Have you ever baked a brick?

I have. Just over 2 inches high and barely resembling the loaf of bread I’d hoped it would become.

I can’t say converting to wheat free cooking, especially baking, has been without its trials. I take full credit for the brick. My partner was on a wheat free, yeast free, egg free, dairy free, sugar free (really almost everything-free) allergy elimination diet. It was rather challenging to try to make a light and delicious bread without much but gluten free flour, baking soda and water.

I did eventually come up with a (barely) acceptable bread substitute. At the time we would have sold our souls for A. Regular. Sandwich.

The good news? I love to experiment in the kitchen.

The bad? When I started out going gluten free I spent a bit more energy on creativity than on research.

Oh, and I might as well confess my secret weakness here and now. I am almost incapable of following a recipe as written. I can’t help tinkering.

Gluten-free baking however, was a whole new ball game. Often every single ingredient – and every instruction – had a vital role to play in the end result, both flavor and texture. Wandering off the beaten path caused unpredictable results.

So those off-the-cuff substitutions were not always successful for me.

Simply substituting GF flour in a wheat bread recipe produced more than one brick. I found that I had to start learning to bake all over. Understanding what needs to be done to duplicate gluten’s actions went a long way toward improving my baked goods, and allowed me to return to my sometimes cavalier ingredient substitutions in the kitchen.

I find that I am not the only one with misses on my yum-o-meter. I have tried plenty of GF recipes – in cookbooks no less – that left a lot of room for improvement. I’m not naming any names, but I sometimes wonder if anyone tried these recipes before they stuck them in the cookbook. I mean the author is raving about what a fabulous pizza crust this is and I’m thinking, “Huh? How long has it been since you’ve had a real pizza lady?” I actually felt kinda sorry for her…

I’m hoping we can do better here. I am also hoping that I get lots of help from all the other folks out there who are never satisfied with following a recipe word for word and who don’t think “good enough” is good enough. So take a recipe you like and improve it, and, if you’re feeling generous, send it on over!

Oh, and for the record? No bricks please.

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  1. I’m excited about this new site! I’m not a tinkerer in the kitchen, so I’m glad you’re here to do the work for me. =)

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