Category Archives: Baking Tips

How to Measure Dry Ingredients

When cooking gluten free it is very important to accurately measure dry ingredients. Use these simple steps to ensure your recipe turns out right.

Use standard kitchen dry measuring cups for the following steps:

1. Always lightly spoon dry ingredients into measuring cups.

2. Level off dry ingredients using flat side of kitchen knife.

Do not scoop measuring cups directly into dry ingredients, or you will end with more ingredients than the recipes calls for. This can cause recipes to turn out  shorter, thicker and less moist.

Also use these guidelines for measuring dry ingredients with measuring spoons.

Make Your Own Mixes
Learn ways to save time and money by making your own gluten free mixes.

Gluten Free Baking Tips
Check out useful gluten free baking tips for making gluten free recipes and converting old family recipes.

Adding Xanthan Gum to Recipes

Xanthan gum is a natural sugar derived from corn, and is used as a food stabilizer in gluten free cooking to bind, thicken and integrate ingredients. Xanthan gum is often used whenever a rich and moist quality is sought.

Use Xanthan gum to recipes such as bread, cookies and muffins to help gluten free recipes rise well and stick together.

Here are a few quick tips for using Xanthan gum:

  • Try adding ¼ tsp Xanthan gum for each cup of flour
  • Add Xanthan gum last to batter or dough
  • Limit stirring of Xanthan gum to 5-6 strokes

Common mistakes people have with Xanthan gum is caused by over mixing the gum. This will cause gluten free cakes, cookies and muffins to become tough and rubbery. Limit mixing the dough or batter to 5-6 stirring strokes, then add batter or dough to pan as directed.

Converting Gluten Free Recipes
Learn easy tips to convert your favorite recipes to gluten free.

Make Your Own Mixes
Learn ways to save time and money by making your own gluten free mixes.

Converting Gluten Free Recipes

Learning to cook gluten free can be a difficult and costly nuisance. Removing gluten from recipes causes cookies and muffins to turn out crumbly and dry. Currently there is no single flour that can completely copy what wheat does so well.

Thankfully, gluten free cooking doesn’t have to involve extreme changes. Transitioning to gluten free can be as simple as substituting the right ingredients into your old favorite recipes.

Here are some useful tips to converting a recipe to gluten free:

Double the baking powder – as the gluten based recipe directs.
Add xanthan gum
– Use ¼ tsp of xanthan gum per cup of flour to recipes such as cake, cookies and muffins to help gluten free recipes rise well and stick together.
Add xanthan gum last
– After all other ingredients are mixed together.
Limit stirring
– of xanthan gum to 5-6 strokes.
Replace baking soda
– with baking powder in recipes without vinegar.
Use gluten free all purpose flour mix
– Replace traditional flour with a gluten free all purpose flour mix. This can be found in the health food section of many grocery stores.

Follow directions – Keep pan preparation, baking temperature and time as recipe directs.

Be sure to use butter, milk and eggs at room temperature – If the butter is too hot, it may cook the eggs. If the milk and eggs are too cold, then the butter may solidify. A quick option is to substitute canola oil for butter.

Converting recipes may take several trial and errors until you get it right. Although the recipes may not be identical to taste, they should be close. Good luck!

Adding Xanthan Gum to Recipes
Learn about Xanthan gum and quick tips for adding it to gluten free recipes.

Make Your Own Mixes
Learn ways to save time and money by making your own gluten free mixes.

Make Your Own Mixes

Save time and money by preparing your mixes ahead of time, and storing them in the refrigerator until your ready to use them.

Simply measure all gluten free dry ingredients, EXCEPT YEAST & XANTHAN GUM, into a sealed plastic bag or container. Be sure to label the bag or container as to the type of mix and date.

When ready to use, set the mix out on the counter for 30 min or until the mix is at room temperature. In large bowl, mix liquid ingredients as recipe directs. Then add dry mixture and butter or margarine. Add xanthan gum and yeast on top, if included in recipe.  Prepare pan and bake mixture as recipe directs.

Gluten Free Baking Tips
Check out useful gluten free baking tips for making gluten free recipes and converting old family recipes.

Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Check out tasty gluten free dessert recipes the whole family will enjoy.

Common Errors When Converting Bread Recipes

Converting traditional gluten recipes to gluten free can be tricky at first. Some experimentation will be needed in order to make the perfect loaf of bread. Here are some common problems that can occur when making bread.

Top Inflated
This may be caused by too much yeast, sugar or flour and not enough salt. Try reducing the yeast by 1/4 tsp, reduce sugar by 1 tsp, reduce flour by 2 Tbs and increase salt by 1/4 tsp.

Top & Sides Caved In
This may be caused by too much liquid or yeast. Try reducing the liquid by 1 Tbs and reduce the yeast by 1/4 tsp.

Center of Loaf Not Baked Through
This may be caused by too much liquid or not enough kneading of the dough. Try reducing the liquid by 1 Tbs and kneading the dough thoroughly before baking.

Crust Too Thick
This may be caused by baking the bread too long. Try baking the bread for a shorter amount of time. Be sure to note; gluten free bread will be thicker since it is made with wheat, which makes break rise high and moist.

