8 important tips for the gluten-free cook or baker

July 23, 2020

Whether you suffer from celiac, mild gluten intolerance or you’re looking to stop eating gluten to benefit your life, cooking the gluten free way can be difficult. Now it’s not rocket science but as someone who has been living this way for a big chunk of her life, there are a number of things I wish I knew in the beginning that would have made all the difference later on.

Over the years I have picked up a number of helpful tips that have not just made my life as a gluten-free foodie easier but have also benefited my baking.

Now it’s no surprise that I love to cook/bake. You will find me in the kitchen no less than 6 days a week whipping up something delish for dinner or the perfect sweet treat before bed. 🙂 But, in the very beginning of my journey I didn’t understand why certain dishes were not turning out good. So, as any baker/cook will do, they experimented. Through trial and error, which was not always pretty, I finally found a way to help ensure my cakes and breads were fluffier, uncovered the secret to Xanthan Gum and even perfected the art of the oven. These little tips truly made all the difference.

Why I became Gluten-free

I have often thought about making a post dedicated to my journey with GF eating and maybe one day I will but for now this will have to do. 🙂

As many don’t know, for a big chunk of my life I dealt with terrible digestion issues. I was always breaking out in hives, experienced severe bloating and stomach pains, acid reflux (which I still have although not as bad) and would struggle eating a large variety of foods since they did not agree with me. I was struggling.

I lived with this for about 3 years before I was done with feeling crappy all the time and that was when I discovered the gluten-free lifestyle. I clearly remember my first week consuming no gluten products and how amazing it made me feel. It took a better part of a month to completely stop my digestion issues but at the end I was 100% positive that the no gluten life was for me. Turns out through a number of doctor tests we found that I had a gluten allergy all along which was progressively getting worse as I got older. I remember reading such a large variety of articles about how people with similar issues like mine finally went gluten-free and they found peace with food. 🙂

It’s been 7 years almost to the day and I can honestly say that my life has changed because of it. I have learned so much about myself and my digestion from this so even though I did suffer for a few years, in the end I learned so much from the experience.

I understand first hand how difficult the gluten-free lifestyle can be for some people which is why I wanted to share these tips. They will most definitely help you in your journey and make living the gluten-free way all the more better.

Tip #1: Use Xanthan Gum or Guar

pizza kitchen recipe rolling pin
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I tend not to add these to my flours since the brand I buy already contains them but if the flour you use doesn’t contain it then I highly suggest adding it.

Xanthan gum adds volume and structure to your breads and recipes when no gluten is present. Without it your dough may be flat or too heavy. The same rule applies to cakes. Xanthan gum is derived from corn so if you have a corn allergy then you can replace it with guar gum.

Tip #2: Gluten-free flour list

flour in a jar
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Safe flours to use for gluten-free baking include sorghum flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, oat flour, millet flour, amaranth flour, bean flour quinoa, teff flour or a gluten-free flour blend (what I use 80% of the time).

For a complete list of gluten free flours check out this post at Whole Intentions.

Tip #3: Lower baking temp

I have never used this tip but many of my gluten-free friends have (how I found out about it). They recommend that since GF baked goods tend to brown more easily lowering the oven temp by 25 degrees will help prevent this.

Tip #4: Don’t give up on recipes

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If something doesn’t turn out correct don’t throw it out! You can instead use your mistakes for breadcrumbs or crumple toppings. Top your oats, cupcakes, cakes, yogurt, smoothies, milkshakes, milk (for a late night sweet treat) or for decorations on another project you’re whipping up.

Tip #5: Use gluten-free oats

Unless the oats are certified gluten-free NEVER assume they are. Most oats are rolled in flour before packaging so you need to be very careful for present gluten.

Trader Joes and Bob’s Red Mills sell certified gluten-free oats which I use for all my baking needs. Other brands are also out there. Just give a look at the grocery store and you’ll be surprised with what you find.

Tip #6: Properly butter pans

christmas cookies on tray
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Make sure to properly grease your baking pans before adding your gluten-free doughs. Gluten-free dishes tend to stick more to pans (not sure why but it can be a real pain), so to ensure your creation isn’t destroyed properly butter or grease your baking pans (more is always better).

Using parchment paper for cookies is the best way to ensure they won’t stick.

Tip #7: Be sure to use gluten-free baking powder

This is a tip that I didn’t learn about until about 1 year into my gluten-free lifestyle. Thankfully my baking powder never contained gluten but it’s important to keep in mind that some brands do. To avoid any confusions and/ or cross contamination give the ingredients a read or make sure to look for the GF label.

Tip #8: Increase vanilla & other spices

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Increase the amount of vanilla (gluten-free of course) and other spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, all spice …..) for the best, fullest flavor in your gluten-free goods.

Extra Tip: #9!

If you made it this far then surprise! You get an extra tip.

Tip #9: Add more baking powder

Sometimes gluten-free cakes can be a bit dense. To help avoid this add slightly more gluten-free baking powder than the recipe requires. This can help make a lighter and fluffier cake or bread.

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Thank you so much for reading todays post! I hope you all have a wonderful day. 🙂

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