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Dear Lola 
My bread collapses when I take it out of the oven, it just won’t cook in the time that the recipe states, it is still uncooked in the centre.
There are several reasons that can cause gluten free bread to fail.
For success you will need: A proven gluten free bread recipe, a heavy duty bread tin, commercial quality yeast such as Mauripan, an oven that will hold its temperature for the baking time of the loaf. An oven thermometer costing about $15 in a kitchenware shop is much cheaper than a service call on your oven. Hang the thermometer on the centre shelf of the oven and leave for fifteen minutes; in this time it will record your oven’s temperature. In my travels around Australia teaching, I always carry an oven thermometer and regularly find that oven temperatures are incorrect. Once you know that the oven temperature is too low or too high it is a simple job to increase or lower the heat.

Dear Lola
A recipe that I was given asks for glutenfree yeast, I thought all yeast was gluten free, isn’t this so? 
Most brands of yeast are gluten free although some brands now include a glutinous bread improver to help wheat bread rise faster. Yeast does vary in the length of shelf life from six weeks to 3 months. We sell Mauripan yeast that is a commercial grade product without too much of the ingredient 491 that over rises gluten free flour products causing bread to collapse in the oven. Mauripan yeast has a life span of 3 years if kept in a jar in the refrigerator

Dear Lola
Why is my gluten free bread perfect sometimes and the next time, it sinks when I take it out of the oven. I was told that atmospheric pressure can be a problem with yeast, we live in the mountains, is this true? 
The local water acidity level or PH can alter the rising ability of the yeast, this is more likely to be your problem and can be overcome with the addition of either a teaspoon of white vinegar or a pinch of citric acid to bring the water level to neutral. Bottled water will easily overcome this problem, however this would not explain your problem as you say that sometimes the bread is perfect. I would suggest that you are leaving the bread to rise just a little too long, before cooking. Remember my recipes and most gluten free breads will still rise a little in the oven. Humidity and the temperature of your kitchen will cause the bread to rise more rapidly. Do check your recipe and remember to weigh your ingredients and use measure cups and spoons for accuracy.

Dear Lola
Can you tell me about the sugar substitute Perfect Sweet, I was told it does not have a strong after taste and it can be used in baking, if this is correct how much should I use to replace sugar in my muffin recipe?
Perfect Sweet is the trade name for Xylitol that is a sweetener that occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables and is extracted from the bark of the Birch tree. It is an excellent replacement for sugar in baking although at the moment it is very expensive; I am sure it will come down in price as more people begin to realize its potential. Use approximately half the recipe quantity for cane sugar, 1 cup of sugar is replaced by ½ cup Xylitol. I made very nice Apricot Jam with it at Christmas time when fresh apricots were available. Beware though too much xylitol can cause diahorea so it is better to replace half your sugar with it for a start until your digestive system becomes accustomed to it, then there is no problems and it is a wonderful natural sugar replacement.

Dear Lola 
I have been making your Anzac Cookie recipe but I don’t like the hard rolled rice flakes, is there anything else that will give me a crisp but not hard result to replace the oats. I do like the flavour of the cookies and they keep very well. Regards Anna
You can replace the Rolled Rice Flakes with Poha Flakes, they are a fine rolled rice flake and to use them just pour on enough hot water to soften them, about ¼ cup to 1 cup of Poha cereal, let it stand and then add it to the recipe as you would oats. You can find them at an Indian supermarket or we have them online. Remember to use ordinary white sugar to make a crisp Anzac cookie, not brown sugar as this gives a softer result.

Dear Lola 
When I use commercial flour,self-raising or plain that contains guar and xanthan gum should I then delete the gum in the recipe I am using? 
This is a good question and as I don’t use gums in my recipes I can only guess, but I would say delete the gum or you will have a ‘rubbery’ result or look for a flour blend without the gum. When you are selecting a replacement for wheat flour try and include nutritious flour such as besan, amaranth or quinoa as the starches such as cornflour, rice flour and tapioca starch have very little nutritional content.

Dear Lola
I was given a silicone mat for baking, can I use it for baking gluten free cookies such as Anzac biscuits or are they too sticky
Yes you can use your silicone mat for gluten free cookies, I used them for Brandy Snaps and they worked reasonable well although I did need to bake them about 3 minutes more to obtain the golden result necessary for this recipe, so you may need to cook them a little longer.

