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my2sons

Flour Questions For A Newcomer...

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Hello,

My two sons ages 4 and 6 were just diagnosed with Celiac Disease. The amount of information is so overwhelming when trying to figure out how to read labels, shop and cook.

My question is...when baking or cooking do you just substitute any gluten free flour for regular flour in any recipe? I tried doing that for Toll House Cookies and they came out FLAT! Does anyone recommend a good brand or mix? We have already spent hundreds of dollars trying to figure this all out. Also, I thought Vanilla was Gluten Free, but alot of recipes call for Gluten Free Vanilla.

Thanks so much for your help!

:-)

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I haven't tried substituting for my old "regular" recipes yet, but I have made many gluten-free baked goods that all have turned out great! I've been using the brown rice flour, potato starch/tapioca starch mix (1c; 2/3c; 1/3c. respectively I think) or else I've been using Pamela's gluten-free Baking and Pancake mix - it is great for a lot of things (just made her chocolate chip cookie recipe with it and they were perfect - even my glutenous husband gobbled them up!). I haven't gotten into any of the "exotic" flours yet (bean flours, etc.) - just sticking to the basic rice and potato/tapioca starch for now. There is a lot you can do with that (oh, and had to break down and buy xantham gum - unless you use a "all purpose gluten-free mix" like Pamela's or something, you need to add xantham gum).

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Here's more information that you already have too much of. This has been collected from a variety of posters.

Also, for cookies, try refrigerating them, not smashing them down, and someone suggested using shortening instead of butter.

Tips

Gluten is the protein in wheat flour that binds the starches together, helps them rise & keeps them from crumbling. Since we Celiacs are dependent on flours without this type of protein, we need to compensate by adding binding substances, like xanthan gum, eggs, & such.

Rice flour is very low in protein & tends to be especially dry & crumbly. If your recipes don't call for other flours (potato starch & tapioca, for instance) blended with the rice flour, the results will be dry and crumbly.

If you are baking bread, sorghum & millet flours are really good. Also garfava flour leads to a nice moist result if you don't have a problem with the (very mild) bean flavor. All are higher-protein than rice.

Often there is more liquid in gluten free doughs, especially bread doughs, & the baking time is very different from that of wheat breads you may be used to working with. I find it helps to test early & not count on the timing in recipes, but rely on touch & toothpick-tests.

Potato flour and starch are two very different products (although the starch is sometimes referred to as potato starch flour). The flour has a wheat flour texture, it looks like flour, but the starch is very fine and brilliant white, not such a dull white. It looks almost like cornstarch. Potato flour is rarely used in flour mixes, or in very small quantities.

If you are having a problem keeping things moist, try adding a couple tablespoons or 1/4 cup applesauce or plain yogurt to your ingredients. I do that with a banana bread recipe I use and it really helps.

Some substitutions from Carol Fenster's Gluten Free 101:

Instead of almond meal use same amount of finely ground pecans, walnuts, cashews or pumpkin seeds (use a small coffee grinder)

Instead of rice flour use same amount of sorghum, garbanzo/fava bean flour

Instead of butter use same amount of margarine (not diet) or 1/4 less oil

Instead of cornstarch use same amount of arrowroot , potato starch, lotus root, or amaranth starch

Instead of milk use same amount of nut, rice, soy or hazelnut beverage

Instead of milk powder use same amount of non-dairy powders by Solait, Better Than Milk or Vance's Dari-Free

Instead of potato starch use same amount of arrowroot, lotus root, corn starch or amaranth starch

Instead of potato flour use same amount of almond flour

Instead of Xantham Gum use 50% more Guar Gum

To replace teff flour you can use the same amounts of brown (or white) rice flour. To replace millet or amaranth use sorghum or quinoa flour in the same amounts.


"But then, in all honesty, if scientists don't play god, who will?"

- James Watson

My sources are unreliable, but their information is fascinating.

- Ashleigh Brilliant

Leap, and the net will appear.

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Go to the library and check out some Bette Hagman cookbooks. Best around. Baking is science and I have heard of a few flour blends (with our special flours) that can be substituted but I havent' tried those. Those cookbooks saved my life. Real egg noodles again for homemade chicken noodle soup.

