For those of us with Celiac disease, gluten intolerance or dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten-free cooking is a medical necessity. When a gluten-free diet is prescribed, we have to learn how to remove all traces of gluten from our diets. Suddenly we realize how vast the use of gluten is in our food supply!
- Whole grains, flours and starches that we are familiar with- wheat, rye and barley are all off-limits in gluten-free cooking. Gluten-free cooks must learn the characteristics of an often unfamiliar list of safe ingredients- the gluten-free grains, flours, starches and gums.
- The gluten-free cook has to learn how to spot sources of gluten in processed foods. Hundreds of processed foods contain gluten, from canned soups to soy sauce. Yes- soy sauce! Reading labels on everything becomes second-nature to gluten-free cooks.
- Focus on cooking with naturally gluten-free foods like unprocessed fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, fish and poultry and gluten-free cooking becomes easier and healthier.
No single gluten-free flour can duplicate the elastic, airy qualities of gluten flours. Gluten-free cooking, especially gluten-free baking involves using a combination of different flours, starches and gums blended together to simulate the qualities of gluten. Use gluten-free flour mixes and substitutes for best cooking and baking results.
- Gluten-free cooking uses different techniques to bake breads compared to the process of kneading doughs that contain gluten. Instead of kneading dough and shaping loaves, gluten-free bread dough is mixed like cake batter and poured into loaf pans. This technique makes gluten-free bread baking faster and arguably, easier than baking breads with flours that contain gluten.