How to Bake Gluten Free

Yes, I know that by the title of this post, you are already expecting me to be an expert at this. I want to start with an immediate disclaimer:

I’m not!

I still consider myself very much a novice at baking gluten free. However, in the past couple of months some of my very best friends have needed to get off gluten for various health reasons and I find myself sharing the tips that I have learned over the last 3 or 4 years. All of you who have been cooking gluten free for years, probably won’t find this post all that exciting. However, I would love for you to chime in the comments with tips that you have learned!

Experts and novices alike – Please Share!! 🙂

Gluten Free Recipes

CornbreadIs it just me, or do you feel the same? I have found that many (not all) of the gluten free recipes out there don’t taste very good. They are dry, crumbly, flat and certainly lack in the flavor department. Perhaps it’s because I know what I’m missing.

When I first started cooking gluten free, due to Lyme disease, I failed miserably. The things that came out of my kitchen weren’t even edible! It was awful. And that should be written in all CAPS!

But then I started researching and learning more and more, playing around with different flours and trying different techniques. It wasn’t long before I started converting my family favorites to gluten free. Hurray!

Now, I wasn’t missing a thing! In fact, I found that I like my gluten free versions even better. I’ll admit that Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour saved the day. It seems to the be perfect blend for me to substitute in the family favorites.

The second thing is xanthan gum. But you have to know when to use it and how much. Especially when you’re converting recipes that were never intended to be gluten free to begin with.

So, today I want to share my tips. (yes, experts, you can giggle behind your hand about now) 🙂

When converting any family favorite recipe, with the exclusion of yeast breads, here is what I do:

  1. I substitute the flour for the All Purpose Gluten Free Flour.
  2. CookiesIf the recipe calls for baking soda only, I do not add anything extra. I just make the recipes as it says.
  3. If the recipes calls for baking powder, I will add xanthan gum to the mix in addition the baking powder.

How much? Well, it depends on the recipe. Here’s a good rule of thumb:

  • Cookies – 1/4 tsp xanthan gum per cup of flour
  • Cakes – 1/2 tsp xanthan gum per cup of flour
  • Muffins and Quick breads – 1/4 tsp xanthan gum per cup of flour
  • Yeast breads – you are on your own! I haven’t gotten that far yet. 🙂

I have tried several gluten free cookbooks over the last several years as well, but was disappointed in most all of them. However, last year I got this one.

So far, it’s my all time favorite. I have made many recipes out of it and none of them have flopped. (Click on the image to see more about the book)

Do you have a favorite gluten free cookbook? Please share in the comments below!

Here are just a few of my favorite family recipes that I have converted to Gluten Free.

I have many more and will be happy to share some if you let me what you’re interested in baking. 🙂

Gluten Free Bread Making

Do any of you have any tips on this? I would love to know! I made gluten free pizza dough from the cookbook above and it was perfect! I have yet to try bread from scratch.

Please share, I couldn’t possibly be the only one wanting to know!

And if you are wanting a recipe for a specific baked good, post your request below.

And just because, here’s a picture of the cows grazing in the Spring Rain at one of our rental farms. 🙂

Happy Friday!

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About Sheri Salatin

Sheri is married to Daniel Salatin. She is the marketing director at Polyface Farm and stay-at-home mom of three children. Sheri is passionate about clean food and is enjoying working the land along side her husband. When not farming, Sheri can be found reading, writing, sewing, baking and serving in her church family.
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26 Responses to How to Bake Gluten Free

  1. Curious about the link between Lymes and Gluten? I have folks I’d like to pass this onto that are new to gluten free. Thanks!

    • Sheri Salatin says:

      Gluten is inflammatory and Lyme is an autoimmune disease. Getting off of all inflammatory foods helps slow the Lyme and eases pain. 🙂

  2. Need to have the recipe for your pumpkin chocolate chip muffins 🙂

    • Sheri Salatin says:

      I need to make those again to get pictures. Are you game as a taste tester? 😀

  3. karen says:

    Been gluten free for about a year, the entire familly. Everyone feels so much better. I subsitute Namaste Gluten Free flour, cup for cup, in all my old recipes. It has been the best for me so far. Its a learning process but worth it.

