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How To Mess Up Gluten-Free Baking

I live in a country where bakeries are on every corner and the red lit up letters that say HOT & FRESH lure you in. I’m not exaggerating. So most people here use their ovens for storage.  Now I totally understand why my Latina mother never learned to bake, she didn’t have to with all those wonderful baked goods around.

I on the other hand love baking, apparently, not inherited from my Latino roots. From the moment I baked my first batch of sugar cookies that were as solid as a rock (I should have known something was wrong when my dough had a homemade glue texture) I was hooked. Shortly after this mishap in the kitchen I quickly learned how to follow a recipe and before my teen years I was improvising recipes and making my own thing. Needless, to say I feel confident when it comes to baking, that is until…

gluten free browniesA few months ago, I started a draft post titled, “How to Bake Gluten-Free.”  My plan was to click PUBLISH once I had mastered the art of gluten-free baking, well at least gotten the hang of it.  So as you can see from this post, I overestimated my ability to bake gluten-free.

This morning I was going to whip up a batch of gluten-free brownies as I would have done before my gluten-free days without any problem.  After 2 hours, 2 failed attempts and running out of vegetable oil, I finally raised my white flag. I wish I could tell you the picture on the left is not mine but I can’t. It’s supposed to be brownies. They were flat, crumbly and hard. For goodness sake, they weren’t even chocolatey brown.

Defeated.

Exhausted.

Frustrated.

Ai, yai, yai talk about epic failure. Can anyone else relate to those adjectives after your gluten-free baking?

So here are sure ways to mess up gluten-free baking (from an expert):

1. Follow your non-gluten free recipe to the T except for substituting in your gluten-free flour. I’m so guilty of doing this.

2. Don’t use a gluten-free binder like xanthan gum. I finally caved in and bought this stuff.

3. Adding more gluten-free flour to the batter because it appears too thin.  It won’t look like your old recipes with gluten.

4. Using a single gluten-free flour.  For some recipes, this works but for most you have to add a variety to get the right texture.

5. Thinking that all gluten-free flours are the same. Oh, believe me they are NOT.

Just in case you’re wondering, I did finally get the hang of it and after a few epic baking failures, my amazing gluten-free Turtle Brownies recipe is here. As they say in South America, “Buen Provecho”, it’s similar to “Bon Appetit”.

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