BREAD, BUNS AND BREAKFAST
INTRODUCTION TO GLUTENFREE COOKERY
My introduction to gluten free cookery came in 1980 when our daughter developed intolerance to wheat. Even though I was a commercially trained cook I found this type of cookery the most difficult that I had attempted, so if you are discouraged at any time take heart! Now due to twenty years of my attempts and failures there are many great recipes that you can master. I have been able to successfully make most products that can be made with wheat flour, although filo and a good puff pastry still elude me without the use of chemicals.
My first book Wheat Free World introduced a new method of cookery that was to simplify the recipes. These methods I teach in my Allergy cookery classes and I find that even beginner cooks can easily master them. I have continued in this book of breads to follow the same methods as thousands of letters from Coeliac and general allergy sufferers confirm the success of the recipes. I avoid the use of guar and xanthan gums in my cookery as many reported cases of intolerance have come to me through the years, particularly of flatulence and irritable bowl symptoms. Soy flour is also avoided, as many allergy sufferers can’t tolerate soy products. My superfine flour blend used in this book is also free of corn.
One of my methods is to blend your own gluten free flour before commencing to cook. It is much less wearying if this is done on a day when you are not intending to bake. Make at least three kilos at a time, store it in a calico bag and it will keep for months, see the instructions under “Blending Your Own Flour”. This flour can be used for all purposes that you would normally use plain flour for. Your own flour mix will cost less than half the price of commercially packed products that can contain soy flour and unspecified ingredients such as wheat starch.
Successful gluten free cookery is dependant on following a few important rules. Please follow the directions as each recipe has been made at least three times, sometimes six or seven times to achieve a good result. Weigh all dry ingredients using a small accurate set of scales or a digital set. Cup measurements are not good enough for this type of cookery, due to the differing amounts of moisture contained in the flours, and the size of the grind of the flour, if you are using rice flour, it is manufactured in many different grinds from a course ground rice to the finest powdered rice flour. Of course one cup of a heavy grind weighs twice as much as a fine powdered product, hence needing more liquid and more oil or butter to prevent a crumbly product.
Read carefully the page on bread tins, this is an important part of all good cookery. Expensive utensils are not required for good results apart from an electric mixer and a good reliable oven. With a little confidence you can become a superb gluten free cook.