Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Sugar: A Sweet Snack for Yeast.

Sugar plays a role in the recipe's fermentation, as well as adding flavor and rich brown color to the bread's crust. However, too much can limit the yeast's activity and the amount of gluten that can be developed in the wheat flour; sugar competes with the flour for water, limiting gluten formation. Table sugar is commonly used, but brown sugar, honey, molasses or partially refined sugar may also be used.

Sugar provides "food" for yeast, which converts it to carbon dioxide and alcohol. It enhances bread flavor and gives the crust a golden color. Sugar also improves the crumb texture and helps retain moisture in bread.

Most bread recipes will include some kind of sweetening agent.
White sugar, brown sugar, honey, corn syrup and molasses can be interchanged equally in bread dough.
Fruit juices can also be a source of fermentable sugars in your dough.
Different sweetening ingredients create different flavors. Brown sugar, honey and molasses are often used in specialty flour breads to bring out the grain flavor.
Breads made with honey or molasses brown more quickly. A 25°F lower oven temperature is used - or watch carefully and cover with foil the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking.
Artificial sweeteners do not provide food for the yeast so they cannot be used in breads to perform the same function as sugar does.

Yeast activity may decrease when it comes into direct contact with sugar (and also salt). Be mindful of this when measuring ingredients and adding them to your dough.
Sugar - too little or too much - can have a great impact on how yeast performs in your dough. Always double check your recipe and measurements for accuracy.

Too little sugar in dough can slow down yeast activity:
Yeast needs sugar to produce carbon dioxide - the leavening gas that causes the dough to rise. If there is not enough sugar available, the dough will rise slowly or not at all.
Certain doughs, like pizza, contain no added sugar. This is what gives pizza crust its characteristic chewy texture. Since yeast can ferment only the limited amount of natural sugars found in the flour, the rising process is dramatically slowed.

Too much sugar in dough can slow down or even inhibit (stop) yeast activity:
Sugar is competing with yeast for the available water in the dough. As your sugar levels increase, yeast becomes stressed as less water is available for it to function.
In sweet doughs, like Danish pastry or Hawaiian sweet bread, the amount of yeast is increased to compensate for the higher sugar levels.
A dough is considered to be sweet, or high in sugar, when it contains more than 1/2 cup of sugar for every 4 cups of flour.
If the ratio of sugar to flour is more than 1/2 cup sugar to 4 cups flour, an additional packet of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) per recipe is needed.

Sugar has the same effect as salt:
If too much is used, yeast activity will slow down. This effect can be seen from a 5 – 6 % sugar level. In order to compensate one can add more yeast. The sugar/yeast ratio should be 3/1. If you want to make a product that contains 15 % of sugar, the yeast level should be 5 % (baker's percentage).

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Salt is not just for flavor...

Salt is a critical bread recipe ingredient, so make sure you do not leave it out or reduce it; as in all cooking, it brings out flavor, both directly and indirectly. It also moderates (slows) the action of the yeast and during fermentation, allows it to produce carbon dioxide (C02) at a reasonable rate, resulting in a better texture. 

Table Salt

Salt also helps stabilize and toughen gluten, strengthening it for shaping, keeping it elastic in an acidic environment (bread doughs are acidic), as well as contributing to moisture retention (saltless bread is drier). This effect still takes place in gluten free dough. By using a blend of gluten free flours, the salt treats their qualities and protein content in the same manner to gluten.

Just the right amount of salt also aids in making the crust crisp and preserves the natural off-white color of the flour by protecting against over-oxidation during the mixing process. Without salt, the crust will remain pale.

However, you have to be careful when you add it - if salt comes into direct contact with the dissolved yeast, it will kill it, so be careful to mix the salt in with the second or third cup of dry ingredients.

But, with instant yeast it's not as much of a problem because this type of yeast is coated. However, the amount of salt can be used to control the fermentation process - more salt slows yeast activity. It's best to add in the amount specified in the recipe, rather than adjust it.

Table salt is perfect to use for bread making because it dissolves readily, and sea salt (not the coarse variety) can also be readily exchanged for it.

For 450 grams of flour use 1 1/4 tsp of salt.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Purpose of Vinegar in Bread.

