Initially, it seems quite daunting to set up your kitchen for gluten-free cooking, but these easy steps will convert your kitchen into a gluten-free haven where you can have your own section for gluten-free cooking, at the same time, continue on with the rest of your household’s gluten diet.
The first step to setting up your kitchen is to assign a “gluten-free” section where gluten ingredients won’t get mixed up with your precious gluten-free supplies. I clearly label my different gluten-free flours and blends in reusable containers and have them displayed on a dedicated shelf together with my raising agents and binders. I have a deep plastic drawer that is packed to the brim with gluten-free dried goods like pasta shapes, lasagne sheets, rice noodles, rice paper, corn tortillas etc.
The next step is deciding which gluten-free products are to be homemade or store-bought. I realise this depends on what products are available in your country of residence, which is why I would like to help you throughout my blog with homemade recipes for flour blends, a variety of bread, savoury crackers, sweet biscuits, breadcrumbs, pie biscuit crumbs, stock bases, pasta, corn tortillas, pizza bases, bagels, seasonings and plenty more.
The final step is to allocate an area or a drawer in your freezer to store freezer-safe gluten-free ingredients and meals. My top items are breadcrumbs, slices of bread to toast, bread rolls, homemade stocks and uncooked cookie dough balls.
|STORE-BOUGHT GLUTEN-FREE||HOMEMADE GLUTEN-FREE|
|Gluten-Free Plain Flour||Gluten-Free Plain Flour Blend|
|Gluten-Free Bread Flour||Gluten-Free Bread Flour Blend|
|Gluten-Free Baking Powder||Gluten-free Baking Powder|
|Xanthan Gum/Psyllium Husk Powder (Binders)|
|Baking Soda/Bicarb of Soda/Natron|
|Cream of Tartar/Weinstein Backpulver|
|Chickpea/Gram/Besan Flour||Chickpea/Gram/Besan Flour|
|Chestnut Flour||Chestnut Flour|
|Rice Flour (White & Brown)||Rice Flour|
|Almond Flour||Almond Flour (peeled almonds)|
|Almond Meal||Ground Almonds (unpeeled almonds)|
|Coconut Flour||Coconut Flour|
|Masa Harina (Mexican Corn Flour)|
|Polenta (Yellow Corn Flour)|
|Savoury Crackers||Homemade Savoury Crackers|
|Sweet Biscuits/Cookies||Homemade Biscuits|
|Digestive biscuit Crumbs for pies||Homemade Digestive/Graham Cracker-style Crumbs|
|Oat Flour||Oat Flour|
|Dried Lasagne Sheets||Fresh Lasagne Sheets|
|Dried Fettuccini||Fresh Fettuccini|
|Ravioli Pasta||Fresh Ravioli Pasta|
|Gnocchi||Fresh Potato/Pumpkin/Spinach Gnocchi|
|Dried Pasta Shells|
|Sliced Bread||Sandwich Bread|
|Bread Rolls||Bread Rolls|
|Tortilla Wraps||Corn Tortilla Wraps|
|Ready-made Pizza base/mix||Homemade Pizza Base|
|Spice Blends||Homemade Spice Blends|
|Tamari Soya Sauce|
|Rice – Long/short grain, Jasmine, Basmati|
|Dried Stock Cubes||Homemade Stock Cubes|
|Chicken/Beef Stock/Broth||Homemade Chicken/Beef Stock/Broth|
|Vegetable Stock||Vegetable Stock Paste (6-month shelf-life, chilled)|
There are many different types of gluten-free flours on the market such as amaranth, sorghum, glutinous rice flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, quinoa flour etc. My blog A guide to gluten-free flours, starches and blends explains each flour’s purpose and benefits in gluten-free cooking and baking. Although most of my recipes use homemade gluten-free blends, there are benefits to using certain flours like chestnut flour which makes an amazing savoury tart crust as in my Gluten-free Brie & onion tart, or chickpea flour in Chickpea Dukkah crackers.
Store-bought gluten-free products are a great backup for those time-constraint moments, but they have a tendency to be loaded with sugar and are heavy on the pocket compared to homemade alternatives, which is why I endorse making most of my gluten-free ingredients. Albeit, time-consuming, it’s worth it in the long run. Once you get started with making your own flour blend, then progress to making your homemade bread, followed by your own breadcrumbs and so on. By this stage, you can start generating an impressive line-up of homemade, useful and healthier gluten-free products that can be either stored in a sealed container, refrigerated or frozen for months. You’ll never look back plus the flavour and results are far superior to store-bought.
An important component to a successful bread, pastry or cake/cookie dough is the addition of baking powder and xanthan powder or psyllium husk powder. The baking powder acts as a raising agent and the last two are binders that keep baking mixtures together and add a bouncy (glutinous) feel. Depending on where you live, these two ingredients can be sourced in most health stores, specialist supermarkets or as a last resort, at Amazon. My blog A guide to gluten-free flours, starches and blends explain in more details their importance in baking.
The rest of the ingredients listed on the above checklist are straightforward but elaborated in greater detail if you click on the recipe links next to them.
It has taken me a number of years to understand the chemistry of that “missing gluten” component, but the good news is, it is possible to mimic the taste and texture of many gluten meals and baked items.
On a final thought, with a bit of practice and patience, you can achieve success in making any of your favourite “gluten” recipes into a gluten-free alternative. If anything, there is so much to choose from and the textures and flavours are so intriguing, you’ll enjoy discovering this gluten-free world!