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Gluten Free Baking: Gluten Replacers

If you have ever tried baking with Gluten Free flours, you know that they just don’t act, feel or respond in the same way as wheat flour.

Gluten-Replacers in Gluten-Free Baking

Gluten has several properties in baking, such as:         Bread - Loaves 3

  • It binds ingredients together
  • It  provides structure to your end product
  • It as elasticity

Jeanne Sauvage, author of the Art of Gluten Free Baking, posted a wonderful article on understanding the gluten substitutes and how to use them.  Here is a few quotes from her article:

Xanthan gum is the product created from the fermentation of the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris in a sugar solution.  In my opinion, xanthan gum is the one that behaves most like gluten. … And for most baking recipes you only need to use about ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of flour…

Guar gum is made from the guar bean plant.   It is pretty good at binding and structure-building. But it is much less elastic than xanthan gum…. When I use it, I use the same amount of guar gum that I use of xanthan gum per cup of flour–about 1/4 teaspoon….

…various combinations of psyllium, chia, and flax seeds seem to be the holy grail of gluten-replacers, although you do have to use a lot (several tablespoons in a recipe).

Personally, I have been a subscriber of Jeanne’s website for awhile now, and am very impressed by her knowledge on Gluten Free Baking.  She currently has a book out on the subject:

Gluten Free Baking for the HolidaysGluten Free Baking for the holidays

I have a copy of this book in my own cookbook library and love all the interesting cookies and treats …. that can be eaten all year ’round!  In the beginning of the book is a section called  ‘Gluten Free Baking Primer’ that has a wealth of information for newbies!

I highly recommend Jeanne’s book if you want to learn to bake Gluten Free!

NOTE:  Not all recipes are Vegan!!


New Gluten Free Cookbook for the Holidays

A new cookbook, Gluten Free Baking for the Holidays: 60 Recipes for Traditional Festive Treats by Jeanne Sauvage, author of the Art of Baking Blog, has just been released — just in time for holiday planning and baking!  According to the blog, Jeanne is on and off touring, promoting the book.  I believe she just got back from  Portland, Oregon.  (You can read her post here!)

I have been following Jeanne’s blog for awhile now and have thoroughly enjoyed her tips and recipes.  I was so excited to hear about her new cookbook and doubly excited when my copy arrived in the mail on Friday!

If you have never tried it, Gluten Free Baking is a completely different animal than baking with wheat-based flour.  But Jeanne shares some excellent tips and recipes that she has developed for herself and her family.  Jeanne also shared her personal Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Recipe:

 1¼ cup brown rice flour
1¼ cup white rice flour
1 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
Scant 2 tsp. xanthan gum

Before I received Jeanne’s Gluten Free Baking for the Holidays Cookbook, I had no idea there were so many types of yummy holiday treats!  Here is a quick list of her Gluten Free Cookie recipes:

  • Speculaas
  • Lebkuchen
  • Pfeffernuesse
  • Springerle
  • Pepparkakor
  • Regulach
  • Benne Cookies
  • Fortune Cookies
  • Mexican Wedding Cookies
  • Spritz Cookies
  • Shortbread Cookies
  • Candy Can Cookies
  • Cutout Cookjies
  • Thumbprint Cookies
  • Gingerbreasd Cookies
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Chocolate Chip Meringues
  • Meringue Mushrooms
  • Chocolate-Cherry Biscotti
  • Lemon Bars
  • Gingerbread House

There is also separate sections of recipes for cakes, pies & tarts, breads & crackers, and deep-fried treats!

The cookbook is a wonderfully formatted hardcover book that includes 60 recipes for traditional festive treats!

Two things I did not like about the book (honestly, I could only find two!!):

1.  There was not nearly enough photos!  With such wonderfully sounding recipes, I was hoping to see what they looked like!

2.  The recipes are not vegan — although she gives several tips and substitution in the front of the book that would be very helpful for the beginner.

If you are looking for some great sounding Gluten Free recipes for the holidays or if you are just interested in finding some new ideas, I would highly recommend Jeanne’s Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays!


Using Substitutions in Your Recipes

Once I became Gluten Free and Vegan, I wanted to convert all my favorite recipes to eliminate wheat, gluten, dairy and eggs.  At first, I did not realize how great a task that would become!

Substitutions are available, but often they don’t act the same or tastes the same.  I found that Jeanne from the Art of Gluten Free Baking had faced the same problem and created a post around the topic.

