I was a problem child when it came to food allergies. Dairy? Out of the question. Wheat? Nope. Chocolate? I don’t think so. Fortunately, I did outgrow these allergies. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed a life of cornflakes with ginger ale (doctor’s alternative to milk), which I loved as a child, but…
As I grew older and information about food allergies became readily available, I learned that childhood allergies that seem to have left can return. Then gluten became a much discussed health topic, and I thought that maybe I should try taking wheat out of my diet. If not allergic, I’m certain I’m at least sensitive to glutens. I’ve been gradually replacing gluten-heavy standards with better-for-me alternatives. It is amazing how easy it is to find gluten-free alternatives to some of my favorites… like pasta, for example… right in my local grocery.
Still, the obstacle I faced was baked goods. I’ve had prepared gluten-free baked goods that were so dense and so different from what I’ve known that they were simply not enjoyable to me. I never even considered figuring out how to make my own recipes wheat free. Enter Beth Hillson.
Beth has done the research for creating tasty gluten-free alternatives to many of my personal favorites and, thankfully, in her book , shared them. It is a science to replace wheat with gluten-free alternatives and have the end result barely distinguishable from the standard. Not only has Beth done that, but she offers several gluten-free flour combinations that can be used to de-gluten any recipe! These flours include alternative grains (e.g., , , ), and bean flours (such as ), , and . Oats can be milled in the same place as wheat and, if so, can not be tagged as gluten-free. Look for the GF on oatmeal and oat flours to confirm they are truly gluten-free.
Some of the recipes Beth has reinterpreted are pizza dough, a basic muffin formula that can be adapted to all your favorite muffins, banana and other quick breads, brownies, carrot cake, flaky biscuits and scones. Since the gluten-free flours can be made up in batches ahead of time, baking up these gluten-free goods is no more complicated than making any other baked good. A little prep work, a couple extra items in the pantry (like xantham gum, for example), and you’re ready to roll.
Since gluten-free is really a healthier way to roll, consider this book as a teaching tool to getting there. Beth also has a blog with gluten-free tips and recipes, as well.