My grandmother used to say; “You learn something new every day.” That wisdom comes back to me often, especially when I do learn something new.
I’m more likely to learn something new when I do the same thing over and over again – as I often do in my kitchen. While I am trying to create repeatable processes and methods is when I often stumble on the greatest insights and new learnings.
Today I’d like to share a few of the things I’ve learned since I wrote Learning to Bake Allergen-Free:
1. It’s easier to roll out a crust between parchment paper than between two sheets of waxed paper. Continue to use the waxed paper if you prefer, but for me, parchment paper rules!
2. Organic evaporated cane juice works just like any other granulated sugar – and it’s less processed. Go ahead and substitute it cup for cup in any of my recipes that call for granulated cane sugar. It works great when creaming too!
3. You need a bit more guar gum per cup of flour than xanthan gum. In all of my recipes in the book I used xanthan gum – usually ¼ teaspoon per cup of flour. Having now done extensive tests with guar gum, I can tell you that a) it works, and b) you need about ½ teaspoon of guar gum per cup of flour.
4. Not all flours and not all flour blends are created equal. In fairness, I knew this when I wrote the book – I believe I even mention it in the book. Nevertheless, as I experiment with new flours and flour blends, I learn (again and again) that some are just higher quality than others. That quality is in both the texture and taste. If you find that your baked goods aren’t turning out as nicely as you’d like, try a different flour blend.
5. Arrowroot flour (starch) rocks! (Like tapioca, this is sometimes called starch and sometimes flour – same thing.) I am actually becoming a bit of an arrowroot starch snob. I have been doing side-by-side tests of the same baked goods using different starches, and in my opinion arrowroot always wins with a smoother crumb and consistent performance. So go ahead and mix that gluten-free flour blend with arrowroot next time – I think you’ll like it!
What have you learned today?