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lizard00

Converting Recipes

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I was never much of a baker before gluten-free, so most of my baking skills have come from being gluten-free. While this is a good thing, as I didn't have to struggle with the difference, I don't know the mechanics of baking very well. Cooking has not been a challenge at all, but the baking... very much a trial and error. Good thing I like to experiment :lol::lol:

So, is there a general rule of converting a wheat flour recipe into a gluten-free recipe? I have started using Carol Fenster's blend, and thus far have made some pretty great things. (If that helps)

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I haven't converted too many recipes, but was successful by upping the baking powder/soda and adding xanthan gum. Being diabetic, I watch the empty carbs, so I don't bake often.

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I was never much of a baker before gluten-free, so most of my baking skills have come from being gluten-free. While this is a good thing, as I didn't have to struggle with the difference, I don't know the mechanics of baking very well. Cooking has not been a challenge at all, but the baking... very much a trial and error. Good thing I like to experiment :lol::lol:

So, is there a general rule of converting a wheat flour recipe into a gluten-free recipe? I have started using Carol Fenster's blend, and thus far have made some pretty great things. (If that helps)

What I find usually besides adding xanthan gum and upping the baking powder and soda like ranger said is:

add some extra wet like applesauce, sour cream, milk, water, oil or maybe banana, yogurt or pumpkin. I most always use Carol's sorghum mix (its great). Bette Hagman adds sour cream or applesauce so thats where I read to do it. Gluten free baking batter needs to be wetter than wheat batter. Carol's and Bette's recipes are great and so are Karina's from glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com. Karina says to add extra flavoring like cinnamon, vanilla...her site has lots of tips.

Bake in smaller pans so the middle gets done. Smaller loaf pans instead of a larger one.

If the recipe doesn't call for soda I add 1/4 tsp. anyway.

Also wrap and freeze b/c gluten-free baking doesn't hold up as well.

I don't make much yeast type breads so others will have to help in that department.

Riceguy knows tons about baking "mechanics" and many others on here too!

edit: Carol's scones are amazing. I recently made chocolate chip with nuts then topped them with cool whip and chocolate syrup...mmm! So easy too...you just flop the batter onto the pan and spread it out.

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This is an interesting thread--I'll be watching for more good tips :)

So far, I rely on mixes or gluten-free recipes for baking, since I've found it to be such a different animal.......and I used to be such a good baker..... :lol:

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Though I always bake from scratch (and rarely measure), I have looked at a lot of gluten-free recipes to see what is typically done for this or that. It seems the most noticeable thing is the addition of xanthan or other binder. I also find that the amount of liquid is more critical than for wheat-based bread items, so when in doubt, it's probably a good idea to start with less liquid than the wheat-based recipe calls for, and work up to the amount which provides the proper dough consistency. Unfortunately, this may not always be obvious, but I think you'll get the hang of it after awhile.

Another thing I find important, is the amount of fat (oil) in a recipe. I've found that the amount of fat usually needs to be lowered, or things won't hold together so well. This does make sense, as gluten-free flours don't have the structural support which gluten provides. Fatty ingredients tend to defeat binders, including gluten. But gluten can apparently withstand a lot more fat before loosing too much of the stretchiness. Though xanthan works well as a binder, it doesn't offer the stretchiness which gluten does. This is just one reason why gluten-free breads seem to turn out more like cake. And consider how cakes usually have more fat in them than breads. This is because a considerable portion of the gluten much be defeated in order to produce the cake texture. Otherwise you'd get bread. Thus, less fat is generally required with gluten-free cakes. In fact, I've made gluten-free cakes without any added fat or eggs, and the texture was nice and light.

One of the best examples I know of for how fat impacts the texture is pie crust. Much of the gluten needs to be defeated, so that the crust is brittle/flaky/crumbly, not tough or bread-like. The fat in the recipe is how this is achieved. When I would make a wheat-based pie crust, I'd use about 3/4 cup of oil. But with gluten-free pie crust, I use between 2-4 tbsp of oil, with the rest of the liquid being plain water.

I guess I'll sum up by noting that the main difference between the gluten-free breads, and the gluten-free cakes that I've made, is the amount of water. I've found that the more water in the recipe, the more the leavening seems able to expand it, thus the lighter (more cake-like) the resulting texture. However, too much water and it won't be able to hold itself up. There is often some adjustment to the binders, though usually not very much. I've mostly used guar gum for cakes, as I've read it is more suitable. This I suppose may be one area where eggs come in, but I don't eat eggs, so can't comment from experience.

The typical suggestion for xanthan in breads is 1 tsp per cup of flour. Cakes and cookies may use less, pizza crust may use more.

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I've found cakes and cookies can pretty easily be converted from a wheat recipe. It took many years for me to get a good pie crust (adding an egg really helped), and now I love my pizza crust.

The most problems I've had is with gluten-free bread. Sometimes it seems to work, sometimes it seems not to. The gluten-free yeast-breads sometimes have trouble rising, then if they do rise, they rise then fall after baking or shrink. Ugh. I still make them, but I think I have to be content with what it produces and call it good.

I was wondering if anyone knows what the unflavor gelatin does when added to gluten-free bread recipes. I've used it, but I'm not sure if it's adding anything.

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Thanks for the tips so far! :)

So, something else I've been wondering: can you do a cup for cup substitution? Say, 1 C of Fenster's flour blend (for example) for 1 C of regular flour?

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So, something else I've been wondering: can you do a cup for cup substitution? Say, 1 C of Fenster's flour blend (for example) for 1 C of regular flour?

I think in many cases, you can, but there will be exceptions. For instance, coconut flour absorbs a lot of water, so some adjustments will likely be necessary. Also, some blends have xanthan gum already added, while others don't.

