When it comes to Gluten-Free baking it can be challenging to create pastries and breads that deliver on both taste and texture. This is because the science behind gluten free baking is different in terms of the methods and ingredients we are all accustomed to using in traditional baking. For example, these differences can result in a cake that is light and moist, or so heavy and dry that you feel like you’re swallowing sawdust.
So, whether you are new to gluten free baking or just looking to improve your skills, here are my top 8 Gluten Free Baking Secrets that will help you achieve the best gluten free pastries and desserts every time.
1. Follow a Recipe
Baking really is a science and every recipe is created with specific ingredients, measurements and methods for a reason. If the recipe doesn’t include any suggested ingredient substitutions, I would shy away from testing any creative changes and follow the recipe like my life depended on it.
2. Use a Kitchen Scale
The best pastry chefs and bakers will all tell you that the key to creating the best pastries every time is precision. The only way we can be achieve the level of precision needed in gluten free baking is to measure everything by weight using a kitchen scale. I know! It can feel intimidating to give up the measuring cups and switch to a kitchen scale. But I promise you it is much easier and less messy (yay to less dishes!). There are many great, relatively inexpensive options online starting from about $10.
*If you are in a pinch and absolutely need to use a measuring cup, be very intentional and use a spoon to add flour into a cup measurement. Fill the cup so its overflowing and then use the back of a butterknife to scrape off and level the flour.
3. Add More Liquid
Many of the flours and starches used in gluten free baking absorb more liquid when compared to wheat flours. Because of this we need to add in extra moisture, often in the form of oil, butter, full-fat milk, yogurt and sour cream. This will ensure we have a nice moist crumb structure that won’t be too dry or fall apart.
4. Add More Baking Powder
If you have every made anything gluten free you will know that the batters tend to be much gummier and heavier than traditional recipes. By adding in a little extra Baking Soda, we are giving our recipe a helping hand in pushing up against the heavy mixture and rising up to its full potential while baking.
5. Overmix the Batter
Unless I’m baking pancakes or scones, I ALWAYS overmix my batter. In traditional baking you don’t want to overmix your batter because the gluten strands begin to breakdown and rebuild, creating a tight texture which leaves cakes and cookies tough and dense. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about that! Gluten free mixtures can actually benefit from extra mixing as it helps to incorporate all the ingredients and allows the flour more opportunity to absorb all the liquid.
6. Rest Batters and Doughs
Gluten free batters and doughs need more time to absorb liquid. By letting your batters and doughs rest for 30 minutes after mixing, the recipe will have a better rise in the oven and the texture will be much softer.
7. Bake Lower and Longer
Because gluten free recipes tend to have extra liquid, we need to allow more time for that additional moisture to evaporate during the baking process.
8. Let it Cool Down
I’m the first person to admit that I often can’t wait to dig into a warm batch of brownies as soon as they are out of the oven. But trust me, most gluten free recipes need time to settle and cool before we cut into them. By allowing our recipes to rest and cool, we are allowing the hot air and steam to slowly rise up and out of our recipe. If we don’t wait for this to happen, that steam gets trapped and turns into moisture. We are then left with a very wet and stodgy texture.
Practice some of these gluten free baking secrets and make the BEST GLUTEN FREE BROWNIES!