It is close enough to Christmas that you can check out a bunch of books, renew them, and ask for them for Christmas. I did and it was the best gifts ever. And, once you have tested them out from the library, you can be sure you are happy with what you get.

Everything gets easier but not sure if it has gotten cheaper.

Watch the cross contamination, separate non-stick and cast iron pots and pans - I learned this the hard way. Separate anything wood (cutting boards - I am just now buying a new rolling pin, finally confirming that has been making me sick as a carry over from my gluten filled baking days). I was sick a whole week on a camping vacation because I had forgotten that our non-stick skillet was the leftover from the house when we cooked gluten stuff in it. Spent many nights in the port-a-pot while camping...not fun. Since your kids are small, they may not be able to help you "nail down" some of these miniscule things that do happen, better safe than sorry.

I really is much easier once you get going.

Oh, try the flourless peanut butter cookies (I use cashew butter becuase I cannot have peanuts):

1 C peanut butter

1 C suger/splenda (I use a mix)

2 eggs

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes (I also mix in about 1/3 C EnjoyLife chocolate chips). Super easy and always work great.


-Kate

gluten-free since July 2004

Other Intolerances:

Strawberries and Banannas (2007)

Nitrates (April 2006)

Yeast (which includes all vinegar so no condiments) (Oct. 2004)

Peanuts (Nov. 2004)

Soy (Oct. 2004)

Almonds (Sept. 2004)

Corn (Sept. 2004)

Lactose/Casein (1999)

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Thanks to everyone for their responses. A few things after reading your posts:

Aren't all Chocolate Chips gluten free?

At a specialty store, I remember a woman buying a gluten free flour that was around $10 or $11. Is this a good idea? I am wondering if everyone keeps mentioning rice flour and potato starch because it is more cost effective or that there really is no good way to bake unless you combine different types of flour. Where my kids are still little, I am not baking anything gourmet at this point. I wouldn't mind spending the money, as I would make things like cookie or cupcakes and that type of stuff that I can freeze and pull out when I need them.

Am I making sense or am I just rambling? LOL!!

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Actually, I don't know about the chocolate chips, maybe someone else can chime in. I have multiple food intolerances and those are the only ones I can eat.

As to gluten-free vanilla, I make my own vanilla and it is very simple. Google it, but I have a small bottle with a cork stopper and vodka (potato, not grain/corn) with split vanilla beans in it, in a dark place, for a few months. Works great. They have gluten-free baking powder too but you can make your own (look that up too, the gluten-free ones have corn) for that too if you want.

Each flour has different properties and I used to do more with the variety before I gave up yeast and did lots more baking. I remember adding unflavored gelatin to a lot of stuff for protein. Lots of other people really into the baking more than me. I do cooking - meals, sides, some deserts. Meatloaf is killer and we have been having it about once a week because it is one of those good, cook and freeze meals.

I buy the cake/cookie mix from the Gluten free pantry and freezing is simple, same as normal food.

I cook on weekends (sausage, meals, sweets) and freeze them weekday meals since we are on the run so much with my two older boys. I make up the sausage on Saturday, cook it on Sunday and freeze then I have sausage with my eggs all week long.

We don't cook too much with gluten in the house, just safer not to, since it is you and your boys (and maybe a significant other), I would go totally gluten-free that way, no worries.


-Kate

gluten-free since July 2004

Other Intolerances:

Strawberries and Banannas (2007)

Nitrates (April 2006)

Yeast (which includes all vinegar so no condiments) (Oct. 2004)

Peanuts (Nov. 2004)

Soy (Oct. 2004)

Almonds (Sept. 2004)

Corn (Sept. 2004)

Lactose/Casein (1999)

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I'm also new to this as I just found out that the gluten-free/CF diet helps children with autism (my daughter). I urge you to read Bette Hagman's books. She's done all the research and experimentation, all you have to do is read it all. Her books are available at your local library. Be sure to get the updated versions.

Upon the suggestion of a member of this board, I recently checked out Rebecca Reilly's book. It has good recipes, too. You really have to buy all the different flours: rice, tapioca (cheap and good quality at Asian grocers), sorghum and garbanzo (cheap and available at Indian grocers), cornstarch, etc. You must also have the xanthan gum. Good luck.


DD: gluten-free/casein-free, soy lite, corn lite

Me: Vegan

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It can be tricky at first, but you'll get the hang of it.

