The most important thing to remember about our traditional baking skills is that almost all the established techniques rely heavily on gluten to produce the products that we know and love.
A recent rise in the awareness of coeliac disease and the number of people choosing to follow gluten-free diets has led to the dramatic increase in the number of gluten-free flours, flour blends, and mixes for gluten-free baking.
When baking gluten free at home it is important to readjust your expectations. Although gluten-free baking can create some wonderful substitute products it cannot always recreate what are familiar with.
That is why at Shipton Mill we believe the best gluten-free baking plays to the strengths of each individual flour. We are very excited about exploring their properties and working in the best way to exploit them.
For the inspiration for our range of flours we like to look at cuisines and cultures form all over the world, of which many consume little or no wheat, or a diet of naturally gluten-free grains.
Examples of gluten-free recipes are incredibly varied across all cultures but what they all have in common is that they all work within the limitations of gluten-free grains and still manage wonderful creations. For example Ethiopia is famous for injera, a fermented flat bread made from Teff. Both Italy and America have a long history of using maize flours to produce, cakes, breads and muffins. India also uses lots of rice, lentil and chickpea and flours from which it creates amongst other things delicious
bajhis and pappadums.
The examples are limitless, but all have created products that do not require gluten for structure!
The importance of this is that great gluten-free baking does not need to reinvent the wheel of products that traditionally rely on gluten for texture and structure. Some of the most interesting flours and their applications have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years in other cultures.
Another advantage of taking inspiration in from different cultures is often these grains have been chosen and cultivated for many hundreds or thousands of years because of their fantastic nutritional properties. When working with delicious wholegrain flours such as teff, quinoa and buckwheat you are introducing great sources of protein, fibre and minerals that are devoid or lacking in gluten-free baking that relies heavily or entirely on starches.
There are also many classic recipes that transfer very easily into gluten-free baking. Any recipe that is based around a batter can have gluten-free flours substituted into it. For this you can either use a premix flour or have a go at creating your own using the vast range of flours that are available and in doing so tailor something to your tastes and have fun whilst doing it!
We believe it is vital to approach gluten-free baking with an open mind and to take inspiration from wherever we find it, this way we have made so many exciting discoveries rather than being frustrated in trying to recreate shadows of the traditional glutinous products.