When I first went gluten-free, I didn’t bake. For months. This from someone who loved to bake. Who would volunteer to make dessert for get togethers.
First off, I had no clue what to do. If you’re new to the gluten-free and feel the same, you are not the first. We have all been there. I had made Chocolate Chinchilla for some parties I hosted knowing a friend with Celiac would be attending. It is flourless, so knowledge of gluten-free flours was not required. How to make Grandma Brown’s beloved cookies? I didn’t know. Gluten-free pancakes? Nothing. I was at a complete loss.
I remember seeing pictures friends would post on Facebook of cupcakes and other baked goods. I would try to refrain from commenting about missing it. It was Murphy’s Law that as soon as I said something about missing something with gluten, someone who had never eaten gluten-free before would say something like, “They make mixes for that. I saw it in the store the other day.” Or, “I saw a bunch of gluten-free crackers.” Yes, I knew they made that stuff. I didn’t want to buy that stuff. I wasn’t fond of mixes before going gluten-free and I once made the mistake of buying gluten-free crackers for a party that my friend with Celiac was going to be at, too, and I wanted him to be able to enjoy cheese and crackers with the rest of us. The mistake was not trying the crackers before taking them. Cardboard. I was horrified. I was so horrified, I set out to eat as many of those crappy crackers with Grand Camembert and Fig preserves so others did not have to suffer them. So, every time someone would say, “Well, they make that gluten-free now” I have flashbacks to those crackers. I still see those things on the shelves and I can’t believe it. I know flavor of gluten-free processed foods has improved, but I still stay away from them as much as possible.
It can be daunting looking at recipes online or in cookbooks with lists of flours required to make a cake, cookies, brownies, etc. It can be a little time-consuming, too, if you are not properly prepared.
Something finally clicked and reminded me of something I read when I started making my own personal care products. Stick with tried and true recipes.
That was when I threw caution to the wind and started buying gluten-free flours and trying recipes from blogs here and there. Then, I started baking more as I started doing recipe testing for fellow blogging friends working on cookbooks.
I keep my gluten-free flours and grains in glass containers. I keep the containers above my cabinets because while I was unpacking, I discovered just how small my pantry is. I’ve read in many places and heard from many people who gluten-free flours need to be kept in the freezer or refrigerator. I never have. Again, space is the issue. Pssst…I don’t keep my flax seed or flax meal in the fridge either. It’s up there with the flours. The containers give me easier access and I don’t have to dig through the bin of baking supplies for them, so prep time is faster, too. I use the glass containers for staple pantry items like dried beans, coffee, and tea.
The more I’ve used tried and true recipes, the more I’ve become comfortable with figuring out how to convert some of my favorite recipes from my gluten filled days. I also have started leaning towards using more of the unrefined gluten-free flours when I bake to keep supporting my thyroid function. It is because of my thyroid and needing to keep it supported by making sure I am doing the most I can to make my food drive my metabolism correctly that I try not to bake a lot. It also keeps me from wondering where all the baked goods are when they are gone. Seriously. Sometimes I’m testing for friends while working on my own recipes. I can have up to 3 different types of baked goods waiting to be eaten. Once they are gone, my brain thinks I should still be eating baked goods.
Don’t want to buy all those different flours? Gluten-free all-purpose flours work just as well. It is what I used (Bob’s Red Mill brand) for my first attempt at converting Grandma Brown’s cookies.
The choice is up to you whether to bake or not. Bake your heart out. Bake a little cake once a week. Or just bake now and then when the mood strikes. The more experienced you get with baking gluten-free the better you’ll be able to figure out converting old recipes and swapping out the more processed flours for the healthier flours.
I am still tweaking some conversions but here are some of my favorite recipes of mine:
- Amaretto Bread
- Flourless Pumpkin Pie Cookies
- Gluten-free Coconut Pie Crust
- Raw Lavender Blueberry Bars
- Raw Peppermint Mocha Truffle Cake
This post is linked to Sharing Sunday at Celiacs In The House.