Many gluten-free baked goods can be described as crumbly, dry, dense, and brick-like. Baked goods with this description often have their roots in poorly developed recipes or pioneering experiments on the home front. But gluten-free nirvana does exist! Some of the most wonderfully delicious, well-structured baked goods you will ever taste happen to be gluten-free, developed by pioneering individuals and companies who have found out how to manipulate the ingredients to produce delicious, authentic baked goods.
While most gluten-free baked goods use xanthan gum or guar gum in the recipe to help bind the ingredients together and provide structure, recipes that use gums can still be terribly lacking in texture. So, what could be the larger issue at hand?
This is not a cookbook, and you’re encouraged to consult some of the most recently published cookbooks on the topic, recipe development gets better every year. But a variety of factors can contribute to poor texture and oftentimes the answer is first found in the flour. The flours used in a recipe are critical. If you use just rice flour or a starch, you will have a texture problem, guaranteed. A combination of gluten-free flours works better together, and the kinds of flours used and their ratios are even more important because they each have certain baking powers.
The older flour blend formulas used white rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch, which often produce a texture problem because simply there isn’t enough protein in those flours. Recently, more baking experts are advising that gluten-free flour blends need to have higher protein content to improve structure and to augment the binding action that gums provide. Today, it’s becoming more common to find flour blends using higher protein flours such as sorghum flour, teff flour, quinoa flour, amaranth flour, and even bean flours. So the best thing you can do to improve the texture of your gluten-free baked goods is to add a flour high in protein.