Flat Loaves
This may be caused by using old yeast, too hot of liquid, too much salt added or accidentally omitting the yeast, sugar or other sweetener. Try checking the expiration date of the yeast, use lukewarm water and add a small well in the middle of the dry ingredients for yeast to protect it from liquids.

Bread Open and Holey Texture
This may be caused by accidentally omitting salt, using too much yeast or adding too much liquid. Try reducing the amount of yeast by 1/4 tsp and reducing the liquid by 1 Tbs.

Bread has Heavy Texture
This may be caused by using too much flour, not enough yeast and not enough sugar. Try reducing the amount of flour by 2 Tbs, add a 1/4 tsp yeast and add 1 tsp sugar.

The measurements for bread must be level, since every measurement can affect the outcomes of the bread.

How to Measure Dry Ingredients
Learn how to properly measure dry ingredients in 2 easy steps.

Converting Gluten Free Recipes
Check out simple tips to converting recipes to gluten free.

Gluten Free Baking Tips

Baking is something I have always enjoyed.
Making old family recipes helps me connect with my past, and reminds me of the many people I love.  When I transitioned to a gluten free lifestyle, I struggled for a long time trying to convert my old family recipes to gluten-free.

Here are some useful baking tips I found helpful for making gluten free recipes, and converting old family recipes to gluten-free:

Increase either the eggs or the leavening agents to make a recipe turn out lighter – A general rule of thumb to remember is 2 teaspoons of baking powder to 1 cup of flour. Baking soda and cream of tartar can also be used. Add an extra egg as part of the liquid for every 1 tablespoon of gelatin dissolved in the liquid of the recipe.

Measure liquids carefully – Be sure to use  standard liquid measuring cups.

Substitute butter and oil with applesauce – To help reduce the fat in a recipe try substituting 50 to 100 percent of the butter or oil with an equal amount of applesauce.

Level dry ingredients with a straight-edged utensil – It is usually not necessary to tap the utensil or pack, unless the recipe directions tell you otherwise. See more on How to Measure Dry Ingredients.

Maintain gluten free flours freshness – Keep gluten free flours in airtight containers or Ziploc bags and store in your fridge or freezer. Be sure to thaw completely before using.

Don’t allow batter to sit too long before baking – Unless directed in recipe’s directions. Allowing the batter to sit too long can cause products to not rise completely and appear flat.

Reduce thickness of the batter - If batter appears too thick; add 1 tablespoon of water until you reach desired consistency.

Make your own mixes – If there are breads you bake often, try mixing the dry ingredients ahead of time and store in Ziploc bags to ease the process in the future. This way when you’re ready to bake, you can just grab a pre-mixed bag from your cupboard. See more on Make Your Own Mixes.

Add moist ingredients - Gluten-free recipes tend to be more dry than wheat products. Try including fruit, vegetables or sauces to baking products to add moisture, such as zucchini and banana bread. My favorite converted family recipe is  The Best Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread.

Chill cookie dough – store cookie dough in fridge for 20-30 min to manage easier.

Separate eggs into yolks and whites – Beating eggs yolks and whites separately can improve leavening of a recipe.

Use smaller baking pans - Smaller pans work best for baking more evenly. There have been several times where I’ve baked with a 9×13-inch pan and the edges were well done, but the center was still full of batter. Try using cupcakes pans or two 8-inch round pans rather than a 9×13-inch pan.

Natural for batter consistency to appear thinner – If you are new to baking gluten free don’t be concerned about the consistency of rice batter when you begin baking. Rice batters tend to be thinner than wheat batters.

Convert recipes with same amount of flour – For converting batter recipes use the same amount of flour as directed, and add an additional 2-4 Tbs extra liquid per cup of liquid called for. For cookies, try adding an additional 2-4 Tablespoons of extra flour per each cup of flour requested.

Substitute water for milk – For a fluffier, moister product try using milk or milk substitute instead of water when requested.

Add xanthan gum to recipes - Xanthan gum is a gluten-free stabilizer that improves the texture of baked products made with gluten-free flour. Xanthan gum helps keep baked products from easily crumbling. For a more natural moist texture try adding 1/2 tsp per cup of flour in cakes. For breads, try adding 1 tsp per cup of flour. Even try adding 2 tsp per cup of flour to your pizza crust mix for a better texture to your favorite pizza crust.
See more on Adding Xanthan Gum to Recipes.

Substitute evaporated milk – when baking, substitute evaporated milk with cottage cheese or yogurt to improve texture.

Add sorghum to recipes  - For better volume and texture mix tapioca flour with sorghum to baked goods. Also add slightly more oil and eggs to recipes with sorghum blends to improve moisture content and texture.

Double your recipes – Save time and money by doubling your recipe and storing the extra dough in the freezer. See more on Freeze Homemade Gluten Free Pizza Crust.

Gluten Free New York Checsecake
This light, refreshing cheesecake truly is the perfect gluten free cheesecake.

Gluten Free JELL-O Cake
This moist, refreshing dessert is easy to make and perfect for any event.

The Best Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
This moist, rich pumpkin bread is truly one of the best gluten free recipes around.