The Joy Of (gluten-free) Cooking

It has been an adjustment, to say the least. The flours feel gritty and dry, not soft and well, flour-y, like wheat flour does. The concept of bread that you mix, not knead, has been difficult to wrap my brain around. Matthew, on finding out that his pizza crusts would be spread, and not twirled and laid down neatly on a piping hot pizza stone, was sniffly about the lack of the Maillard reaction.

The glazed ham that I made last Friday had gluten in the glaze. I hadn’t even thought to check. Everything in a box or a bag or a wrapper has to be scrutinized and Google’d and deemed safe or unsafe. My kitchen is full of Ziplock bags labeled with their contamination status. “GF MUFFIN MIX.” “GF PIZZA MIX.” “GLUTEN – DO NOT EAT.”

My pantry is stuffed to the gills with flours and chemicals. Tapioca flour. White rice flour. Brown rice flour. Sweet rice flour. Sorghum flour. Garfava flour. Potato flour. Potato starch. Potato flakes. Teff flour. Egg replacer, because Bette Hagman favors that instead of cracking a damned egg and I’m not substituting eggs back into a recipe that is already finicky about the liquid ratio. Almond meal. Corn starch, enough to thicken the gravy of a nation, because it’s not just a thickener anymore, nope, it’s a flour. Dough enhancer. Gelatin. Xanthan gum and, because recipe writers can’t decide which is better, guar gum.

That said…

The cookies that I made got rave reviews from everyone, but most vocally from the kids. “I can’t even tell it is gluten-free, Mom.” That would be the raspberry jam topping speaking. The chocolate pound cake was eagerly inhaled. “Needs more chocolate chips!” The pizza crust could have used another ten minutes in the oven, but it was definitely pizza. I have plans for a cherry pie for Matthew’s upcoming birthday.

It’s food.

3 responses to “The Joy Of (gluten-free) Cooking

  1. I can’t help but remember the year I accompanied your middle-school band to Washington, D.C. (or was it the Disney World trip?) Daddy made a birthday cake for me using corn starch instead of cake flour, and it ended up in the mulch pile. Was it an omen?

  2. The thing with a lot of these flours is that they are such fine powders, with none of the stickiness associated with wheat flour. One sneeze and the kitchen turns into a duststorm.

    And then there’s the fact that you have to combine them in weird ways with xanthan gum to emulate wheat flour; any given baked good will take some strange combination of tapioca, rice flour, corn starch, potato, and garfava (garbanzo bean + fava bean) flour. And then you have to mix them together. Talk about Cloud City.

  3. Hi there 🙂

    I started going gluten free in December after my body began to shut down. Through trial and error, I’ve found that living without most ‘breads’ is not as bad as I initially thought it would be.

    Chebe gluten free breads are quite yummy, with a crunchy outside and a chewy inside. They come in mixes or you can purchase them frozen if you are fortunate to live near a store that carries them. They have breadsticks, rolls, pizza crusts (they are small) and some other fun products.

    Mixes made by Namaste are wonderful. The pizzas are pretty darn yummy and I tried the pancake/waffle mix this week and it was close to perfect. No gritty texture whatsoever. I added cinnamon to the pancake mix and just used a bit of healthy choice spread on top (it is gluten free too).

    I eat a lot of salads, brown rice, grilled veggies during the week. I add in a pizza night for fun once in a while as well(I’m watching calories/fat/sugar so these are limited treats).

    At first I bought every gluten free mix I could find. They’re expensive! I’ve gotten away from buying ‘gluten free’ products as much as I can and try to stick to the foods in their natural forms (I’m going to turn into a rabbit).

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