Understanding the importance of each ingredient in our recipes can help us produce superior baked goods.

The success of a gluten-free bread depends on these essential baking elements:
  • the correct ratio of salt, yeast, and sugar to flour
  • the correct ratio of binder to liquid and flours
  • accurate measurements, including temperature

and the most important thing is:

  • a substantial amount of acid in the mix.

Its about the ratios of salt and sugar to yeast and the role of acid in bread making.

Vinegar (acid)
Yeast likes an acidic environment. Although the fermentation process naturally creates an acidic environment, slightly increasing the dough's acidity by adding a small amount of vinegar to the liquids, will stimulate the yeast making the it more active and will greatly increase the rise of gluten free bread. Be careful not to add too much vinegar as an over acidic environment can inhibit the yeast.

Acid gives the yeast a real boost and makes the dough springier and elastic. The acid not only gives bread more volume but it also acts as a dough conditioner to give the bread a sturdy yet flexible structure and improves the texture of the final baked good as well as a better crust.

Using a dash of vinegar will predominantly cause a higher rise in your gluten free bread!

Adding 4 teaspoons of vinegar to every 450 grams of flour makes the bread rise faster and gives the bread some of the characteristics of sourdough. Usually recipes will call for apple cider vinegar because of special enzymes this vinegar has, but any vinegar will do, to add the acidity needed for the extra lift.

All vinegars should be stored tightly closed in a cool, dark place. They will last for about a year after opening; after that time, the flavors will diminish. Purchase expensive vinegars in very small quantities and be sure to use them within one year.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Protein and Starch: The Structure for Gluten Free Bread.

To successfully recreate texture, structure, and strength in bread using gluten free flours, you must use alternative flours to mimic gluten’s strength and elasticity by understanding the important role wheat flour plays in bread baking.

Wheat Field

Wheat flour contains two valuable components used to develop structure in baked goods:  protein and starch.

There are as many as 30 types of protein in wheat flour, but only two of those create gluten and are most important for our purposes: gliadin and glutenin. When they come in contact with moisture (water, milk, etc.) and are stirred, they produce gluten which gives elasticity, strength and shape to baking recipes.

Gluten protein provides strength, structure and stability to baked goods so they don't crumble apart. It also creates little pockets of air in the batter to produce light, fluffy baked goods. Even though gluten is nice and strong, it is also what lends that tender elastic crumb to cakes and breads.

The higher protein found in flour indicates a higher level of gluten, which results in a more elastic, better-textured bread.

The word starch originates from a German word meaning 'stiff'. When a starch is added and heated it swells and expands sucking in any available moisture in its surroundings thereby giving the product more stability. The exact temperature is dependent on the specific starch but all begin to gelatinize (absorb water and set). Gelatinization is an occurrence which takes place in the presence of heat and moisture.

Starches strength are weaker than protein. It can do some of the heavy lifting in gluten-free baked goods, but it needs help from protein.

Gluten Free Flour Blend

So that’s why we mix gluten free whole-grain flours that are very high in protein (Remember, protein means structure and stability!) with starches. The nutritional value is very low in starches but they help make the flour mix hold together and make it look white enough to make familiar-looking baked goods. Make a gluten-free flour blend using a ratio of about 60 percent high-protein flours to 40 percent high-starch flours. This ratio makes a flour blend that acts pretty much like all-purpose wheat flour in baking recipes as well as being more healthier.

Examples of high-protein gluten free flours: Amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, teff, bean flours and nut/seed flours.

Low-protein gluten-free flours work well in more delicate recipes such as cakes and cookies. High-protein gluten-free flours are useful for making products that need a strong structure, such as yeast breads, and pizza crusts. Even still breads need extra strength to cope with the longer rising times needed by the yeast and that is where gluten substitutes like psyllium, flaxseed and chia seed, role comes in to play.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Psylliums Little Helpers: Flax and Chia Seeds!

Flaxseed and Chia Seed are not as strong as psyllium but they do have components that aid in gluten free bread baking that psyllium does not.

Flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components; Omega-3 essential fatty acids, each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s; Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods; Fiber, flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.

