Everyone knows gluten free foods cost more. They cost more partially due to higher costs for some ingredients and partially the extra cost in the process to avoid cross contamination. The rest of the increased cost is the greed of manufacturers who know they have us gf types over the proverbial barrel.
I, myself, find that baking my own treats and desserts is much more fun than buying expensive stuff that can taste like cardboard. It is an adventure to bake gluten free. Sometimes the desserts can be even tastier than they were with all purpose flour. It is so rewarding when that happens! Some recipes are easier than others.
This post was inspired by my friend Cortney who is gluten free but says she isn’t much of a baker. My goal is to encourage her and others in the same boat to get baking. Begin with something easy and build your baking confidence.
A good starting point would be brownies. The recipe I use; see post recipe from March 28, 2014, is very easy to put together and they are crazy good. The method is actually identical to how I made my classic version when I used all purpose flour years ago.
Another fairly easy thing to make – muffins. I have posted a number of excellent muffin recipes over this past year. The recipes are very similar to each other. Basically, you mix the dry ingredients and keep dumping in the rest of the ingredients in the order listed. Stir briefly to combine and spoon into greased muffin tins and bake. One point: don’t use more than two kinds of fruit or the flavor will be confused. Muffins are tasty, useful and easy peasey.
Once you get comfortable with brownies and muffins then you can upgrade to making cookies. I have found a few great ones and some of them aren’t too difficult. Russian teacakes are very similar in technique to the wheat flour based version but are actually better in texture and flavor. Another great cookie is the cowboy cookie; see my post last fall. Please try cookie baking, they are much yummier than ones you can buy and frankly cheaper.
When you get more confident you can try making rolls. I have posted a recipe or two I use often. The puffy ones I make in muffin pans are so so easy and everyone loves them. I guarantee it!
Once you get rolls down you can think about that bread thing. I like making gf french bread. You do need that special pan with the tiny holes and the rolling shape for cradling the dough/loaves. The recipe I love is from food.com. Easy peasy and great for family dinners.
Then there is pie; I really love the crusts I use for regular pie and the cookie crust for gf tarts. Both are made in the mixer and the texture and flavor is very good. The crumb crust is so easy and I dump together the crust ingredients in my stand mixer to stir it up. Chill briefly and roll out between wax paper, parchment paper or in a pie bag (my choice!) Check some of the recipes I have posted for pies or tarts.
These suggestions should get you started in the right direction to conquer gluten free baking. I will give you a few months to get down those six suggested baking areas for beginners. Then we can revisit and go for trickier stuff!
You CAN do gf baking even if you are not much of a baker. There isn’t any kneading and not as much shaping or forming as with white wheat based flours. Don’t be psyched out by your fears of the freaky gluten free flours. Don’t buy every flour under the sun like I did! I use that brown rice blend for a lot of my recipes. Two very good choices for a ready made mix are Better Batter or Cup 4 Cup.
PS: I read an article recently that is full of great advice; if you are new to gluten free or struggling with it; read this twice! I did…. http://www.moneytalksnews.com/21-delicious-ways-eat-gluten-free-budget/?all=1
Bake on my friends, bake on!