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Gluten-Free Baking Mixes and Other Gluten-Free Products

4/29/2010 9:20:33 AM

Tags: gluten-free

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Some people avoid gluten for other health reasons. Gluten is in many foods you might not think of — cream soup, gravy and soy sauce — but those foods can be made without gluten. Bread, cakes, cookies and other foods usually made with wheat flour can also be made gluten free by using rice, potato, sorghum or other flours. Gluten-free baking can be a little challenging, but new gluten-free products and mixes are available all the time, making it easier to have variety in your diet while still avoiding gluten. Here are a few of the products we’ve sampled in the last year or so.

Shortbread cookie mix

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Mixes
We tested the shortbread cookie mix and vanilla cake mix from Bob’s Red Mill. The vanilla cake mix was good, with little difference between it and a “standard” mix. The shortbread cookie mix was impressive. One of the editors who is not accustomed to gluten-free foods said, “I couldn’t tell these were gluten free.” (High praise from this particular editor, who is a tough critic.) It’s also great to have some out-of-the-ordinary gluten-free desserts — not just the standard cookie and cake mixes.

Bob’s Red Mill also produces various flours and other ingredients useful (even necessary) for gluten-free baking. My wife and I keep a variety of gluten-free flours in our fridge.

 bean chips

Beanitos Gluten Free and Corn Free Bean Chips
Even if you’re not eating gluten free, there are good reasons to avoid genetically modified corn. Beanitos are made primarily from beans, and although we hesitated to try them, we really liked them. They’re something delightfully different than standard corn chips. One editor asked, “Where can I buy these?” Beanitos are available at Whole Foods stores throughout the United States. They should also be available soon (you may have seen them already) at major grocery chains: Kroger, A&P, Winn-Dixie, Ingles, Publix and Harris Teeter.

King Arthur Gluten Free Mixes and Flour
We’ve just started trying the gluten-free mixes from King Arthur, but the gluten-free cookie mix is versatile: You can make several types of cookies from the same mix. My wife used it to make chocolate chip cookies. She says, “This is the best of the gluten-free cookie mixes we’ve tried.” The editorial staff sampled these cookies, too. Only one negative comment: “The texture is somewhat ‘gritty.’” That seems true of many gluten-free foods when you initially start eating them. After a while, most of us don’t notice it any longer.

Baugher Almond Meal
Baugher Ranch Organics doesn’t specifically market its almond products as gluten free, but almonds don’t contain gluten. So, I’ve used the almond meal as a breading for fish and it works wonderfully in that context.

Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook
I once heard a food scientist say that if we take all the things that people might be allergic to (wheat, soy, dairy, nuts, eggs and others) out of food, we basically have cardboard left to eat. That makes sense; you can’t please everyone. I was skeptical about the Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook, but when my wife made the Blueberry Millet Muffins and Orange Scones, I changed my mind. Both of these recipes produced fabulous treats. If you have Celiac disease or food allergies, this is a great collection of recipes.



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Post a comment below.

 

MADDY WHO
10/22/2012 2:02:02 PM
Hands down the best GF bread is UDI's. I've tried all the others and this is what I buy regularly. I can't get it locally, so when I shop to stock up, I freeze several loaves. Traders Joe's has it, sometimes other supermarkets - check their site for locations. Schar has some great par-baked Ciabatta Rolls (shelf stable) and their pasta is superior (best selling in Italy), but Walmart has Heartland brand pasta, which is close in quality. And a good standby is Chebe products - lots of variety (Brazilian cheese rolls, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough etc) check the recipes on their site.

Dona Maria Baker
8/18/2010 7:24:34 AM
My website has the Culinary Cookbook on sale and gluten-free products.