Dear Lola
Can you tell me how to make oven dried tomatoes, I have made several attempts unsuccessfully, they are just hard and dry?
Oven dried tomatoes are easy to make, you need the Italian egg shaped tomatoes, that are ripe. Slice in half lengthwise, place on an a greased or paper lined baking tray. Sprinkle with salt, a little sugar and a little dried herbs. Preheat the oven to the lowest possible temperature and leave the tomatoes to bake overnight. Next day and pack in jars while still warm, cover with olive oil and seal. They will keep well for months but must be refrigerated once you open them.

Dear Lola 
I am loving the bread rolls made with your new oval roll tins and I thought I would pass on a tip I used for my Christmas parties, I cut the rolls into tiny slices and they made quick and easy , they were just the right size and were admired by all guests. 
Thank you Jean for this tip, the tins are selling very well even to other countries. The rolls are excellent for school lunches.

Dear Lola 
I can’t have yeasted bread and the yeast free recipes in your book contain a lot of baking powder giving a salty taste. 
It does take a lot of baking powder to replace yeast in this type of bread but if you can’t find a low salt baking powder then try making your own with 1 tablespoon of Bi-carbonate of Soda and 2 tablespoons of Cream of Tarter, sift and shake well in a jar. Tip: for my large yeast free loaf (550g flour) I add 2 level teaspoons of Wards baking powder to this mix and I get a very good loaf.

Dear Lola
Can I make a slice with left over cake as I have trouble with crumbly mixes. 
You can achieve a good slice by using cake recipes, but usually slices are a bit heavier than cake so you would need to add some more flour and maybe some more margarine or butter. If you have a disaster with a cake recipe, such as not cooked when you turn it out, or too dry a result, you can make a good slice by blending the cooked cake with one or two eggs and a knob of butter and cooking it in your slice tin for about twenty five minutes, it even works with fruit cake.

Dear Lola 
I do miss the taste and particularly the texture of real stuffing in the roast chook. How can I achieve a better product than the one I am using with rice crumbs 
Rice crumbs do tend to be a bit “gluggy” on their own. It is much better to save the scraps of your bread and crumb them in the blender or food processor. The crumbs will freeze well, keep them in a resealable plastic bag and you can add to them when ever you have a spare slice that has dried out. The addition of a small amount of boiled rice will also improve the texture and for special occasions a few pistachio nut kernels add colour as well as flavour. If you have a garden, home grown herbs, such as thyme, sage and chives make such a difference to the flavour of stuffing.

Dear Lola 
How can I get that sweet taste of bought biscuits into my gluten free recipes
You would be surprised if you realised how much sugar actually goes into commercial biscuit recipes. The same quantity as the flour is usual and sometimes even more. I have tried to restrict the amount of sugar in my recipes, but if you want a sweeter cookie just double the sugar.

Dear Lola
My rock cakes are dry and crumbly and took twice as long to cook as the recipe said. What did I do wrong. 
It seems as though your oven was not hot enough, remember that rock cakes are just one step away from scones and should be cooked high in your oven if it is not fan forced. Always undercook gluten free goodies such as rock cakes for a more moist product.

Dear Lola 
I am having trouble with your shortbread cream recipe, the filling sets so hard that the biscuit crumbles. How can I overcome this problem and make cookies like shop bought ones. 
Since my book was published, I make shortbread creams by the hundred for demonstrations and I have discovered that dairy free margarine instead of butter, mixed with the pure icing sugar, gives that soft but firm cream. Adding a little warmed raspberry jam, adds flavour as well as a pale pink colour. Using caster sugar instead of icing sugar in the biscuit recipe will give you a firmer shortbread cookie

Dear Lola 
You recommend using baking paper in many of your recipes, as it is so expensive, can I use a substitute such as greaseproof or waxed paper. 
Yes, you can use greaseproof paper, and in many recipes, just greasing the tin is adequate to prevent sticking, but if you cut baking paper carefully to fit your biscuit trays or cake tins, it can be used many times. If it becomes sticky, rinse the paper after use with warm water and let dry before replacing in the tin for re-use; an option is to use a silicone mat.

