Cooking & Baking Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free + More: Tips from Karina

Gluten-Free Goddess Tips
Cooking and Baking Wheat-Free + Gluten-Free
Tips from a Gluten-Free Goddess®
by Karina Allrich

New to this whole gluten-free thing? Not sure how to substitute the wheat flour in a favorite recipe? Need to cook without additional problematic ingredients– such as milk, eggs or soy? This article is for you, Babycakes. And check out my post The Morning After [diagnosis, that is] for some smart and supportive start-up tips, from shopping strategies to easy dinner ideas (not to mention, how to recognize and solve those pesky contamination issues).

Cooking and Baking Without Wheat and Gluten

After thirteen years of living wheat-free gluten-free, cooking safely is second nature. It is (honestly, I swear!) NBD. No big deal. Here's a quick overview, followed by more detailed tips on combining gluten-free flours and substituting safe ingredients in your favorite recipes.

Safe flours for wheat-free, gluten-free baking include sorghum flour, brown rice flour, white and sweet rice flour, millet flour, buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, certified gluten-free oat flour, and teff flour. Note* Make sure sources of corn, millet, sorghum, etc flours are 100% gluten-free.

Starches used for gluten-free baking include potato starch, cornstarch, arrowroot starch and tapioca starch/flour. (Starches add lightness, tenderness, or browning to GF flours.)

Almond flour, hazelnut flour, chestnut and peanut flours are high protein non-grain options.

Legume flours include chick pea flour and soy flour.

Coconut flour is a high fiber addition to GF blends that attracts moisture and adds a lot of texture and flavor.

Note: Oats have been a sticky issue for those with celiac disease because widely available commercial oats are often milled/cross contaminated with wheat crops. The good news is that a few small, independent farmers are now growing and milling certified gluten-free oats. Because whole grain oats are high in fiber, protein and iron, this is great news for those living gluten-free. Just be 100% sure the oats or oatmeal you are purchasing are "Certified Gluten-Free". Bob's Red Mill has recently added certified gluten-free oats to its line of gluten-free products milled in a dedicated facility.

On a side note- the high fiber in oats may take some getting used to for those with touchy tummies. Start slow. Try 1/3 to 1/2 cup of oatmeal- or better yet- my Homemade Gluten-Free Granola recipe- once or twice and see how you handle them. Gradually, you can add more into your weekly menu as your body acclimates to increased fiber. (Drink plenty of water!)

One easy option for beginners? If simplicity is your top priority, use Pamela's Ultimate Wheat-Free Gluten-Free Baking and Pancake Mix in your recipes. Keep it on hand and you have a pre-mixed flour blend for basics that usually works quite well in muffins, tea breads and simple cakes (see my easy pumpkin cake recipe here). It's also fab in flourless quiches, omelets, and yes, pancakes. Note: it does contain buttermilk, so dairy-free folks will need to find an alternative pancake mix.

Karina’s Wheat-Free Gluten-Free Baking Tips

Numero Uno: Keep your sense of humor handy. It helps in gluten-free baking, Darling. Hockey pucks and doorstops are inevitable. We’ve all been there. We've all tossed failures into the compost.

Remember the crumb trick- you can always zap your so-called failures in the food processor and use the crumbs in other recipes. (I freeze the crumbs.)

All Purpose Wheat-Free Gluten-Free Flour Blend - Does One Size Fit All?

I am not a believer in using a single all-purpose gluten-free flour mix for gluten-free baking. Most GF flour mixes are based on white rice flour and starch (it's cheap to make). The end result tends to be rather bland, and works best if your expectations for texture and flavor run on the low side.

Julia Child once remarked that cornstarch worked as a gluten-free sub in recipes. But. I would ask- why use high glycemic cornstarch when there are so many other superior choices these days?

Because here's the truth.

In almost every single case where I subbed a "cup for cup" white starch based gluten-free all purpose flour mix in a recipe, the texture was gummy or gritty-- or oddly, both. I could tell it was "gluten-free". And if the blend had bean flour in it- no one would eat it (heavy legume flours have a metallic aftertaste, and can produce a rather gassy experience for the FODMAP sensitive among us).

Some newer blends boast a better result- probably because they add milk powder or buttermilk to the flour blend. This leaves out the roughly 50% of us who are also reactive to dairy.

My position? Try my recipes as written. I've experimented over the years and found certain GF flours work beautifully together- no grit or gumminess. They also happen to include whole grains, and are higher in protein than typical starchy blends.

For those of you interested in mixing your own gluten-free flour mix from scratch, here is a basic guideline- tweak it to your preference.

This is a basic template useful for muffins and easy cakes.

Karina's Basic Wheat-Free Gluten-Free Flour Mix Template


1 cup sorghum flour, certified gluten-free oat flour, or millet flour
1 cup potato starch (not potato flour) or other starch blend
1/3 to 1/2 cup almond meal or hazelnut meal
1 teaspoon xanthan gum


You'll notice I don't white rice flour- the old school stand-by. I just think it's rather blah- not to mention, gritty, and gummy.

Sorghum flour is soft, slightly sweet - and lovely in baking. As is certified gluten-free oat flour.

Starches are used to lighten the blend- I prefer potato starch for its soft, light rise. Tapioca starch can often bake up tough- especially around the edges (if you use tapioca starch blend it with another softer starch, like cornstarch).

Brown rice flour has become a bit controversial. I'm now using less brown rice and brown rice flour. Here's why- there is elevated arsenic in rice.

Almond flour and hazelnut flour are a dream in gluten-free recipes. Nut flours add protein, fiber, and essential minerals- not to mention a delicious nutty taste- to recipes. If you cannot use nut flours, use another high protein choice that is not too strong in flavor.