Here are some of the tips she includes in her post: 

First and foremost: substitutes are what they sound like–they are substituting for the preferred item.  So, most of the time they are not going to behave, taste, or feel EXACTLY like the preferred ingredients. …

… I would like to ask everyone who uses cookbooks and blogs and recipe sites to use some common sense when approaching ingredient substitutes.  Realize that a substitute is a step away from the preferred ingredient.  It is going to be, at the very least, slightly different from the preferred ingredient, and at the most, quite different from the preferred ingredient. …


…   My preferred butter substitute is Earth Balance Soy-Free Butter Spread …Some people use coconut oil in the place of butter.  I do not do this in my baking because it adds a very strong coconut flavor. ….


…Eggs are one of the most difficult things to replace in baking.  Eggs provide structure to baked items in addition to binding.  Without eggs, your baked items are going to be flatter than they would be with eggs. …

… my next preferred egg substitute is ground flax seeds mixed with hot water.  For 1 extra-large egg, I recommend mixing 1 TBL of ground flax seeds with 3 TBL of hot (not boiling) water.  Whisk together and then let sit for 15-20 minutes in order to make a gel.  Then use this gel as you would the eggs–you can beat it with your mixer. …


…Brown rice flour: substitute sorghum flour
White rice flour: substitute millet flour
Sweet rice (also know as glutinous rice) flour: substitute potato flour (not starch)
Tapioca flour: substitute potato starch (not flour)


…Maple sugar is a nice alternative to cane sugar.  It behaves the same as cane sugar, but will add a slight maple taste to baked items.

Palm sugar is another nice alternative to cane sugar.  It comes in many forms.  The granulated form can be used in baked goods.

Honey and agave are hard to use in the place of sugar in baked goods.

Xanthan Gum

I use xanthan gum as the “gluten-replacer” in my baking.  I truly feel it is the best product available for creating baked items that taste and feel like their wheat counterparts. …


Jeanne shares some excellent suggestions.  Here are my personal preferences:

Butter:  Earth Balance Spread or Coconut oil

EggsEner-G Egg Replacer (Flax gel is a good one, but I am allergic to flax *sigh*)

Flour:  Pamela’s Amazing Flour for breads and Jules Gluten Free Flour for cookies, cakes, etc.

Sugar: Coconut palm sugar for brown sugar, Xylitol for white sugar and Coconut nectar for syrup

Xanthan Gum


Interested in more substitution tips:  Check One Green Planet.


My Pantry — Sugars and Baking Aids

Sugars in My Pantry

If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you know that once I changed my diet, all the white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, imitation maple syrup, imitation sugars (Splenda in particular) we pulled out of the pantry and gave away.

On the advice of our naturopathic doctor, these are the sweeteners we now use:

  • Stevia — use in drinks or smoothies (be careful if you use Stevia as just a small drop can add lots of sweetener to your drink!)
  • Coconut Palm Sugar — good substitute for brown sugar
  • Xylitol — substitute for regular white sugar
  • Pure Maple Syrup — for Gluten Free pancakes and waffles (I also use it in my baked beans)
  • Coconut Nectar — my favorite on Gluten Free pancakes and waffles (Maple syrup is too sweet for me!!)
  • Honey — locally ‘grown’ is the best and I use this on bread and muffins or in tea when I want a little sweetness.

You will find after eliminating and watching your sugar intake (even using the ones above) your body will no long crave sweetening and lots of the sugar foods you use to love will taste too sweet to you!

Baking Aids in my Pantry

If you want to bake your own breads, quick breads or cookies, you need to learn about different leavening agents.  Once you remove gluten from your flours, extra care and ingredients are needed to help your baked products to have the correct texture.

Here is my list of leavening ingredients:

One you start baking Gluten Free, you will see these special leaving agents in recipes.

If you are interested in some in depth information on Gluten Free Baking, I can recommend a couple resources:

  1. Gluten Free Bread Baking Tips
  2. The Art of Gluten Free Baking Tips

Jeanne, author of The Art of Gluten Free Baking, teaches classes on Gluten Free Baking (mostly in the Seattle area).  She is also coming out with her first cookbook (that I will be reviewing soon).

She also has a wonderful recipe for making Gluten Free Shelf Rising Flour:

Self-Rising Flour, Gluten-Free

1 cup Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour mix (or mix of your choice)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Do you have other sugars or baking aids in your pantry that are not listed here?  Please share them with us!