Flaxseed has been used in gluten free baking as a 'egg replacer' by combining 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 2-3 tablespoon of boiling hot water then whisked into a thick slurry. As a gluten substitute, flaxseed provides reasonable strength, flexibility and texture to doughs. It will give the dough some extra structure so it can rise well. Flaxseed is effective enough to be used alone in breads baked in a pan, though best results are obtained when combined with other binders such as chia seed or psyllium husk.

For 450 grams of flour, use about 12 grams of flaxseed additional to the 20 grams of psyllium used. Either whisk it into the liquids or mix it with the flour.

Ground Flaxseed

Tips for buying and storing flaxseed:
Buy it whole and grind it yourself. Flaxseed, when eaten whole, is more likely to pass through the intestinal tract undigested, which means your body doesn't get all the healthful components. But whole flaxseed keeps longer. The outside shell in whole flaxseed appears to keep the fatty acids inside well protected. It’s a good idea to keep your whole flaxseed in a dark, cool place like the fridge until you grind it. Grind flaxseed with an electric coffee grinders work best.
The best place to store ground flaxseed is the freezer. Freeze pre-ground flaxseed in the bag you bought it in or in a plastic sealable bag if you ground it yourself. The freezer will keep the ground flax from oxidizing and losing its nutritional potency.
Buy either brown or golden flaxseed. Golden flaxseed is preferred to be used in baking as the brown flaxseed can turn your baked goods green, but brown flaxseed is easier to find in most supermarkets. There is little difference nutritionally between the two and both impart the same qualities to your baking, so the choice is up to you.

Chia Seed
Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. Chia has another advantage over flax being it is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

Chia seed is stronger than flaxseed but not psyllium. It is the medium between the two. Ground chia seed gives gluten-free dough a great deal of flexibility and when combined with other binders can add softness to your final bread. But by itself it doesn't lend the raw dough enough strength to hold up the bread as it rises. As well as flexibility, chia seed helps gluten-free bread retain moisture and stay fresh longer.

Whole and ground Chia Seed

For 450 grams of flour, use about 8 grams of chia seed additional to the other binders used. Finely ground chia and either whisk it into the liquids or mix it with the flour.

As the same as flaxseed, chia seed has also been known to be used as an 'egg replacer' in baking. They are high in soluble fiber so when mixed with water, form a thick gel. Place 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in a cup and add 3 tablespoons of water. Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes. 1/4 cup of hydrated chia seeds equals approximately 1 egg.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Psyllium Husk...The Best for Gluten Free Bread Baking!

There are many gluten substitutes and binders you can use for gluten free baking but there really is only one for gluten free bread, psyllium husk. Till now either gums and numerous amounts of eggs are used to achieve what some would call a good gluten free bread. Gums are not only expensive but for those who are sensitive to gluten have been experiencing intolerance to the gums. Eggs too are expensive, especially if you're going to be using as many as what most recipes require. For those eating gluten free the reason can be allergies and those allergies can incorporate eggs.

Psyllium adds rise, flexibility and strength to gluten free baking. Thus the importance is more so for gluten free bread where the rise from yeast and structure in bread is greatly relied on the gluten contained in the flour. Psyllium mimics glutens job in bread baking. When mixed with water then the blend of gluten free flours, the dough becomes pliable like gluten bread dough. It can be kneaded. It has stretch. It has elasticity. No more bread dough that looks like cake batter!

Psyllium Husk

Not only is psyllium great for gluten free bread it is also very good for us. The soluble fiber found in psyllium husks can help lower cholesterol. Psyllium can help relieve both constipation and diarrhea, and is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, and other intestinal problems. Psyllium has also been used to help regulate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
When psyllium husk comes in contact with water, it swells and forms a gelatin like mass that helps transport waste through the intestinal tract. Several large population based studies also suggest that increased fiber intake may reduce risk of colon cancer, but other studies have been conflicting.

You may need to add a little more water to your recipe as psyllium coagulates with liquids more than other binders. For example a bread recipe that calls for 450gm of flour, use 20gm of psyllium and mix with the liquids, with the water amount being 400-450gm.

Shauna from gluten free girl has a great wee video demonstrating what is psyllium husk?

