#4 isn't as easy as I thought!

#4 on my 30 Things by Thirty list is Learn how to bake Gluten Free, easy enough, right? Wrong. 
See, recently I found out that I am allergic to gluten, so being the novice gluten avoidee, I figured you just take find a substitute for flour and you are good to go, well that's kind of the idea but it's not that simple. 

What I didn't realize is that more important than where the gluten is, is what the gluten does.  Gluten makes your dough "doughy",  it helps dough rise, and depending on what you are making you need different amounts of it for texture, stability, etc.  So, see, it's kind of important when considering its roll in baking and finding a substitute that will do all those things, is well, a little less than easy.

So here is what I have found:
- Buy gluten free baking mixes. They have everything from desserts to breads.  Let someone else do all the figuring and perfecting!

- Buy or make a gluten free flour mix.  This means you can bake homemade goodies without gluten, however you will need different mixes for different types of baked goods. These include everything from rice flower to almond flour to sorghum, there a million options!

- Bake in walled containers.  Without gluten rolls and bread won't hold their shape, so use pans with walls to help them form as shape.

- Add gum. The sticky effect created by gluten can be simulated to a certain extent by adding gums, for instance, guar gum or xantham gum. These gums are only added to recipes in small amounts (such as 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per cup of flour) and are already included in some of the commercial gluten-free flour mixes.

- Add protein. Because gluten is a protein, it can help to add some protein to baking recipes when you're substituting gluten-free flours for wheat flour. Try replacing half a cup of water in your recipe with egg or liquid egg whites

So there you have it.  See, it's not exactly cut and dry! 

Making your own gluten free flour mix seems like the best option if you want to bake homemade goodies, if not, go for the premade mixes.  Either way, being able to have baked goods with no gluten in them is a dream come true!

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