By Beth Lipton
If you’ve ever tried to convert a recipe from wheat flour to a grain-free alternative, you may have discovered that it can go terribly wrong.
Luckily, with just a bit of know-how, grain-free baking can be easy and fun. We gathered up must-know tips so you can be knee-deep in muffins, cookies, breads, pancakes—whatever your grain-free, gluten-free or paleo heart desires—in no time.
1. Start with grain-free recipes
Especially when you’re first starting out, it’s best to begin with recipes developed using grain-free flours. Dig into books and sites with reliable recipes (read the reviews and make sure others have made the recipes with success) and try some out. Some we like: Clean Plates Collective member Mark Sisson’s Primal Kitchen, Against All Grain, Elana’s Pantry and Civilized Caveman.
2. Check your ingredient list… twice.
“When baking grain-free it’s incredibly important to read through the recipe first, to make sure you have all of the necessary ingredients,” says Elana Amsterdam, author of The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. “Substitutions will not be as intuitive as they are when baking with wheat, gluten, or rice and corn.” And, since you may be baking with less familiar ingredients, “follow the recipe and do all of the steps that are called for in the method,” she adds.
3. Get to know your flours
Almond flour is different from coconut flour, which is different from cassava, which is nothing like tiger nut flour. Before you preheat that oven, look into the flours you’re using to find out any all-important info. For example, coconut flour is highly absorbent, so if a recipe with it seems like it has a ton of liquid, that’s ok. Check out this video with info on 5 grain-free flours we love.
4. Give it a boost
Paleo baked goods sometimes have a bit of a spongier texture than their grain-filled counterparts. One good way to counteract that is by adding a scoop or two of collagen peptides. Collagen can give baked goods a lighter crumb—plus, it adds more quality protein (bonus).
5. Store like a pro
Grain-free flours are often made from nuts and seeds, which can go rancid if not stored properly. Keep them in airtight containers in the freezer for best results. Once you’ve baked your muffins, bread or other treats, store them tightly wrapped in the fridge.