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Other Binders for Gluten Free Baking.

So if you choose not to use xanthan and guar gum in you gluten free baking, here is a list of other ingredients that add structure to gluten free baked goods.

Commonly used in processed foods, this vegan alternative to gelatin is made from seaweed. Agar-agar is very high in fiber. Using too much of this ingredient can make baked goods soggy, so measure carefully. Use about a teaspoon of agar-agar powder for each cup of liquid in a recipe.

Agar Agar Powder

Ground flaxseed:
Flaxseed, when ground, absorbs water and becomes a gel. You grind the seeds first and then combine them with boiling water to form a thick mixture. Flaxseed is very high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, so it’s good for you. You may want to choose golden flaxseeds. The brown ones contain a bit of chlorophyll, and you may end up with green-tinged bread.

Flaxseed - whole and ground

Chia seeds:
Like flaxseeds, chia seeds form a gel when mixed with boiling water. They are full of omega-3s and antioxidants. They are also extremely high in fiber. They're a good substitute for xanthan and guar gums.

Chia Seeds

The protein in eggs forms a web that traps air and water when beaten. Eggs are an easy way to add structure to any gluten-free baked product. However, if you're allergic to eggs, you can substitute a gel made from flaxseeds or chia seeds in many recipes.

Free Range Eggs

This product, which is uncommon in retail markets, is modified tapioca starch. It forms a web with water, so it really mimics gluten’s structure with no added taste because it’s flavorless. Add from 1/4 to 3/4 cup of Expandex to bread recipes in place of some of the flour.

Modified Tapioca Starch

This ingredient is used to make doughs more pliable. When mixed with water, gelatin forms, well, a gel that helps trap water and makes doughs stretchier. Use the unflavored variety only; your breads don’t need to be strawberry-flavored!


Pectin is a complex carbohydrate used to thicken jams and jellies. Dried pectin, which can be difficult to find, helps provide structure for breads and cakes. It absorbs moisture, which helps keep baked goods from drying out and keeps them soft.

Jam made with Pectin

Psyllium is fairly new as a gluten substitute for gluten free baking but it is by far taking the lead of all substitutes. It provides great strength and flexibility to gluten-free dough. The baked goods that truly rely on gluten - breads, pizza dough, rolls, pasta do extremely well with psyllium. Psyllium is a source of soluble dietary fiber and used to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and diarrhea. Mixing psyllium with water makes a thick glutinous-like substance that works wonders for gluten free baking. It makes the bread soft and tender while still holding together very well.


Gums are NOT the best Gluten Substitute.

Xanthan Gum

The gluten in wheat is elastic and expands when baked, allowing breads, cakes, cookies and dough to maintain their shape without falling or crumbling. However, since the flours used in gluten-free baking do not contain gluten, something must be added as a binder to create these same elastic qualities and help goods hold their shape.

There are ingredients and methods for preparing gluten-free baked goods that can add structure and keep baked goods tender. You can build structure without gluten. Gluten-free baking has evolved over the past few years, ever since dedicated bakers discovered new tricks. Because gluten plays such a critical role in the structure of baked goods, replacing it can be difficult.

Gluten is the stretchy protein that forms when wheat flour is exposed to water and is manipulated, either through beating or kneading. This protein forms a literal web that traps air, creating the crumb, or texture, of breads, cookies, cakes, and pastries.

Since the start of gluten free baking there have been two gluten substitutes that have reign supreme, xanthan gum and guar gum. They are used to bind, thicken and emulsify gluten-free ingredients.

Xanthan gum
Xanthan gum is a corn-based, fermented product. It's made by fermenting corn sugar with a microbial called "Xanthomonas campestris." It's used extensively in the food industry to make products thicker and it's a common ingredient in gluten-free recipes. Using too much xanthan gum in a recipe will produce a heavy, gummy or even slimy texture in your baked goods.

Guar Gum
Guar gum comes from the seed of bean-like (legume) plant, sometimes referred to as the Indian tree. It is high in soluble fiber. Guar Gum has eight times the thickening power as cornstarch. Like xanthan gum, measure carefully when using guar gum in gluten-free recipes or you may end up with heavy, stringy baked goods.