Dear Lola
I am having trouble with the mixture given for bread in my bread maker, I am using the rice flour as suggested, but still getting a heavy loaf that crumbles and is hard, I cannot use Guar or Zanthan gum as they both upset me.
I don’t use a bread maker myself as I find it quicker and easier to make the loaf with my mixer. I am told that it is necessary to use the gums to obtain success with the machines. Both my Potato Bread and Sandwich bread recipes will give you a quick easy bread that can be made without the use of gums. If you want further information for your machine recipes without gums, you might like to write to the manufacturer or see the Coeliac Society of NSW, they run demonstrations regularly, but the gums are necessary with machines.

Dear Lola 
My cupcakes won’t rise, they are flat little cakes and very heavy, I would like to make fairy cakes with wings for my daughter’s birthday, please help!
First of all I presume you have a reliable gluten free recipe and the second important point is to have the consistency of the mixture firm enough to hold its shape. Use rounded bottom paper lined cups and fill almost to the top of the tin. Rest the mixture in the trays for at least 10 minutes before baking in the top of the oven in a temperature of 180◦ for about 20 minutes. This should give you a slightly rounded cake that will allow you to slice off the top to form “wings”.

Dear Lola

I have noticed a strong chemical smell in tapioca starch that I bought from a supermarket. Are there different types of tapioca starch as I have been using the product for years and only recently noticed this change
Yes you are correct, I too have noticed the chemical smell in this flour and no one seems to be able to tell me what it is. I do know that it is in Tapioca Starch from Thailand and some packed in Hong Kong.
There is a brand called Sunlight that is a sweet tasting product without this chemical smell, it is packed in 400g bags and a little more expensive than the Thai brand but well worth searching for, I am trying to find a wholesaler so that I can add it to my product list.

Dear Lola
Can I dust fish in your bread and pastry flour with a bit of salt and pepper before light frying, I would like to make a tempura type of batter, is this possible?
Bread and Pastry flour is good for coating fish or making a light batter, add a little extra tapioca starch, about 1 tablespoon to 100g and mix with warm water, 1 teaspoon gluten free baking to each cup of the flour will give you the “Tempura” light crispy batter that you are seeking.

Dear Lola
I am looking for a recipe for gluten – free Gnocchi but I have searched without success, can you help me?
Yes, since the release of my last book I have perfected Gnocchi and the step by step instruction is available on my website www.wheatfreeworld.com on a laminated recipe sheet, see Lola’s Recipes and look under New Recipes. It is a little “tricky” so the step by step instruction is a help.

Dear Lola
Can you tell me what Protein Powder is or what I can use to substitute it in a gluten free version of a bun recipe recently given to me?
You can replace Protein Powder with Milk Powder either skim or full cream,Protein Powder (used in American recipes) is a soy additive used for nutrition.

Dear Lola 
I am loving the bread rolls made with your new oval roll tins and I thought I would pass on a tip I used for my Christmas parties, I cut the rolls into tiny slices and they made quick and easy , they were just the right size and were admired by all guests. 
Thank you Jean for this tip, the tins are selling very well even to other countries. The rolls are excellent for school lunches.

Dear Lola 
When I use commercial flour,self-raising or plain that contains guar and xanthan gum should I then delete the gum in the recipe I am using? 
This is a good question and as I don’t use gums in my recipes I can only guess, but I would say delete the gum or you will have a ‘rubbery’ result or look for a flour blend without the gum. When you are selecting a replacement for wheat flour try and include nutritious flour such as besan, amaranth or quinoa as the starches such as cornflour, rice flour and tapioca starch have very little nutritional content.

Dear Lola 
To get my pikelets to rise I find that I need to have a thin batter, but it runs all over the pan, how can I get them to look like pikelets. 
Yes I found the same problem when I was researching for my book and overcame it by first of all separating the eggs, adding the yolks to the batter, beating the whites until stiff before adding them, secondly by using greased egg rings to cook the pikelets. Just leave the rings on until the mixture sets, and you can easily remove them with tongs.

