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Gluten Free Baking

I recently baked GF bread from a package that was not good at all - do not remember the brand name - the only person who had a full slice was the gluten intolerent one who has not tasted a fresh-out-of-the-oven bread for a long-long time; the others just took a bite and spit it out . I do not know what it was but it tasted like a nitrate or a similar chemical; I thought it was one of the "gums" that is typically added to GF baked goods.

I would love to have a good recipe to try next time.

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  1. When I get the energy I'll post some for you. To me the purchased ready-made stuff as well as the packaged stuff taste absolutely putrid. Hate it. The homemade stuff isn't good, either, but better than the alternative. Most of my recipes use about 4-6 types of flour as each has different qualities. Still - there is unfortunately no replicating good old gluten. I find that GF bread/bagels/English muffins must be toasted for improved flavour and texture.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chefathome

      I would very much appreciate it! I do not care how many flours I use as long as it results in bread that tastes good. I took a GF baking course a few years ago and remember pretty good bread that we tasted - they called it "Vancouver" bread - it was yeaty bread that the instructors baked at home and brought to the class. Anyone heard of it?

    2. I'm afraid gluten free baking is an acquired skill. It takes some practice and understanding of ingredients and their role in the finished product. It's a totally different animal from baking with gluten. While some commercial mixes are decent, and retail availability of different flours, grains, and specialty ingredients is increasing, it still takes some research and practice to learn how to turn out tasty gluten free baked goods. Most mixes aren't quite it, IMO.

      The short version is that in order to turn out good GF breads and baked goods, you're going to need a fair amount of instruction, more than can be related in a CH thread, to be honest. If you tell me what kind of bread in particular you're interested in, I'd be happy to direct you to a particular recipe in a book. But, you're really going to benefit from having the book in hand. It's best to use a mix of flours, for instance, and which mix with which flours, will make a difference in the finished product. In my experience, breads for sandwiches benefit from different flours than say, a rustic style loaf you'd serve alongside a soup, or a quickbread, or biscuits, even. So, tell me what you're looking for in specific, and I can direct you to some personal favorites.

      I recommend only a couple GF baking book authors: Annalise Roberts and Bette Hagman. Annalise Roberts is my personal favorite, because she doesn't use bean flours, which are not for me and not to my family's tastes. Some people really like Bette Hagman's 4 flour blend, however, and it's available commercially, as well as other mixes of hers. Roberts' Gluten Free Baking Classics has become my standby, and I highly recommend it both for reference and for the recipes. If you want to check out Bette Hagman, Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread is a good place to start.


      1. You may be sensitive to the gums. I dunno. Plenty of GF bread doesn't have a hokey taste to me...but some sure has a baby-food-bland quality to me. I'll go snag a recipe for you now. I'm very curious to see what you think. If you want a sourdough recipe, I think I have that at work. If you want that, email me at litigious.gourmet at gmail dot com.

        1. OK, here goes. If you don't have a scale, you need one, and not just for this recipe.

          227 grams potato starch
          100 grams almond flour
          85 grams certified GF oat flour
          85 g millet flour
          1 T yeast
          2 t xanthan
          1 t guar
          1 and 1/2 t kosher salt (I usually increase to 2 t)
          1 and 1/3 c warm water
          2 room temp eggs
          roughly 1/6 cup quality oil
          1 T honey

          Mix the dry ingredients super well. Add wet ingredients. Mix (kitchenaid paddle really helps here!). It's soft dough but firms up with a little beating. Beating = gums work. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, let rise till doubled. Either bake it off like the no knead bread in a blasting hot dutch oven, or try forming into baguettes with wet hands and baguette form(s), and slash with a very sharp knife when risen. Both work. It really does make a pretty baguette. Even more than conventional bread, let cool most of the way before you cut. (Sniff.)

          I've replaced some of the flours with sorghum or buckwheat before - there is room to play here, if you are careful.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Vetter

            I'd recommend herby beat it for two to three minutes on at least medium speed of a stand mixer, or higher if she's using a hand held. You can also add a teaspoon of gelatin to the dry ingredients for extra stability. Don't put the batter in an overly warm place to rise. The gums will have time to set better if you give it a cool rise. The gums are what take the place of gluten that is in wheat flour and holds the yeast's rise. Bob's Red Mill is a good source for many of the flours mentioned above, though some are more coarse than other brands. For this style of loaf, you can grind GF rolled oats to flour in a food processor if you can't find the flour retail, but be sure it's GF rolled oats. (Quaker is not GF.)