Gums form a stretchy web when mixed with water, which replicates gluten’s structure. But xanthan gum is expensive, and some people who are sensitive to gluten are also sensitive to xanthan gum. Both xanthan gum and guar gum have laxative properties, which can cause digestive distress in some people. Also these substances have their limitations in baking, they have no nutrient value and they don't provide flexibility or strength in your final baked good.

The latest incarnations of gluten-free breads, cakes, and cookies use no gums, gelatin, or artificial structure-makers at all. Gluten-free bakers have found that using a combination of gluten-free flours and starches and using more natural gluten imitators helps mimic the structure provided by wheat flours. This knowledge, combined with new weighing and mixing methods, has revolutionized the gluten-free baking world.

If you want to avoid gums or other artificial add-ins, you need to combine gluten-free flours and starches. No single gluten-free flour has the characteristics, protein content, and starch content to single handedly replicate wheat flour.

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Balance of Gluten Free Flour Blends.

You can't substitute a recipe with just one type of gluten free flour. Especially with bread baking. Some gluten free flours are more denser than others and the outcome of using just one will be disastrous.

For lighter, fluffier bread, the flour blend with be mostly starches but the nutritional value will be very low. For a denser more whole grain bread, the flour blend will be mostly a mix of whole grain flours but the outcome of your bread tends to be gummy.

The following will give you a guideline to produce different types of bread depending on the amounts of flour types. And remember the percentages are by weight, not volume.

Light-textured bread with a "white wheat flour" feel:

50% starch, 50% lighter whole grains (grains that are lighter in color tend to have a milder flavor)

Dense, whole-grain bread with deeper flavor, try:

30% starch 70% whole grains

Sandwich bread with flavour, texture and stability:

40% starch 60% mixed whole grains

Personal myself I prefer the 40/60% blend.

Next is what flours to use and how many. Understanding the different properties of each flour will help you pick the right product for the job.  They can be divided into three ‘denseness’ categories: light, medium, and heavy. Remember that I'm talking about the lightness or heaviness of the flour, not the flavor.

Lightweight gluten free flours, or the least dense, are your starchiest flours and are generally neutral in taste. Arrowroot, cornstarch, potato starch, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, and white rice flour fall in this category. They're technically not flours at all but used as such to enhance the quality of gluten free baked goods.

Mediumweight gluten free flours are, on average, more nutritious than lightweight flours.  These flours have a little more body and bulk, including amaranth, coconut, garbanzo bean, millet, quinoa, sorghum, superfine brown rice, and teff.

Heavyweight flours are going to produce a much denser final product.  These flours would also be more nutritious than starchier flours.  Nut flours are obviously higher in fat but are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and other good-for-you nutrients.  Almond flour, regular brown rice, buckwheat, stone ground cornmeal, and any other nut meal (walnut, pecan, chestnut, etc.) would be considered heavyweight flours.

Try using at least two starches and two to three whole grains in your blend. I recommend using an equal portion of potato starch and tapioca starch. Potato starch seems to absorb too much water while tapioca flour doesn't absorb enough. Exactly equal portions seems to be the best blend for these two flours; they compliment each other well at this ratio.

Here's a suggestion on how to blend flours for a recipe that calls for 450g flour:

100g sorghum flour
100g millet flour
100g buckwheat flour
75g potato starch
75g tapioca starch

(Also, remember this: if you want to convert your favorite gluten recipe gluten-free? Start by subbing 140 grams of your flour mix for every 1 cup of gluten AP flour.)

So get out there and see what sort of flours you can get in your town and start blending!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Measure by Weight not Volume!

Gluten free flours are not created equal! If you want to achieve successful results with your bread then weigh your flours!

Flour by volume differs because of so many factors including humidity, storage and handling, type of grain, shipping, settling, and how the home baker measures a cup – scoop or spoon.

For example a cup of sorghum flour IS NOT equivalent to a cup of potato starch … or rice flour!

It is more so important to weigh your flours for bread baking. Ratios are the skeleton key to all bread recipes whether regular gluten bread or gluten free bread. The ratio of total dry weight and the balance of liquids or hydration of the bread is how we create the difference between a sandwich loaf and a ciabatta loaf.

