Finding gluten-free substitutes is getting easier and easier these days, but getting them to taste like the gluten-y stuff is another matter. Baking and cooking gluten-free isn’t simply a matter of throwing in the gluten-free ingredients and calling it a day. Gluten is a crucial component of many recipes, and taking it out means you have to make up for it – especially when it comes to using a flour substitute. So here are 7 rules you should follow when you’re using a gluten-free flour substitute, to make sure all your recipes turn out delish.
2. Pack In The Protein
Since gluten is a protein, gluten-free flour is often lacking proteins that give baked goods their particular taste and consistency. Make up for the missing protein by substituting an egg for 1/4 cup of whatever liquid the recipe calls for.
3. The Lighter The Better
Since gluten-free flour doesn’t have the same components for making regular baked goods rise, it’s important to get as much air into the flour as possible. Aerate the gluten-free flour by mixing it by itself in a stand mixer – and if you’re making your own flour, be sure to blend it for several minutes, like we did with our recipe.
4. Don’t Overdo The Gum
You’ve probably heard of adding that weird-sounding thing to gluten-free flour: xanthan gum. Well it does help, but sometimes store-bought gluten-free flours already have it added in – and adding more will actually hurt the outcome of your recipe. So be sure to check, and it your flour already has xanthan gum, don’t bother adding more.
5. One Size Does Not Fit All
You might think that once you find a gluten-free flour you like, you can just add it to whatever: baked goods, sauces, whatever. Not true! Don’t use gluten-free cake flour for gluten-free all-purpose flour, and vice versa, etc.
6. Measure, Measure, Measure
Cooking depends on measurements – gluten-free cooking needs measurements. Since gluten-free flour is denser and heavier than regular flour, that “scoop and dump” method for adding flour won’t work. Try measuring with a kitchen scale instead. You’ll be glad you did.
7. Enough Is Enough
When you start out cooking or baking with gluten-free flour, you might find that things come out…not what you expected. Often it comes out a little thinner than normal, but DON’T be fooled into thinking you just need to add more flour. You’ll regret it later.
8. Mix It Up
If you find a gluten-free flour you love, awesome. If you’re trying to find a good one, look for one that’s not just made of one thing, but multiple. Different components add different characteristics, taste and structure to flour, and will only make your cooking better.
What are some other tips you have for using a gluten-free flour substitute? Tell us in the comments below!