Gluten-Free Holiday Baking Tips

The holidays are here, and if your anything like my kids’ Nana it’s time to get baking. But gluten-free baking seems so…complicated. And I’m not gonna lie, it can be pretty complex to bake amazing holiday treats without sticky gluten holding everything together. So if you’re new to gluten-free holiday baking, or new to baking all together, here are some basic tips to get you started.

We’re all busy this time of year, so let’s keep this short and sweet!

gingerbread cookies on a sign reading baking tips basics for holiday treats

Substitute measure-for-measure GF flour into your favorite recipes. If you’re new to the complex world of gluten-free baking, make it easy for yourself by purchasing a premixed 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. This can be used in lieu of all purpose flour in conventional cookie, quick bread, and muffin recipes.

When a recipe calls for a specific brand of 1:1 GF flour, use the one listed for best results. Measure-for-measure blends vary by brand, as they each have their own proprietary mixture. If you choose to substitute a different company’s 1:1 GF flour, be aware that it might come out a little differently than intended.

Watch out for chances of cross-contact. If the kitchen is not completely free from gluten sources, take precautions to keep the food safe from contamination.

  • Work on clean surfaces with dishwasher-cleaned equipment. Gluten can hide in sponges, so clean with a new sponge or a clean rag.
  • Gluten can stick in scratches in old cookware and wooden surfaces.
  • Porous stoneware might also harbor gluten.
  • Line older baking sheets with parchment paper to avoid cross-contact.
  • GF baked goods should be served and stored separate from food containing gluten.
Four images of holiday baked goods

America’s Test Kitchen offers the following advice:

  1. Carefully measure all ingredients.
  2. Don’t worry about overmixing. Mixing batter for a longer amount of time lead to more structure, in their experience.
  3. Allow batter and dough to rest before cooking for best results. (Note: I’ve read that it’s best to get GF batter into the oven as soon as possible while the chemical reactions are forming bubbles. If you have any input on this subject please let us know in the comment section!)
  4. Favor an oven thermometer and timer over visual cues for doneness.
  5. Use longer bake times to cook off extra moisture. (Note: A cooling rack is also useful, as GF baked goods often let off a massive amount of steam, and the rack will help retain the best texture.)

Conclusion

Gluten-free baking can be complicated, so when you’re starting out these tips make it a little easier. Embrace measure-for-measure flour, and remember each brand has a slightly different flour blend. Vigilantly avoid cross-contamination in your baked goods. And if you try out the suggestions from America’s Test Kitchen, let us know how they worked out in the comment section below!

Want to give baking with teff flour a try? Bake a batch of gluten-free apple cobbler.

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