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chrissyinnj

Substituting Ingredients

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If I have a favorite recipe, can I make it gluten free by just changing out the flour for a gluten-free all purpose? Or will that cause other ingredients to have to be adjusted? Should I just look for new recipes? I'm thinking about the holidays coming up. Cookie baking, other treats etc.

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It depends.....sorry, no easy answer here! I have successfully converted gluten recipes but it required much experimentation. I have found that generally, the less flour a recipe has, the easier it is to convert. If it does have a lot of flour, you may need to increase the liquids a bit because gluten-free baked goods are inherently drier. Also, you may need to add xanthan gum. Also, try not to focus on exactly replicating things but perhaps use flavouring and ingredients as inspiration for other things. For example, my family has a traditional apple pie recipe that we always made at Thanksgiving. My mom has been unable to master gluten-free pastry (though my husband has!!) so instead she makes the same filling as always, but makes it as a apple crisp instead of a pie. Its just as good! Similarly, I've taken gluten-free muffin and cookie recipes but tweaked them a bit to add spices and flavourings from old gluten recipes. Whatever you do, always use a gluten-free all purpose mix - never just a single gluten-free flour (unless all thats needed is a few tablespoons.)

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If I have a favorite recipe, can I make it gluten free by just changing out the flour for a gluten-free all purpose? Or will that cause other ingredients to have to be adjusted? Should I just look for new recipes? I'm thinking about the holidays coming up. Cookie baking, other treats etc.

I think it would be dependent on the recipe. And if your gluten-free flour doesn't have xanthan gum in it, it would have to be added (or a binder of some sort).

It might be easier to look for new recipes. Or post your recipe and maybe someone can help you in converting it.

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I've successfully made quite a few things just by substituting gluten free ingredients where the original recipe is a gluten flour. Sometimes a recipe will need tweaking, other times all it will need is some additional water because gluten free flours are more thirsty than wheat flour.

I tend to lean toward lower carb content as well as gluten free, and I don't have a problem with soy at all, it does work well as a substitute. I usually mix soy powder with a nut flour/meal (almond usually). I've recently used oat flour with good success as well. And the recipe here in the forum for the white sandwich bread, I boosted the fiber content by adding flax meal and chia seeds and decreased the white all purpose flour in the recipe.

If you're cooking with coconut flour though, you need recipes specifically for coconut flour, it does not substitute 1:1 at all!

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I found that when I was trying gluten free recipes instead of converting, I was dissappointed because they didn't remotely taste like what I was familiar with . . . well that's because the overall recipe was so different.

As a result, I prefer to convert my recipes. It usually takes a couple of tries but usually the attempts are still OK (ie edible), just not as good as I had hoped. This would lead to changes such as . . . a little more flour (because the cookies spread too much), a little more liquid or fat (oil/butter/milk/water) because something was too dry/crumbly.

In general, when I convert an old recipe, I double the amount of leavening agent . . . if a recipe calls for 1 tsp of baking soda, I will usually use 1 tsp of baking soda and 1 tsp of baking powder. I also double the amount of vanilla in any recipe. And of course, as mentioned above, if your gluten free replacement doesn't have xanthan gum in it, then that needs to be added as well.

One of the keys to good gluten free cooking is to really like your replacement flour mix . . . it makes all the difference in the world to texture/taste/grittiness. You can take a look on the board and read peoples feed back. There are a lot of decent brands to use (Better Batter, Tom Sawyer, King Arthur's, etc) I personally don't like the ones with the bean flours in them as I think it gives the end product an aftertaste. Lot's of people use their own home mix. This is what I prefer.

If you are converting a meal-type recipe, your best bet is just to post a question here to find out what is the best replacement for an ingrediant . . . for instance, in my chicken and rice casserole, I now use Pacific Foods Cream of Chicken Condensed soup instead of the old Campbell's.

Now . . . I DO use some of the specifically gluten free recipes that are out there. There is a gluten-free pumpkin streusel cake recipe on this board somewhere that was wonderful!! I also use the gluten-free yellow cake recipe that I got off of allrecipes.com. This is because prior to my daughter going gluten free, I didn't have cake recipes . . . I just used the box mixes.

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I haven't done it much, but have been successful a few times substituting a gluten-free flour mix in for a specific recipe. As someone else said, the less flour that is called for, the better the results seem to be.

I've read some books that discuss the qualities of all the different flours and how they can change the outcome, but so far I've only tried subbing in very simple flours.

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Depends on what sort of baker you are to begin with, if you're good at just doodling around, you can probably get away with just subbing in a gluten free flour mixture and tweaking it a little. Otherwise, it's better to do searches for "recipe gluten free name of thing" and using one of those, especially one that has been battle tested by a lot of commenters underneath the article, so you can see if it's okay or a dud.

One time a blogger on one gluten-free specialty website sort of lifted another recipe off of another, and didn't convert it properly, and had now less flour and a lot more liquid, and ZOMG, it was a comedy of errors underneath as dozens of puzzled cookers informed that It Did Not Work, and she wasn't coming up with the fix, but instead going off onto tangents like "is your oven the right temperature," as dozens of loaves of bread rose and then collapsed across America as they came out of the oven. Same thing happened with the gluten-free Bisquick people last year, they took the regular holiday cookie recipe for snowballs, aka the Mexican Wedding Cookie, and tried to pass it off as gluten free with the gluten-free Bisquick used for the flour, no adaptations, well, the gluten-free Bisquick is nothing but rice flour and sugar, and the resulting cookies proceeded to crumble and crumble. You can't expect just rice flour, without added mixtures of other gluten-free flours, to mimic the way wheat flour performs in a recipe, it just isn't going to happen, no matter how much gum or fat is put into it.

There are blends of gluten free flours that you can either purchase or make yourself that can be used for cakes/cookies and breads. Some flours are starchy and some are higher protein, it is the blending of them successfully that makes the best results. (see Pamela's, King Arthur, etc)

Typically it is rice, tapioca, and potato starch or cornstarch, in roughly thirds, that works well for "white" flour. Some people like to add sorghum and/or millet flours to this mixture, for taste.

Bread flours tend to work well with the same mixtures with bean flours added for protein and texture. Different sorts of bean flours taste differently, (some people don't like them) and the bean flours in commercial pre mixtures tend to go "off" quickly. Bean flours should be stored in a refrigerator or freezer. A little bit of vinegar and cumin also helps bean flours taste okay in breads.

There are many other flours and nut and seed meals that can be blended for a more whole - grain type of mixture, such as amaranth, buckwheat, teff, sorghum, millet, almond meal, quinoa. I keep a mixture of amaranth-sorghum in one bag in the refrigerator and another bag of potato starch and garbanzo bean flour, and then mix and match with the others, as needed. Almond, amaranth and buckwheat are very interesting to work with, as they need less "gum" or even none at all, depending on how the rest of the recipe goes. Amaranth is also mold retardant, baked goods stay better in the refrigerator longer when it is in the recipe. A classic mixture is 1/3 each buckwheat, bean, and potato starch for pancakes, no egg needed.

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