The following questions and answers remove the mystery and confusion around eating and enjoying a gluten free diet.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye, and spelt. Specifically, gluten exists in the kernels of these grains that are ground into flour used for baking. All purpose flour consists of wheat kernels. Wheat kernels consist of gluten protein.
Why is gluten bad for me?
Gluten has been linked to inflammation and the exacerbation of autoimmune diseases like asthma, Chrone’s disease, Celiac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. While studies and research have conflicted, many people who choose to eliminate gluten from their diet experience a significant decrease in their symptoms.
Why is gluten great for baking?
Gluten is great for baking. This is why humans have been eating it for thousands of years. It is elastic and stretches. When you add ground wheat, water, yeast, and salt, you get bread. It holds its form. Most importantly, it tastes good.
What is in a gluten free baked product?
Gluten free baked products consist of other grains, nuts, or seeds that have been ground into a flour and used as a substitute for wheat flour. These grains do not contain the same gluten protein as wheat kernels.
Which flours can I use instead of wheat flour?
Here is the hard part. No one grain, nut, or seed really tastes good by itself and can replicate the same taste and texture of the bread created from wheat flour. We dare you to grind rice into a powder. Add water, yeast, and salt and bake the dough. You will not be satisfied. Gluten free flours usually consists of a blend of multiple different flours that each have one of the multiple properties required to make good taste and textured baked goods.
Which flours taste the most like wheat flour?
No flours by themselves can replicate the taste and texture of wheat flour. There is no real way to replicate wheat flour in gluten free baking. We can get VERY CLOSE, however, and to the point where you may not be able to tell the difference.
How many gluten free flours are out there?
There are over a dozen different types of gluten free flours used for baking. These include potato flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, almond flour, sorghum flour, millet, amaranth flour, arrowroot starch, tapioca flour, corn flour, and garbanzo flour.
Why do some of these taste like dirt?
Amaranth, sorghum, millet, and garbanzo flour have very earthy (dirt) tastes to them. Keep in mind that most of these come from weeds or grass.
Why are store bought gluten free products so dry and never turn out like what I see on the package?
Most packaged gluten free flours and mixes consist of mainly of cheap flours like potato, corn, or tapioca starch. This is a cost over taste choice. These are much cheaper than more quality ingredients such as brown rice flour or almond flour. Since the gluten free product is made primarily of a starch, it will tend to be dry.
Why is Apex Baking Company different?
We have tried all these flours and have developed a blend of the best tasting ones. We use the right (not cheapest) ingredients to make baked goods that have the taste and texture you crave.
Why are Apex Baking Company products more expensive than store bought products?
We use the right ingredients to replicate the right taste and texture you are looking for in a cookie or brownie. These source ingredients are simply more expensive to purchase in wholesale markets. Wheat is cheap and plentiful. For example, almond flour (a key ingredient in our baking) is 10 – 15 times the cost of wheat flour. We chose not to sacrifice taste, texture, and experience to save a few pennies for our own pockets.
What do I need to be aware of when I bake gluten free products?
Gluten free flours are much more delicate than wheat flour. They do not absorb wet ingredients (milk, butter, water, eggs, oil, vanilla) like wheat flour and do not require as much. They have less tolerance if too much of a wet ingredient is added, so read your directions carefully. Gluten free baked products are much more delicate and require that they cool longer on racks. Since gluten free baked products lack the elastic properties of wheat flour, they need to be made in smaller sizes or else they may fall apart.
Why do all your products require the dough or batter to rest for at least 30 minutes?
Our gluten free flour has been formulated to absorb wet ingredients. However, the process is much slower than wheat flour. You are letting the dough or batter rest to allow the gluten free flour to go through the process of absorbing all the wet ingredients properly into the dry ingredients. Our products work best when they have been refrigerated overnight. Some store bough brands accommodate for this impatience by adding more starch to their ingredients. As mentioned previously, more starch equals dryer texture.
Why do you use dairy and nuts in your products?
We use dairy and nuts because they provide the binders, oils, and flavors required to make our products taste so good. If you eliminate these ingredients from any baked good, there is not much left to work with.
So, are you against vegans?
No, we have been devout vegans in the past and eat vegan meals a few times a week. We encourage our vegan friends to help us figure out how to modify our directions to create vegan alternatives for our gluten free products.
What about those with food allergies?
We use nuts and dairy. These ingredients are critical to the taste, texture, and enjoyment of our baked goods. Our goal as a company is to assist those with gluten sensitivities only. We realize some people have multiple food allergies and that they may not be able to buy our products. It is miserable to be in such a position. The good news is that there are many other alternatives on store shelves that accomodate those with multiple food allergies.