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I was wondering if anyone knows what the unflavor gelatin does when added to gluten-free bread recipes. I've used it, but I'm not sure if it's adding anything.

I was looking into this question the other day, and I found that gelatin acts as an additional binder. If you look in the ingredients of some gluten free mixes, especially the ones that are not so "main stream," some contain gelatin. It seems that you can use 1 tsp gelatin to 1 cup of flour. I just made a new flour mix, and I added some gelatin.

This has been something I have not been doing, but according to many the ratio of "heavy" to light/starchy flours should be 2:1. The heavy flours include the rice flours, bean flours, sorghum, teff and millet. The light flours include tapioca starch/flour and all the other starches such as corn, potato, and arrowroot.

Celiacmommy gave me the tip of dramatically reducing the butter in cookie recipes. It avoids the flat gluten free cookie phenomenon! :D I typically add about 1/3 of the butter called for.

Recently I discovered gluten free angel food cake comes out with amazing results! :)

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Thanks for the tips so far! :)

So, something else I've been wondering: can you do a cup for cup substitution? Say, 1 C of Fenster's flour blend (for example) for 1 C of regular flour?

Ditto what RiceGuy said and also nut flours could change things but I use Carol's sorghum mix cup for cup in muffins, cookies and sweet breads in the recipes I converted. Some mixes have leavening but I have never bought premade, nor made my own flour mixes with leavening added. I bought Pamela's once. Celiacmommy is the expert on Pamela's. I like Carol's the best. Making biscuits, breads, pie crusts, tortillas, rolls...hm...I haven't converted any of those so I don't know how well the exchange would be.

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I think in many cases, you can, but there will be exceptions. For instance, coconut flour absorbs a lot of water, so some adjustments will likely be necessary. Also, some blends have xanthan gum already added, while others don't.

I have some coconut flour, and remember reading here that it is tricky to get the hang of. I don't see it everywhere, so I bought it when I had the chance. I tried to make some muffins... it wasn't pretty.

In this case, would you continue to add water, or how do you know when enough is enough?

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I have some coconut flour, and remember reading here that it is tricky to get the hang of. I don't see it everywhere, so I bought it when I had the chance. I tried to make some muffins... it wasn't pretty.

In this case, would you continue to add water, or how do you know when enough is enough?

Can't help you much but if it was me, I would use small amounts of coconut flour along with Carol"s sorghum mix. You usually need to add eggs with coconut flour. If you google it, there are threads on it. I bought 1 bag last year and still have 1/2 of it left...so not much experience, only reading about it.

I don't like eggy taste/texture foods :huh:

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Can't help you much but if it was me, I would use small amounts of coconut flour along with Carol"s sorghum mix. You usually need to add eggs with coconut flour. If you google it, there are threads on it. I bought 1 bag last year and still have 1/2 of it left...so not much experience, only reading about it.

I don't like eggy taste/texture foods :huh:

Since I'm allergic to egg whites, that wouldn't exactly work. Not that I'm much into eggy textures either. Maybe that was the problem with the muffins I tried to make... I don't know. I'll have to keep exploring the coconut flour.

Thanks everyone for the tips!!!! Please, keep them coming :)

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I was looking into this question the other day, and I found that gelatin acts as an additional binder. If you look in the ingredients of some gluten free mixes, especially the ones that are not so "main stream," some contain gelatin. It seems that you can use 1 tsp gelatin to 1 cup of flour. I just made a new flour mix, and I added some gelatin.

This has been something I have not been doing, but according to many the ratio of "heavy" to light/starchy flours should be 2:1. The heavy flours include the rice flours, bean flours, sorghum, teff and millet. The light flours include tapioca starch/flour and all the other starches such as corn, potato, and arrowroot.

Celiacmommy gave me the tip of dramatically reducing the butter in cookie recipes. It avoids the flat gluten free cookie phenomenon! :D I typically add about 1/3 of the butter called for.

Recently I discovered gluten free angel food cake comes out with amazing results! :)

Does the 2:1 ratio only apply for breads or should it be used in general for gluten free baking?

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I was looking into this question the other day, and I found that gelatin acts as an additional binder. If you look in the ingredients of some gluten free mixes, especially the ones that are not so "main stream," some contain gelatin. It seems that you can use 1 tsp gelatin to 1 cup of flour. I just made a new flour mix, and I added some gelatin.

This has been something I have not been doing, but according to many the ratio of "heavy" to light/starchy flours should be 2:1. The heavy flours include the rice flours, bean flours, sorghum, teff and millet. The light flours include tapioca starch/flour and all the other starches such as corn, potato, and arrowroot.

Celiacmommy gave me the tip of dramatically reducing the butter in cookie recipes. It avoids the flat gluten free cookie phenomenon! :D I typically add about 1/3 of the butter called for.

Recently I discovered gluten free angel food cake comes out with amazing results! :)

Thanks for the info! I think the 2:1 ratio is a good rule of thumb, but for different products, will vary. For instance, I made Annalisa Roberts' soft pretzels and it calls for 1 c sorghum, 1 cup combo of the light flours, and it comes out perfect.

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Thanks for the info! I think the 2:1 ratio is a good rule of thumb, but for different products, will vary. For instance, I made Annalisa Roberts' soft pretzels and it calls for 1 c sorghum, 1 cup combo of the light flours, and it comes out perfect.

Yes, like I said I have not been following this rule. I think maybe that's why my cakes and sweet breads fall. I think the 2:1 ratio might be most useful when baking finicky things? :rolleyes:

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So, when you're saying light vs heavy flours, would a grain/bean flour be considered heavy, while a starch would be a lighter flour?

Has anyone attempted to make croissants yet??? :ph34r:

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