  4. Kristin says:

    I tried gluten free for a short time, and was very determined while doing it. However, it didn’t seem to help the issue I was dealing with that much, so I went back. Kudos to you for sticking at it!

    • Sheri Salatin says:

      I don’t blame you. If I didn’t see a difference, I wouldn’t stick to it either! 🙂

  5. karen says:

    I also use Better Batter Gluten Free website for their recipes, but I still use the Namaste gf flour. Try their french rolls recipe, I added a touch more salt, but we finally got to have french bread that reminded us of traditional french bread. The recipe is on their website.

  6. Kristen says:

    My family went gluten free a couple months ago and it has been eye opening. I can’t believe how much it was affecting us. My mother also has Lyme Disease and has been gluten free for awhile. Do you have any other blog posts on your experience with Lyme Disease or treatments that have worked for you?

  7. Mercedes says:

    I haven’t found a gluten free flour that doesn’t hurt. I must be sensitive to bean flour as well. I’ll look for Namaste. I haven’t adapted any recipes, looking instead for new ones that are already gluten free. Almond flour honey brownies, coconut and coconut flour dipping cookies, and Nigella Lawson’s Lemon Polenta Cake have been my favourites for baking. For rolls we use Brazilian Cheese Buns. Pumpkin Pie becomes pumpkin pudding or, along with cheesecake, has a hazelnut flour “crust”. Ice cream is usually gluten free, as is apples sautéed in butter. Gravy becomes “au jus” (the delicious cooking juice is, well, delicious). We’ve cut back on baking since going gluten free and that’s better for us anyway, not expending the non-stop energy of full time farmers! Thanks for posting this.

  8. The most simple recepy ever: Pancakes. With buckwheat flour. Peopel have been eating them for ages here in the Netherlands, way back when wheat was still too expensive – you know, the pre-cheap oil era. So, there’s milk, eggs, pinch of sallt, and slowly stirr in the buckwheat flour. Heavenly.

  9. David & Tina says:

    We’ve doing eating mostly sourdough bread make of Spelt or Einkorn flour these days (most of our family has done the GAPS diet and it’s recommend you eat sourdough after healing your gut). The sourdough yeast eats through the flour and breaks it down to make it MUSH easier to digest! It’s a similar concept to soaking your beans in whey, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar. Keeping the sourdough starter in the fridge until the night before you plan to bake works really well. Our current favorite is to roll out the dough in some seeds (sesame, flax, poppy) and lightly fry it up in a cast iron skillet. You can vary the thickness (thicker & only a very little bit of oil for softer/bread-like or thinner & a bit more oil for crunchy/chip-like), eat it by itself, put toppings on it (like pizza), fold it with cheese & meat inside (quesadilla), roll it up like a tortilla, or eat it like a sandwich. The benefit is: it’s simple to cook up and you don’t have to be an expert at kneading, rising, and baking bread! We keep extra dough in the fridge and some in the freezer for very quick meals….just fry some up!

    We’ve been using almond and coconut flours some, too (also, peanut butter works great for cookies and brownies). But, as you said….you have to be careful with the alternative flours as they are very different. It’s great fun to play with different ingredients and recipes to come up with healthy food and snacks. Thanks for the post, Sheri!

    • Sally Oh says:

      How do you make your starter? I realize I’ve assumed that starters are wheat, no?

      • David & Tina says:

        Yes, I we use a type of wheat (Spelt) which is an older grain that’s not been tampered with. I’ve heard of others using Brown Rice, Quinoa, Millet, and Buckwheat flours with success (haven’t tried these myself though). Here’s a link to the best info about sourdough starters that I’ve ever seen. It gives you a ‘science lesson’ on what is happening to the starter and instructions on how to create your own from wild yeasts in your own kitchen!

