BAKING TIPS FOR CAKES, BREAD AND PASTRY
Here are some excellent gluten-free baking tips to ensure that you can produce bread, cakes and pastries like a pro!
Check them out. See how many you know!
HOW TO TELL WHEN A CAKE IS BAKED
Do the same as you would with a conventionally baked cake. Test it with a cocktail stick or skewer, and if it comes out clean, the cake is baked.
FREEZING GLUTEN-FREE BAKING PRODUCTS
Your gluten-free cake should freeze really well. Most do. Do the same as you would with a conventional cake.
HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE CAKES DAIRY-FREE
Yes, you can make gluten-free cakes dairy-free. Simply use dairy-free milk in the cake mix and use dairy-free butter in the frosting.
HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE CAKES WITHOUT EGGS
I haven’t personally tried using an egg substitute in cakes, but you could try it with flax-egg.
WHY A GLUTEN-FREE CAKE MIGHT CRACK ON THE TOP
If your temperature is too high or placed in the oven too high, your cake may bake up into a high, cracked dome.
USE XANTHUM GUM
Xanthan Gum is used instead of gluten in flour. This helps to improve the structure of the crumb, and reduces crumbling in baked products. It should always be mixed with dry ingredients as it is more challenging to combine with liquids. If your flour doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum, add 1/4 tsp in every 200g of flour.
The heat activates the baking powder. This releases carbon dioxide which forms bubbles, which in turn raises the cake.
If your oven is too hot the process is speeded up. So make sure to place your cake in the centre, and regularly check your oven’s temperature.
WHY YOUR GLUTEN-FREE CAKE MIGHT SINK IN THE MIDDLE
There are a couple of reasons why cakes sink, and one is from overbeating your batter and incorporating too much air. Furthermore, cakes often will sink in the middle when there is too much moisture in the mix.
This is far more common in humid climates where moisture can collect naturally in ingredients such as your gluten-free flour.
If this happens, cupcakes may rise rapidly at first and then fall during the baking process.
In higher altitudes the leavening agent works twice as hard. This may cause the batter to rise quickly and then sink before it has had a chance to set up.
These tips apply to most cake and cupcake recipes.
It is best not to use chickpea flour in cake recipes. The flour can go rancid, and the cake won’t taste very nice at all.
Gluten-Free Baking Tips
GLUTEN-FREE BREAD COMPARED TO ‘NORMAL’ BREAD
No gluten means no kneading is required. Instead, follow the recipe and quantities exactly. Ther “dough” will have a wet, sloppy consistency, more like a batter than a dough.
HOW TO GET A GOOD CRUST ON YOUR BREAD
Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing, as the structure of your loaf will continue to develop as it is cooling down. If the outside of your loaf appears dark and crusty, wrap it in a clean tea towel while it cools. Alternatively, brush the loaf with a little bit of melted butter when you take it out of the oven. When using a bread machine, select the Dark Crust option.
MAKE GLUTEN-FREE BREAD IN A BREAD MACHINE
You can make great gluten-free bread in a machine. For example, some devices have a ‘Gluten-Free Bake’ setting. If yours doesn’t have this you can use the ‘Rapid White’ programme along with the ‘Dark Crust’ setting. (Contact your machine manufacturer for advice if you are unsure).
KEEP YOUR BREAD FRESH
Gluten-free bread is best if eaten on the day it is baked. If you are not going to eat the bread within 24 hours of baking, freeze it, preferably sliced, for ease of use. Frozen bread slices can be put straight into the toaster, where they will come out as fresh, delicious toast. You can slice day-old bread and toast it or sput it in the microwave on high for just a few seconds. You can also use it of course to make breadcrumbs or gluten-free bread and butter pudding.
Gluten-Free Baking Tips
IF YOUR PASTRY IS CRUMBLY
Make sure to add enough water to gluten-free pastry to rehydrate the flour in order to stop it from crumbling when rolling it out. Carefully add enough water so that the dough is soft and sticky. Then, cover it and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. By then, it will have absorbed the water so that it will be much more manageable.
THE BEST FAT TO USE IN PASTRY
Choose a chilled, hard fat with a high melting point, such as butter or lard. Traditional dairy butter makes delicious gluten-free pastries and will have a lovely flavour. Lard, on the other hand, will make it more crispy. You can substitute butter with a dairy alternative. The pastry, though, will be much more fragile to handle, so press it into your pie dish rather than rolling it out.
HARD PASTRY – THE CAUSE
Pastry can become hard for several reasons. Straight off, it is important to ensure that the fat you use is cold and is mixed well into the flour with a fork. Don’t use fingers as the heat from your hands can melt the fat. Using a blender can overwork the dough and make it hard, too. Finally, remember to add enough just water to rehydrate your gluten-free flour: It needs to be slightly sticky, and no more.
Gluten-Free Baking Tips – SUPERTIPS
When measuring out gluten-free flour, make sure to spoon the flour into the measuring cup, and level it off. Don’t make the mistake of scooping your measuring cup into the flour. The best method is to weigh it out so that you have the exact measure.
Whatever you do, make sure to follow the recipe. Adding a little extra this and that or substituting an ingredient for a different one will change the outcome and can cause disappointment. Make the cake as per the recipe first, then on your next cake, by all means, try some substitutions.
Do not over-mix. When you are beating the ingredients, beat it for the time stated. This adds air to the mix, which in turn helps the cakes to rise. Beating any longer than necessary can cause the batter to stiffen up.
A normal loaf will take around 30 mins to bake, whereas gluten-free bread will usually take around 45 minutes and up to 1 hour to bake.
For optimal quality, store whole-grain flour in a cool, dry, dark place. This will keep their oils from getting rancid. storage time in a cupboard is up to six months. In your fridge, it should be good for up to 9 months.
Here is something you may not know: Eggs separate easier when they are cold. So if you use eggs for a recipe, use one from the fridge.
If you need a substitute for flour in a recipe that is not gluten-free, use 60% coconut flour and 40% tapioca flour.
When you have combined wet and dry ingredients, allow your batter to sit for 5 minutes or so in order for the liquid to be absorbed.
The best scales to use are digital scales. They are cheap and extremely accurate – more accurate than trying to measure out cups of ingredients.
If you want to add more nutrition, swap a 1/4 cup of flour for 1/4 cup of ground flaxseed
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