Gluten Free Baking for Beginners

Gluten free baking at home used to be the only option if you wanted cakes, cookies etc. 

Back in the 1960s when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, it was impossible to buy baked gluten free items. It was a challenge to even find alternative flours.

It is different now. We can pop into almost any grocery stores and pick an assortment of gluten free products off the shelf.

So why would we consider home baking?

Variety is the spice of life

Although the store bought products are good, there is a limited range. After some time on the gluten free diet it is likely that you will get bored of eating the same things all the time.

The baked goods on offer are more costly than "normal" foods. Your grocery budget may not stretch to allow you to purchase much of a selection.

If, like me, you are trying to lose weight or are diabetic as well as celiac, you will find that many of the prepared products contain a high quantity of sugar, which make them off limits. They are also often made from the cheaper, less nutritious gluten free flours.

So by doing our own gluten free baking we have these advantages...

  • Our own choice of limitless flavors
  • Healthy ingredients
  • Lower costs
  • And of course that gorgeous smell of home baking!

But isn't it difficult?

Not really. Although there is a learning curve. I would suggest that three things are most important...

  • Avoid contamination
  • Follow the recipe to the letter the first time you bake it
  • Weigh your ingredients accurately

I cover the subject of avoiding contamination on my gluten free cooking page so I won't repeat it here.

Gluten free recipes have been rigorously tested, and retested in order for the best results to be obtained. It is best to stick with the exact ingredients, quantities and methods to begin with, to limit the possibility of a failure.

I recommend measuring things by weight, rather than in cups, when baking as it is more accurate. A pair of digital scales is therefore a valuable piece of kitchen equipment.

Although with other recipes, such as a stew, you can get away with a little more or a little less of an ingredient, it is imperative to ensure you use just the right amount when embarking on gluten free baking. 

What type of flour should I use?

Click the image to learn more about gluten free flours

In the "good old days" this wasn't really a question that needed much thought. Flour was made from wheat, and it either had a raising agent added or it didn't. Simple.

Once you are faced with the challenge of cooking gluten free foods, however, there is a much wider choice! 

On my gluten free grains page I share my essentials and also my "like to have in stock" list of grains/flours.

If you are a beginner to gluten free baking, I would suggest using one of the commercial mixes first, such as the bread mixes I tested. Once you are a little more confident you can move on to using your own combinations.

What if it goes wrong?

It will! I can guarantee that. We have all had breads that turned into doorstops or cakes that were runny in the middle when you came to slice them. 

Accept it as a given that some attempts won't succeed. However, you can always do something with your failures, even if its...

  • Crumbling that overdry loaf into breadcrumbs to store in the freezer until you need them for another recipe
  • Putting the cake back in the oven to finish cooking and then breaking it up into pieces to use in a trifle.

It is only by attempting it that your gluten free baking will improve.

Ready to try?

You will find many recipes to bake at home on the site. Some of the easiest to try are listed below.


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