Many of our customers ask us for baking advice. Whether you are looking for advice for gluten free cakes, pastry or bread, here are just a few tips to get you started.
When making cakes using Gluten Free Self Raising Flour you will find that the flour will absorb more water than conventional flour so add a few more drops of water if necessary. Also you may find that you may need to add some Xanthan Gum to prevent the cake from sinking. All this will obviously depend on the recipe you are using.
How can I tell when my cake is cooked?
Once a cake is cooked it will start to brown and come away from the edges of the tin. If you insert a cocktail stick into the middle of the cake and it comes out clean it is cooked.
Can I make my gluten free cake in advance and freeze it?
Most gluten free cakes freeze well. Freeze individual cake layers wrapped in cling film and thaw before assembling with fillings.
How do I use Xanthan Gum?
Xanthan Gum helps to improve crumb structure and to reduce crumbling in many baked goods. If your cake flour doesn’t already contain it add ¼tsp to every 200g of flour.
Gluten free plain flours are different to wheat flours and do deliver a ‘different’ eat. When making the pastry dough it should come together as a sticky ball of dough. When you rest the pastry in the fridge the water will be further absorbed and become less wet. Gluten Free pastry will absorb more water than conventional pastry so add a few more drops of water if necessary.
When crumbling the butter into the flour use either a folk or your finger tips to try and keep the fat as cool as possible. Hard pastry can sometimes result from over mixing the dough so once the dough has formed into a sticky ball, rest it for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before baking.
Which is the best fat to use for pastry?
Traditional dairy butter makes the best gluten free pastry. However you can swop this for other types of fat or vegan butter although the pastry will be more fragile to handle.
Why is my pastry sometimes crumbly?
It is important to add enough water to gluten free pastry to re-hydrate the flour. After adding water your pastry should be slightly soft and sticky but this will disappear when the pastry has rested.
Why is my pastry hard?
Pastry can become hard with some types of soft fat that appear to mix in very quickly. It is still necessary to add enough water so that your dough is slightly sticky.
Gluten free bread is a very different product to wheat bread. Many commercially available gluten free breads contain chemical improvers to facilitate bread making using gluten free flours. We do not wish to do this. As a result the ingredients in our recipes are not ‘traditional’ bread making ingredients but they are natural. This does create a batter like “dough” and a denser textured, almost cake-like, loaf.
All our recipes available on our packets have been tested by us. Our recipes are guidelines and sometimes customers wish to adapt them to suit the individual. Bread baking is a highly variable process depending not only upon the baker, but the bread machine or oven. Some bakers add more xanthan gum, however the gluten free bread flours already contain xanthan gum. You could also try adding more liquid, this may help. However, too much liquid and the loaf will collapse and sink. Also, if you whisk the eggs before adding the other wet ingredients this may help with the aeration of the loaf.
Can I follow my usual bread recipe?
Gluten free flour requires much more liquid than conventional bread recipes and no kneading, so follow the Free From White Bread recipe for best results.
Do I have to knead gluten free bread?
As there is no gluten to be developed in gluten free bread it does not have to be kneaded.
What is the best way to keep my bread fresh?
If you are not going to eat your loaf in the 24 hours after baking we recommend freezing it whole or in slices.
How can I refresh my gluten free loaf?
Slice day old gluten free bread and toast it or simply pop it in the microwave on high for a few seconds.