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Thread: Wheat-free baking

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Clifton, Virginia

    Question Wheat-free baking

    Help! I love Christmas baking, but my mom and sister recently discovered they are allergic to wheat. I want to bake things the whole family can enjoy. Does anyone know of a non-wheat flour (e.g., rice, etc.) that works well in baking, and how to adapt recipes to it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Iola, Wisconsin
    I was just on a business trip with a woman who had a gluten allergy, which pretty much eliminates all grains. She brought along bagels made from rice flour.

    I did a quick search for "gluten-free" and came up with this Web site. It's a start. You should be able to find a bunch of information on similiar sites.

    Editing to say that the site offers a free gluten-free cookbook at

    Editing again because I've been reading more. That first site requires you to buy a lot of products. has a section for special diets, and I found a bunch of recipes there. Try this link.
    "The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Clifton, Virginia
    Thanks! That helps, but I'd like to be able to adapt the recipes I have to wheat-free cooking. There are some "family" recipes that we'd hate to have to give up.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Heading WEST!!
    You may also ask them if it is an intolerance or a true allergy.
    If it is an intolerance, some wheat-sensitive individuals can use wheat-hybrid grains like Kamut and spelt. It depends on if their sensitivity is to the actual gluten or the gliaden (the other component of the starch).
    If it is a true allergy, these subs may not work.

    rice flour is difficult to bake with. I tasted some bread made with it and I tossed it out for the birds don't want to scare you off.

    Maybe you could find some recipes using cornmeal, buckwheat (it's really a grass), etc.

    good luck.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    I have a friend who's allergic to wheat and she says that their bread, pie crust and brownie recipes prior to finding out about the allergy translated fairly well to spelt flour but cookies and other desserts not as well (to spelt or anything else they tried). Like Wallycat says, you'll have to check and make sure your mom and sister can use spelt. If they can't I understand that non-wheat flour mixes work better than substituting a single non-wheat flour for the wheat flour.

    I will suggest a cookbook, not necessarily for the recipes but for the introduction chapters, which really explain what wheat flour does in different desserts/baking and then what the different substitutes are and how they affect desserts and can help you mimic the effect of wheat flour. I think this would probably really help you in trying to adapt your family recipes. And if, like me, you can't afford it right now or can't find it, see if your library has it. I checked it out at the library and then later found a copy on and had that sent to my friend for Christmas.

    The gluten-free gourmet makes dessert
    by Hagman, Bette

    This author also has several other cookbooks out, one on bread and one I think on just gluten free cooking in general.

    I've tried some of the recipes for my friend and she's liked them.

    I will post the recipes for the flour mixes and a little of the info and other recipes I copied from the book if you're interested, just let me know. (it's already typed up in my recipe software, so it wouldn't take more than a couple minutes to dig it up...)

    You can also probably pick up a gluten-free flour mix in the baking aisle at the grocery store which you could try in a recipe or two and see what you think. Or if not at the regular grocery store, maybe a health food store (the ones here don't have a mix but they sell all the different flours)

    I will suggest trying everything out before hand because while my friend has been impressed with most of the recipes I've tried there have been few that have been really bad, as in toss them out bad (g) or tastes like cardboard bad or just too weird bad.

    I think the worst recipe was the chocolate cookie one that had besan in it (chickpea flour), I forgot to taste that one before mailing it off to her, but she claimed it was unedible and just plain nasty. And the best was one I've never been able to duplicate, a Mexican (or maybe brazilian?) cookie recipe that uses cornstarch that I played around with a number of times and she fell in love with a lemon flavored batch (I swear, all I added was lemon zest and lemon flavoring and chilled the dough but they've never turned out the same again. We've beem wondering if it has something to do with the phases of the moon <g>)

    Hope this helps :-)
    For those in touch with it, Reality is the leading cause of stress.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    in the land of misfit toys
    I am allergic to wheat. I cannot tolerate spelt or kamut or any grain, so I use rice flours and tapioca flours to do my baking. I agree with the above suggestions to check out Bette Hagman's cookbooks, they seem to be the best out there. There are also some really great sites if you search for them on the net.
    It is a really tough allery. When I was first diagnosed I didn't eat anything, because so much of what we eat has wheat added to it. But as time went by, I learned to adapt. I learned to use other things to try and copy what I had eaten before (i.e. breads, muffins, cookies,etc)
    Don't however, expect the things to taste the same. Wallycat is right, the breads taste a bit strange, but when faced with the alternative of not eating bread for the rest of your life, you learn to adapt. Web sites and gluten/wheat free baking cookbooks will help you to adapt recipes so your family can enjoy. I usually make one batch of things for me then one normal for my husband. That way we both can enjoy. Hope some of this helps.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Sykesville, Maryland
    I have been allergic to wheat a good many yrs. DH loves to bake non wheat stuff. Try ANY of the mixes glutten free at your health store (brownies,pie crust, cakes) They are very good. You might want to buy some bread at your health store frozen section. I like rice with pecan bread (glutten free)
    I found out that although I can have glutten theres so many no glutten (and of course no wheat) products out there its easy to buy some. The Van's wheat free waffles are EXCELLENT!!
    If you want to bake some goodies I alsorecommend the Bette Hagman books that Tovie suggested. There's various recipes there which might be enjoyed by all.
    You can find GF Flour (gluten free and therefore wheat free) at several stores like Tovie and others mentioned.
    Once you get used to wheat free cooking is not as hard.
    I would advise you against some alternative flours as spelt though as some are in the family of wheat.

    To answer your question the formula to wheat free flour is:
    2 parts white rice flour 2 thirds part potato starch flour 1 third part tapioca flour (6 cups white rice flour 2 cups potato starch flour 1 cup tapioca flour)
    The principle of substitution is more or so for each cup of wheat flour called in a recipe use 1 cup of this mix. In some baked thigs like bread (using bread machine it helps a lot to use Xantham gum to lighten the loaves)
    Good luck
    If you have any questions just email me

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