Secrets of Gluten-free Baking (2024)

When I first started cooking, I can remember being intimidated when a vegetarian came into the restaurant. I thought,

Oh, what are they doing? They can’t eat meat? We all eat meat.

But a chef in culinary school told me, “I love to cook for vegetarians because at least they’re really considering the food that they eat before they eat it, unlike the rest of us, who are just indiscriminately consuming anything that’s in front of us.”

That perspective offered me some newfound respect for people who perhaps are truly more considerate about both the food they eat and the way they live their lives. It’s a life choice and a serious part of who they are. This revelation steered me to being more accommodating and supportive of those guests with dietary restrictions.

To someone cooking at home and preparing a meal for a loved one or a family member who has a restriction, be it veganism or gluten-free, I recommend that you start by simply looking for things that are really delicious on their own.

Find those ingredients that are really amazing in their natural state rather than trying to turn them into something they’re not. That’s the best trick.

However, if you decide to try making gluten-free bread or gluten-free breadsticks, then here are a few of my personal trade secrets that may help as you try a few of your first batches. Remember, when cooking gluten-free bread, you should be thinking about moisture, flavor, and texture.

Secret #1: Be Prepared and Don’t Be Intimidated

It sounds simple, but often what trips you up at home is not having everything prepared before you start baking. Baking is about precision and timing. Measure everything carefully. Get out the mixer. Have utensils at the ready. It’s important to have a scale. Most of us at home have measuring cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons, and that’s fine most of the time. But a scale affords you more precision, and that can be the difference between a great batch of rolls and a not-so-great batch. Don’t be intimidated. Be prepared.

Secret #2: Moisture

When making gluten-free rolls it’s really important to have a good amount of steam present when baking because you want the environment to have moisture.

The downfall of a gluten-free roll, or what reminds us that we are eating a gluten-free, subpar alternative, is that it is dense and likely has little to no flavor. To overcome these challenges, give the dough and the process moisture when baking.

How: Pour a little bit of water in a baking pan or cookie sheet with a lip. Place that in the oven on the bottom rack when you start baking the rolls or bread. The water will evaporate while the bread is baking, and the steam will be present in the oven.

Secret #3: Flavor

Use an ingredient that’s going to give your baked goods great flavor. My favorites are molasses, soy protein, and whey protein. We also use caraway seeds to give it a rye flavor that makes our diners believe they are eating a nice rye roll. It’s nostalgic! Use yeast. We make a gluten-free cornbread that uses baking soda as a leavener, but yeast really has flavor and it reminds us of eating bread.

Secret #4: Texture

A great roll does not crumble like a scone. It pulls and stretches when you rip it open. This elasticity is key, but it is typically what the gluten does when baking. To get that elasticity and texture without gluten add just a bit of guar gum. Rice flour provides a chewy texture. Potato starch gives a bit of weight while holding in moisture. Tapioca starch also adds to the structure, but beware — it can be dry if you are not careful with the amounts. It takes a fine balance of these key ingredients to find the right note that creates the proper feeling of the roll.

As there is no gluten present, the yeast is only going to act one time. It will rise and gas with the carbon dioxide from the fermentation of the dough. You can’t punch it down. You can’t mess with it too much after it rises. You must handle it as little as possible. Too much handling and you have ruined the batch.

Many people believe baking gluten-free rolls is a ton of work. But truly, it is not any more work than preparing any other type of bread or cracker. It’s just using different ingredients.

Don’t be intimidated. Do be prepared. See how it’s done!

Video: Gluten-free Dinner Rolls with Chef Bryce Shuman

Video: Gluten-free Bread Sticks with Chef Bryce Shuman

Video: Roasted Chicken with Gluten-free Stuffing with Chef Bryce Shuman

Secrets of Gluten-free Baking (2024)


Is there a trick to baking with gluten-free flour? ›

Gluten-free flours often contain fine starches, so they absorb more liquid than conventional flour. To address this, gluten-free recipes usually call for more liquid and produce looser batters. They may also call for a larger quantity of leavening, like baking powder, to help add volume and lighten the texture.

