Navigate the confusing world of gluten free flours and substitute ingredients without wrecking the recipe.
Stop making bread loaves that double as bricks, and pie crusts that squeak when you cut them.
Exponentially increase your confidence in the kitchen - quickly - so that you never yell "Why didn't that work?!" again
Starting A Gluten Free Diet Can Be Ugly: Once upon a time, I was a 23 year old newlywed that needed to learn how to bake gluten free bread. I was confident! After all, I'd spent many a day baking and cooking with my mom and grandmother, and I was armed with a brand-spanking new bread machine.
What else could I need? I scoured the internet for a gluten free bread recipe (there was not much too choose from at the time!) and settled on one that involved soaking brown rice overnight and then grinding it and making bread dough from the mush.
Yes, you read that correctly. We're just not going to even talk about how badly that turned out!
Over the next few years, I experimented with gluten free bread mixes, bread recipes that used ump-teen different gluten free flours, and recipes from the backs of random gluten free flour packages. Nothing was good enough! Every single loaf of bread either fell after it came out of the oven, never rose to start with, or had a weird taste and was too crumbly for a sandwich. This would not do!
I was determined to make good gluten free bread for my husband, and I decided that, by golly, I was going to find a recipe that worked, even if it meant coming up with the recipe myself. And I did. After years of tweaking recipes, and changing one thing after another, I finally came up with a gluten free bread recipe that worked!
But, I know you don't want to hear that it's going to take years to be good at gluten free baking. And that's not what I'm going to tell you. It took me years to develop my first bread recipe because I had no freaking clue what I was doing! You, on the other hand, can be baking all sorts gluten free foods that get WOW reactions in a few short weeks.
Follow These 5 Steps & Become Amazing At Gluten Free A few months ago I decided that I needed to create a couple of new bread recipes. Was I in for another multi-year ordeal simply because I needed to use a different mix of GF flours? Absolutely not. I wrote out the new recipes, baked them, and they were awesome. I baked a 2nd batch to confirm the recipe, and they were ready to send out to my newsletter readers! Two batches and I was done! Trust me, that is the kind of confidence that you too can have.
There is no need for you to go through the years long learning curve that I did!
I recently asked a large FB group what was keeping them from enjoying gluten free baking. One of the responses was, "a lack of a 100% guarantee that the recipe will turn out."
I know none of us want to have a recipe turn out badly, but it's going to happen. And that's good. You'd never learn a thing if some of your recipes don't go wrong. To truly understand your ingredients, you have to be able to contrast recipes that work and recipes that don't. Keep reading and I'll show you how to use those failures to boost your skills even faster.
Two of the reasons that my first bread recipe took so long to develop is that I did not understand the tremendous advantages of using a scale to weigh my ingredients and using recipes that are written by weight. There is nothing about gluten free baking that I feel more strongly about than this. Buy a digital kitchen scale and use it!
A sturdy notebook will be the 2nd most useful tool in your gluten free kitchen. Use it as a journal and write down everything that you can measure and observe about the recipe as you are preparing it. And don't just do this the first time, do this every time that you're making a recipe that you want to learn from. And every time you make a tweak to a recipe. That way, when a recipe is unexpectedly WOW worthy (or unexpectedly bad) you'll be able to look back at your notes and see why. That is how you make the most of the inevitable failures!
My gluten free cooking classes include a printable note-sheet that you can complete as you work on a class. Each of the sheets is customized for the particular recipe that you're working on, so that you measure and observe the right variables. This has been invaluable in trouble-shooting results.
If learning from your own mistakes expedites your gluten free skills, just imagine how much you can learn when you do you gluten free baking with others and can learn from their successes and mistakes too. In the group-coaching version of my classes, this kind of learning has taken place spontaneously. As we all baked bread in different kinds of loaf pans, we got to see how the shape, material, and size of each loaf pan affected the finished loaf of bread. Learning that, on your own, would take years of experiments and lots of money on loaf pans. Instead, we got to see it happen, discuss it, and quantify it in one week.
Find someone who's doing research and experiments and read about what they are doing! All of my biggest aha! moments in gluten free baking have come from reading articles about "normal" baking and then applying it to gluten free recipes. The aha! moment that allowed me to create a yeast-free bread recipe that would make a sandwich-sized loaf...yeah, that came from reading an article on baking cakes with wheat flour. Now, getting all geeky about recipes and rations and baking techniques may not be your cup of tea, and that's fine. But find the people that do love that and learn from them.