Dear Lola
I would like to try to modify a recipe I have been given for a plain butter cake but I am unsure of how I should do this. 
The important factor in modification of a recipe is to determine the part each element plays in the recipe. If the recipe is dependant on eggs, 3 or more, for rising with a small amount of baking powder then a straight replacement of a gluten free flour blend is all that is required, but if less eggs are used then you must replace the gluten that is missing in the flour with either gelatine or xanthan gum and the quantity will depend on the amount of flour used, if you check with other similar gluten free recipes it will give you a guide, if all else fails send me a copy of the recipe and I will try to convert it for you.

Dear Lola
I have tried to use yeast in my cookery and have been unsuccessful using methods on the pack, is there a different method for using yeast with gluten free flour? 
Generally yes, you have identified the problem, gluten free yeast cookery is different from wheaten yeast cookery and the type of yeast used can vary. A commercial quality yeast such as Mauripan that has little additional fast rising additives gives the best results and about twice the amount specified for wheaten cookery is required for success. A gluten replacement such as gelatine, agar powder, or xanthan gum is also required in gluten free yeast recipes. Best to start with a reliable gluten free recipe before you waste ingredients with test baking.

Dear Lola
I notice that you have white sorghum flour on your website, is it gluten free and if so how do we use this flour.
The distributor assures me that they have tested it and it is gluten free, I have any flour that I am doubtful of independantly tested by the laborities recommended by the Coeliac Society. Sorghum is available in red and white and can be used to replace the besan flour in my flour blends, using the same quantity and although it is not quite as nutritious as besan and amaranth flour it still is superior to rice flour. It does need to be mixed for a good result, I have found it a little heavier than besan and with a slight “bran” flavour, it is very good for bread. See my Super Sorghum Bread Recipe on Cooking Class of the www.wheatfreeworld.com.au website.

Dear Lola
Can I replace the oil in Anzac cookies for margarine? And if so how much should I use to replace the 65mL of olive oil.
Yes you can use margarine but the important point in Anzac Cookies is to get the consistency right for the result your family prefers. For a start melt the margarine and measure it to replace the oil or simply use 65g of margarine. As margarine contains more liquid than oil you will need to add about another half cup of flour blend. If your family prefers a thin crisp Anzac just an equal replacement should give this result. Margarines do vary a lot in their composition, the reason I prefer to use oil.

Dear Lola
My gluten intolerant son wants a profiterolle cake for his birthday, I have tried to make choux pastry before but the puffs did not rise and were a disaster. Is it possible to make gluten free choux pastry?
Yes it certainly is and I make it regularly, there are a few tips that must be followed for success. 1. Chop the butter into small pieces so that it melts by the time the water boils. 2. Eggs must be beaten into the roux by hand with a wooden spoon to provide a smooth batter. 3. Flour must be plain gluten free flour. 4. Puffs are baked in a hot oven with increasing heat (this dries the puffs.) The most important point is that the oven must not be opened for at least half an hour. If you need a step by step recipe see www.wheatfreeworld.com and go to recipe sheets-New Recipes, these coloured laminated sheets we sell, just the cost of production. Let me know if you need further help.

Dear Lola
I am trying to lower the GI rating in my baked products yet all the commercial ready mixed self raising flour blends are a mixture of starches and have a high rating, how can I still use the ready mix and lower the Gl in my cakes and muffins.
You can easily do this by replacing some of the flour, up to 1/3rd with Amaranth, Besan or Soy flour, you will need about another teaspoon of baking powder per cup for the addition but this will add nutrition as well as lower the GI of your recipe.

Dear Lola 
I live in country Western Australia and find it difficult to buy gluten free pasta sheets to make lasagna that was a family favorite before Coeliac Disease found our family. Do you have any suggestions for an easy pasta replacement?
It is possible to make your own pasta with a gluten free plain flour, salt, eggs and oil with a gluten replacement of gelatine or xanthan gum. Just pile the flour , salt and gum on the bench and make a well in the center to add the eggs, and a little oil and mix them with your hands until it forms a dough. Rest for an hour and roll out thin sheets between two pieces of plastic. Let dry overnight before boiling in the usual way. Otherwise use large slices of raw potato instead of the pasta.

