I’m not much of a baker, but I do have a penchant for baked goods from time to time; and the thought of not being able to indulge in some of my favorite goodies, strikes fear through my entire being. I can imagine the diagnosis of Celiac, for most, feels like a life sentence in prison with no baked goods.
After an email from a loyal and recently diagnosed reader, who asked me to cover some of the basics of gluten free, I accepted the call of duty. With Celiac disease being one of the most common chronic health disorders in western countries, affecting over 3 million Americans, I would assume that the aforementioned reader is not alone.
So what is Celiac disease? By definition Celiac disease is…
“A disease in which chronic failure to digest food is triggered by hypersensitivity of the small intestine to gluten.”
Which can result in symptoms of intermittent diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating; and never feeling quite “right”. But now, more than ever, people are becoming more and more proactive in finding ways to live a delicious life despite this diagnosis.
The most important thing to remember when cooking and baking without the use of gluten is that there is no one all purpose flour; instead it’s more of a combination of several to create the desired result. These days one can easily source pre packaged gluten free baking mixes, but honestly, you are paying for the packaging; as they’re generally a combination of flours and starches with xanthan gum for binding power. With that said, some folks find that xanthan gum upsets their digestion, so proceed with caution. In any event, I think it’s far more fun AND bespoke to mix flours to order, customized to the application- I suppose that’s the chef in me. And although initially this method can become quite costly, in the long run, you save…trust me!
The key with anything in the kitchen is experimentation, this way you will come to better understand each flours unique properties. Here is my…