4 Gluten-Free Ingredients that will transform your baking

Coeliac disease is a permanent, unalterable autoimmune disease caused by the immune system responding to gluten – found in wheat, barley and rye. The only remedy for this is a strict gluten-free diet for life. Around eight million Indians suffer from coeliac disease (All India Institute of Medical Sciences). Moreover, many also experience gluten intolerance, sensitivity or in general don’t enjoy gluten, and hence avoid gluten.

If, like me, you find yourself not able to consume gluten, then you will undoubtedly have copious amounts of people asking you “What do you eat? Grass?!” In fact, there are a fair few options out there for gluten-free diets. And once you know all the options, nothing can stop you!

Back in the day, growing up gluten-free was difficult – gluten-free loaves of bread tasted like cardboard. Now, however, the options are endless. So, gluten eaters, eat your heart out, because adhering to a gluten-free diet can be a lot of fun. My rubbish banter aside, here are some of the best gluten-free substitutes, which will make you forget you ever ate gluten:

1. Polenta

Polenta is an excellent substitute in baking. From yummy cornbread and polenta fries to lemon polenta cake, you have plenty of options with polenta.

2. Besan

Besan is another excellent substitute for gluten-intolerant folk. Besan is perfect for making savoury pancakes. Simply combine besan, water, salt and spring onions, and you will have a great pancake mix. However, I don’t recommend using it in baked goods such as bread or cakes, as it can prove tricky.

3. Gluten-free all-purpose flour

Gluten-free flour is a must-have! You can find gluten-free all-purpose flour from Amazon or your preferred retailer. This is one of the most versatile flours out there and can be easily used instead of bread flour and self-raising flour.

The finer detail

If the recipe calls for bread flour, simply mix half a teaspoon of xantham gum for every flour cup. If the recipe calls for self-raising flour, all you have to do is add two teaspoons of baking powder for every 150 grams of all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour can make yummy cakes or be converted into bread flour to make excellent pizza. With an excellent gluten-free flour, most people will not generally even know the difference between the real stuff and the free-from foods.

Please note all-purpose flour is not the same as Atta. So, if you can’t do without your parathas, gluten-free Atta is also widely available.

4. Rice & Rice Flour

Rice too is naturally gluten-free and an excellent ingredient for anyone following a gluten-free diet. Rice flour can be used to make crepes and Dosas.

Remember, gluten-free can be complicated in the beginning. Start with mastering one or two ingredients – the more you try, the better you will get and the easier you will find it. If you follow recipes from the internet, try and use gluten-free in your search and choose ones with more than four stars.

Remember, all you knead is love, creativity and good ingredients when it comes to a good meal. So have fun! Gluten Tag from me!

Written by Dr. Nimrita Singh Bassi 15th February 2021. Cosmopolitan Asia

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