Also weight measuring in baking gives you absolute freedom to tailor a recipe to be able to use any of the flours that make you happy. You can sub in any flour you like as long as the total dry weight is the same in the end.  You cannot say the same for cup to cup substitutions.

I highly recommend to buy a set of scales and for convenience this chart will help you with the many recipes still using the volume method.

(Also, remember this: if you want to convert your favorite gluten recipe gluten-free? Start by subbing 140 grams of your flour mix for every 1 cup of gluten AP flour.)

Gluten-Free Flour Volume-Weight Conversions
1 cup weight (grams)
Almond flour
High in protein, nutty flavour

Amaranth flour
Nutty flavour, creates nice crust, denser than some other gf flours

Starch in combo with heavier flours, sub for cornstarch and good thickener for foods that will be frozen/thawed

Brown rice flour
Nutty flavour, high in fiber, vitamins, minerals

Buckwheat flour
Earthy flavour, high in fiber and minerals

Chestnut flour
High in complex carbs + protein, has many properties of grains

Coconut flour
Very high in fiber, sweet, adds moisture to baked goods, dense

Corn flour/Masa Harina
Finer blend than cornmeal, whole grain

Cornmeal (medium)
Good for muffins, coarser baked goods

Starch in combo with heavier flours, sub for cornstarch and good thickener, also makes crisp coating

Fava Bean flour
High protein flour, less bitter than garbanzo

Garbanzo (chickpea)
High protein flour, good in baked goods

Garfava flour
High protein flour, slight bean flavour, good in combo

Sweet tasting flour, nutritious, easy to digest

Oat flour
Nutritious flour, good in baked goods

Split pea flour
Powdery texture, slightly sweet taste,

Potato flour
Adds moisture and shelf-life to baked goods

Potato starch
Good thickener, replacement for cornstarch

Quinoa flour
Slightly nutty flour, very high in complete protein, adds moisture to baked goods

Romano bean
High protein flour, somewhat beany flavour, adds fiber

Soy flour
High protein flour, can be somewhat dense

Sorghum flour
Sweet tasting flour, slightly grainy flavour

Sweet potato
Good thickener, sweet flavour, stiff texture

Sweet rice
Good thickener, especially where separation is a concern

Tapioca starch
Starch added to flour mixtures, adds chewy texture to baked goods, good thickener

Teff flour
Slightly sweet, nutty flavour, molasses flavour ( brands vary )

White rice
Bland flour, used in combination with others

Thank you to Janice from Real Foods Made Easy for compiling this list together. Its also available as a downloadable (pdf) file: Gluten free flours volume-weight

Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Best Gluten Free Flours for Bread Baking.

A good place to begin when it comes to gluten free bread is gluten free flours. There are so many out there ranging from grains to beans to nuts and seeds. There are also starch flours which are very much needed in gluten free baking to add lightness.  This list comprises of the flours and starches I have found to be the best for bread baking and their nutritional benefits. You will notice that I have not added rice flour.  Rice flour is not a good flour for making bread. Its stiff, heavy and it doesn't like to rise slowly. I love it in quick breads, but not for yeasted breads. I have added teff flour though I have not had the chance to use it being that it is very hard to get where I live but speaking from other gluten free bread bakers, it is wonderful so in respects to their knowledge and experience, it gets the go ahead!

Sorghum Flour: Sorghum is one of the oldest known grains and a major food source in Africa and India. Compared to corn, sorghum is higher in protein, lower in fat, and similar in mineral composition and vitamin content. Sorghum is high in insoluble fiber, with relatively small amounts of soluble fiber. It's more slowly digested than other cereals, which may be beneficial to diabetics.
Sorghum has a bland flavor. The flour is often used to make flat unleavened breads.A very good substitute for wheat flour in many recipes, especially if combined with other, more denser, flours.

Sorghum Flour

Millet Flour: Millet is a term applied to a group of grains from small-seeded grasses. Millet is about 11% protein. It contains high amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins (including niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin), the essential amino acid methionine, lecithin, and some vitamin E. Millet is particularly high in the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Like buckwheat and quinoa, millet is not acid forming, so it’s easy to digest.
It can be used to thicken soups and make flat breads and griddle cakes. A lighter colored, slightly drier flour. Great when mixed with heartier flours such as teff, hemp, or almond- but not recommended on its own.

