Gluten free baking with sulfite intolerance part III
The important ingredients in baking are of course the different types of flours and starches. In gluten free baking the biggest challenges are to find the right combinations of various safe, gluten free flours, starches and seeds and so on to create something what is great tasting, with the right texture and what looks nice. The basic gluten free baking is actually pretty simple. You just need to avoid all the gluten containing grains like wheat, rye, barley, kamut, farro, spelt etc. Oats are fine for many people who need to avoid gluten, even though when I started my gluten free lifestyle, oats were also in the avoid list in many countries. In this post I will share the gluten free ingredients for flours/starches I use which are also free of added sulfites. There are no corn, no soy or other legumes or ingredients derived from those, no yeasts, no vegetable gums etc. (more about some of the ingredients in the next post part IV).
You might think that after removing also all these foods there can’t be many ingredients left right? But no, I would say that it is actually the opposite. There are so many other foods you can use, just that you might not have heard of those before and many of those are also much healthier and more nutrient dense than the gluten containing cereals. I try to use always organic flours and starches, and I have checked with the manufacturers that their final products are free of the allergens I need to avoid. There are differences with different brands, so it is important that you do some own research as well, since in different countries the regulations can be different, and for instance sulfites used in processing the raw ingredients are not often labeled. Then you should always remember that the products which are safe for me might not be safe for you.
Here are the flours/starches I currently use:
- Almond meal ( I grind it myself from organic almonds) *
- Amaranth (pseudo-grain, so I used this when I was grain-free)
- Arrowroot powder (the safest starch what comes to the added sulfites, but double-check always with the manufacturer. My favourite brand from Bob’s Red Mill is unsulfured)
- Brown rice flour/Rice flour
- Chestnut flour
- Coconut flour, flakes (coconut flakes might contain added sulfites so double-check always with manufacturer)
- Hazelnut meal ( I grind it myself from organic hazelnuts) *
- Hemp flour
- Millet flour (many different varieties available from different countries, and choosing the right millet flour can make a huge difference how one recipe turns out)
- Quinoa ( also a pseudo-grain, so I use this for grain-free recipes)
* Just a note about various nut flours. Nuts can contain high levels of various molds and mycotoxins, hence I prefer to grind my own nut flours from organic raw nuts. It is also a good idea to soak the nuts prior using them at least for 12-24 hours. I also use many nut- and seed- butters in my recipes, like cashew-, macadamia-, sunflower-butters (sunflower seeds as seeds also for crackers and flatbreads), tahini (from sesame seeds) etc.
If you want to replicate your favorite gluten containing recipe with gluten free flours do remember that you can’t just simply substitute one gluten containing ingredient to a gluten free ingredient. You can’t just replace the same amount of wheat flour with coconut flour instance. You might be able to use maybe 1/3 of coconut flour in that recipe, but you also need to use an other gluten free flour like brown rice and then add some starch, arrowroot for instance. For some recipes you might need to experiment with added ground flax seeds or chia seeds.
Gluten free baking with sulfite intolerance might sound difficult but I would say that my diet has never been so varied like it is today even though the food list I need to avoid is still pretty long. When you cut out all wheat, corn and sugar (a lot of label reading required) you will realize that the world has many healthy and nutritious foods to offer, you just need to be a bit adventurous and start experimenting with them and get creative in the kitchen. Most of the recipes I have created which are gluten- and other allergen free are really simply to make and only a few high quality ingredients are needed. Like the flatbreads and here are some of the flatbread recipes. You need less than 5 minutes to mix all the ingredients and 12-15 minutes to bake the flatbreads. Even kids can make them!
Genetic fact: Genes to check for Celiac disease and Gluten Intolerance:
- HLA rs 2858331, risk allele G
- HLA DQA1 rs 2187668, risk allele T
If you have either heterozygous and/or homozygous mutations in these genes, gluten free diet might be the ideal diet for you.
Edited post in May 2017.