The Secrets of Gluten-Free Cooking….

One might wonder where in the world to even begin with gluten free cooking. There are so many things that “secretly” contain gluten. Scouring the web, I found site after site telling me conflicting information….making me beyond confused. There are some great sites that tell you what foods contain gluten, what brands make gluten free foods, and what words mean “contains gluten or wheat” when reading nutrition labels. They seem to have gotten better with the labeling though, as many nutrition labels now say contains wheat, soy, milk etc. at the bottom of the ingredients list. Nevertheless, this does not hold true for everything and companies are forever changing their products, so reading food labels is essential in living gluten free! There is a barcode scanner for smartphones that when you scan the barcode it tells you if the product is gluten free and if not what substitutes are! Again, this doesn’t always work! But it sure helps sometimes! Here are a couple of useful websites:

Foods that contain gluten and words to look for when reading nutrition labels that mean contains gluten: http://www.celiac.com/articles/182/1/Unsafe-Gluten-Free-Food-List-Unsafe-Ingredients/Page1.html

List of Brands and products that are gluten free: http://www.glutenfreeinfo.com/Diet/glutenfreeinfo.htm

Yes, there are many gluten free recipes out there. Many of them call for things that you’ve never heard of or can’t find locally at the store. Gluten free brands cost an arm and a leg and honestly don’t always taste so great! So…. the first thing you should know is that there is an easy way to this whole gluten free thing! There are a ton of different flours mixtures, some that you can make yourself and others that are pre-made. Gluten free flour does cost quite a bit more than regular wheat flour, so be prepared for the cost! It gets confusing having 10 different flour mixtures, one for each different kind of baking you’re doing. I’ve found is that you can use just one flour mixture for everything! This is a basic “all-purpose” flour mixture that works for everything and has amazing results! I like to make it in bulk so you don’t have to mix it up every time you want to bake something!

Bette Hagman’s Original formula for gluten free flour mix:

9 cups white rice flour (buy in bulk for a much cheaper price!)

3 cups potato starch (not potato flour)

1 1/2 cups tapioca flour

Just mix this up and you’re ready to go….you can substitute this for any flour in basically any recipe. There is one little catch though……unless you want a crumbly mess, xanthan gum (which I’ve been calling xanthum gum for the last year without realizing it until now!) is going to be your best friend. While spendy….it’s basically the glue that holds your gluten free flour together! The rule of thumb is to add 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of flour you use in your recipes. Some recipes don’t seem to need xanthan gum, but its kind of trial and error! So learn from my mistakes, and by using this handy little bit of info, you’ll be baking amazing things in no time and no one will even realize they ARE gluten free! Well this should help get you started….. now that I’ve covered the basics, I can finally start posting the goods! All of my “secret” recipes…… you know…..the ones you’ve  been bugging me for since you tasted what I made last! LOL! Good luck! 🙂

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