            1. re: amyzan

              Good point about the beating. It amazes me how much better my stuff got when I started beating the heck out of it! I recently ordered some oatmeal flour on Amazon, and it's lovely, soft, fine stuff from Montana. I'm having fun trying it in things.

              1. re: Vetter

                Thanks, will look that oat flour up!

                1. re: Vetter

                  Vetter, is it the Proatina oat flour from Montana GF Processors? i've been curious about their products but never bought any. the Bob's Red Mill GF oat flour suits me just fine, but i wonder how they compare..

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I'm sorry, I didn't see this question when it went up. My flour is from http://www.mtmonstermunchies.com/ - I originally bought it from Amazon, but I don't see it there now. I really like it and have worked through at least a couple of pounds of it now. I bought it instead of Bob's because the price worked out much better per lb.

                    1. re: Vetter

                      no worries on the delay, i forgot about it anyway :) but Legacy Valley? really? have you tried the rolled oats or oat bran? i've had awful experiences with both. they smell & taste terrible, and i sliced my mouth on sharp pieces of oat hulls in the oat bran.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        How odd! No, I haven't tried any of their other products. Yuck, I HATE oatmeal that cuts up the mouth. I really like oatmeal, and eat tons of BRM steel cut and rolled oats, so I don't feel like I'm weirdly calibrated, either. Just made a gorgeous batch of granola yesterday, in fact. The flour is just kind of what I'd expect oatmeal flour to be like. Maybe I got a good batch?

                        1. re: Vetter

                          i don't know what to tell you - i'm glad your flour is good! the products i tried - purchased separately and from 2 different stores - both had a very distinct barnyard odor and a strangely sweet off-putting flavor. i've spoken to a couple of other people who encountered the same thing. considering that i like BRM products much better and they're always cheaper than the Legacy where i shop anyway, i'll stick with 'em...just have to keep grinding them into oat flour myself since they don't offer it.

            2. http://glutenfreeeasily.com/

              This blogger likes to do as little with prepared gluten-free mixes etc as possible, and she enjoys baking. Maybe you'll find something helpful there. Good luck!

              1. You could spend a lifetime trying commercial mixes for gluten free baking and never hit the mark.
                I use this formula for preparing gluten free baked goods:
                Like most gluten free cooking challenges, this formula is not entirely "fool proof"' but it's the best starting point I've found and after working with it for quite a long time I recommend it exclusively.
                Just remember measure with extreme care (especially where the Xanthan gum enters the picture) and blend the dry mixture thoroughly.

                9 Replies
                1. re: todao

                  Wendy Wark's mix is great when prepared with Authentic Foods brown rice flour, which can be a littletricky to track down depending on where you live. Bob's Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills brown rice flour are both a little coarse for many breads and baked goods. The texture is a little too crumbly for sandwich bread, especially. They're great for pizza dough, where you want some "bite," though.

                  1. re: amyzan

                    I feel very stupid just now... I am brand-new to Chow and didn't see anyone's replies until this evening when I clicked on "update profile" for no reason at all and found your messages - thank you all for great info!!!
                    Amyzan, I took a day course on GF baking a couple of years ago and was not able to reproduce any of the recepes... The g-intolerant person is my son-in-law whom I love; my daughter has a couple of books but doesn't bake anything - they have two boys under 5! They live in NYC and I am in Ottawa (Canada) and do see them several times a year. Specifically, I would love to make a good matzo ball, toast and pizza; challah, sour dough and sandwich bread would be an amazing bonus. Definitely would buy good GF baking book - I have a couple of hundred of cook books already - what is another one or two or...

                    Vetter, thank you for the recipe - I will try it with a no-knead-bread method and as a baguette since I have the form but it mostly gathers dust... Promise to beat the hell out of it:) I do know how to play with it yet - maybe once I've made a decent loaf I will feel more confident.
                    Georgia, thank you for the blog - I will check it out
                    Todao, thank you for sharing the formular - I will definitely try it as it appeals to my chemical engineering background:)

                    1. re: herby

                      herby, don't feel stupid! it's takes a while to get used to the way this site works. and please don't get discouraged about GF baking. it really takes a lot of practice/experience to get comfortable with the unique properties and behaviors of GF ingredients.

                      i heartily second amyzan's book recommendations, and Carol Fenster is another GF expert with some terrific books and recipes.

                      i also wanted to post this recipe/formula for a GF All-Purpose Flour mix that's a bit simpler than the Wendy Wark mix, and i personally think it produces great results. you can use it as a 1:1 substitute for wheat flour in most recipes. it's from the woman who writes a terrific GF blog called The Art of Gluten-Free Baking:

                      1 1/4 C (170 g) brown rice flour
                      1 1/4 C (205 g) white rice flour
                      1 C (120 g) tapioca flour
                      1 C (165 g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
                      2 scant tsp. xanthan gum

                      i also love the fact that she lists weight as well as volume, because that can make a huge difference in accurate measurement and good results. which reminds me, if you haven't already, make the small investment in a decent digital scale - it will make all the difference in your GF baking!

                      oh, and here's the link to her home page:

                      1. re: herby

                        Oh, no, don't feel stupid at all! You'll get the hang of the site, and hope to see you around here again soon.

