Baking without gluten

Posted by barb on Sep 10, 2006 in Random Thoughts |

My Mom recently discovered that she has trouble digesting gluten, so has switched to a gluten-free diet. For those of you unfamiliar with gluten, it’s in everything, or at least seems to be. The main thing is flour, but also cereals, grains, pasta, breads and many processed foods. It’s everywhere! Check out the table on this page (it starts about halfway down the page) for a good summary.

Mom has tried a few gluten-free products, and found a few she likes and a few that she doesn’t. But, I think she’s gotten tired of trying new, potentially weird-tasting things. So, I’ve taken it upon myself to try a few things for her. A couple weeks ago I tried a gluten-free brownie mix that was really quite good. Andrew picked up a couple packages that we’ll send off to her soon.

The last time we were at the grocery store, we found an “all-purpose” gluten-free flour, which says it’s good in baked products. Tonight I tried to make chocolate chip cookies using that gf flour, and the results are, um, mixed. The dough had a weird, metallic aftertaste (and, as anyone knows, eating the batter is one of the ultimate pleasures of making home-baked cookies). The cookies spread out a lot – they got very thin and, as a result, crunchy. Oh, and these crunchy cookies stuck to the cookie sheets – Andrew had to listen to me cursing and grunting as I tried to get one pan of cookies free. On the other hand, the cookies actually taste pretty good. There’s a small aftertaste, but not overwhelming and fairly subtle. If I were to try this again, I’d try adding a third egg to the dough (eggs are a binding agent, and may help the cookies from spreading out – Mom tried adding extra flour to a pancake recipe for the same reason without good results, so I don’t think I’d try that first), and definitely grease the cookie sheets.

Anyone else out there have good gluten-free baking tips?

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