  10. Patti says:

    Oh, I have so many pieces of advice for Yeast Bread. Let me give you the major pointers though. Make your own All Purpose Flour Mix that is paramount!! I have many recipes if you would like the top two favorites I can email them to you. Use Dry Milk Powder, second most important thing! Remember that the dough is going to be much more “loose” than wheat based breads dough. Don’t use a large loaf pan and remember to make a foil liner around the pan that extends above the top about 1 to 1 1/2 inch. Gluten Free bread takes longer to bake and should be baked at a much lower temp. Don’t use xanthan gum in yeast breads, pysllium husk works much better in yeast dough. The dry milk powder adds a richness and gives it is nice texture and browned crust. If you want to make a whole grain bread I have a great recipe it using Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Cereal. It’s the bomb!!! Let me know and I will be happy to send them on. I am coming out to the farm next week to pickup an order and leave them at the store if you prefer. God Bless 🙂

  11. Peggy says:

    For people who are sensitive to all grains and beans, pretty common with autoimmune disorders, nut or seed flours are a possibility (unless you are sensitive to those too, of course). There’s no way I know of to adapt grain flour recipes, so just look up almond flour, coconut flour, etc. There are many paleo blogs that have these recipes. Just be aware they are higher in protein and fat, so a lot of these cookies at once leads to a stomach ache, spoken from personal experience, lol!

  12. kzettler63 says:

    I haven’t gotten to cakes yet. I’ve been gluten free for about 2 years now. For about a year now after having extensive allergy testing done, I found out besides having an allergy to gluten, dairy, and egg yolks, I no longer can have: corn, millet, oats, flaxseed, safflower seed, rice, and a ton of other allergies.

  13. Melanie says:

    For anyone wanting info on Lyme disease, I have a friend who had it for 5 years and is now cured. This is her blog –

  14. Pingback: How to Bake Gluten Free | Polyface Hen House - Celebrity Chefs TV | Celebrity Chefs TV

  15. La says:

    I have been GF for celiac desease for about one and half years. I did most of my cooking before the diagnosis, so adapting hasn’t been too hard. I eat more potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice than I do pasta and breads. Some of the “replacement” foods I settled on are:

    1) I make this bread in my bread machine:
    I eat it in sandwiches or toast.

    2) I eat rice noodles when I want pasta:

    3) What I have found is that GF food spoils quickly, so I slice and freeze everything I bake as soon as it gets cold. I have found that foods that have a dominating flavor (my favorites are pumpkin bread, tangerine cake, chocolate cake, cobblers) are best. Cobblers I don’t freeze, the rest I do. If I have the option, cooking them in muffin pans is better than bread pans, for example, as I don’t have to slice. I add walnuts, dried fruits to enhance flavor. I use the flour the author mentions ( as a “whole grain” replacement, as garbanzo is more nutritionally rich. For a fluffy cake I use King Arthur Multi-purpose Gluten-Free flour ( which is basically rice flour (nutritionally poor.) Generally I tend to mix the two. And I also add xanthan gum.

    4) I eat more corn chips and other naturally GF chips when I want something crunchy.

    5) Haven’t settled on a good saltine-style cracker yet.

    • La says:

      I forgot to say that in the sandwich bread recipe, I use whole eggs, whole milk, and butter (the instructions offer different choices for these.)

      Not very often, but I have also cooked Bob’s Red Mill pizza as foccacia bread ( So I make the dough and just cook it as a pizza crust (nothing on top,) then cut it like pizza and freeze it. I then eat the slices like regular bread at dinner. I have been meaning to experiment more with it, try using olive oil, or parmesan on top.

      Generally I strive to eat naturally GF foods (there are many out there,) so I don’t spend as much time as I thought I would trying to convert my recipes. I used to bake a lot! I just bake with regular flour for my family and on occasion do a GF variation for me. I do try to always have frozen GF bread for myself. I thought I would crave more baked goods than I actually do.

  16. Patti says:

    Hi Sheri, I was thinking about that Chocolate Buttermilk Cake that y’all served at Field Day. I’ve found a GF recipe that is the bomb! Of course it started with Pioneer Woman and then shaun a Ahern (Gluten Free Girl) adapted it for Gluten Free. I did find that you don’t need the Guar Gum so just omit that and you are good to go!

  17. Katie says:

    This is very late, but I’ve been gluten free for Lymes as well for over a year, and have found this buckwheat sourdough to be one of the best recipes so far. It doesn’t involve maintaining a sourdough start, and the time and ingredients involved are pretty minimal. the recipe is technically for use with a very expensive kitchen machine, but I’ve found a blender to be more than sufficient!