                        I don't *think* Authentic Foods is carried retail in Canada, and it may even be a bit tricky to find in the 5 boroughs, might have to go to NJ or upstate? It may just be easier to mail order, if the shipping doesn't kill you! I will say that King Arthur has some decent mixes that are specifically made for certain baked goods. The amount of xanthan gum can vary in the mix, depending on what you're making, which is what makes such a huge difference in the texture. Well, that and the fineness of the grind of the various flours, plus the protein levels. There are just so many variables it's difficult to use one of those all purpose mixes for everything from pizza to yeast bread to muffins, cookies, biscuits, pancakes.

                        The recipes for challah, pizza crust, sandwich bread, and loaves for toast in Gluten Free Baking Classics are all good ones. I can recommend them. I haven't made sourdough or matzo, however maybe someone else here has and will chime in? http://www.amazon.com/Gluten-Free-Bak...

                        Do let us know as you experiment and learn. It's been kind of fun for me to learn a whole other way of baking in my forties. I look at it as a kitchen adventure, with some necessary "learning experiences" (i.e. failures!) along the way.

                        1. re: amyzan

                          the tricky thing about GF matzo balls is that the flour/grain still also has to be kosher for Passover! this is the best recipe i've ever found for them - they're made with quinoa *flakes* which have a texture closer to matzo meal than any other GF flour:


                          the one thing i will say is that i prefer my matzo balls a bit lighter, so i add a splash of club soda, and substitute 2 whipped egg whites for one of the eggs - fold them in gently after combining the other ingredients.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Many thanks for the recipe, GHG! I made matzo balls last weekend when I was making Passover dinner. I wanted my SIN to taste them prior to the seder and he proceeded to have chicken soup with these matzo ball for lunch and dinner. My daughter was very skeptical, tasted one and decided that from now on the kids (5 & 3) will have these matzo balls in their soup instead of the normal ones. So, I had to make another batch:) My SIN loves "sinkers", the recipe as written was perfect for him. I'll try your modifications next time when there is no pressure.

                            1. re: herby

                              hooray! i'm thrilled that everyone enjoyed them :) it always makes me so happy to hear news like this - thanks for reporting back.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                I will continue reporting as I make more GF goodies that people suggested. I hope to be spending more time with the family in August and cooking/baking GF foods. Please post other great recipes and I will report on all that I try:)

                          2. re: amyzan

                            I've got a handout on doing GF sourdough, but it doesn't really lend itself to much paraphrasing. If you want it, email me at litigious dot gourmet at gmail dot com.

                    2. I'm going to try her pizza crust recipe - looks great!

                      1. Since I posted in December I have discovered many good GF baking recipes, too, so ignore that post. That was also before I was definitively diagnosed which now I am, as of last week. So, I have learned so much in the meantime! :-) It's extreme, I know, but I now have 13 kinds of GF flour on hand and am experimenting like wild. I'm teaching my first GF cooking class in April and really want to produce the best recipes for pizza dough, fresh pasta and breads (and other stuff, of course). I also want to see how different ratios/combos work, then hopefully settle on my top 5 or so.

                        Tried Udi bread for the first time in my life and was actually pretty impressed. I could eat it without toasting it. But the price was $8.49 per loaf which is insane.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: chefathome

                          it's official, huh? damn. i was hoping you'd be one of the lucky ones :( i hate to say it, but welcome to the club.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Gotta echo GHG, welcome! It gets better! And wow, I thought $6.50 for Udi's was ridiculous. That's the highest priced I've seen it in my town. Homemade starts looking much more doable...as does just eating less bread.

                            Have you tried using chia and flax instead of gums? I've been experimenting, and so far really like the chew and lift of the seeds compared to the gums. Wish I'd tried them sooner.

