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Have a Happy Gluten-Free Holiday

It’s time to get your holiday bake on and the treat train won’t stop until the end of the year. If you’re celebrating a gluten free holiday due to gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, there’s no need to forego holiday pies, cookies, breads and muffins. 

Gluten-free baking can seem like a pretty tough order, but it’s easier (and more delicious!) than you think.

Flour Blends

Finding the perfect gluten-free flour blend is a matter of taste. The premade mixes are great and often rely on rice or sorghum flour as the base. Starches like potato and tapioca are added to lighten things up and xanthan and guar gums are used as thickeners and stabilizers in both gluten-free and vegan baking. If you have any other special diet considerations, be sure to check the ingredient list though as some mixes also incorporate dry milk products.

Experiment with making your own perfect blend, too. A mix of medium and heavy flours made lighter and more tender by light flours and starches is a great way to start. There are tons of gluten-free flours out there – try lots of them and determine which is best for your needs.

Light Flours

  • White and Sweet Rice: These flours are sweeter than most and a little sticky which is great for binding.
  • Starches like potato and tapioca add very little flavor, but work to emulsify the baking ingredients, standing in for the tough strains of gluten that hold dough together in gluten-based recipes.

Medium Flours

  • Brown Rice: Finely textured and nutty, brown rice flour offers balance to flour blends.
  • Oat: Familiar tasting and easy to make on your own (just zap gluten-free rolled oats in a food processor until finely ground), oat flour is a versatile standby.
  • Sorghum: A close second to the taste and texture of wheat flour, sorghum flour is a good option for the base flour in any baking blend.

Heavy Flours

  • Almond and other nut flours: These are rich and sandy (in a good way!) adding excellent texture to baked goods. It’s best to use nut flours sparingly because they add extra fat to a recipe, which may throw things off.
  • Buckwheat: This flour is strongly flavored and protein-rich, making it a great add-in.
  • Cornmeal: My personal favorite add-in, cornmeal contributes a buttery crunch to just about anything.

As with any cooking or baking projects, be prepared to brush off mistakes – disastrous rolls or breads make perfect croutons or stuffing mixes – and experiment, making notes of what goes right (and wrong). Happy gluten-free baking!

What are you favorite gluten-free products or flour blends? Share you tips and suggestions in the comments section below.