Gluten free baking can be full of hazards but stocking our cupboards with standard ingredients and baking essentials, we can minimise the risks of cross contamination and accidental consumption.
Gluten Free Baking Powder
Baking powder is used to make cakes, biscuits, cookies and muffins etc to rise. Baking powder is normally made of 3 parts - an acid, a base and a filler. The mix of these three powders combine to make baking powder. Usually, baking soda, cream of tartar and corn starch is used, so you will be forgiven for assuming all baking powder are gluten free... but they are NOT.
Here are a few of the baking powders available for coeliacs and perfect for gluten free cooking!
Tapioca Flour is a fabulous starchy flour. It is derived from the root of the green boughed bitter cassava, aipim or manioc plant. The bitter cassava's roots cyanogenic glucosides, linamarin and lotaustralin which is harmful to us and therefore it roots are processed to obtain the starch
The word 'tapioca' is derived from the South American Tupi name tipi'óka, which means to to process and obtain the starch. The starch can then be made into powdered tapioca flour, rectangular sticks, pearls and flakes. These days the cassava plant is farmed globally and has become a valued ingedient in coeliac cooking, growing far away from its origins on the Amazon belt.
As parents we often worry about packing in the right nutrients for our kids. A wholesome sandwich can offer a good lunch time or snack choice and we all know wholemeal bread is a healthier and better choice than white bread. But with a Coeliac Child we can be even more concerned about whether they are getting the right vitamins, minerals, carbs, proteins etc. And with whole grain wheat flour not offering a gluten free option then we have to look for alternatives.
Can rice flours compete for nutritional value with wheat flours?
Wheat flour has good nutritional values, particularly wholemeal more than a white flour. But obviously, a Coeliac diet cannot contain wheat. Rice flours are a good substitute but is there an advantage of using brown rice flour rather than white rice flour?
Rice flour cannot offer more nutritional value than wheat flour but as an alternative it does the job and ensures Coeliacs can still enjoy gluten free breads, cakes, muffins, and other desserts.
White rice flour is a substitute for regular flour and is great as a thickener or for sweets and other baking. Brown rice flour has more nutritional value and has a nuttier and sweeter flavour and great for breads. Rice flour can be a little gritty so you can look to buy finer flours.
The table below shows the nutritional values for comparison:
Quinoa is not technically a cereal but it looks like a grain and tastes like a grain without the gluten!. Grown for its seeds, quinoa is not a poor substiute for couscous and other grains, it has excellent nutritional value and it is obviously, gluten free and actually considered easy to digest.
A surprising nutritional source
This versatile ingredient is a great source of essential amino acids and a good source of protein (12%–18%). It is a good source of dietry fibre and phosphorus and is high in magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin E and iron.
Treat as rice or couscous
Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice and cous cous.
Quinoa can be treated and cooked like rice, with a ratio of 2 cups of boiling water to 1 cup of quinoa, cover and simmer for 14 to 19 minutes (or until the germ separates from the seed).
The germ is ready to eat when it has a slight bite to it and will appear slightly curled.
During cooking a vegetable or chicken stock can be used instead of plain water, and then vegetables can be added for a complete dish.
Breakfast with Quinoa
Despite its name, Buckwheat is not a derivative or related to wheat and is completely Gluten Free so perfect for coeliac children and adults.
A nutritious seed
This nutritious fruit seed may look like a grain but actually related to the rhubarb and sorrel. It can be used like a cereal and is perfect as an alternative to rice and porridge.
Buckwheat flowers attract bees and give their honey a special, strong flavoured dark honey.
Why eat buckwheat whether you are Coeliac or not
Buckwheat helps to keep cholestrol low and reduce the risk of high blood pressure
- Buckwheat is a good source of dietry fibre
- Buckwheat contains a good source of magnesium (this relaxes blood vessels improving blood flow)
- Buckwheat helps to control blood sugar, reducing the risk of diabetes or nsulin dependance
- Buckwheat has antioxidant power which help to prevent disease
- Buckwheat can help to protect against hormone based cancers such as breast cancer as well as heart disease.