Hello Lola
I have just purchased your “Bread, Buns and Breakfasts” cookbook, it looks fantastic and I am looking forward to trying out some of the recipes. My 2 daughters have Coeliac disease. The older one, Hayley is in year 8 and has started cooking at school. The school has provided her with Orgran gluten free flour to use in the standard “wheat” recipes – not always successful as you could imagine. Next term they are making calzone. Hayley had a practice run at school this week which was quite disastrous! I was hoping to help her perfect a gluten free calzone however I couldn’t find a recipe in your book. Do you have a reliable recipe for this dish? Thanks Justine 
Dear Justine, you are not alone with this problem, I have had several similar requests about gluten free school cookery classes! The recipe on page 106 in my bread book for pocket bread will be suitable for Calzone (turnovers). She will also need some good quality yeast such as Mauripan or Fermipan as the domestic yeasts in supermarkets contain too much of a fast rising element 491, that works well with wheat flour but is not suitable for gluten free starch type flour.

Dear Lola
My husband can’ tolerate yeast so I have to make a yeastfree, gluten free loaf. Unfortunately the recipe I have is very heavy, can I add more baking powder for a lighter loaf? ..Helen
It sounds as though you need a different recipe for your bread. I would suggest adding some stiffly beaten egg white to the recipe before adding more baking powder. Then if you are still not happy with the result you could increase the rising ingredient by adding more baking powder. If this fails send me your recipe and I will check it out for you.

Dear Lola
Can you give me a simple recipe for an easy Focaccia as it is a favourite of mine?
Use any gluten free bread recipe or mix , prepare as directed and pour it into a greased slab tin, sprinkle with Fetta cheese pieces and some finely chopped spinach or fresh herbs such as basil . Top with more bread mix and finish with seeds, Leave to rise until bubbles appear then bake @ 200° for about 20 minutes.

Dear Lola
As my husband and I have planned for some time to join the army of grey nomads touring the country, I was pleased to see the silicone bake ware products when they first appeared as I visualized a lighter load and easier storage.
I have noticed in recent issues of the magazine that the best quality, most expensive “you can afford” metal bake ware is recommended for gluten free cookery. To date I have purchased two six hole muffin trays and so far have success with these. However I would like your advice before I make further purchases as they are quite expensive.
Hi Lynley, I have used these silicone dishes with reasonable success although they are not as easy to handle as metal pans as a large mixture makes the dish wobbly. In a situation as you mention I think they would be a good investment. I did find that the bread baked well in the muffin pans as rolls but the large loaves were not as successful as the metal bread tins because of the size and the depth of the pans. I do use a silicone mat for baking cookies and scones and find it excellent.

Dear Lola
I can’t find Glâce fruits for my fruit cake, what can I replace it with?
Dried fruits can be used but it is better to reconstitute them by pouring boiling water over them and leaving overnight as the Glâce fruits are more moist than dried. I have used the dried fruit medley in my fruit cakes and it was successful

Dear Lola
A recipe I have been given calls for Sarracen flour, can you tell me if this flour is gluten free and where can I buy it?
Sarracen flour is the French name for the gluten free flour that we know as Buckwheat Flour and yes it is gluten free and is available in health food shops.

Dear Lola 
I have been using your spring roll pastry in my pie maker to make pies, they are great. I first make the pastry in the frying pan to about the size of the cutter be it bottom or top. I then use the cutter to cut the pastry for filling, fit it to the pie maker and fill with whatever mince, chicken mince etc. I sometime use potato on top like a Shepherd’s pie. Thought you might be able to use this as it is dairy free as well and all the family agree it is yummy.
Thank you Catherine.

Dear Lola
I am happy with my pastry recipe adapted from one given me by Di Boyle but can you suggest a way I can easily make sausage rolls as it breaks easily?
I use plastic sheets to simplify making sausage rolls. Remove the bottom and side of a plastic A4 page sleeve, open it and cut into two lengthwise; you will have two pieces about 42cm x 14 cm. Use the sheets as a template and roll your pastry between the two sheets, making sure that the pastry is rolled to the edge of the sheets.
Remove the top sheet and place the sausage mince in a roll down the centre of the pastry, using the plastic to help, turn up the bottom of the sheet to cover the mince. Peel back the plastic and brush the edge with cold water. Again using the plastic fold the top layer over the wet pastry edge to form an overlap, press gently to seal and cut into 12 sausage rolls. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in a hot oven for about 15 minutes.

