It’s no easy feat getting started with baking gluten and casein free. A great way to start off your baking adventures is to use some of the handy gluten free, casein free baking mixes available at your local store. A basic bread mix, pancake mix, pizza crust mix and dessert mix of some variety, will get you going in no time. These mixes are great when you or your child has no further restrictions beyond gluten and casein. They are wonderful when you’re not confident of your baking prowess. Mixes are also endlessly helpful when you’re short on time. Box mixes are not for everyone, however.
To help make GF/CF baking easier, we’ve compiled some great tips and tricks for getting started with scratch baking.
Start with a recipe. When just getting started, a developed recipe is the best way to have success. There are many different recipe sites and blogs dedicated to every kind of GF/CF baked good from sweet to savory these days, so why reinvent the wheel? Some wonderful sites are Gluten Free Goddess (most dairy free), Fat Free Vegan (all GF), and The Sensitive Pantry.
Find a good all-purpose GF/CF flour blend. Start simple with an all-purpose blend if you can find one that will work for your family’s needs. You will find two general types in the market- those that contain Xanthan or Guar gum, and those that do not. There are advantages to both, but we recommend buying your gum of choice separately so you can control how much you need with each recipe.
Build a small collection of flours. If a premixed blend won’t work, or you’ve graduated beyond a premixed blend, build a small collection of your most-used GF/CF flours- such as white or brown rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca flour and potato starch. Once you get going with recipes, you’ll find you use the same flours over and over again.
Do some research before skipping ingredients. Wondering what Xanthan gum is or scratching your head over guar gum? Do a little online research into the roles played by these ingredients, and any others that you don’t recognize. See what they do before skipping them in the recipe. Some you may not need, but others might be the key to your success.
Learn your substitutions. Learn what makes great substitutes for commons sources of casein (and eggs if you need to avoid those too). There are many, many vegan sites dedicated to substituting for milk products- use them. They’ll save you time and headaches. Bob’s Red Mill also has many info sheets on how to substitute flours and dairy products, call 800-349-2173 for a copy.
Don’t give up. Even the best chefs make mistakes and have failed recipes. Just because you didn’t get that cake to come out just right doesn’t mean you never will. Accept that there are bad recipes out there and there will be times when even the best recipe comes out poorly. Don’t give up!
Some Basic Recipes for the GF/CF Diet: