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Gluten-Free BAKING

The Scoop on Safe-to-Eat Flours by Claire O’Neil

cereal grains such as barley and rye, can be a problem for those with celiac disease or some sensitivity to gluten. Preparing food for a gluten-free


luten, the pro- tein in wheat and other

“Everyone should have food delicious enough to celebrate.”

~ Pamela Giusto-Sorrells, founder, Pamela’s Products (

diet requires experimenting with new ingredients, like alternative flours, and becoming a label reader, says Tina Turbin, an advocate for gluten-free liv- ing at

Fresh fruits, most dairy products, eggs, fresh vegetables, meats, fish and poultry are already gluten-free. The challenge is trying to make pancakes or pizza, or other recipes that normally call for wheat flour. With an estimated 18 million Americans sensitive to gluten in their diet and 3 million more diagnosed with celiac disease, according to the Uni- versity of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, food producers have finally begun to address the need. Gluten- free cereals and pastas, breads, flours and baking mixes, cakes and cookies, snacks and frozen confections are now available in greater quantities—and in much better tasting versions—than just a few years ago.

New gluten-free products, such

as sorghum flour and specially formu- lated baking mixes, can also help home cooks revamp recipes for family favor-

30 Hudson County

ites. However, trying to approximate the crust, crumbliness and interior structure of baked goods typically made with wheat flour takes a bit of experi- mentation when using gluten-free ingredients. Sometimes just one

type of flour will work, such as almond flour for waffles, rice flour for cake bat- ter or buckwheat flour for pancakes. Other baking recipes require an assortment of gluten-free flours. Different types can combine to resemble the taste, color and texture of wheat flour, for ex- ample. Most gluten-free flour blends use rice flour as a base, with potato starch, tapioca flour, corn flour and/or corn- starch added for softness. Other flours, such as buckwheat, chickpea (garbanzo bean), millet and sorghum, can improve flavor, color and texture.

Xanthan gum, an additive made from corn, typically provides structure for yeast dough made with gluten-free flour. Eggs, vinegar, sweeteners and applesauce or pumpkin purée soften and round out the flavor of the dough. Gluten-free flours, flour blends, and xanthan gum most often appear in the specialty baking section of a grocery or health food store; helpful brands include Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour. Using alternative flours, homemade treats can remain a deli- cious part of gluten-free living.

Gluten-Free Pizza

“People that are allergic to the gluten in wheat still want to eat what everybody else does. And who can blame them?” queries Judith Fertig, author of 200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads. “As long as the pizza toppings are also gluten-free (check the labels), there’s no reason why those that are gluten-sensitive can’t enjoy pizza, too. If dairy or meat are concerns, use soy equivalents,” she advises.

Makes 1 pizza to serve 8 to 12

1 recipe of prepared No-Knead, Gluten-Free Dough

1 cup gluten-free pizza sauce 2 cups thinly sliced fresh button or Portabella mushrooms

2 cups shredded mozzarella, provolone or dairy-free cheese Olive oil for drizzling

2 cups sliced gluten-free pepperoni or soy-based pepperoni

1. Line a large baking sheet with parch- ment paper. To form the pizza, transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Using a water-moistened spatula or just hands, spread the dough into a 14-by- 10-inch rectangular shape.

2. Cover with a tea towel and let rest at room temperature for 40 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

4. Spread the pizza sauce over the dough. Arrange the mushrooms and pepperoni over the surface, and then sprinkle with cheese. Drizzle with olive oil.

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and the pizza is bubbling. Transfer to a rack to cool. Slice and serve.

Source: Adapted from 200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads, by Judith Fertig.

© 2009 Robert Rose Inc.; all rights reserved.

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