When I started on the gluten-free path it did feel like I would never be able to eat again. I mean gluten seems to be in absolutely everything. Well, anything nice has it in. I was particularly worried how the foods that they swap out the gluten for something else would taste. Would they be tasteless? Was I destined for a life of apples or cardboard? I did though find some foods actually tasted nicer. Who would ever have thought that?
But I do have to remind myself that there isn’t anything that tastes or acts identically to gluten so textures and the flavours are going to be different and I got to get rid of the idea that it can be copied. Things like batters can be thinner to what I am used to and other things look different. I can’t go wildly into changing a family recipe to being gluten-free and expect it to be the same as the gluten version.
Also, it’s not as simple as replacing one flour for another and hey presto its good to go. At school, where I learned my very limited cookery skills, I did learn that cooking isn’t just list of ingredients but also learning about the weight and ratios instead of how many spoonfuls of an ingredient and it’s all according to what you’re trying to cook.
If you learn the ratios of the different types of baked goods you’ll be able to substitute easier when you know how everything works. Michael Ruhlman has a great ratio chart to learn on his blog. It is not for gluten-free baking but it can help to learn these ratios so that you can take any recipe and make it gluten-free. Apparently learning to bake by weight and ratios will help you create better recipes overall. Being a rather disastrous baker to start with I am not holding out hope I will be on the next Great British Bakeoff anytime soon.
So far I have learned that when a recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, I have instead tried using 140 grams of a gluten-free substitute instead. I got better results when I mixed two different gluten-free choices together.
I am finding that most of the things I cook at home are simple to switch to gluten-free. Pancakes are as easy as using a gluten-free flour instead of regular flour.
For the more adventurous and admittedly not tried that much so far things that are yeasty like pizza dough I needed to add another binder and thickener to ensure that it works better such as chia or flax seeds. I’m also getting to grips with the different qualities of various flours. For example, the one time I tried coconut flour I found it holds liquid and had to use extra water to stop it being so dry.
The best way to find it all out is to just try to see what works for you as every person bakes differently and everyone has different preferences.