Monday, December 29, 2008

Gluten Free Baking Series, Part 2: Texture Tips & More!

So now you’ve got your flour—how to beat the dryness of GF baked goods and enhance the flavor?
• Be sure to sift flours, starches, and mixes prior to measuring, and then sift together again. Coarse flours may require more sifting than white flour. This may seem like a lot of work, but it will pay off in the long run: sifting usually improves the texture of your baked goods!
• Coarse flours will also require more leavening than white flours, so for each cup of coarse flour, use 2 ½ teaspoon of gluten-free baking powder.
• For rice flour recipes that need a good binder, unflavored, powdered gelatin works very well. First soften the gelatin in half the water (or other liquid) called for in the recipe, before adding the liquid. Use 1 teaspoon of Certo ®, or if that’s unavailable, ½ teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum will also do the trick.

Sick of the Crumbs?
• As any GF baker knows, GF baked goods can be particularly crumbly. Try substituting buttermilk for the milk or water in the recipe to produce a lighter, more finely textured bread. To make a lighter textured product (for cakes, pancakes, etc.), try using carbonated beverages in place of water or milk.
• If you’re making GF muffins or biscuits, try making them smaller than you might normally. Smaller baked goods tend to be less crumbly than loaves and larger ones made from the same recipe.

Makin’ That Dough!
• Make sure you let your gluten free dough sit at least ½ hour, or even better, overnight in the refrigerator to soften. This will result in better textured baked goods.
• Keep in mind that baking is affected by both altitude and temperature. If the kitchen (or outside) is too hot, batter with butter, margarine, or shortening will have a more liquid consistency, which will affect the overall texture. To produce the best batters, make sure to always use cold ingredients (particularly the fatteners).

When It’s Ready for the Oven
• Put a pan of water in the oven (on a rack under your baked goods) during baking. This will keep the moisture in your creations!

• When your baked goods are still warm, place them in plastic bags to preserve moisture. Refrigerating them will also help decrease the crumbling.
• If you’re making bread, consider slicing, wrapping, and freezing your loaves unless you know the bread will be eaten without two days. After two days, the bread will likely be dry and less flavorful. You can freeze loaves for up to two months (and cookies can be frozen for 3-4 months).

From Shelley Case's Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, 2001.