I have had a passion for baking for as long as I can remember— I’ve always loved to make unique variations of my favorite treats and experiment with new things, too. Fast forward to just before my senior year of college, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. WHAT! How am I supposed to give up gluten!?Fast forward a little bit more, I had taught myself how to bake with the myriad of GF flours and techniques, and now I am even more passionate about baking! You could say baking is my love language. 😉 I struggled with my creativity in GF baking, especially in the beginning, and I realized that I can’t be the only one who’s struggled with such a lifestyle adjustment. So that’s when Celiac Sweetie came to be! My intent was/is to inspire others in the kitchen and provide delicious recipes for everybody to enjoy! If you live a GF lifestyle or have loved ones that live this way, I hope you can benefit from my evolving content. After having to adapt a 100% GF diet, I developed a new level of empathy for those with any dietary restrictions. Thus, I try to make dairy free, vegan, refined sugar free, and paleo recipe variations for many recipes as well, to accommodate additional restrictions.
General tips for baking gluten-free
Baking/buying products while on a GF diet can be intimidating. Whether you are new to this lifestyle yourself, or you are baking/buying for a loved one who eats this way, I have compiled some tips that I hope can help you.
You will have baking failures!
IT’S OKAY— GF baking is different from the traditional wheat flour baking that many are accustomed to.
Use all purpose gluten-free flours
The only flour I recommend substituting at a 1:1 ratio for wheat flour recipes, is GF all purpose (AP) flour. I have had great success with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour, King Arthur’s GF AP Flour, and Pillsbury GF AP Flour. Choose one that already has xanthan gum (stabilizing agent) if you are able to tolerate gums.
Learn a few tricks for using coconut flour
If you choose to use coconut flour in a recipe that doesn’t originally call for it, you will likely need extra eggs as coconut flour is VERY absorbent… if you don’t compensate for this, it’s likely your baked goods will turn out dry.
If you are using coconut flour, it’s also a good idea to let the batter sit for a few minutes after mixing in order to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquid (this allows you to more accurately determine if more liquid, or flour, needs to be added).
When adapting to GF, add more leavening
When adapting a wheat recipe to make it GF, I recommend adding about 25% more of the leavening agent it calls for (baking powder/baking soda).
Parchment paper is your friend!
I always use parchment paper to avoid burnt cookies or goods that stick to the pan… this also provides a little extra protection if your pan has ever been previously used with gluten.
Don’t be afraid to over mix
There is no such thing as “over mixing” with GF recipes 🙂 over mixing is to be avoided in traditional baking because the gluten can become overdeveloped and give your baked goods a tough texture. But, no gluten here!
In recipes that have liquid-y enough batter, I like to use a blender or food processor as a hack to make the final texture less grainy.
Don’t forget gluten-free baking powder!
Make sure you buy GF baking powder… Some baking powders actually contain wheat! It’s also very easy to make your own using baking soda + arrowroot starch or cream of tartar (if you google this, the recipe/ratio should come up easily).
For soups that are thickened with flour, you can often use arrowroot starch or GF cornstarch to achieve your desired thickness.
Cross-contamination is one of the most difficult parts of the Celiac diet in my opinion; it’s more of a gray area than simply being made without gluten ingredients. Cross-contamination occurs when a “gluten-free” food comes into contact with any amount of gluten, therefore contaminating that food item and deeming it unsafe- knowingly or not. My tips below are aimed toward those with Celiac… if you/your loved one has a non-Celiac gluten sensitivity or intolerance, not all may not apply.
Clean ALL dishes and utensils before using them
I also advise against using wooden utensils (unless they’re brand new and dedicated GF) as it’s difficult to clean gluten out of wood. Glass or metal dishes are easy to clean and what I tend to use most often.
And, if your kitchen is not completely gluten-free, I recommend having your own dishes and a separate sponge to wash them with.
Stay away from tupperware (if possible)
And invest in something such as glass Pyrex containers; gluten can hide in the scratches of plasticware.
Change your butter
Make sure you are not using the same stick of butter that has been used to smear onto gluten-containing bread. Just the knife touching the bread, and then the butter again, is enough to give someone with Celiac a small-intestinal nightmare!
Use your own toaster
GF bread must be toasted in a dedicated GF toaster oven (be mindful of this at restaurants that offer GF toast as an option- ensure that they have a separate toaster)
Double check your cornstarch
Cornstarch is oftentimes milled in a shared facility with wheat flour. I recommend only using a cornstarch that is labeled gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination. Arrowroot starch is my favorite alternative to cornstarch, it’s grain-free, too!
Clean out and re-organize your pantry
Get rid of all your gluten containing items before stocking up on your GF baking items… don’t want wheat flour to be dusting your GF products
Put your GF items higher up in your pantry so that gluten cannot contaminate your food via crumbs falling downward, flour spilling, etc.
Don’t mix utensils
If you’re enjoying a GF shared dish, make sure that the utensils are not being “double dipped” into something not made with GF technique/precaution
Buying gluten-free items
Buy certified gluten-free
Always look for the GF certification! This is the letters, “GF,” outlined by a circle. This symbol indicates that the product has been tested by a third party; these items typically are safe.
I would say this is the most important thing to look for if you are buying for a loved one that is GF. Going with the certification is best, and that way you don’t have to further delve into ingredients list, etc!
Stay away from products that disclose “manufactured on shared equipment that also processes wheat…”
Beware of these non gluten-free ingredients
If these ingredients are listed, it’s a no-go: wheat, barley, rye, malt, malt flavoring, bulgur, farro, semolina, gliadin, seitan, oats (unless certified GF), spelt, couscous, soy sauce, brewer’s yeast, maltose, durum, triticale, matzo, einkorn, emmer… and more but these come up most often!
I also stay away from “caramel color” if it’s listed in the ingredients (unless it’s certified) because it’s GF status is inconsistent (sometimes it’s made from malt syrup and it’s not typically specified on the label).
Double check cooking sprays
Some cooking sprays add flour, make sure you choose one that is purely oil.
No pre-prepared fruits and veggies
All fresh fruits and veggies should be naturally gluten-free/safe. Avoid pre-cut when able in case they were cut with a contaminated knife.
Check to see if oats are safe
Oats are only GF if they are labeled that way! Regular oats are not safe for someone with Celiac disease. Some can not tolerate even GF oats, so oat consumption is up to your discretion.
Test non certified gluten-free products
If you do buy a flour or baked good that is not certified gluten-free, I recommend testing it with Nima to ensure that it’s safe for you
Most butterscotch chips contain gluten, but I’ve had good luck with Hershey’s and Market Pantry’s butterscotch chips! They’re not certified GF, so I tested both with Nima and they tested safe. 🙂
A few delicious Valentine’s Day themed recipes!
I have created 3 delicious Valentine’s Day inspired recipes for you! I tried to keep them simple so that you can make them easily and not spend too much time in the kitchen. Whether you are looking for a simple dessert for a Galentine’s get together, dessert for you and your lover, or a little something all to yourself… I’ve got you covered this Valentine’s Day! Links below.
With coconut whipped cream — gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free/paleo option.
Gluten-free and grain-free. Can also be dairy-free if you use dairy-free chocolate instead of M&Ms.
Gluten-free, and vegan/dairy-free option.
If you try any of my recipes out, I would love for you to tag me on Instagram so that I can admire your fun re-creations!
xo, Celiac Sweetie
Wrap up from Nima
If you live in Minneapolis, and are in a time crunch (with no time for baking), you can order online gluten-free treats from Rachel’s online shop! She has some great gluten-free goodies in there that your loved ones sure to appreciate.
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