I understand why you want an answer to that question even before you start baking. Ingredients are expensive and your time is priceless. I know you want to be able to share tasty, memorable dishes with your family and friends, too.
Before you start out on your next baking adventure, read through these tips. Use them in your kitchen. They’ll make your life easier. Your baked goods will speak for themselves – and no one will suspect they’re gluten-free.
- Use the type of gluten-free flour called for in the recipe. Each flour produces a different result. Unless you understand how the different flours work, substitutions can be disastrous. Once you’ve got some experience with different flours, experiment away!
- Measure xanthan gum and guar gum, which mimic the gluten in wheat flour, exactly and away from your ingredient bowl. They’re powerful ingredients and even 1/4 teaspoon can change the final product. If the recipe uses chia meal, flaxseed meal, or psyllim husks as a binder, make sure to use them as indicated.
- Get your recipes from quality sources and trust the recipe. Follow it as written, even if it feels like the recipe is wrong. Gluten-free, refined sugar-free batters behave differently than wheat and white sugar batters do and sometimes need different mixing methods.
- Lightly oil your scooping and spreading utensils to help keep the batter off the utensils and in the pan. Gluten-free batters can be sticky.
- Stock up on silicone baking mats and parchment paper. Silicone mats help your cookies brown evenly and release perfectly. Parchment paper is perfect for rolling out gluten-free pie crusts and crackers.
- When measuring flour, stir it then use a large spoon to scoop the flour into a dry ingredient measuring cup. Use a flat edge to level off the flour. Never pack flour – you’ll end up with dry, crumbly cupcakes.
- Most liquid refined sugar-free liquid sweeteners except liquid stevia can be swapped out one to one as long as they’re about the same consistency. Be warned that if you use Grade B maple syrup instead of agave nectar in your vanilla cupcakes, they’ll have a mild maple syrup flavor.
- Use alcohol-free, sugar-free vanilla extract in anything that won’t be baked, such as frostings and puddings. Without any sugar, vanilla extract in an alcohol base leaves your icing with an unwelcome boozy taste.
- Use the pan size called for in the recipe until you’ve baked the recipe at least once. Changing pan size affects bake time and can also impact the structure of the product. A smaller pan often helps the structure of gluten-free bread and cakes.
- When making changes to a recipe, only change one or two ingredients at a time. You’ll be able to pinpoint what was successful and what caused a problem.
Have questions about substitutions? Stop by my Substitutions page and bookmark it for easy reference.
Most of all, have fun in the kitchen! I failed a hundred times over before I was able to make my first successful gluten-free, refined sugar-free cake. Still, I learned something each time. My hope is that my failures will help you reach success much quicker.
Do you have a gluten-free baking success tip? Please share!