By Shelia Cafferty,
I completely meant to get this blog out when I made the gluten free apple pie for our website recipe….well, better late than never.
I have been cooking and baking gluten free for awhile now, even now I find that sometimes getting things just right can be challenging. Getting the right combination of flours to work for a particular recipe can be tricky and disappointing, even downright discouraging at times.
I am just not one to give up that easily, if something doesn’t work for me I always go back to the drawing board. And there are things like the humidity that can also affect the textures of your end baked product. Especially when it comes to cakes and fondant.(if you don’t know about fondant, don’t worry….if you are interested I will save that for another time).
There are some great gluten free recipe books out there now, I have been a long time fan of Rebecca Reilly and Annalise Roberts, some true pioneers, and of course, I have to mention Bette Hagman and Gluten Free Girl’s influence, more great pioneers!! There are also some really great gluten free bread mixes out there too, a long time favorite of mine is still Montina all purpose gluten free flour mix for making bread.
I’d better mention that’s it best to store your flour in air tight containers, keep it in the freezer and it will last forever. Because, yes, even gluten free flour has a shelf life and though this has never happened to me( and thank God!!!), keeping your flour in the freezer will not only protect it from the humidity but also from weevils.
I took the liberty of listing some thickeners, other than corn starch that might be helpful to those that do gluten free baking and cooking.
Cornstarch or ClearGel (Modified cornstarch)
Potato Starch Flour
Arrowroot Starch works great as a thickener, especially good if you are working with acidic fruits -- does not mix well with Dairy – it gets a slimy texture when mixed with dairy products. This thickener imparts a beautiful sheen to your fruit pie fillings. Although, this sheen is not appreciated with sauces and gravies.
Cornstarch does not freeze as well and can sometimes import a starchy taste, but somehow I always end up using this in a pinch, it’s inexpensive and you can find this readily available in any store.
ClearGel is a modified cornstarch and works really well in all kinds of fruit pies – it tolerates high temperatures well and works well with acidic ingredients and is even freezer stable. This can be found in specialty Bake Stores, I know King Arthur Flour carries this.
Potato Starch can be used as a thickener, although I like to use potato starch in many of my baked goods, as a thickener sometimes it can be tempermental, I have had recipes where I have had to to use considerably more or considerably less for the exact same recipe……go figure!!
Tapioca Starch can also be a good thickener and works well in fruited pie fillings
Tapioca Pearls are small starchy granules and are typically used to make tapioca filling. They thicken pie fillings and are fine if you don’t mind your filling studded with tiny gelatinous balls --- you can also place these tapioca pearls in a coffee grinder and grind them into a fine powder.
I hope this blog is helpful……Happy Gluten Free Cooking and Baking!!
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