Although gluten-free is becoming a more commonly understood dietary restriction, many grocery stores still don't carry a wide variety of options. Even if they do happen to have the product you are looking for, only one brand may be available and at an exorbitant price. Fortunately bulk stores have entire aisles dedicated to virtually every type of flour, grain and pasta you could hope for, so don't limit yourself based on what you find at the grocery store. Instead, head to a bulk store, stock up on gluten-free products and get baking!
Because an understanding of gluten-free is becoming more common and eating gluten-free is becoming more popular, many brands stamp "gluten-free" or "GF" directly on the product to draw attention to it. Some specialty stores and large grocery stores even have a section dedicated to the dietary concern. Regardless, it is still wise to read the label of every item you purchase. If an ingredient or warning gives you doubts, call the consumer support line to find out more information.
The biggest adjustment you'll have to make when baking gluten-free is eliminating gluten-based flour in favour of other gluten-free alternatives. Fortunately Bob's Red Mill has a whole line of gluten-free products to fill your every need. The GF all-purpose baking flour is great for getting your baking started. From there you can begin to experiment with creating your own flours and discovering which tastes and concoctions you prefer. For baking purposes, you will also benefit from investing in xanthan gum or arrowroot powder as a way to help breads or cakes rise.
As you begin to get more familiar with cooking in a gluten-free manner, you will become more comfortable making substitutions on the fly. Until then, however, there are plenty of gluten-free recipes to get you familiar with the process. Try creating gluten-free bread, gluten-free chocolate cake or gluten-free peanut butter cookies to get the ball rolling.
If you spent most of your life enjoying gluten-filled baked goods, you will undoubtedly notice a difference in the majority of gluten-free options. But that's OK. The change can also open you up to unique flours, healthy alternatives and exciting tastes. There's plenty to be gained by a gluten-free diet, so try not to get too caught up in comparing old treats with your new ones.
Truth be told, no great chefs were made by getting it right every single time. Even Gordon Ramsay and Julia Child made mistakes in their journeys toward culinary perfection. And getting things right when baking gluten-free has a whole new range of restrictions and complications. So don't be so hard on yourself! All you can do is have fun and experiment — and then learn from the experience.
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