A gluten free diet is one completely free of the protein found in wheat, barley, rye and the hundreds of food products made with gluten.
People eat a gluten free diet for many reasons, the most common one being Celiac's Disease. Whatever the reason, living gluten free no longer means living in isolation.
Most large grocery stores offer gluten free foods, and there are many online stores and communities offering support, education and products. But if you want whole grain, dairy free, low fat, gluten free products, made without oil (like those in the Wellness Forum Pantry), your choices are more limited.
Too many of the gluten free products found on store shelves mirror the Standard American Diet - processed foods full of dairy, oils, white sugar and refined flours. Even most gluten free cookbooks are full of recipes made with these unhealthy ingredients.
What to do? If you really want to make healthy gluten free baked goods in your own kitchen, you need to know where to find the right ingredients and what to do with them once you have them.
1. Converting your favorite recipe to gluten free is not as easy as replacing whole wheat flour with brown rice flour. Gluten serves a specific purpose in baked goods. The protein, when mixed with water, forms strands that give bread its chewy texture and trap gases during baking to make baked goods lighter. Without the gluten, or some gluten-like agent, your finished product can be dense and lifeless.
2. To achieve the best results for your recipe, use a gluten free flour blend made with whole grain flours like amaranth, millet, quinoa, or brown rice flours, and binding agents like tapioca flour and a little xanthan gum.
3. You only need 1/2 tsp xanthan gum per cup of gluten free flour. How much tapioca flour you use is almost up to you. As little as 10%, and as much as 30%, depending on the recipe, makes all the difference in the final outcome.
If you don't like the flavor or texture of this blend, play around with different blends of the gluten free flours listed below and others like garbanzo, sorghum or buckwheat flours. For a list of possible whole grain gluten free flours visit Gluten Free Mommy
5. It's one thing to go gluten free, it's another to go gluten free, oil free and whole grain---that requires a paradigm shift in the way you look at your cookies. For a llttle help, visit Get Off Gluten. The author has several recipes that are whole grain and oil free (she cites The China Study as one of her influences for health).
Once you've re-written your favorite recipes to conform to your healthy Wellness Forum-inspired, gluten free pantry, you need to go shopping. Check your local grocery store first. Many of the larger stores carry a selection of gluten free flours and other baking supplies. If they don't here are a few online resources:
My best advice for successful gluten free baking in a healthy kitchen is to keep a journal of your baking experience, and to enjoy the journey. You may not like every recipe you try, but with patience and a little determination, you can create your own collection of recipes that you and your family will love.
It seems as if there are as many gluten free websites as there are gluten free people. Don't be overwhelmed by the resources available. It used to be that we had one or two good websites and not many more recipes to choose from. We'll look at a few of our favorites here but certainly feel free to roam the net and pick your own favorite.
Most websites also have Facebook and Twitter pages so you can interact with them. Many have discussion forums so you can ask questions or offer information.
This website has a list of local resources including restaurants, a gluten free basics class, and regular meetings and events for people living within the gluten free spectrum.
This website boasts the largest collection of gluten free recipes in the world.
This is one of my favorite websites and one of the oldest on the net. If you are going to choose one website, this is the one. In addition to information about celiac disease, the site has lots of information about gluten free living including recipes, product reviews and a list of safe gluten free foods/unsafe foods.
Recipes, book, product and restaurant reviews, articles (including foods to avoid on a gluten free diet)
If you are vegan and gluten free this is a great website for you---no translating recipes to make them vegan, and a resource section of other vegan websites. My one complaint about this blog is that its recipes are not organized in an easily accessible manner, and there are not a lot of recipes.
We haven't tested any of these recipes using Del's gluten free flour blend...yet. Not because we don't want to, only because we haven't had time, and didn't want to keep people waiting for this article.
Don't let that stop YOU from testing these tasty looking recipes, and be sure to let us know the results!
We have a suggestion after reading over the recipes: Use low-glycemic but sweet tasting almond milk as the non-dairy milk - unsweetened and unflavored. If you're allergic to almonds, use plain unsweetened soy, oat, or hemp milk.
A moist cake with a delicate crumb
This crust has a little bit of a biscuit like texture. You can substitute 1 cup of the gluten free flour blend with 1 cup of tapioca flour to get a more bread like crust, but you lose some of the whole grain goodness.
Makes two crusts