In my case this time it was banana muffins. Banana apple muffins of the supremely delicious variety (we don’t make any other variety than supremely delicious).
To make delicious gluten-free goods, you don’t need a special gluten-free recipe. You can take any recipe you like and switch the flours to make it gluten-free.
There’s a lot of gluten in wheat, the most commonly used grain, and this is partly why it is so commonly used: gluten is sticky and helps the food hold together. This is also one of the reasons it causes so many health problems: gluten is sticky, and it’s like glue in your intestines! Because gluten-free grains are therefore not so sticky, foods tend to be crumbly if made with a single gluten-free flour. I always get the best results when I blend 3 different types of flour together. You can try it with just 2 different kinds, or even 4 if you want… just play!
So if a recipe calls for 3 cups of all-purpose flour, instead try something like 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup chickpea flour and 1 cup quinoa flour. Easy peasy!
Here are some gluten-free flour options, with their relative densities listed in brackets after each:
- Quinoa (light)
- Brown rice (light)
- Millet (light)
- Amaranth (light)
- Chickpea (medium)
- Fava bean (medium)
- Almond (medium-heavy)
- Flax (medium-heavy)
- Sunflower (medium-heavy)
- Buckwheat (heavy) *note: this is a grain with a name that confuses many, and is actually NOT related to wheat
- Hemp (heavy)
- Coconut (very heavy – absorbs a lot of moisture)
I wrote “light” or “heavy” after each one because if you combine 3 heavy flours, you will end up with a very dense, heavy baked good. Unless I specifically want to make something very light, I like to use an approximate balance of light and heavy flours. Coconut flour is best used about 2 or 3 tbsp at a time as it absorbs so much liquid. In my favourite muffin recipe which calls for 3 cups of flour, I typically use 1 cup buckwheat, 1 cup millet, and 1 cup either brown rice or amaranth.
Another great tip: throw whole grain “old-fashioned” oat flakes in a coffee grinder for fresh, more nutritious flour. Oats are gluten-free yet are frequently contaminated with gluten. This is not a problem for most people who avoid gluten, but listen to your gut. Unless you have a true gluten intolerance (celiac) or allergy, oat flour is worth a try.
Hopefully that’s enough information to help you tweak the favourite recipes that you probably already have. It’s a way to make baked goods a little better for you whether you are gluten-sensitive or not.