I like to make up my own flour mix and use it in "regular" recipes. I mix up 3 C of Brown Rice Flour, 1 C Potato Starch, 1/2 C Tapioca Starch and 2-1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum. Sift 3 times and store in the refrigerator. This is much cheaper than the pre-packaged mixes. I bake for 4 kids and can't afford $3-4/lb for flour. I haven't found too many recipes that won't work with a simple substitution. Yeast breads are the exception - they're really tricky. (I just wrecked a loaf of French bread last night.)

For chocolate chip cookies try adding an extra Tbs. of flour and chilling the dough for 15 minutes before making the cookies. I add 1/2 C almond butter and it makes them extra yummy.

The previous suggestion for the Gluten Free Pantry Cake and Cookie mix is good. It makes great cake and cupcakes and is simple.


Liz

Started Specific Carbohydrate Diet on 8-16-09 because son was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and want to give him moral support.

Diagnosed with Minimal Change Nephrotic Syndrome in 2003. Discovered that going completely gluten-free put me in remission.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalms 27:13

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Liz, does this flour mix yield a large batch and you just use the flour as it is called for in "regular recipes"?

And where is the almond butte sold? At a Wild Harvest type store?

I forgot who asked but my two sons are positive and my daughter is negative as is my husband. I had a low IGA level and it throws off the accuracy of the blood test for Celiac. I'll need to go in for a scope.

Thanks again for all your help!

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Bette Hagman created 2 main flour mixes that I use all the time:

gluten-free mix

6 c. rice flour

2 c. potato starch

1 c. tapioca starch

And her Featherlight Mix

1 c. rice flour

1 c. tapioca starch

1 c. cornstarch

1 Tbs. Potato flour (as someone mentioned above, this is NOT the same as potato starch)

When I am modifying a regular recipe, I usually substitute featherlight mix cup for cup for the flour the recipe calls for. Then you add 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. of xanthan gum per cup of flour. I very seldom have recipes that just won't work for me.

Have fun, and if you want more recipes/ideas/information, just ask!

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gluten-free Betsy...that looks quick simple and easy. Do you store it in the fridge like someone else mentioned? What would be the difference in the two flours for substitution? Is one better for baking than the other? How would you use either of them?

Thanks! :rolleyes:

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I've been using the brown rice flour, potato starch/tapioca starch mix (1c; 2/3c; 1/3c. respectively I think) or else

I made banana and cranberry bread on the weekend and used one of my gluten recipes and just supstituted with the above mix of flour equal to what my recipe called for and the came out tasting very good. Even the guys like them. My bread came out good too altho it's more porous than reg bread but good! Beth.

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You know what I don't understand? I went to look at the Beth's Gluten Free Pantry Flour that I used when making the Toll House Cookies (you know the FLAT ones...lol) and it had all the same ingredients as Bette Hagman's recipe for flour. So will I be better off making my own even though the ingredients are the same and why would they come out so flat? I know this sounds redundant to all my other questions! LOL!!

:-)

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You GOTTA try Bette Hagman's Toll House Cookies if you want a really good choc chip cookie recipe. They are JUST like the real thing. They use the feather light mix. I'll post the recipe later, but I believe they are from her Gluten-Free Gourment Cooks Comfort Food or gluten-free Gourmet Makes Dessert.


DD: gluten-free/casein-free, soy lite, corn lite

Me: Vegan

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Thanks so much to everyone who has posted a response to help me better understand this all. Like I mentioned it is so overwhelming at first, but then I am sure in time becomes second nature.

What is everyone's opinion on modified food starch? I have read that it may or may not contain gluten. I wanted to make the canned white chix as an option for my son to take to school in a corn tortilla. Do most people stay away from it?

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gluten-free Betsy...that looks quick simple and easy. Do you store it in the fridge like someone else mentioned? What would be the difference in the two flours for substitution? Is one better for baking than the other? How would you use either of them?

Thanks! :rolleyes:

No, I don't store my flour blends in the fridge. I do keep my potato flour in the freezer, but I don't worry about the small amounts I use in the featherlight mix because I use the mix so quickly (within a week or so) that I don't think it would have time to go bad.

