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Debunking the Mystery of Gluten-free Baking

Baking is an enjoyable process, but except gluten-free baking? Is this your frustration?

Maybe you ate some awful gluten-free products before, or have no idea on how to master the gluten-free ingredients. As you experienced so many failure in gluten-free baking already, how can you still enjoy and succeed in gluten-free baking? 

Some people also said that gluten-free products are bad for health. Is this true? 
Let’s debunk all the mystery today!

What is Gluten

If you are trying gluten-free baking for the first time, you must first understand what is gluten. Gluten is the name for wheat protein, which it can also be found in rye and barley.

Gluten = Glue

Gluten means "glue" that provides the adhesive properties in the dough. There are two types of proteins in gluten: gliadin and glutenin. The function of gluten is to form a network structure in the dough, and increase the air holding capacity as the dough ferments. 

Glutenin contributes to the elasticity, and gliadin helps the extensibility of the dough. Both of them play an important role in shaping the dough and creating a fluffy texture.

"Low-gluten flour" usually refers to a lower amount of protein (gluten) and is mostly used for making cakes.

"High-gluten flour" usually refers to higher protein (gluten) content and is mostly used for making bread.

slicing gluten-free bread
slicing gluten-free bread

Unlimited Blends

"Gluten-free" refers to food without wheat gluten. How can you do baking if there is no gluten to build dough structure?

The answer is "mix"! Gluten-free flour is rarely used alone. Several kinds of flour are mixed together to balance the protein content and dough viscosity.

It is recommended that you refer to the following educational video provided by "As One Cooking Academy" (www.as1cooking.com) to learn more about gluten-free flour.

In other words, to make gluten-free food, you can no longer use wheat flour. Naturally, food that aren’t made by wheat WILL have a DIFFERENT taste and texture than wheat-based products. 

They are fundamentally two different things – two different species! Making this clear is crucial in preventing you from falling into the blackhole of endless frustration and comparison.

Since gluten-free flour does not have gluten, please don't ask which single gluten-free flour can replace "low-gluten flour" or "high-gluten flour". This question is not valid!

We also need to adjust our mindsets. Although they are both called "bread" and "cookies", these are just names. As the ingredients used are completely different, the taste, having a different texture and structure is completely normal. To give a simple example, just like Western-style pound cake and Chinese-style rice cake, although both of them are called "cakes", they have different in tastes and textures.

Gluten-free foods should not be used to mimic wheat-based products, i.e. become wheat-like products.

There are many kinds of gluten-free ingredients, and there are at least 14 kinds of gluten-free flour! Examples are:
Teff, Quinoa, Buckwheat, Amaranth, Almond, Coconut, Chickpea, Sorghum, Brown Rice rice), White rice, Glutinous Rice, Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch, Corn Starch.

Undisclosed Truth in Gluten-free Baking

Many nutritionists and media said that gluten-free food is not nutritious. Why? The key lies in the selection of ingredients!

Among the many gluten-free ingredients, their own nutritional value varies greatly. The picture below is an overview of the nutritional values. We tried to categorize the ingredients according to their nutritional contents and put them along the axis of "high nutrition" and "low nutrition". 

We made this table by comparing the protein content per 100 grams, dietary fiber content, and whether the ingredients contain minerals such as iron and copper, etc. 

(Please note that this is not a scientific experiment comparison, but only an overview diagram to make it easier for you to understand) 

Grains such as teff, quinoa, almonds, etc. are more nutritious than the refined starches.

However, refined starches, including white rice, tapioca, potato starch, etc., have higher economical efficiency—because they are the cheapest! (We import gluten-free flour from Europe to Hong Kong by tonnes so we know!) 

Nutrient-rich grains such as teff, quinoa, buckwheat are at least 2-4 times more expensive than the cost of these starches! Therefore, due to this cost factor, most manufacturers will prefer to use starchy ingredients to minimize the costs. 

As refined starch has no taste at all, it is also an easy-to-match ingredient. The goal of many manufacturers is only to produce products that look and taste similar to wheat, so as to take the market of such dietary trends and generate income.

Another reason why most gluten-free products taste bad (and even bad for health) is because manufacturers will not spend time and effort to develop recipes. Mismatching different kinds of gluten-free grains gives awful tastes. And the most common solution to this is to add extra amount of sugar to cover the weird taste, as well as chemical emulsifiers and additives to improve the texture. 

When a gluten-free product is produced by the factors above, it is indeed not tasty, not nutritious and even bad to health. 

So please look carefully at the nutritional labels next time you go shopping! 

Nutritious Gluten-free Baking

We hope to overturn the norm and vindicate gluten-free baking! Since 2016, we have worked hard to develop a series of gluten-free premixes. We hope you will find that gluten-free foods can be nutritious and delicious!

From our supplier of gluten-free flour, we realized that the production process of gluten-free flour is not like wheat flour. Most are not bleached with the most original taste (and nutrition)! The picture below is a photo provided by our supplier. The left side is raw buckwheat, and the right side is buckwheat flour.

To make gluten-free baking nutritious, the answer is to add "highly nutritious" gluten-free ingredients (refer to the nutritional comparison chart above)! Don't just rely on starches!

Take our gluten-free bread pre-mix that we developed as an example. In the teff bread pre-mix, we designed teff as the main flour. Teff has a natural nutty chestnut aroma. The proper proportion can make the bread bring out a unique, tasty aroma. Teff is rich in iron and dietary fiber. 

In addition, the main flours of quinoa bread premix are organic quinoa and sorghum, which can be your good source of complete protein, minerals and other nutrients. The flavor and texture of the bread are different from the teff one!

Easy Gluten-Free Baking with Satisfaction

We hope to help you succeed in gluten-free baking for the first time. It doesn’t matter if you are not familiar with gluten-free ingredients and don’t know how to master it. We already did the most difficult step for you – the experimentation process! 

All you need to do is to follow the instructions on our packaging. Gluten-free baking has never been easier and more successful! 

In addition to making bread for breakfast, gluten-free baking can also be fun – creative and playful time with children. With our gluten-free cookie mix, along with your favorite cookie cutters, make some cute cookies for your family and friends today! 

Dare to Try

If you are adventurous, you can also do your own experiments with different gluten-free flours. Each gluten-free flour has its own unique taste and character, learn to appreciate them. You may discover surprises along the way!

However, it is worth mentioning that you shall test each ingredient one by one in the exploring journey. This is because gluten-free flour is sensitive to humidity, dough acidity, etc., changing too many factors at one time will make the variables too many. Even when it fails, it will be very difficult for you to find out which part has gone wrong. 

We believe a gluten-free diet can be healthy, delicious and fun. ​Let's explore gluten-free baking together!