What the hell is Gluten? Derived from the word glue, gluten is a type/group of proteins found in common grains like wheat, rye, spelt and barley. As glue would do, gluten helps baked goods to stick and hold together so automatically you know gluten-free baking will have some issues when it comes to texture.
Why are people going gluten free? Modern wheat is not the same as the grain my grandfather cooked with (He was a chef too :-D). It is genetically modified to increase yields and fend off disease that often occur in large scale plantations where there is no genetic diversity to help build natural immunity. Further, modern wheat is heavily sprayed with toxic chemicals and use chemical fertilizers which actually inhibit the roots’ ability to absorb nutrients. This is why commercially bought bread cannot keep you full even for an hour, because it virtually has no nutrients, just empty calories so to speak.
A gluten-Free diet is what Kim Kardashian is one to maintain that fine
ass figure. Top seed tennis player Novak Djokovic is gluten free, kicking butt every time in the courtyard. Ever heard of the gluten belly? eliminate/reduce gluten and reduce that tummy babe.
How Serious is Gluten?
Celiacs disease is one of the most common but undiagnosed ailments brought about by gluten. In theory, celiacs usually are people who have eaten too much glutenous food that it has eroded their small intestines villi such that they cannot absord nutrients which is the primary role for the villi. Some people have very strong allergic reactions when they eat gluten, reactions like those of nut allergies, so it is really dead seriouys, this whole issue about gluten
Gluten-Free Baking Tips
- The best gluten free flours are these; Cassava/Tapioca, Almond flour, coconut flour or dessicated coconut, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, chickpea, teff flour, finger millet, buckwheat.
- Gluten-free baking is all about teamwork. No flour works on its own perfectly but rather a blend of at leat 3 at most 4. My best blend is dessicated coconut and tapioca. The idea here is to have a coarse flour combine with a fine flour, e.g Almond (coarse) and chickpea (fine) make the best cookies ever.
- Gluten-Free baking requires patience. Modern wheat has been genetically modified to cook faster. Normal healthy food takes time and patience and GF is no different. Some of my cakes bake for 90 minutes while wheat could have been 40 minutes, heck even 10 minutes.
- Use ceramics wisely. Commercial breads are baked in aluminium tins – aluminium cookware is banned in Russia and many E.U countrie, nuff sed. Just rub some peanut oil on the base and dust with some chickpea flour or maize flour (when you are actually baking with chickpea, do not use chickpea to provide the nonestick quality). The cake/bread will just slide off nicely.
- Google and follow recipes, word for word. If baking is a science, then gluten-free baking is rocket science. No room for error, if the gluten-free goddess says 1/2 cup of almond flour, it is 1/2 cup, not ¾, heck not 1 cups but 1/2 cup, get it.
- Avoid complexities unless you are more experienced. I know most GF recipes will call for scary stuff like xantham gum and all that but you do not need to use scary unavailable ingredients, just Google a=for simple recipes that have things that will frequent your pantry like apple cider vinegar you know.
- Gluten-Free is not necessarily healthy, boost the health meter by using raw unrefined cane sugar, stevia, applesauce, organic eggs, baking soda instead of aluminium-laden baking powder, mashed bananas, natural salt, organic chocolate to make your pastries
- Last but not least is to have fun and a sense of humour as the the gluten-free goddess upholds. She has been living GF for over 10 years and still comes up with hockey pacs and stone-like cakes like all of us, NEVER let that kill your spirit, even me I just made a chocolatre stone instead of chocolate cake while experimenting with sorghum flour, don’t try this at home J
Feel free to leave a comment/question or thoughts on the issue