Millet Flour

Buckwheat Flour: Despite its name, buckwheat (also called kasha) is not a form of wheat or even a grass. It’s actually related to rhubarb. Buckwheat is an excellent source of fiber and nutrients. The groats make a healthy and tasty side dish. Buckwheat flour is made by grinding the small seeds (called berries) of the buckwheat plant.
The flour has a strong nutty taste. Almost perfect substitute for wheat flour when used in pancakes, muffins, and cakes. Mix with a starchier flour such as cornstarch or tapioca flour to get dough that rolls out well too!

Buckwheat Flour

Teff Flour: Teff flour is made from the grains of a grass that’s native to northern Africa. Teff seeds are the smallest grain in the world – about the size of a poppy seed. Teff flour has long been a nourishing staple in Ethiopia. Teff flour contains many essential nutrients and can be used in recipes for bread, cakes, tarts, snacks and pancakes. It can also be used to thicken soups and sauces.
This is an all around good flour that works in many types of baked goods. It has a stronger nutty flavor and darker color than sorghum and buckwheat. A nutritional powerhouse, but it is oftentimes hard to locate in supermarkets.

Tapioca Flour: Tapioca flour is made from the root of the cassava plant. It’s a light, soft, fine white flour. Tapioca flour adds chewiness to baked goods and is a good thickener. A great "second" denser flour to use along with many flours such as sorghum, millet, and buckwheat. It is also called tapioca “starch”. Can be used like cornstarch to thicken sauces, and freezes well... although it does impart a "shiny" look.

Tapioca Flour

Potato Starch: While potato flour is made from whole dehydrated potatoes that are ground into powder, potato starch is the result of extracting just the starch from the potato. Potato starch is a fine white flour that has a light potato flavor which is undetectable when used in recipes. Like potato flour, it’s often used as a thickener. It has a very long shelf life when stored in an airtight jar in a cool and dark place.
Similar texture to tapioca flour and cornstarch when used in baking. When thickening sauces, it tends to produce gummy results.

Potato Starch

Corn Starch: Cornstarch is a fine, white powder milled from corn. It’s used to thicken recipes and sauces. It has a bland taste, and therefore is used with other ingredients that will give flavor to the recipe. Corn starch can also be mixed with other flours to make batters for coating foods. It isn't only a great thickener in soups, stews and sauces; it also works similarly to tapioca flour in recipes. Check labels to make sure there is no hidden gluten.
Note: Cornstarch is not Corn Meal or Corn Flour

About Me

I went gluten free to help with my digestive troubles and it turns out I'm gluten intolerant. Then those 'symptoms' returned and that's when I found out I have IBS. I started following the low fodmap diet and my digestive system has improved greatly!

I adapted quite well to the change of being gluten free. Watching out for hidden gluten in products was tricky and I became an ingredient list reader big time! But there was one thing I truly missed, it was pasta or cakes or was bread!!!!

So I looked into making my own bread and WOW, it wasn't that easy! I needed so many ingredients and loads of eggs and these weird gums etc etc.....yikes!!!! I think I'll just buy the gluten free bread at the supermarket. Perhaps not! For starters it was $8 for a loaf of gluten free bread! Then the ingredients were not that healthy, mainly starches and those gums again! Not just that there was no taste, the texture was like plastic, false, not at all like how I remember bread.

Back to the drawing board of making my own bread. Real bread. Bread made with whole grains. Bread that was basic and easy. Bread that didn't need eggs and gums. This was going to be a hard task. All gluten free bread recipes claimed that eggs were needed for a good rising bread and gums used to replace the job of gluten. There will be no dough as such but a batter???

From flours and binders to techniques and traditions. A lot of what I have learnt has been a collaboration from other gluten free bakers websites and some of my posts will be direct quotations of their posts. Reason being is simply I couldn't have said it better myself! This blog is about my journey and what I discovered in the world of gluten free bread baking at home!