The flours that need to be refrigerated are those with a higher fat content (like soy flour) because they go rancid more quickly. Tapioca starch, potato starch, cornstarch, and white rice flour are all okay at room temperature.

The main difference between the results given by the two flour mixes is that the gluten-free mix has more rice flour, so it makes things a little bit grittier. The featherlight mix, on the other hand, has more starches, so it sometimes makes things feel a little spongier than I want them to be. (This is especially noticible in quick breads like banana bread.) I always use featherlight mix for cookies. I generally use featherlight for cakes. But for quick breads (and sometimes for cakes) I prefer to use a combination of featherlight mix and gluten-free mix . . . if the recipe called for 4 cups of flour, I would use 1 c. gluten-free mix, 3 c. featherlight mix, and about 2 tsp. of xanthan gum to replace the flour. When I am just using one flour mix, I use 1 c. of flour mix plus 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum for each cup of flour the recipe called for.

If the proportions of flours are the same in the purchased flour mix, it ought to work about the same as mixing the flours yourself . . . but it is generally much cheaper to buy the flours in bulk and mix up the flour mixes yourself (which is why I do it that way).

About the flatness . . . does the flour mix you purchased contain any xanthan gum? Xanthan gum holds gluten free flours together, so if the mix you used didn't have any xanthan gum, you need to add some on your own. That would help the cookies not be so flat. Another possibility is: was your butter/margarine melted when you started? Melted butter makes flat cookies (a tip I remember from a 6th grade home ec. class!:)). You could also try beating the dough longer after adding the eggs. For some reason, when working with gluten free flours, beating the eggs for a long time seems to make the cookies flatten out less. (I have occasionally beaten my eggs so much that my cookies don't want to spread out much at all! Oops! They still taste okay, they just look funny!)

If you need more info, just ask!

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Liz, does this flour mix yield a large batch and you just use the flour as it is called for in "regular recipes"?

And where is the almond butte sold? At a Wild Harvest type store?

I forgot who asked but my two sons are positive and my daughter is negative as is my husband. I had a low IGA level and it throws off the accuracy of the blood test for Celiac. I'll need to go in for a scope.

Thanks again for all your help!

The flour mix makes about 4-1/2 C. Yes, I use it as is in "regular" recipes. The first recipe that gluten-free Betsy gave you is the basically same one, just double and without xanthan gum. I like to mix the xanthan gum in when I mix up the flour so I don't have to think about it when I'm baking. Some things (like pasta) require a bit more xanthan gum and I add it when I'm actually making the recipe.

I've had better luck with brown rice flour than white rice flour. I get Lundberg Farms brand and it isn't gritty. The brown rice flour should be stored in the refrigerator.

I get almond butter at Trader Joe's.


Liz

Started Specific Carbohydrate Diet on 8-16-09 because son was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and want to give him moral support.

Diagnosed with Minimal Change Nephrotic Syndrome in 2003. Discovered that going completely gluten-free put me in remission.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalms 27:13

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Hello,

My two sons ages 4 and 6 were just diagnosed with Celiac Disease. The amount of information is so overwhelming when trying to figure out how to read labels, shop and cook.

My question is...when baking or cooking do you just substitute any gluten free flour for regular flour in any recipe? I tried doing that for Toll House Cookies and they came out FLAT! Does anyone recommend a good brand or mix? We have already spent hundreds of dollars trying to figure this all out. Also, I thought Vanilla was Gluten Free, but alot of recipes call for Gluten Free Vanilla.

Thanks so much for your help!

:-)

I prefer to use my old original recipes, rather than new ones. I use the tollhouse one, in fact, for my choc chip cookies and it works great. You can either find or create your own flour mix, but don't forget the xanthan gum. Or, you can buy a flour mix too. I do both, depending. Depending on your tastes, you may like some flours better than others. I don't mind bean flours in my bread, but don't like them in desserts, for instance. My favorite premixed flour is Authentic Foods Multi-blend gluten-free flour. I sub it 1:1 in my old recipes and have only had successes with it. This weekend I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Munchie cookies with it--chocolate cookies with a creamy peanut butter filling. You can buy it here: http://www.glutenfree-supermarket.com/flou...Classical_Blend


~~~~~~~

Jen

Indianapolis, IN

gluten-free since Feb 2005

dairy-free

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