If you’re brand new to living gluten-free, you might want to stick with foods that are naturally gluten-free: fruits, vegetables, beef, chicken, fish, potatoes, rice, nuts and seeds, beans, eggs, dairy, and more (of course, if you are sensitive or allergic to any of those foods, stay away from those, too!). Soon enough, though, you may find yourself ready to bake. If you’re there now, let’s dig in.
Whether you’re new to gluten-free baking, or new to baking anything at all, know this: You absolutely can be successful at baking! Don’t be put off by all the talk about baking being science. It is, but if you’re not the one developing the recipes yourself, just follow the recipe! If it’s a well-written gluten-free recipe, it will work if you follow the instructions carefully.
Early success will fuel your motivation to continue to bake, and that’s going to save you money – and give you a renewed sense of possibility and motivation. That’s the sweet spot! With that in mind, let’s talk about where to begin.
Choosing First Recipes
Simple gluten-free drop cookies, like gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, are some of the simplest things to bake. If you use a good gluten-free flour blend, good results are as close to certain as possible. And the cookies bake up so quickly that you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labors almost instantly. Bar cookies and muffins like the gluten-free apple muffins are another great first choice. Unfussy and uncomplicated, with the right ingredients and the right instructions, your success is a given.
Once you have mastered quickbreads like muffins and simple desserts like cookies, consider moving on to versatile recipes that require a bit more finesse. Basic gluten-free pie crust is a great way to dip your toes into rolling out gluten-free dough (and that link has a how-to video, since show-and-tell can really help!), and it is one of the most versatile recipes you can imagine since it can lead to sweet and savory pies, and eventually … to gluten-free puff pastry!
Another highly versatile roll-out gluten-free recipe is gluten-free flour tortillas. Once you have tortillas, huevos racheros and homemade burritos are right around the corner. Rolling out tortillas is a skill like any other – you get better and better at it until it is truly second nature. You will become faster and more adept at it as you go on. Keep the faith!
The Holy Grail of Gluten-Free Baking
Gluten-free bread is the undeniable Holy Grail of gluten-free baking. Buying it day after day, week after week, is the fastest sure-fire way to ruin your household budget. And no matter how good the bread that you’re buying is, nothing — and I do mean nothing — compares the to smell of freshly baked bread in your very own kitchen. If I never learned the art of gluten-free bread-baking, my gluten-free son would never know what freshly baked bread tasted like.
When you’re ready, start with a loaf bread. The first yeast bread I always suggest for cutting your teeth (literally and figuratively!) is the White Sandwich Bread in my first cookbook. But there are also plenty of recipes on my blog, too. And it doesn’t hurt to have lots of tips and tricks for baking good gluten-free bread, either.
Wherever you start, please keep in mind that, although it may be unfamiliar at first, it is not rocket science and if you can read, you can bake!