Getting Started

I started baking gluten free just over three years ago. Gluten was gone from my diet and was finally feeling better, but now I had a new challenge to deal with. I remember standing in my boyfriend’s kitchen with my first packet of gluten free flour in my hand thinking: “What the heck do I do with this?!”

Since that first bake I have been on a huge learning curve. At first I thought that it couldn’t be that much different to normal baking… after all, it’s still putting together ingredients and seeing what you end up with, right? Well, here are a few things I’ve learned a long the way that I wish I’d known when I began…

  • Don’t throw yourself in the deep end by attempting something difficult like gluten free bread. It’s better to start off with something simple, like a gluten free Victoria Sandwich.
  • Normal recipes will most likely take some adapting to work gluten free and some recipes might not work at all –  ever tried baking gluten free bread with a normal bread recipe? Don’t, you’ll end up with a rock!
  • Sometimes it will feel wrong. You might find yourself reading a gluten free recipe and thinking: “Do I really need that much liquid?” or “How many eggs?!” If you’re used to normal recipes, you might need to let go of some of that prior baking knowledge and learn to trust the recipe.
  • This is possibly the most important thing I’ve learned about gluten free baking: Gluten free flour requires A LOT more moisture than normal flour. Using the right amount of liquid can transform a bake from a complete disaster to a triumph. Adding a little bit of milk to a cake mixture is essential to ensure a lovely moist sponge and bakes like biscuits and bread always start with much a wetter dough.
  • Get a good pair of digital scales and weigh everything carefully. With gluten free baking, it’s best to be as precise as possible and if a recipe specifies a certain type of ingredient, it’s probably there for a reason, so go with it!
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment and get ready to use some pretty unusual ingredients. Ever heard of Psyllium husk? Don’t worry, I’ll get to that later…
  • And finally.. Don’t give up! There have been many occasions where it’s taken me a good few attempts to get a recipe absolutely perfect – remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way!
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