Is it possible to use milk substitutes?
Yes. You can use rice, soy, or almond milk in all of my recipes that call for milk. Rice and almond milk add less of an aftertaste, unless you like the taste of soy. Remember that the gluten-free flours are a bit transparent in flavor. In fact, I prefer using rice milk because it has the least taste and doesn’t have an adverse effect on the texture. Coconut milk adds a noticeable coconut taste and affects the texture and appearance of my recipes. You can use earth Balance® Buttery spread or Buttery sticks (not the shortening sticks) to replace the butter in my recipes (my dairy-free testers have done this; I myself have only done so in some recipes). Several bakers have also written to tell me that they like to use butter-flavored shortening in my pie crust and biscuits, but I prefer the earth Balance.
Is it possible to use egg substitutes?
Eggs add richness, texture, color, and structure. But it is possible to replace them in many of my recipes. What you use depends on what you are making and what function the egg has in the recipe.
Ener-G Egg Replacer: 1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 2 tablespoons water = 1 egg. This can produce a good but not always ideal result in some recipes. When using this egg substitute, try to use milk higher in fat in order to compensate for not having yolks. it will improve mouth feel and help keep the baked good fresh.
Flax egg: 1 tablespoon flax seed meal mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water = 1 egg. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to “set up” before using in the recipe. Although I sometimes use flax seed gel as an egg replacer when I bake for people who have egg allergies, it really is better suited to helping hold things together (as an emulsifier). Flax gels are weak structure builders because they don’t have the relatively strong protein net- work of eggs to reinforce dough and batters. As a result, fully baked cakes, muffins, and breads won’t be as light and airy when using flax seed gels to replace eggs.
World war II option: Add 1 teaspoon baking soda to the dry ingredients and 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar to the liquid ingredients. Only combine the dry and liquid right before you put the baked good in the oven.
Is it possible to use sugar alternatives?
My recipes were based on traditional, classic baked goods made with wheat. They were not based on wheat recipes for special diets or restricted dietary needs. Sugar acts as a liquid in baking, and since sugar substitutes contain varying amounts of liquid, each recipe would have to be re-calibrated for dry/wet proportions, cooking time, and maybe even baking temperature, based on the substitute you use. That said, you could try substituting with the sugar alternative of your choice based on your own knowledge base of how to make substitutions. If you are interested in reducing the sugar in my recipes, it is possible—but not always easy. I don’t recommend taking out more than 1 tablespoon if a recipe uses less than 1⁄2 cup total sugar, or more than a 1⁄4 – 1⁄3 cup if the recipe uses 1 cup or more sugar. Depending on the recipe, you may have to adjust liquid (more) and baking time (less), or you will have a dry baked good.
What yeast do you use?
I use red star Active dry yeast to develop my yeast-based recipes because it has been a consistently reliable product that produces the best rise in my baked goods (for both my field testers and for me), and it is sold in grocery stores everywhere across the country. I use Red Star Quick rise instant dry yeast for baked goods that do not need a high rise (pizza, bread sticks, and flat breads). You can use other yeast, but I recommend trying a recipe first with red star, so you can see what it’s supposed to look like. Take note: SAF instant yeast has not produced a really good rise in my bread recipes for field testers or me.
Can I make the bread recipes without yeast?
Yes, however, the breads will not look or taste the same. Use about 2 1⁄2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of my Bread Flour mix to replace the yeast in my bread recipes. Use 4 teaspoons for an artisan bread using 1 1⁄2 cups of flour mix, and 5 teaspoons for a sandwich bread recipe using 2 cups of flour mix. I have tried this myself, and I know of several other bakers who have been successful using this formula.
Is it possible to use a substitute for xanthan gum or guar gum?
Although I’ve tested various combinations of ground flax seeds, psyillum husk, chia seeds, and pectin, I’ve never been able to recreate a vanilla cupcake, a muffin, biscuit, sandwich bread, or artisan bread that had the more “classic” texture, appearance, and, in many cases, taste of gluten-free baked goods made with xanthan gum. The baked goods not made with xanthan gum all seemed a little more like. . .well, like gluten-free baked goods. They were a bit denser, or wetter, or off color, or they had an after-taste (often bitter), or they had less structure, or they dried out more quickly. At the present time, I am unable to offer what I’d consider to be a foolproof substitute for xanthan gum to make classic gluten-free baked goods.
What can be used to replace gelatin in the sandwich breads?
The sandwich breads call for gelatin in order to add a little bit of extra body and structure. If you can’t use gelatin or don’t like it, add an extra egg yolk or leave it out entirely.
Do I need a special kind of mixer to make your recipes?
No. I developed all my recipes using a basic home Kitchen Aid mixer (read: least ex- pensive model), but any home mixer will do. One problem I discovered, though, is that newer models of many home mixers run faster than the older models. In other words, “medium speed” on a brand-new Kitchen Aid mixer is faster than it was on an old Kitchen Aid mixer. I have found this to be true with Kitchen Aid specifically, but I’ve also noticed it with other brands (including hand-held models). My evidence has come from bakers across the country who’ve written to me, my field testers, and my own experiences with a new Kitchen Aid mixer I bought only recently; it is runs faster and less smoothly than my old one, which I had for 25 years (i.e., I miss my old Kitchen Aid mixer).
Beware of using a professional-size mixer with my recipes. I’ve found that home bakers have a tendency to overbeat my recipes when they use professional-sized mixers, particularly Kitchen Aid, to make them. My recipes make “home-sized” baked goods. What happens is that the mixing bowl on the mixer is too large for the amount of batter, so home bakers tend to compensate by overbeating the batter without realizing it.
See more Frequently Asked Questions at the Foodphilosopher.com website!