What is the trick to making good gluten-free bread? ›

Tips and Techniques to make better Gluten Free Bread
  1. Use psyllium husk powder.
  2. Let the dough rest (not exactly the same as a bulk proof)
  3. Mix or knead thoroughly.
  4. Use less yeast.
  5. Bake in a tin with tall sides.
  6. Bake for longer, often at a lower temperature.
  7. Create steam in the oven.
  8. Use the tangzhong or scalded flour method.
Jun 14, 2022

Which gluten-free flour is best for baking? ›

Best Overall: Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour

This mix, which has all recognizable ingredients (including sweet white rice flour, which is the main ingredient in mochi, a nice light, powdery, starchy flour that doubles as a binder), worked well in all three of our tests.

How to make gluten-free baked goods moist? ›

Add extra liquid: Gluten-free flours tend to absorb more liquid than regular flour, so you may need to add more liquid to your recipes to compensate. This can help to keep your baked goods moist and prevent them from becoming dry and crumbly.

Should you let gluten-free batter rest before baking? ›

We recommend covering your batters and doughs and letting them rest for at least half an hour.

What to avoid for gluten-free baking? ›

Some baking ingredients that contain gluten (and thus are not suitable for a gluten-free diet) include:
  • Wheat.
  • Semolina.
  • Spelt.
  • Durum.
  • Emmer.
  • Einkorn.
  • Rye, sometimes referred to as pumpernickel.
  • Barley.
Mar 29, 2021

Can I substitute gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour? ›

This can be tricky because gluten free flours react differently in pretty much every recipe. But in general, use in place of all purpose or whole wheat flour in a 1:1 ratio. For extra binding (since there is no gluten) you can add a pinch of xanthan gum depending on the recipe, but I don't find it necessary.

What gluten-free flour thickens best? ›

White rice flour: fine wheat substitute

Made from finely milled white rice, rice flour is a great substitute for wheat flour. It works very well as a thickening agent because it prevents liquid separation – it is particularly good for soups, gravies and sauces but can also work for cakes, cookies and crackers.

How much longer do you bake with gluten-free flour? ›

Gluten-free goods tend to brown faster and take longer to cook through. So they need to be baked at a slightly lower temperature, for a slightly longer time. Every recipe is different, but in general, try lowering the temperature by 25 degrees and baking the item for 15 minutes longer.

Why did my gluten-free cake turn out gummy? ›

Gluten-free baked goods often benefit from extra liquid to hydrate the flour blends, eliminate grittiness, and achieve a less dense or dry texture. However, it's very important to drive off this extra moisture during baking, or you'll wind up with a gummy texture.

What does xanthan gum do in gluten-free baked goods? ›

Xanthan Gum adds thickness and viscosity to gluten-free breads and other baked goods. Without xanthan gum, your gluten-free baked goods would be dry, crumbly and flat. Because xanthan gum is gluten-free and vegan, it's the preferred thickener for those home bakers with food allergies.

Does baking time change with gluten free flour? ›

Remember, baking times for gluten-free foods vary greatly, and it's important to keep a constant eye on your creation to monitor for the colors and textures that indicate doneness. These recipes often call for longer baking times at a lower temperature compared to traditional recipes.

How to substitute gluten free flour for all-purpose flour? ›

This can be tricky because gluten free flours react differently in pretty much every recipe. But in general, use in place of all purpose or whole wheat flour in a 1:1 ratio. For extra binding (since there is no gluten) you can add a pinch of xanthan gum depending on the recipe, but I don't find it necessary.

Does gluten free flour rise the same as regular flour? ›

It's not all good news though as gluten-free flours simply cannot fulfil this same function of leavening which is why you might have experienced flatter and denser bakes when using these flours. At this point you will need to turn to other sources to help your gluten-free baked goods to rise.

What can you add to gluten free flour to make it rise? ›

If a recipe calls for self rising flour, you can easily make your own gluten free version. Simply whisk together my gfJules Gluten Free Flour plus a leavening agent (baking powder) and a touch of salt.

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