Patti Wigington_1
6/12/2010 11:16:23 AM
I love the sandwich bread mix from Gluten Free Pantry - I usually bake two loaves at a time, slice them, and then freeze most of it. The Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies are amazing as well -- again, I mix up the dough, roll it into small balls, and then freeze them on a cookie sheet. Then I save them for when I have a 2 am cookie emergency crisis -- and who doesn't have that? As far as the other flours, I mix up a blend of tapioca flour, brown rice and soy flour (all from Bob's Red Mill) and I use it for breading on things like chicken nuggets or tilapia. It's pretty versatile, and by adding different ingredients I can make rolls and biscuits as well. Eating gluten free isn't hard, it just requires some forethought. If nothing else, developing a gluten sensitivity has inspired me to eat more vegetables -- I don't have to read the ingredients list on an avocado.

Crystal Massuda
5/9/2010 10:29:38 AM
I agree with Mary regarding the Culinary Institute's baking book. My husband and I picked that up after I found out I needed to try going gluten free. So far the recipes I've tried have been great. (though sometimes I cut back on the sugar called for). I used to love baking breads, cakes and pies with regular flour. From what I've learned from that book I feel a lot more comfortable making adaptations of my old favorites and so far every recipe I've tried from it has been good. I was shocked by the price of most gluten free products, so it seems like buying the staples and making your own from scratch is a good way to go so you can control cost and ingredients. I can say the chocolate chip cookies I made at home using that book were far superior to the high priced ones in the store - even my family loved them! I've also had good results substituting with the pre-boxed gluten free flours from Gluten Free Pantry. If you didn't want to buy all the different flours you could probably just get that and soy flour and use combinations of those. I used the GFP all purpose flour today with soy flour to make pancakes and they were fantastic! My next goal is to try a gluten free adaptation of my old favorite - potato and chive bread. I'm surprised no one has done that yet! Oh and for gluten free pasta I love Bionaturae's Penne!

Mary Richter_1
5/7/2010 12:00:46 PM
I agree, Arrowhead mills is nasty. I've made the BC yellow cake but make mini cupcakes with it and add some nuts and chocolate chips and freeze them. Works out real well The best gluten free baking book I've found is from the Culinary Institute. I checked it out of the library before I bought it.

Suzanne Horvath
5/7/2010 9:20:32 AM
My suggestions: Breads from Anna (best multi-grain GF bread mix), Schar's pasta, crumbs etc (best selling pasta in Europe), Chebe mixes, San J Tamari (authentic GF soy sauce), Cream Hill Oats (definitely GF). I have had a hard time finding replacements, but the above items are tops on my list after trying many types/brands of GF products. BTW, it would help if everyone who has to be on GF diet, would call some of the fast-food chains to request more GF items on their menus. Also, a lot of food is nearly GF except for the addition of soy sauce - phone calls to these companies may open up a lot more items for us to eat. Email, phone as often and as many as you can. I always try to explain to them that if one person needs to eat GF, then the whole family will go somewhere that has food they can all have. So, if the GF choices are limited, the family may get used to going somewhere else. The companies listen when they have to think about this in a different (economic) way. Money talks!

Debbie_40
5/7/2010 7:51:12 AM
This is just my opinion... Arrowhead Mills gluten-free mix is kind of nasty. Betty Crocker GF brownies are excellant. On the other hand, the yellow cake mix is heavy,heavy and stale in no time. I didn't know King Arthur had GF mixes. If they are up to the company's usual standards,they're bound to be good.

anonymous_8
5/1/2010 4:11:43 PM
These are great suggestions - thank you for sharing them! Going "gluten-free" can be scary at first, especially if you are not familiar with all of the grains that you CAN eat. It is important to educate people on what they CAN eat and how to experiment with different grains and other foods, rather than only point out what is "off-limits." As seen in this article, there now exist many GF options that make it much easier for the GF community. However, these items can often become very pricey and often are not the healthiest choices. There is a great resource at http://www.innatehealthfoundation.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page that offers information on restaurants, food products, grocery stores, recipes, cookbooks, etc. for the food allergy/intolerance community. It is a wiki-based site, so you can add your own input to the site, which is great.

cheryl ann borne
4/30/2010 8:08:50 PM
The almond meal is not organic.










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