                            1. re: Vetter

                              And I've noticed that flours, etc. are so much more expensive in Canada, too. Or, at least where I live. For example, some of Bob's flours in our stores are over double the amount on their website. But I am thankful that we do have some products, at least. Aside from baking my goal is to eat naturally-occuring GF foods anyway. I do not want to pig out on things I would not normally buy like cookies and other snacks as I know they contain more sugar and such than regular to compensate for flavour and texture.

                              How long have you been GF? Do you have celiac?

                              I've tried flax and really like it but have not tried chia. I've seen it, though, and it is on my new GF grocery list. So, you use it to replace gums? Interesting. Looks as though I am going to have a lot of questions to ask you pros!

                              1. re: chefathome

                                I've been GF for two and a half years, I think. I don't know if I have celiac, as I quit gluten before doing a gut biopsy, and got so much healthier immediately that I wasn't going to eat gluten again to get the diagnosis. I am gluten intolerant, at least!

                                Yes, you use the flax and chia to replace the gums. Flax tastes fishy to me, so I'm not using much of it, but I guess it and chia both work to create a binding effect. I've been making a chia slurry recently (2 T chia in cup of boiling water, let sit, blenderize about half the cup of goo, use it in my dish, mindful of replacing some of the volume of liquid) and I'm just tickled at how the texture comes out. Much nicer chew and lift. I couldn't get over the odd texture of my pizza dough with the chia, and was super leery, but boy, it was really good!

                              2. re: Vetter

                                hey vetter, out of curiosity, when you use chia, how much do you use? i can't tolerate any of the gums, and i'm not a huge fan of the flavor of flax... thanks!

                                1. re: Emme

                                  So far I've just stuck with this technique: http://gluten-free-blog.blogspot.com/...

                                  I know Shauna of GFG fame is now saying 1 T seeds to 2 T boiling water, but it's awkward to work with those amounts, and I'm not going to pregrind my seeds in my spice grinder, for fear of cumin-izing them. Blitzing them with the water makes it a cinch for my blender, which cleans up perfectly.

                                  1. re: Vetter

                                    I'm not going to pregrind my seeds in my spice grinder, for fear of cumin-izing them
                                    that's why i have a designated grinder for [primarily flax & chia] seeds :)

                              3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                I know. My surgeon greeted me with a huge smile and said, "I've got good news for you!" Then he told me, "You don't have cancer." That IS very good news but I was not suspecting I did. Don't get me wrong - I am not making light of that. At all. But then he proceeded to tell me I without any doubt have CD. I'm not surprised, but am still sort of grieving. It will be ok at home but going out? Traveling? When I was on gluten for my gluten challenge I found that difficult, especially in Europe, even though I had laminated restaurant cards with me. What I also find hard is that I do not feel ill on gluten at all so in a way have no incentive for going off. BUT I know the damage it can cause, including the auto-immune diseases and such. So, I'm doing it, of course. And now I practically feel like an advocate! So, I now in the elite club. :-(

                            2. I just want to add a link to a pretty good blog dedicated to gluten free recipes:


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Eat.Choui

                                yep, Shauna's definitely a darling of the GF world - if you look at the other threads about GF blogs & cookbooks, you'll see that hers is typically one of the first mentioned.

                                  1. re: herby

                                    One of my coworkers is gluten intolerant. She makes an amazing chocolate GF cake. It’s moist and brownie like, but lighter. I was having friends visit, one of whom is gluten intolerant. I made the cake and it came out excellent. I make it on a regular basis even though I am not gluten intolerant. It’s delicious. It makes a decadent breakfast snack. It does not rise very much when you bake it. I changed her recipe slightly by adding a teaspoon of lemon juice which seems to help it rise more and by adding Guittard large dark chocolate chips because I believe that you can never have too much chocolate. I don’t mix in the chocolate chips. The Guittard chips are large and I arrange them on the surface of the cake just before baking. I make it with coconut oil. I call the cake "Kendra's cake" after the co-worker who gave me the recipe.

                                    Here is the recipe:

                                    Kendra’s Cake

                                    Sift together:
                                    1 cup gf flour (I use 2 parts brown rice flour to 1 part each potato flour and tapioca starch)
                                    1 cup sugar
                                    ½ cup cocoa
                                    ½ teaspoon salt
                                    Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and add the following:
                                    1 egg slightly beaten
                                    ¼ cup oil or butter
                                    1 teaspoon lemon juice
                                    1 teaspoon vanilla
                                    1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 cup boiling water

                                    note: it’s important to pour the boiling water onto the soda before adding these last two ingredients to the mixture!

