As a blogger I get lots of questions in comments and emails, and they’re often the same questions. For the sake of being efficient with my time (not writing the same response over and over), I’m compiling my answers to common questions here.
Gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Other foods, such as oats, can be contaminated with gluten-containing grains. Learn to read labels to help you determine the gluten-free status of ingredients. If you’re unsure about certain ingredients, check this list.
The ingredients listed in my recipes can be found gluten free, but not necessarily every brand is gluten free or uncontaminated. You are responsible for making sure that your ingredients meet your dietary restrictions, whether gluten free or otherwise.
Where I list specific brands, they were gluten-free at the time of writing, but ingredients and formulations can change, so always verify that information.
Be aware that there is a lot of old or wrong information about what is gluten free on the Internet. Be sure you are going to reputable and up-to-date sources.
If you need more help going gluten free, check out my eBook, How to Be Gluten Free: 10 Steps to a Gluten-Free Life.
Some people need or want nutritional information such as how many calories or grams of sugar are in a serving. I’m sorry, but I don’t have the time to figure out and provide that information. There are probably web sites available to help you.
Since I am currently cooking for myself, my husband, and my three adult sons, I don’t often have extra food to freeze. If I have tried freezing a recipe, I will mention it in the post. Otherwise, I don’t know how well it will freeze. If you think it will work, give it a try.
Food bloggers are often asked about ingredient substitutions, but I’m going to let you in on a secret. We don’t know how a substitute will work unless we’ve tried it. And if we have tried it (or we’re pretty sure it will work), then we usually mention it. I feel for those of you who have additional allergies. Being on a restricted diet, I know it’s hard, but each person/family has their own allergies, intolerances, diseases, likes, and dislikes. At some point you just have to do a little experimenting with the ingredients that you have or can use.
My recipes work for me using the ingredients listed. If you make a substitute (and especially if you make several) your results are not going to be exactly the same. Often they will be just as good, occasionally better, and sometimes worse. You have to accept that fact.
Even when following a recipe exactly, there are always differences in brands of ingredients, how old they are, equipment used, and the environment. When you add substitutes, it creates even more variables, but I hope this substitution information helps you.
All Purpose Flours
One of the most common questions I get is whether a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix can be used in a recipe. Every flour mix is different, containing different flours and starches as well as different proportions of flour to starch. Some contain additional ingredients such as xanthan gum.
If you want to try using a flour mix, total the amount of flour and starch in my recipe and use that amount of flour mix. If the mix contains xanthan gum, you probably don’t need to add any.
I am relatively new to using coconut flour, but I have learned that different brands work differently. Generally, coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid and it is used in smaller quantities than other flours. However, I have found that some brands absorb less water than others. If you are not getting the same results as me, check what brand was used. I will try to list it in the recipes.
Generally coconut flour is also used with a larger quantity of eggs than most recipes. Because of these differences, I cannot recommend a substitute for coconut flour.
I am also relatively new to using almond flour. I recommend you use a blanched almond flour. Some is more finely ground than other. The finer the better. If you are not getting good results, try a different brand.
Almond flour is higher in fat than most gluten-free flours and is used as a grain free alternative. Nut flour is pretty different from grain flours or starches. I can’t recommend a substitute for almond flour.
If you want to substitute one of these grain flours, here is what I would TRY. I’m not guaranteeing that these substitutes will work in every recipe.
Rice Flour : Brown and white rice can often be used interchangeably.
Sweet Rice Flour: This is a sticky rice and the flour helps baked goods hold their moisture. This flour should not be used as a substitute for rice flour. However, if you don’t have sweet rice flour, you could substitute white or brown rice flour for it. I know that’s confusing, so I’ll say it again. If the recipe calls for white or brown rice flour, do not substitute sweet rice flour. If it calls for sweet rice flour, you can substitute white or brown rice flour, though the results will not be as good.
Sorghum Flour: I love using sorghum flour and find that it gives a softer texture than rice flour. However, too much sorghum in a recipe is not good either. Often you can substitute sorghum and rice flour for each other, but there will definitely be a difference in texture.
Millet Flour: Millet flour is light in weight and also give a soft texture to baked goods. It can often be substituted with rice or sorghum flour, but since millet is lighter weight, slightly less rice or sorghum should be used. If substituting millet for either of those, use slightly more.
Starches are used to help lighten other heavier gluten-free flours. If you cannot tolerate one kind of starch, another starch is the best substitute. However, each starch has slightly different qualities, which is why a combination is usually used.
In most of my recipes tapioca, potato, corn, and arrowroot starch can often be used interchangeably. However, texture might vary. Some recipes in particular use a large amount of tapioca starch. My bread balls recipe will not work well with a substitute and my pizza crust recipes will not have the same chewiness.
I understand that many people have an egg allergy, and I can imagine how difficult that is. However, I do cook and bake with eggs, and I don’t have experience with using egg substitutes. Therefore, I cannot recommend egg substitutions.
However, if you would like to try an egg substitute, flax and chia are often used. Here is the basic recipe:
Flax/Chia Egg: Combine 1 tablespoon ground flax seed or chia (freshly ground is best) with 3 tablespoons liquid for each large egg. Let sit in the refrigerator until it thickens into an egg like mixture (about 15 minutes).
Some of my recipes were written before I went dairy free. Most of them I have made successfully using dairy substitutes.
Milk: I use almond milk or coconut milk as substitutes in cooking and baking.
Butter: Results will vary, but you can use a substitute such as Earth Balance buttery sticks or another fat such as coconut oil.
Cheese: I often simply omit this ingredient and have been surprised at how good food is without cheese! You can also try using Daiya (or another brand) cheese substitute.