Getting Started…of course, the fastest way is to stop eating bread, pasta, pancakes, muffins, cookies and fried foods with traditional flour crusts. But ,that is boring and hard on a family – going cold turkey, no flour. Wheat allergies (really gluten) have been around since I was a young girl. I babysat for a family down the street whose youngest daughter was allergic to wheat. My first rice cake with peanut butter was experienced at 14, while baby sitting for their family. Since, gluten allergies or sensitivities are not new, the marketplace has risen to the occasion/dollar, and there are lots of good products available now. However, you may find many products are some what tasteless and expensive. The tasteless part is changing and gluten free alternatives are delicious, if you are willing to make some foods at home.
After researching recipes on the internet and buying all types of specialty flours to mix together to create alternative treats, I realized that some of the gluten free all purpose flours worked good enough and eventually settled on what I believe are the best products. What I found is with the right gluten free products, you can make all of your traditional recipes but use the gluten free products instead. No need to get special gluten free recipes, just make your traditional Banana Bread but with a good gluten free all purpose flour. After much trial and expensive errors, Arrowhead Mills‘ Gluten Free All Purpose flour is the best cup for cup alternative to wheat flour. It is also made with mostly organic ingredients, which I like. Many of the other products did not substitute well and more liquid had to be added. When using gluten free alternative flours, the batter or dough will look different, but the Arrowhead Mills’ Gluten Free flour, will cook up nicely without having to make other recipe adjustments.
My hubby and son think my corn bread is better than ever. It is the same old family recipe (70 yrs) but I use this flour now instead of traditional organic wheat flour. I get the same response on my Banana Bread. Brownies are almost as good and cookies are delicious but more crumbly…that just comes with GF.
Our family never fried much food at home. It was too much of a mess and you could get good fried food at restaurants everywhere. But once we went GF, fried foods were just not an option anymore. However, twice in the last 18 months, my husband has setup the turkey fryer on the driveway and together we have made chicken fried steak and chicken fingers for the family. The first time, I researched for hours on the best GF fried chicken recipes and after much deliberation mixed together 4 of those specialty flours I had bought early on and followed the recipe for what turned out to be pretty good crust. But, I’m into easy and all that measuring and mixing together was not fun. So, the second time, just recently, I decided that the Arrowhead Mills GF flour was working so well on other recipes, I’d just try it for crust. I put some in a pan and seasoned it like my great grandmother use to and double dipped it (egg mixed up with some water, then coat with seasoned flour and repeat). It worked great and was so much easier. Then my husband asked if I was going to make gravy….I had to think about that one. He did not seem to understand that GF flour worked with some things but I wasn’t to sure about making gravy. The first time we fried, I told everyone to be happy with the chicken fried steak and use ketchup. But, this time I thought, why not give it a try…I’ve thrown away lots of GF mistakes. I was really surprised. This GF flour cooked up just like regular flour and made great cream gravy. The family was in Gluten Free Food Heaven.
So, my recommendation is start with the Arrowhead Mills GF All Purpose flour before purchasing 3 types of rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, almond meal flour, etc. And, just use it with your traditional family recipes substituting this GF flour for wheat flour.
You can purchase this flour at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Market Street and other natural food stores. My local Walmart carried it until a month ago ($2 less than other stores). But, they now are carrying another Hain Celestial product, Gluten Free Cafe All Purpose flour (no organic ingredients). I”m testing it but have not determined, if it works, as well.
Next time – Bread and Pizza…Yummy!