Trying to cook with new (and possibly unusual) flour choices can give you unexpected results for the first few times until you get the hang of it.
2. Get to Know Xanthan Gum
This is a fabulous addition to any baked goods to help add some extra lift and binding. It’s a little expensive but you only use a teaspoon or so at a time. It can make all the difference when baking with gluten-free flours.
3. Watch for Contamination
This really only applies if you keep products or ingredients in your home that do have gluten in them. A few crumbs left on a knife or cutting board, or a virtually invisible dusting of flour on a plate can give a nasty surprise to the gluten-sensitive folks in the home.
4. Read all Ingredient Labels
Never make assumptions about your ingredients. Flour or other gluten-containing substances can be hiding in just about any sort of food, and you need to look for them. Watch for barley or malt flavoring too. They both have gluten.
You can make gluten-free varieties of just about anything, but there are going to be some products that simply don’t work as well without the wheat. Bread is known to be tricky, for example. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to make something that truly needs the gluten.
6. Mixes are Convenient
There are more instant cake and cookie mixes on the market these days that are free of gluten. They can be great to keep on hand for a quick cake baking emergency. You don’t have to make everything from scratch anymore.
7. Have a Go-To Product
More of an eating than a cooking tip, but pick out one or two products that you like and always have them on hand. Crackers, cereal, granola bars are all great snack options you should have around.
8. You Don’t have to Spend a Fortune
After reading 100s of recipes, you might feel that you have to have a pantry filled with a dozen different kinds of flour in order to make anything work. Some complex recipes can use 4 or 5 for just one dish! It’s really not that necessary and you can usually get away with a supply of just 2 or 3. Stick with rice flour if you’re a new gluten-free cook.
9. Watch the Pasta
Rice pasta is a frequent staple in a gluten-free home, but take care when you cook it. It tends to release more starch into the water than wheat pasta, which can make it a sticky mess. Use plenty of water and keep an eye on your stirring. A vigorous rinse is a must.
One of the tricky parts about gluten-free baked goods is that they tend to be drier, and will go stale faster than their conventional counterparts. Keeping bread, cookies, muffins or cakes in the freezer can help your treats last longer.
11. Variety is the Spice of Life
You might feel that you have to deny yourself a lot of food when you are avoiding gluten, so plan on adding more new foods so you don’t feel cheated. Enjoy some sushi, new exotic fruits, or a spicy curry dish to jazz things up for yourself. You won’t even notice that you’re missing anything.
12. Careful with Oats
Many people say that oats are gluten-free but some will say that bulk oats are often contaminated with gluten due to factory processing and packaging. If you are going to do some substituting with oats, do it very slowly at first to make sure you don’t have any reactions.