Remember to measure ingredients very accurately. Numerous baking failures occur as a result of incorrect ingredient measurement. Liquid measuring devices are usually clear and will have a lip above the measuring lines. The lip helps prevent spilling. Measurement of the liquids is made at selected lines below the lip. The top of the liquid at a measurement point will appear to be wide, always measure to the bottom of the line. Dry ingredients are measured in containers that do not have lips and the measurement is made scraping a flat utensil across the top of the container.
Cooking is effected by altitude, temperature, and humidity. Keep in mind that recipes may have to be adjusted for these factors.
The adjustments will not be covered in these hints since most good recipe books cover them very thoroughly.
Liquids used in recipes help blend and bind the dough and each type will have various effect on the finished product. Water used in a bread recipe will produce crisp crust. Water may also be brushed on the surface before and during the first few minutes of baking. Milk used in the recipe will produce a soft tender crust. Brush the crust with butter or oil immediately after baking for additional tenderness.
Oils, shortening, and butter used in the recipe will give the dough richness and makes the breads tender. It also helps the moisture content. Buttermilk, yogurt, and sour cream in the recipe will give the bread a tender crumb.Eggs will make the dough richer and will have a finer texture.
Brush the crust before baking with an egg glaze to produce a golden brown crust. A glaze is made by beating an egg with one tablespoon of water.Water used in recipes should have a medium hardness. Water that contains chlorine or fluoride or that is too soft or hard will not produce the best results for baking. Medium hard water is the most suited for baking. Mixing faucet water with filtered water will be a good blend if the tap water is free of chlorine and fluoride . Water from a soft water softening system in your home is not recommended. If you use bottled water, this will work very well. Sugar furnishes food for the yeast and helps to tenderize the dough. It promotes good crust color, helps to retain moisture, and adds flavor. Salt controls the yeast activity. It allows the rise to be slow and steady and strengthens the dough structure. The elimination of salt can result in a collapse during the baking cycle.
Flour substitution in you recipes will be cup for cup. Some recipes, mainly those, that require rising time for the dough, may require slightly more liquids.
See MOISTURE CONTENT for more information on adding liquids.
When you use gluten free flour, the moisture content is a very critical item. If you are baking an item that is required to rise and the dough is dry, it will be too dense for the rising to occur. If too moist, the rise will be good but will collapse during the baking period. The perfect consistency is reached when the dough is moist, very soft, and very sticky. After mixing all ingredients and the dough appears to be too dry or too moist, add liquid or gluten free flour one tablespoon at a time and blend well each time until the proper consistency is reached. You will recognize the proper consistency when the dough develops a moist sheen, looks shiny, and will hold a slight peak. Beating and mixing dough should be accomplished by hand with a spoon. An electric beater is not recommended. You may not reach the correct consistency the first try, don’t give up because once you achieve it, you will have great results.
If items stick to the pan, try to grease the pan well and coat with a light sprinkle of gluten free flour before placing dough into the pan.
Don’t leave items cooling too long in the pan because they become harder to remove.
Baking your own gluten free products is time consuming. When you decide to bake, at least, double your recipe. Wrap and seal well after cooling and then freeze for later use. Slice bread and place wax paper between slices before wrapping. This will allow you to retrieve slices without thawing the entire loaf.
Helpful Links: Gluten Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide