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Tales from the Crypt: Gluten Free and Allergen Free Baking Disasters

Posted Sep 28 2011 5:22pm

The biggest topic that I get private e-mails about is kitchen failures when it comes to gluten-free and allergy free baking. So, now it is time to tell a whopper on myself! Today I had a baking disaster! I mean a total and complete gluten-free and allergen free baking bummer. Of course, I can think of other adjectives to use here, but I don't want to be overly melodramatic. I share this with you to bring comfort to the beginners - even those of us with 12 plus years of gluten-free and allergy-free baking experience bomb in the kitchen now and then! Even those of us who have published a celiac and allergy cookbook have failures now and then! So what was the problem? Yes, I really want to share that with you as well as the total experience! The problem today was the fat that I used to grease the mini-baking muffin tins. Say what?

Yes, in the gluten-free and allergy-free baking arena the fat that you use to grease a pan matters. Let me tell you what does not work - at least not of late - one non-dairy margarine and one non-dairy margarine substitutes (brand names excluded for legal liability reasons)! I ran out of the normal baking spray that I use to grease the mini-muffin tins, so I used some non-dairy and mostly allergen free margarine (contains some soy) and the brownie bites that I was making would not come out of the pan. Let me say, even with a knife going gently around the edge of the pan, these brownie bites could not be saved! If a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a picture to show my gluten-free and allergen-free baking disaster of the day.



Let's take one more look at this:


These brownie bites were literally in pieces! Now, here is the upshot - they will be eaten. How they will be used up eventually is in ice cream sundae's. Non-dairy, gluten-free, allergen-free ice cream sundae's that is. They will also be used in our "pretend" DQ™ Blizzards - the ones that we make at home with non-dairy (and gluten-free) ice cream and candy or cookies. Yes, these bits and pieces of brownies will definitely be eaten over time. For now, they have been lovingly thrown (LOL) into the deep freeze. Another use for these could be dried out a bit and crumbled for a dessert pie crust.

Going back to greasing the pans. Did anyone notice in the last few months to a year that the baking sprays have changed? I noticed the label and the ingredient change a while back, but I didn't think much of seems to me that the brownie bites that we have been making for years just don't slide out of the pan like they used to. Where else does the non-dairy (allergen free) margarine substitute not work out as well? Two recipes come to mind immediately - one is frosting and the other is rice crispy treats (made with a gluten-free cereal of course). The frosting with some non-dairy margarine substitutes will be too runny for my tastes and not very creamy or soft. One of the non-dairy margarine substitutes we use makes the rice crispy treats seem stale. It is definitely the margarine substitute and not the cereal.

I hope that this will make some of the beginners feel a tad bit better. I recommend that beginners stick to a few helpful guidelines to avoid failures in the beginning:

1. Use a proven recipe (just any old recipe from the internet may or may not work)

2. Don't make any substitutions in a recipe until you have had success

3. Make sure you understand how the flour is measured (I use the method invented and supported by my friend and mentor, Bette Hagman, may she rest in peace)

4. Use an oven thermometer

5. Turn OFF Convection Bake if you are using my recipes

I hope you have many, many successes in the gluten-free and allergen-free baking area! Let me know how I can support and empower you in the kitchen!




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