Exploring the Art of Gluten-Free Baking

Exploring the Art of Gluten-Free Baking

May 16, 2024 0 By Zidane Lindsey

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Practice the foundational skills and recipes for making cakes, cookies, bread and beyond. Learn how to use leavening agents and other baking ingredients, how to find and use current ideas for thickening and other adhesives, and how to achieve your desired goal. What is so distinctive about baked goods? What are the techniques to reach that level and consistency? How can you apply baking skills to create the right texture and flavour? This guide shares information to help you answer those questions.

Flour Blends

Any baker who regularly bakes gluten-free recipes will have a recipe that is a combination of many flours. That choice of mixture can, dramatically, affect the outcome.

Use more than one type of flour to blend flavours and textures: buckwheat and sorghum can alter flavour, darkening the final baked goods, and replacing corn flour (called maize in the UK) with tapioca starch can mean batter rising in lighter, fluffier treats.

Differing hydration in your various flours could also require you to adjust your liquid levels to arrive at the right dough consistency. A kitchen timer – even the simple basic kind – can be of great help, as I’ve found that gluten-free baked goods take longer to cook through than traditional wheat-based recipes.


Binders such as xanthan gum or psyllium husk can offset crumbliness in gluten-free bakes, and elasticity not only contributes to the chewiness of bread, but also stabilises its structure, facilitating bubbles that form during fermentation.

Gluten-free flours and starches bind more liquid than wheat flour does, requiring more liquid in the recipe or a different ratio.

A kitchen scale is a must when measuring ingredients, as they are measured more precisely and can be distributed more evenly thanks to accurate weights; since gluten free batters and doughs require more quantities of these ingredients, it’s important to use a scale to comply with just the right ratio of flours. This helps to achieve perfectly evenly distributed flour. Moreover, gluten free recipes call for less vigorous mixing to handle the flour to avoid the occurrence tough textures and thus tough batters/doughs, therefore it is necessary to remember to keep your stirring/blending technique lighter so that your gluten free recipes come out lighter in texture as well.

Temperature and Timing

You don’t need to do the kneading that you do to make most traditional recipes in order to develop the gluten to make a nice loaf of bread or soft dinner rolls. The new preparation, for the most part, can be mixed up quickly in a food processor or with a mixer.

When following a GF recipe, use a digital instant-read thermometer to check your oven temperature, as ovens are often not calibrated. Baking times may be longer for gluten-free than traditional batters, so always adhere to oven temperature and bake times when following a GF recipe.

Be careful not to use too much flour when you are shaping loose dough for bread baked in pans, as well as for cookies and pie crusts. Too much flour results in a tough, chewy product.

Alternative Thickeners

If you aren’t allergic or averse (gluten-intolerant, auto-immune) to wheat (or other grains), there are any number of flours and starches that can be used as thickening agents. Water-soluble thickeners include tapioca starch, cassava flour. Many of them can be mixed with low protein flour to form an emulsion that acts as a thickener.

Egg is a natural binder that can lighten and stiffen batter, and improve texture and structure. Water-absorbing xanthan gum or guar gum can be used in gluten-free diets to thicken or bind gluten-free flour.

When coming up with a gluten free version of a ‘wheat’ baking recipe, my advice is to stay as close to the original as possible, use accurate measures, and weigh ingredients whenever possible – superfine flours and starches will settle differently in a measuring cup than just about any other flour, and can yield very different results when scooped – the cup-and-sift method is a must!


Or, since gluten-free baked goods are notoriously gnarly anyway, you can get all fancy with different plating techniques, to add an artisan flourish to the final product.

Gluten – an elastic protein – helps to catch the carbon dioxide bubbles during baking or fermentation Trapping air (or carbon dioxide bubbles created by chemical leavening agents such as yeast or baking soda) is essential for baked goods, so you might be wondering what’s used as a replacement for gluten. For every 100g of flour in a conventional recipe, there are typically 13.5g of gluten. When you’re replacing that, you need to work with other flour alternatives in proportions that mimic wheat flour’s architecture. In fact, to replace the stickiness that isn’t created by gluten alone, bakers often add thickeners such as xanthan gum and guar gum. They also use sourdough starters, longer fermentation times and some tricky hydration skillz to create a bread torn apart by hands like knives through butter – cakes with tall layers and bounces like trampolines instead of sinking limply.