                                    Quickly stir the ingredients together and pour into greased 8x8 pan

                                    Arrange Guittard large dark chocolate chips on the surface.

                                    Bake 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

                                    1. re: Ridge

                                      thanks, sounds yummy and i will give it a whack!

                                      1. re: herby

                                        i like this recipe-- i bake in a commercial half-sheet pan, lined w oiled parchment paper. you could try the recipe in a regular brownie pan, but i haven't tried it that way. you need a food scale for this recipe.

                                        gf brownies

                                        9 oz rice flour
                                        3 oz potato flour
                                        3 oz corn starch
                                        1 1/2 oz dutch proc cocoa powder
                                        1 tsp sea salt
                                        3/4 pound unsalted butter
                                        1 1/2 pound semi sweet chocolate
                                        6 oz maple syrup
                                        7 eggs
                                        1 1/2 pounds sugar
                                        2 tsp vanilla extract
                                        1 cup semisweet gf choc chips, optional, for garnish

                                        preheat oven to 325

                                        mix the dry ingredients (first five ingredients)

                                        melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler or microwave, stirring frequently, until fully melted and incorporated together. don't allow to get hot..

                                        in a stand mixer or by hand, beat together the eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, and sugar until smooth.

                                        stir in the melted chocolate. stir in the dry mix gradually, on low speed.

                                        pour batter into prepared pan.

                                        scatter the optional chocolate chips over the top of the brownies

                                        bake approx 30 mins

                                      2. Hi all - question for those of you with more experience with gluten free baking. I'm visiting a friend this weekend and would like to bring something with me. I have about 3 cups of rice flour in my pantry from another gluten free recipe. I am wondering how well a lemon pound cake (recipe below) would work out with rice flour substituted for all purpose flour? I will probably try it out later this week, but any heads up or suggestions would be great. I've never attempted gf baking!


                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: morrissey.brendan

                                          I don't cook gluten free - as I love gluten - but I did come across this on a blog I follow. It is a "flour substitute" mix that apparently works as a substitute in many applications.



                                          I thought it was interesting as I do have some friends that don't tolerate gluten and am always looking for alternatives.

                                          edit: oops - hit the wrong reply button again

                                          1. re: morrissey.brendan

                                            I do not have an answer to your question but would like to share a recent discovery. Claudia Rodin in her book Food of Spain has a few recipes that use ground almonds instead of flour - I made plain almond cake that was delicious and a chololate one which was equally good. I also made gf brownies from a recipe that I am sure I got from these boards but do not remember in which thread. The brownies were delicious - I had to hide them from everyone so that my gluten intolerant SIN could enjoy them:) If you like any of these recipes, I will post in the evening.

                                            1. re: morrissey.brendan

                                              The short answer is yes, you can make your pound cake with rice flour. Not all rice flours are created equal (fineness of grind varies), so your results will depend upon the quality of the flour you use. If you would prefer to make a pound cake that was developed for rice flour, google "Mrs. Goodfellow's Dover Cake". Both the original recipe and Greg Patent's variation from his book Baking in America should show up and be available on Google Books. Rice flour was commonly used in baking in the 19th century, so historic cookbooks tend to have quite a few recipes for breads and cakes made from it.

                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                love greg patent's "baking in america." fantastic american baking book. just to be clear, it isn't a gf baking book, though as you say it has very some interesting and tasty historical recipes using gf flours, that folks might like to look at for inspiration.

                                            2. As my "rule of thumb" baking flour substitution, I generally use 1:1 rice flour and tapioca starch combo, with guar gum 1tsp per 1-1/2 cups of flour. It works, and I search out a great non-GF recipe and use my flour sub. You can experiment from there using healthier flours for some of he rice, but it takes experimentation and practice :)

                                              1. JUST A REMINDER: all 'flours' should be refrigerated or kept at least below 60 degrees. If they have been made from whole grains, the oils in them start to oxidize immediately on being exposed to air. So you want to seal bags well and store in fridge , basement, or freezer. Rancid oils can enourage formation in our systems of free radicals which can lead to cancers of many kinds.

                                                The best flours are those you grind yourself in a seed/coffee grinder or with a hand crank, clamp-to-the-counter model . Victorio makes mills, as does Corona, or you can use a Vitamix (do not over process) or an electric grain mill($$$). FRESH IS MUCH HEALTHIER than anything sitting around a warehouse, another warehouse, maybe a thrid or fourth warehouse, then the store shelves for weeks or months. My small mom & pop whole foods store refrigerates all their grains, flours and nuts. The onlly one I've ever seen do it, but things are so much fresher.