One Last Chance!

Apparently May is Celiac’s Awareness Month and had I been on the ball, I would have recognized this and had more gluten-free offerings this month. However, it is not to late to post something so here goes:

Celiacs of the World – Travel! on Weal World Travel

Gluten-free posts on Weal Food

Celiac Awareness Month

Celiac Disease Foundation

Gluten for Punishment

It seems many people are going gluten-free these days. Medical and personal reasons are cited as the explanations for this. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a gluten-free diet results in weight loss and improved health. Experts, however, are not unanimous in their support of these claims. Is gluten really the enemy? If you have Celiac’s disease, the answer is yes but if you don’t, why forsake it?

Variety is the spice of life and also the foundation for a healthy diet. As much as I enjoy eating gluten (freshly baked bread, real pasta and the occasional cake/cookie), I also enjoy experimenting with different types of flour in baking.

Legume-based
chickpea/garbanzo bean, red bean, black bean, green pea, soy
These flours help provide structure to baked goods and provide a source of plant-based protein for vegetarians/vegans.

Grain-based
rice, teff, sorghum, millet
These grains can be cooked like porridge or ground into flour. Kamut is an ancient grain and often given the moniker ‘King Tut’s wheat’ (legend has it that it was found in the Egyptian boy King’s tomb). The others are widely used in Africa and Asia.

Pseudo-grain
quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice
Quinoa is related to beets and buckwheat is related to rhubarb; both add a nutty flavour to baked goods. Wild rice is actually a grass and pairs well with real rice.

Vegetable-based
potato, corn, cassava/tapioca, sweet potato
These flours provide starch which mimics the adhesive action of gluten.

Eating a combination of gluten grains with non-gluten ones in moderation makes for a well-balanced and creative diet.

Mission Possible: Gluten-Free Flour Blend

Gluten-free products are all the rage nowadays. The prepared items, however, tend to be very trendy and therefore expensive. If you don’t have access to a pre-made gluten-free flour blend, you can easily make your own by following this formula: 50% base flour, 25% starch and 25% protein.

base
e.g. sorghum, rice flour

starch
e.g. tapioca, corn, arrowroot, potato

protein
kamut, quinoa, teff, soy, chickpea/garbanzo

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It is formed when gliadin and glutenin, the two main proteins in wheat, combine with the innate starch. It forms a glue, adds elasticity to a product and provides a source of plant protein for vegetarians/vegans.

To mimic the function of gluten, a gluten-free flour should contain a neutral flour as the base along with some starch and protein to provide structure. Other ingredients like xantham gum, guar gum and egg white powder/albumen can also be added to ensure the binding quality of the flour mix.