Gluten-Free Baking Substitutes

Seven indispensable ingredients make your gluten-free baking transition easier.


| GRIT's 2011 Guide to Homemade Bread



Gluten-Free Dessert Square

One possible gluten-free baking mix might be chocolate chip dessert squares like these.

iStockphoto.com/Lauri Patterson

A growing number of Americans have become aware that they suffer from some level of gluten-sensitivity, a condition that can seriously impact a person’s health and perhaps even force them to turn to gluten-free baking.

Gluten-sensitivity encompasses a wide range of conditions, from a mild wheat allergy to celiac disease. Some gluten-sensitive people are seemingly asymptomatic. For others, avoiding gluten can be a case of life and death. Rose O’Carroll, owner of Rose’s Wheat-Free Bakery and Café in Evanston, Illinois, says her mother was confined to a wheelchair before being diagnosed with celiac disease. Thomas Mercer, chief operating officer for the IBS Treatment Center in Seattle, tells of a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease-like symptoms who became completely lucid after gluten was eliminated from her diet.

Gluten is a mainstay in the American diet. Found in grass-related grains, such as wheat, rye and barley, it shows up in much of the processed food sold in the United States. And some crops, like corn and oats, can be contaminated with gluten because they are grown or processed near wheat. Altering your diet to avoid gluten may seem overwhelming.

Luckily, there are many staples still available for gluten-free baking. Also, food manufacturers and restaurant owners have learned there’s money to be made catering to the gluten-free market. And with a little practice and some out-of-the-box thinking, gluten-sensitive cooks can continue to enjoy their favorite baked goods.

Below are seven ingredients that come in handy in gluten-free baking. All can be found at your local supermarket or natural food store.

Rice

There’s a reason why this grain is a staple throughout much of the world. If you’ve only eaten instant white rice, try brown basmati rice for a richer flavor.





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