Monday, January 19, 2009

Baking and GFCF substitutes for dummies

Baking is fun, pure joy when the end products turn out to be wonderful. Fluffy, soft, crumbly in the centre and firm at the edges. Sounds just like some recipes' one gets to read. GFCF baking is a challenge when one has to look for substitutes for the original ingredients. And it can be a bigger challenge when one has to look for substitutes for substitutes! One thing to be kept in mind is that when baking with substitutes, the end products varies in colour, texture and maybe the general feel.
The first hurdle was looking for substitute for xanthan gum substitutes, otherwise available abroad easily. I stared substituting gelatin for xanthan gum. As an example substitute 1tsp of xanthum for 2 tsps of unflavored gelatin. For the strict vegetarians other options include guar gum which may be available in some parts of India.
Diary and egg substitutes again is something one looks out for quite often. This information I have borrowed from various web sites.
Milk substitutes
1 cup milk in the receipe can be substituted with
· 1 cup soy milk
· 1 cup spring water or juice
· 1/4 cup nuts or seeds blended with
· 1 cup water
· 1/3 cup shredded coconut blended with 1 cup water and 1 tsp vanilla
· 1 cup any other milk substitute available in your grocery or health food store.
I generally use coconut milk with vanilla . As mentioned in my ealier posts, I am a novice at baking, am not so sure as to how other substitutes would alter the taste.
Butter substitutes
I generally substitute olive oil for butter, and have used extra virgin olive oil wich is a superior grade in terms of aroma and is used in salads. 1tsp butter can be substtuted with 3/4 th spoon olive oil.

1Tbsp butter can be substituted with
· 1 Tbsp. vegetable shortening (check label for GFCF)
· 1 Tbsp. canola oil spread
· 2 tsp. vegetable cooking oil (check label)
Now for the wheat substitutes.
I use orgran all purpose flour, self raising flour or Sunira Foods all purpose atta. I have baked both bread and cookies with this product, and the bread did come out well. Another thing that crossed my mind when I started baking was the difference between baking soda and baking powder. Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents, which mean they are added to baked goods before cooking to produce carbon dioxide and cause them to 'rise'. Baking powder contains baking soda, but the two substances are used under different conditions.
Baking Soda
Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. When baking soda is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient (e.g., yogurt, chocolate, buttermilk, honey), the resulting chemical reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide that expand under oven temperatures, causing baked goods to rise. The reaction begins immediately upon mixing the ingredients, so you need to bake recipes which call for baking soda immediately, or else they will fall flat!
Baking Powder
Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate, but it includes the acidifying agent already (cream of tartar), and also a drying agent (usually starch). Baking powder is available as single-acting baking powder and as double-acting baking powder. Single-acting powders are activated by moisture, so you must bake recipes which include this product immediately after mixing. Double-acting powders react in two phases and can stand for a while before baking. With double-acting powder, some gas is released at room temperature when the powder is added to dough, but the majority of the gas is released after the temperature of the dough increases in the oven.
One can substitute baking powder for baking soda but not vice versa. Baking powder has a neutral taste while baking soda has a bitter taste and has to be countermanded by an acidic component in the recipes. Baking powder is a common ingredient in both cakes and biscuits.
That brings us to cream of tartar which again is not easily available. This can be substituted with white vinegar or lime juice in the ratio of 3 times of cream of tartar. one tsp baking powder is equal to 1/4 tsp baking soda and 5/8 tsp cream of tartar.

1 comment:

Tulika said...

hi viji, this is Tulika Saraogi from Sunira Foods, your blog is very interesting and informative. We are most happy to read your feedback on our atta. I just wanted to inform you that we have reworked on some of our recipes, including the atta, and now it gives better results. We have also launched a maida which works like normal maida and easily makes your baturas, naans, rumali roti, samosa and other such items... also we are soon launching our Heal'thySelf bread mix- all of which shall be naturally 100% gluten free and prepared in GF facility/environments.
I see you have given other companies a link on your site, similarly, can you add a link for our website too? please reply at

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