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May 8, 2013 / Car

gluten-free on a budget

I don’t know about you, but my budget is tight. And gluten-free flours and ingredients are usually quite pricy! When I first went gluten-free, I was very intimidated, by the complexity of gluten-free baking and also by the prices! I thought I would never eat bread, cakes, cookies, or any other baked goods ever again. Thankfully, I had an awesome grandma who provided my first flours and baking mixes so I could start experimenting, but I was still skeptical. Now that I’m married and have my own kitchen and a husband to feed, I was determined to figure out this gluten-free baking thing and not break the bank. So, instead of sticking to a specific flour blend and other ‘must-have’ items, I will do my best to show you how you can cook and bake gluten-free with whatever is in your cupboard.

There are a few things that I always try to keep stocked in my cupboard.

  1. flour – right now i have oat flour. This is, actually, my favorite type of gf flour. It has a smoother texture and mimics a whole wheat flavor. I have also used brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, sorghum flour, almond flour and several gf flour mixes (which i will talk more about later).
  2. starch – right now i have corn starch. I actually prefer tapioca starch(or flour) because it helps baked goods to be light and fluffy instead of the dense and gritty gf baked goods tend to be known for. I have also used potato starch.
  3. baking soda
  4. baking powder
  5. apple cider vinegar
  6. honey
  7. mashed potato flakes (for yeast breads)
  8. yeast

You probably noticed that xanthan gum is not on my list. I don’t typically use it anymore. When I first started baking gluten-free, I did. Everything that I made came out with a slightly gritty texture. I didn’t like that. So I started trying different flours and starches to get rid of that texture, but nothing seemed to work until i finally left out the xanthan gum. That was it! Now, when I use a recipe that calls for xanthan gum, I just leave it out. I don’t substitute anything or add anything; I just leave it out. So far, it seems to work just fine!

The exception is baking mixes. Since almost all of them include xanthan gum, I don’t like to rely heavily on them. That’s the main reason. I’ve also found that some of the combinations don’t always taste that good in everything or the texture is off. But, that being said, I do find them helpful, especially when I’m in a hurry or don’t have the money to buy a bunch of flours and starches.

Here are the ones I have used:

 

Speaking of recipes, something that I have found helpful are cookbooks. There are two that I like, in particular, for gf baking: You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free by Robyn Ryberg and 3 in 1 Gluten-Free Cookbook by the Editors of Favorite Brand Name. I do need to put out a disclaimer . . . although I do love my cookbooks, I use them more like a guideline. Of course, I always use whatever happens to be in my cupboard, and I usually fudge things to get the taste or texture that I think would be best. So, this blog is kind of my challenge to myself to keep track of the changes I make and how I do things, in order to record the actual recipe that I make for you! I will give you the original recipe and where I got it from; and then explain what changes I made and why I made them (if I have a reason…)!

Please comment with questions or thoughts or your stories on how the recipes turned out for you! I’m always looking for new variations or ideas! And thanks for letting me share my journey with you!

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