Before jumping into all things flour, I wanted to take some time to talk about gluten-ful vs. gluten free baking, and especially to share some gluten free baking tips for success.
As we all know, flour (and gluten in general) has definitely gotten a bad rap in modern culture as of late. Despite this, I believe that flour is one of the most vital ingredients in baking. So much so, that it can never truly be replaced!
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An Increasingly Gluten Free World
I can’t tell you how much of my professional baking career has revolved around this question:
In many cases, of course, “X” is "flour."
Now, before you start asking, “Well…what about all the gluten free recipes and cookbooks and blogs and substitutes out there?”, yes - there are many, many ways to remove flour from your recipe.
But, having worked with nearly all of those replacements and even spending a significant part of my time in mix-development working on gluten free mixes, I can honestly say that no other ingredient performs all the functions that wheat flour can as well as wheat flour does.
Making Delicious Gluten Free Recipes
Does that mean that I don’t think there are any good gluten free recipes out there? Of course not! So let me break down my thoughts a gluten free baking a bit more...
- It’s not my specialty, and there are soooo many other great gluten free bakers out there.
True gluten free bakers have devoted most, if not all of their baking careers to learning how to bake without flour. Given all their knowledge and experience, you would be far better served by learning from them. So if you’re a gluten free baker looking for tips, please go seek them out!
- I find that no recipe that was properly developed performs the same or better when a vital ingredient is removed.
(For example, if you replace wheat flour with almond flour in your sugar cookies).
As such, I'm a strong believer that if you want a gluten free treat, you should always seek out a recipe made to be gluten free from the start.
- If you still choose to bake a gluten-ful recipe with gluten free flours, you simply have to expect sub-par results (and be pleasantly surprised when things turn out well!).
This is true for me anytime I don't follow a recipe exactly as written (and I always love being pleasantly surprised if the results are just as tasty as the original!).
Now, of course, experimentation and playing in the kitchen are what we’re all about here at M+M kitchen. That said, just know that doing so with a gluten-ful recipe (by swapping wheat with a gluten free alternative) will may end up with a somewhat disappointing result.
The Short + The Sweet
Now that you know a little about my background and thoughts on gluten free baking, check out the next flour lesson for some of my tips and best practices if you do decide to dive into the world of gluten free baking.
To continue our gluten free chat in Flour 102, we'll talk all about my approach to developing gluten free recipes, my favorite gluten free flour, and those quick and dirty fixes for when you find yourself in a gluten free bind!