Does anyone have an idiot's guide to gluten-free baking please?

(13 Posts)
Hassled Thu 12-Jun-14 18:54:04

One of my DC has recently been diagnosed as Coeliac and I'm struggling to get to grips with the gluten-free internet world that's out there.

What is xanthan gum? Why do I need it? Does it do something to gluten-free flour that makes it more like normal flour?

Stuff like Yorkshire Puddings (apparently it's very important I get this right) - I've seen recipes which just say "gluten-free self-raising flour" - is that really all there is to it? Can I basically just bake anything I usually bake - brownies, say, - using GF flour? I tried some bread with it and it was just weird - more like play-dough than dough. Is that where the xanthan gum comes in?

Any help would be very much appreciated. This is a DC who loves his cookies and cakes.

RubySparks Thu 12-Jun-14 19:05:03

Some recipes seem to work fine with gluten free flour instead of ordinary flour but others are not so good. Making cupcakes seems more successful than whole cake and some of the mixes that Juvela and Glutafin do come with recipes (see their websites and sign up for free samples).

Xanthan gum is supposed to give that stretchy feeling that gluten does but I haven't used it much. Will watch and hope to learn more with you!

Pagwatch Thu 12-Jun-14 19:09:00

Don't buy mixes . They are shit.

Yes. Buy some plain flour, some self raising, make sure your baking powder is gf.
Bake.

Sometimes a recipe will be fab, sometimes not so much. Experiment.
It's easy.

CMOTDibbler Thu 12-Jun-14 19:12:50

Bread and pastry are really hard to do gf. Everything else I just use Doves Farm gf flour for, adding a little glycerin to something like a victoria sponge to make it moister.

I buy the Isabels yorkshire pudding mix as it makes lovely light big yorkies

Hassled Thu 12-Jun-14 19:40:01

Oh thank you all - I'm feeling like it's all a bit more possible now. Was a bit panicked. Glycerin to make things moist - that's the sort of tip I need. This is the DC who loves my baking the most - I was upset that we'd lose that, IYSWIM.

I've been told M&S is best for GF pasta - is that right?

Scousadelic Thu 12-Jun-14 19:43:40

I made GF stuff for a friend recently using Doves Farm flour and the recipes on the pack, it was all lovely

DoingItForMyself Thu 12-Jun-14 20:08:55

I make DP cakes using ground almonds instead of flour, they come out a bit denser than a sponge, like a bakewell tart topping.

I've also tried scones (fail!) and cookies (success!) and my DS who doesn't have any food sensitivities actually prefers my GF crumble to normal as it's crumblier!

SanityClause Thu 12-Jun-14 20:17:12

There is no one thing you can do, tbh. You need to look at gluten free recipes, rather than just substituting gluten free flour or wheat flour.

If you are using GF flour, a ittle xanthan gum will make cakes a bit springer, and less biscuity.

SanityClause Thu 12-Jun-14 20:20:29

I don't know about M&S, but Sainsburys and Waitrose GF pastas are both good. They don't have the corny taste that some of the brand names have.

GF pasta is a bit weird, though. It doesn't quite have the same texture.

You can substitute quinoa for couscous. Not exactly the same, but similar enough.

smileyhappymummy Thu 12-Jun-14 20:22:37

Tbh doves farm gluten free plain / sr flour have worked really well for me in pretty much every recipe except bread and pastry. Which I can live without. I often add a little bit of extra fluid and find gf stuff goes stale a bit quicker - but that just means eating it up sooner....

MrsMillions Thu 12-Jun-14 20:29:37

I recall a friend saying fruit/veg based cakes worked well with gf flour - so carrot cake, banana bread etc.

Hassled Thu 12-Jun-14 20:37:47

This is all really useful - many thanks. Will start experimenting a bit over the weekend.

With an actual coeliac diagnosis, you can get certain food items on prescription, which is great as they cost a fortune!
Current list here
For home baking, I can thoroughly recommend Juvela White Mix (on the list) which can be used to make the worlds easiest bread. It comes with a sachet of yeast and the bread freezes well too. It also works really well for cakes although I do add xanthan gum to be on the safe side. Sainsbury's ready to roll icing is GF- maybe most are?- so you'll be fine with the baking smile

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