At this point you may be feeling some resistance to following through on this tips. That's to be expected! It's really discouraging to go from being an awesome cook to not knowing what the heck to do with these gluten free ingredients. It's perfectly normal to just want it to be easy. To just want to wave a magic wand and have everything work.
But it is going to be okay! You're going to be an awesome, amazing gluten free cook very, very soon. There will be a day when you decide that you want to bake a cake, and you pull out the flours and make a phenomenal cake and it's not stressful at all. There will be a day when you can make every single food that you and you family love with gluten free ingredients, and you'll all sit down and eat it, and the fact that it's gluten free will not be at the fore-front of your mind at all. You'll just enjoy sharing good food with people that you love.
All that I want you to do today is enter your email address below so that you'll be sure to get my email updates each week. That way you can keep learning about all things gluten free while you wrap your head around the idea of using a scale, keeping a kitchen journal, and all that sort of stuff.
Hello! My name is Mary Frances and I'm the writer, blogger, cook, food taster, and founder of this website--The Gluten Free Cooking School.
(To be fair, my husband, John, helps out with that last one as needed.) I started Gluten Free Cooking School as a simple blog back in 2007, and it has now grown into a complete online cooking school, with detailed lessons on how to cook great gluten free food, and strategies for going (and staying) gluten free. If you are struggling with going (or staying) gluten free please stick around for a bit. Subscribe to the newsletter, read the ebook, and take a cooking class. It won't be too long before you feel like a pro!
April 24, 2014
Cold weather just calls our for a hot gluten free breakfast, and even though it’s April we’re still having a few chilly mornings. Masa harina porridge has been a cold-weather staple in our household for a couple of years and it is especially helpful for feeding growing boys. Now you may be wondering, “What is […]...
April 16, 2014
This post is going to be about masa harina and how to use it in a gluten free diet. But first I have a story. When we first started traveling full-time we spent several months in the Hill Country northwest of San Antonio. We were in a small town – so small that the grocery […]...
April 4, 2014
I’ve received a few questions about yeast lately, and as I began to type a response to one in Facebook, I decided that it would be just as easy to put the answer into a quick post, so that all of you could benefit. Here’s the first question: I have a question about yeast. Is […]...
April 3, 2014
My first year of adult life was lived out in a cozy little apartment, where I alternately studied tax law, read Food & Wine, and indulged in all of the gourmet cooking that I wanted. Memories of my first batch of chicken stock include lifting the lid off of a steaming vat of broth every […]...
March 20, 2014
Since I started giving away my two newest bread recipes last week, I’ve gotten a few emails asking why the heck the recipes is in grams. (If you haven’t gotten a copy of the recipes, just give me your contact info in the sidebar form, and I’ll send one right to you) It seems like […]...
February 15, 2014
How do you describe the joy that results when you finally recreate your most favorite restaurant meal ever? John and I went met at college in Birmingham and eating at the various Surin restaurants as we moved throughout the city was one of the constants of our dating and married life for the 13 years […]...
Saturday is my baking day and our day for indulging in recipes that are too indulgent to eat every day. The baking generally starts the moment I awake continues throughout the day. Our Saturday activities have to be planned in terms of what we want to have dinner. “Do you want to go on a […]...
January 29, 2014
In order to have some chance at keeping a trim, girlish figure, I limit our indulgent recipes to Saturdays. The problem with this is that I often want to indulge a bit on Friday night, say with dinner out at a Mexican restaurant. To keep myself away from the baskets of chips, I created this […]...
January 27, 2014
Breakfast sausage is one of those products that I’m never fully comfortable buying. Most of the ground sausages at the grocery store aren’t labeled gluten free, are not very specific in their labeling. There’s is always a niggling doubt that the sausage is not gluten free I was perusing Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything […]...
January 23, 2014
I am always looking for new gluten free breakfast options, and these gluten free, casein free, strawberry pastries are an upscale, decadent version of the toaster pastries that most of us grew up with. Read the story of how they came to be. As I looked through the rather bare cupboards of our RV, I […]...
January 10, 2014
Some days I just don’t want to cook anymore! However the hungry people in my house do not go away. That’s a good thing, so I just have to hoist myself out of the cooking rut. In this post are 9 ideas, or levers, that I’ve used to get myself back on to a smooth […]...