Before taking the plunge into the basics of gluten-free baking, you’ll need four things: an open mind for learning new methods, a flexible palate for trying new tastes and textures, an adventurous spirit, and a bit of patience. These traits will serve you well from the start, because gluten-free baking is a 180 degree turn from traditional baking. Starting out with a mindset that accepts a different approach will help you enjoy this new journey of tastes and methods as well as help prevent occasional bouts of discouragement or outright disappointment along the way.
Whether you prefer baking from scratch, a packaged mix, or a combination of both, gluten-free baking requires three major paradigm shifts in your thinking about baking:
Paradigm Shift #1: Using single all-purpose flour for each of your baking needs is replaced by using a “flour blend” that combines two or more different gluten-free flours that work in harmony with each other to replicate the wheat-flour effect in baking.
Paradigm Shift #2: Say good-bye to kneading. Gluten-free breads are made from batters similar to cake batters. They are mixed with spoons or paddles and are baked in loaf pans with walls.
Paradigm Shift #3: Gluten gives flexibility to dough and helps bind it together. Gluten-free baking requires key ingredients that replace the gluten to help give structure to the dough; otherwise, the baked goods will fall apart.