Playing With My Food ~
A journal about food, thought, travel, and life; by Chef & Raconteur Chaz French.

Misadventures in gluten-free baking

No, I am not going “Gluten-Free” or “GF” it ain’t happening.

But I have friends with gluten issues from confirmed celiac, to people who just feeling better without gluten, so I’ve decided to see what’s involved in faking gluten.  So far what’s involved is a lot of money!  Baking gluten-free is fucking pricey. Ingredients from xanthan gum, specialty flours, even powdered milk are big advance outlays.  There is also a lot of shopping involved, never a problem for a me surely, but damn… I was all over Berkeley getting things.  Mi Tierra (local Latin American grocery chain) has a surprising selection of alternative flours and their prices are well below that of Berkeley Bowl or Whole Foods.

So I decided to tackle a couple of different flour substitutes in small batches, these were the first two in the oven.
Raw, like you like it!

I figured it would be best to use a recipe I know really well, so I went with the base for my cocoa oatmeal cookies, and it all looked fine, right up to going into the oven.  Then shit went downhill and fast.

The Result:
Le Sigh...
They spread too much, way too much.  They were also crumbling to the touch, you could not pick up a whole cookie even slightly warm.  I was disappointed.  I covered them with a towel and walked away.  The next day I took another look and they had finally set overnight, you could pick up a cookie, whole and get it to your mouth in one piece.  But your mouth wouldn’t like it, believe me.

One batch was just awful, the GF flour blend was nasty, it left a slimy, yet gritty film on the top of your mouth, it was spongy to bite into, then fell apart in the mouth.   The other wasn’t much better, it did have a nice crisp outside, yielding to a chewy cookie, but had that same damn gritty slime mouth feel.

I decided neither batch was worth even attempting a revision to the flours and will work with an entirely different blend on my next attempt, which won’t be until I forget the slimy grit a little.