Gluten-free bread basics

Gluten-free bread basics

Beginning a gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging, especially if you love bread. If your health demands it, however, there are ways to keep bread and other baked goods in your life, without the gluten. How do you know what is safe to eat, and what you should avoid? This post will help you through some of the basic steps to beginning a gluten-free lifestyle by knowing your grains.

Wheat isn’t the only source of gluten.

If you were just diagnosed with celiac or a gluten sensitivity, you might not be familiar with all of the sources of gluten that are in your diet. Eliminating obvious items like pasta, crackers, cookies, pastries, and breaded food items is a good place to start, but there is much more to eating gluten free than eliminating wheat flour.

Let’s talk grains for a minute – this is a baking blog, but wheat isn’t the only grain you can bake with. There are many sources of gluten. Common sources of gluten that you may not suspect are barley, bulgur, kamut, couscous, durum, semolina, einkorn, farro, farina, emmer, rye, matzo, fu, atta, dinkel, graham flour, malt, seitan, spelt, triticale, and spelt. Some grains, like quinoa do not inherently contain gluten but may be processed in facilities that do. Brewer’s yeast and oats may also contain gluten. Always make sure that the flours and baking supplies you purchase are labeled gluten free.

Always check labels.

There are many items in the grocery store that seem safe, but aren’t. Always check labels carefully. Many common breakfast cereals, sauces (including soy sauce, malt vinegar, and even salad dressings), soups, yogurts, teas, candies, and seasoning mixes, as well as numerous processed foods, contain wheat. If an item is not labeled gluten free, it may very well be produced in a facility that processes items containing gluten – cross-contamination is a possibility. Even ice cream may contain the protein.

Don’t sweat it.

As intimidating as switching to a gluten free lifestyle may seem, you’ll love it. Once you fully embrace the idea of eating gluten free, you’ll find a world of culinary delights you never knew existed. Most baked goods are available in gluten free forms, and baking gluten free breads is a truly rewarding experience. Make sure you check out my post on stocking a gluten free pantry for tips on what flours and additives you should have on hand when baking gluten free.

If you have any gluten free recipes you would like to share, please do. I would love to bake a loaf or two of your favorite recipes to share here. Just send me the recipe! For more information on gluten free living, visit www.celiac.org.

 

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