any other cookie that may be higher in fat, I like to add a binding agent. Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum are two binding agents you see the most in recipes, but not everyone’s digestive track can tolerate them.
You can check out some of the staple gluten free ingredients I use in a baking, including what brand of xanthan gum I use.
How to bake Gluten Free
Not all recipes are easy to convert. You can try a 1-to-1 gluten free flour blend in your favorite recipe – it may deliver good results, but often you’ll have to adjust the recipe slightly to get it perfect.
Are you ready to bake? Here are some basic tips and techniques on how to bake gluten free:
- Check that all your ingredients are gluten-free before you begin – this includes Baking Powder. Some baking powders are NOT gluten-free. Pamela’s makes gluten-free baking powder in a resealable bag.
- Thoroughly clean all surfaces and baking tools before you begin.
- Before you bring gluten-free foods into your home, you have to clean the kitchen to safely remove anything that may contain gluten. Even a tiny crumb or some flour dust can contaminate gluten-free products.
- I recommend reading recipe instructions before you begin. This will help you understand everything required and visualize the steps.
- Oven temperatures vary slightly from oven to oven. I recommend getting an oven thermometer to see where your temperatures check in at. Adjust baking times and/or temperature settings accordingly.
- I suggest letting your oven temperature stabilize for at least 15 minutes after the preheat cycle is complete, before baking.
- Always measure gluten-free flours by spooning the flour or the mix lightly into a measuring cup and leveling off the top with the back of a knife.
- Always mix the binding agents, such as Pamela’s Not Xanthan Not Guar, into the dry ingredients before you add the wet ingredients.
- Make sure baking soda and baking powder are fresh and far from the expire date.
- It is not necessary, but a best practice, to stir or sift flours, starches, binders, salt and yeast or baking powder together so everything is evenly distributed.
- If a recipe calls for dough to be refrigerated, follow those instructions exactly. The time in the refrigerator will allow the dough to stiffen and absorb more of the liquid so the protein structure can develop.
- Egg sizes vary. This affects the liquid to dry ratio in a recipe. Eggs at room temperature work best.
- Be careful when mixing eggs into melted butter; be sure that the butter has cooled enough not to cook the eggs.
- Ingredients should be at room temperature.
- Some oats contain gluten. Purchase gluten-free oats.
- Unless a recipe calls for something different, place pans in the center of a preheated oven.
- Depending on if you are using a glass pan or metal pan, baking pans may require more or less baking time. If a recipe states that the bake time varies, I start with the lowest time and watch the oven.
- Some recipes suggest using a food processor to cut butter into dough’s and crusts. If you don’t have a food processor, simply cut butter in with a pastry blender or fork and knife.
Do you have any gluten free baking tips you want to share? Leave a comment so others can learn too. Happy Baking!