Converting a recipe to gluten free is always a hit and miss. But hopefully, these tips put you right back on track.
The photo on the left is one of such attempts, sent by the winner of this week’s #togetherwellmakeit round. Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat and related grains (barley, rye, oat, spelt, etc.) that gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape.
However, some people are sensitive or allergic to gluten - having to switch to gluten-free diets, where these “glue” proteins must be obtained from other sources like maize or rice.
This change of the natural “glue” ingredients can alter the overall texture and integrity of your favourite recipe, and even the flavour. Trialling is the only way to find the most adequate gluten-free variation, try following these useful tips for better results:
- Swap the flour. All-purpose gluten-free flour is now readily available in supermarkets. Substitute regular flour from any recipe at a ratio of 1:1. The trick lies sometimes on adding ½ teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of flour when baking biscuits or cakes, and a whole teaspoon when making breads.
- Eliminate the flour. Try omitting the flour altogether. Some recipes allow to use only peanut butter, sugar or double the amount of eggs to hold your creation together. There’s tons of flourless recipes on the web!
- Create your own flour. You can make your own gluten-free flour at home. Try the combination of 3 parts rice flour, 2 parts potato starch, 1 part tapioca flour/starch, and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum for every cup of mixture.
- Consider your alternatives. Queensland Arrowroot powder or unflavoured gelatine are great substitutes for xanthan gum. Corn starch gives a slight different texture to baked goodies than tapioca. Experiment with ingredients, since some flours may be drier than others - adjusting the liquid ingredients and the amounts of baking powder are a must.
- Have patience. Gluten-free cakes, bikkies and bread are most likely to crack or crumble when still hot. Let them cool down inside the oven with the door ajar, or moving the whole rack out.
This is my favourite go-to recipe when making the ultimate white chocolate gluten-free cupcakes. The following measurements and instructions will produce 15 deliciously moist coeliac-friendly cupcakes.
- 125g unsalted butter
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp bicarbonate soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1½ cups good quality gluten-free flour*
- 125g white cooking chocolate
- ½ cup natural yoghurt
* Might be worth noting that some good quality flours without gluten already have xanthan gum in the mix - recognised by thickener 415. If so, then no need to add it. All gluten-free flour mixes are a bit different, you need to find (or make) one you’re happy with.
- Preheat oven to 160˚C in a conventional function.
- In a large bowl place butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste. Mix until smooth and pale. Setting 3 on the Total Control Hand Blender is the most adequate for this step.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined between each addition. Be careful not to overmix, because introducing too much air into the mixture can be one of the reasons for the cupcakes deflating. If using the Total Control Hand Blender, go for the lowest speed.
- Add bicarb soda, baking powder and flour, and mix until combined. From here on, the rest of the mixing steps should be done at the lowest setting to avoid introducing too much air.
- Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 second intervals in the microwave until smooth.
- Add chocolate to batter mixture and combine.
- Add yoghurt and mix to combine.
- Spoon into prepared cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes.
- Cool before icing with desired topping.
Remember that during November, we’re celebrating baking and cooking fails. If such a mess happens to you, snap a picture and share it with me via Morphy Richards’ Facebook or Instagram pages, through the #togetherwellmakeit. You could be the next winner of a Total Control Hand Blender Pro Set valued at $129.95 RRP. And I will recreate a version of your failed recipe so you can have perfect results every time!
You, me, and Morphy Richards. Together we'll make it!