Dear Lola
Can you give us the ingredients again for the “Yummy” muesli that you gave to someone who wanted muesli without hard lumps. I loaned my recipe and now it is lost? All my family love this recipe even the non-Coeliac members!
2-3 cups gluten free cornflakes, 1 cup puffed rice,1/2 cup each of amaranth cereal and sultanas. !/4 cup each of chopped dried apricots, shredded coconut, flaked almonds, pecan nut pieces, banana chips and two tablespoons psyllium for extra fibre.

Warning about 15ml tablespoons!!
After several complaints about not being able to find 20ml tablespoons from members of the society I tried myself at Target, Big W, and several kitchenware shops to find that even very expensive sets of measuring spoons had a 15 ml tablespoon, this is an American measure. Woolworths do have the 20ml set for approximately $2. If you are stuck with a 15ml tablespoon remember that you must add another teaspoon of product to your recipe.

Dear Lola
I prefer to use oil in my cooking rather than margarine, can I make your wonderful sauce blocks with rice bran oil instead of margarine.
Yes, you can use oil to make the blocks, you may need a little extra flour about 1 or 2 tablespoons, but they work just as well with oil. The oil blocks are easier to use if they are frozen as the oil does not set in the refrigerator like the margarine.

Dear Lola
I tried to make meat balls for my family, adding rice flakes and an egg but found the gluten free mince tasteless, how can I add flavour without the usual sauces that contain gluten?
Amaranth Cereal is a little more nutritious than rice flakes for meat balls, just a few tablespoons. Fresh herbs or dried if you haven’t fresh ones are good. If you fry the meat in a hot pan without oil, just a sprinkle of water when it starts to smell barbequed, keep turning until it is browned this will improve the flavour, don’t dry it out though, then add the lightly beaten egg and enough water to soften the mixture. You can use salt and freshly ground pepper to add flavour and there are some gluten free stock powders available as well as a tomato powder that “Herbie’s” spices produce, with a little practice you won’t miss the glutinous sauces.
You can buy pork, veal and chicken mince rather than just sausage mince or if you have a meat mincer it is easy to prepare your own mix of meat. For preservative or gluten intolerant folk a small hand mincer is invaluable; some of the mixers now have a mincing attachment, I couldn’t do without mine.

 

Dear Lola
My Coeliac son is also intolerant to soy, corn, eggs and dairy products. His birthday is coming up, can you suggest a multi allergy cake for his birthday.
You certainly have presented me with a challenge – first of all you can use a blend of potato flour, fine rice and besan flours combined with arrowroot, sift well. The eggs can be replaced by using an egg replacer, from your health food shop. I find it necessary to use about three times the quantity given, and warm water gives a better result. Use a gluten free sponge type recipe combining the egg replacer and sugar, lightly sift in the flour, making a very light mixture. Be careful not to have the mixture too thick. Cook the mixture in three or four sponge tins as it does not rise much. Alternatively you can cook it in a large pan as pancakes and stack them. Make a filling to join the layers, a layer of thick jelly, set in sponge tin and a layer of dairy free custard, made with rice milk, or just water, thickened by melting a little dairy free margarine in a saucepan, add equal quantities of your flour mix and cook for 1 minute. Sweeten and flavour as desired. Now ice with a frosting made with pure icing sugar and dairy free margarine and you have a great birthday cake.

Dear Lola 
What can I add to my scones to give more moisture?. 
Sour cream if you can have it otherwise mashed cooked sweet potato is good. Fruits such as dates also add moisture. If you freeze your scones, before you reheat them in the microwave a dip in cold water does wonders. Wrap the wet scone in paper towel before heating. Psyllium is also good, sprinkle a tablespoon onto half a cup of cold water and leave to stand about ten minutes until it is a thick jelly, add this mixture to your scones. The important step with scones is to keep the mixture soft and don’t overmix, always use a knife and mix with a cutting action. Make sure the liquid is added to the bowl before the flour, never make a well and add liquid with gluten free scones

Dear Lola 
The fruit sinks in my muffin recipes, no matter which recipe I try.
Over beating the mixture, so that it is too soft is often the cause of this problem, but also check carefully the weight of your flour as a fairly stiff mixture is required for a muffin, they are not fairy cakes. A small diet scale is the best way to ensure accurate weight.