By Terry Retter
Health issues are mainly the reasons why one eats gluten free foods. So, it is best to have the knowledge on what food contains gluten so it can be easily removed from our diet and find a substitute instead. Gluten is a kind of protein which is very strong and elastic particularly found in wheat, barley and rye. Baked products usually contain gluten. It is gluten that binds ingredients in cookies, pies, and cakes and also makes them moist. The texture of baked products is a result of the air trapped within the sticky boundaries of the products.
Some develop allergies and many avoid gluten because of a gluten intolerance or what is known as celiac disease. People suffering from this experience immune system reaction that actually breaks down the lining of the intestine that leads to malabsorption of nutrients.
Here are some alternative flours that are gluten free so there is little need to not be able to enjoy baked products.
— Potato starch flour – gluten free thickening agent perfect for cream based soups and sauces. A perfect substitute because of its high starch component. Mix with a small amount of water for hydration to start it works like a glue. Then, substitute it in place of flour but use half of the amount of flour called for to get the right proportion in the recipe. This is available in health food stores.
— Tapioca Flour – light, white and very smooth flour from cassava roots. Use this kind of flour for a nice, chewy baked products like French bread or white bread. This easily combines with soy flour and cornstarch and is available in health food stores.
— Corn Flour – milled from corn and blends well with cornmeal for muffins or cornbread. This is perfect for waffles or pancakes. This can be purchased in health food stores.
— Soy Flour – a nutty tasting flour rich in protein and high in fat content. The fat content makes baked products smooth in texture. This is combined with other flours to bake brownies, muffins and cookies or any baked products with fruits and nuts. Available in health food stores.
— Cornstarch – a refined starch that comes from corn. This is combined with other flours for baking. Mostly use as clear thickening agent for pudding, sauces and Asian cooking. Readily available in grocery stores and health food stores.
— Cornmeal – a ground corn that comes from either white or yellow meal. Usually combined with other flours and gives a strong, delicious corn flavour in white cakes, pan cakes and waffles. This can be bought in grocery stores and health food stores.
— Brown Rice Flour – comes from unpolished brown rice and has more nutritional value than typical flour because of the bran that it contains. Excellent for baking muffins and cookies or for more dense breads.
— White Rice Flour – a perfect basic flour for gluten free baking. This is excellent for baking because it doesn’t impart any unwanted flavours. This works well when combined with other flours. The best white rice flour is the fine textured one. This is readily purchased in Asian stores and health food stores.
Since gluten is the substance that holds together baked products and make them moist and provides good textures, there is a need to find a substitute that will provide similar characteristics without changing texture or flavour. The following are best substitutes for gluten.
Xanthum Gum – this is formulated in the laboratory, and comes from the dried cell coat of Zanthomonas Campestris. This works well as a gluten substitute in yeast bread and other baked goods. This is available in health food stores.
Guar Gum – this is a powder form produced from the seed of Cyamopsis tetragonolobus. A more natural binder and an excellent substitute for gluten. This can be purchased in health food stores.
Pre – gel starch – an acceptable gluten substitute. This reduces crumbling in baked products. Availablein health food stores.
Eating gluten free is not really hard. It’s just knowing what best replaces gluten for the recipe that are being prepared. It is a matter of figuring out what works best as a replacement.
About the Author: Terry Retter The on line location for quality cookware,
, Cutlery, appliances and other related kitchenwares. Quality products at reasonable prices with customer satisfaction guaranteed. Specializing in Fissler, Clay Bakers,
, Chasseur, L’Equip, Bosch and other quality brands.