Buckwheat flour- a favorite whole grain addition along with millet flour- is high in protein and fiber and has a lovely nut-like taste. (And no, buckwheat is not related to wheat- it's actually a fruit in the rhubarb family).

Quinoa flour is packed with vegan protein but it needs to be used sparingly, as it has an assertive taste, and will make a baked goodie crumbly if used as a main flour. Blend it with other flours for best results.

Coconut flour is sweet and fabulous. It's high in fiber. It soaks up moisture like crazy, though, so be careful using too much of it in a recipe. Start with a half cup in a gluten-free flour blend for best results. Eggs help coconut flour work best.

Subbing denser flours such as almond, buckwheat, coconut, or quinoa flour will result in a heavier, denser product if you add too much. Start with a third to a half cup in your flour blend. Experiment and find the formula and texture you like best.

Sweet rice flour is very starchy and moist and you should add it sparingly as a moisture boost to your baking- start with 2 tablespoons. Too much can make for a gummy product. It's also a fab gravy thickener.

To Create a Self-Rising Wheat-Free Gluten-Free Flour Mix


1 cup unleavened gluten-free flour mix (see above)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Gluten-Free Goddess Tips

Adding Moistness and Flavor to Gluten-Free Baked Goods

When experimenting, choose a recipe wisely. Recipes containing pureed fruit, shredded veggies, yogurt, or sour cream translate beautifully to gluten-free. Think: banana muffins, carrot or pumpkin cake, sour cream apple cake or blueberry muffins made with sour cream or yogurt.

Adding applesauce, pureed fruit or yogurt to recipes helps wheat-free gluten-free cakes, muffins and quick breads stay moist.

Adding shredded or desiccated coconut, chopped nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips also goes a long way to improving texture and flavor. Start with adding one half cup to your favorite recipe. Experiment and have fun.

Use light brown sugar instead of refined white sugar. It boosts moistness and flavor.

Honey is a humectant and adds moistness (use less liquid in the recipe if you use honey). You may need to cut back a bit on the amount of liquid called for, when using honey.

Agave adds moisture, too. But if it's humid on the day you are baking, use less agave (or honey).

Use extra vanilla. Many gluten-Free flours can taste strong and unfamiliar, and a little boost of vanilla extract helps soften their flavor. Don't be afraid to use a whole tablespoon in a recipe- I do. And buy the good stuff. Bourbon vanilla is killer. Cheaper brands with fillers (like corn syrup) are a pale imitation of true vanilla flavor.

Add warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to deepen flavor complexity (cinnamon and chocolate is a favorite secret combo of mine).

Baking Times and More Tips

Baking and rising times vary depending upon many factors:

Where do you live ‐ high altitude or sea level? High altitude gluten-free baking usually requires a little less liquid [start with 2 tablespoons less] and a higher oven temperature [increase oven temp by 25 degrees F] or a longer baking time. Often the only change I made for high altitude baking was to add 25 degrees F to my oven temperature (but I've never baked above 7,000 feet). The higher you get, the more problematic GF baking can be. Check your local library for high altitude baking tips.

Humid or dry? Flours grab moisture and become damp - this can affect the outcome. Start with 1 to 2 tablespoons less liquid (and less agave/honey) if you suspect your flours are dampish from humidity.

Ice cold ingredients or room temperature?

I find baking with room temperature ingredients works best when baking gluten-free. When making gluten-free bread, warm eggs at warmish water briefly until they reach room temperature.

Yeast needs a warm environment to rise properly - a temperature of 100º to 110º F is ideal.

Frozen fruit will chill down batters. Thaw to room temp, drain well and pat dry, or add extra baking time- start with ten minutes.

Thick glass pan or thin dark metal? Baking pans may require more or less baking times - see your pan manufacturer's advice. Note that gluten-free batters are stickier than traditional batters, so they often need longer baking times or temperature adjustments.

Oven temperatures vary slightly from oven to oven. Tune in to yours and notice if recipes tend to take longer - or shorter - to bake. Adjust baking times accordingly. Better yet- get an oven thermometer. You might be surprised how *off* your oven is!If baked goods consistently turn out under-cooked in your oven, try baking them at 25º degrees higher.

Place pans in the center of a pre-heated oven ‐ not too close to the top or bottom ‐ for even baking.

Gluten-free batters are a little weird. Cake batter is thicker than you remember. Bread batter is looser than standard bread dough. Cookie dough is almost the same, but sometimes spreads faster during baking [try chilling cookie dough and baking on parchment].

Egg sizes vary. This affects the liquid to dry ratio in a recipe. My recipes are based on large organic free-range eggs or Ener-G Egg Replacer.

Until you get the hang of baking gluten-free, I suggest keeping a sharp eye on what’s in the oven. When it looks done, make sure the batter is firm and set in the center [jiggle the pan a tiny bit or lightly touch the top]. A wooden pick inserted in the center can tell you if the batter is still wet [but chocolate chips can melt and make this method sometimes unreliable; if the tester comes out chocolatty, try another spot].

I find‐ with brownies and cookie bars, especially‐ that it is easy to over-bake gluten-free treats. The center may appear too soft while the outside edges are browned just right; turn down the oven heat by 25 degrees; and if necessary, take it out if you prefer a softer center; the dessert will continue to "bake" for a minute or two before it begins to cool.

Freezing gluten-free baked goods often improves texture. Think your cookies or brownies are a dud? Try cutting, wrapping and freezing them. Eat slightly chilled or at room temperature, as you prefer.

Gluten-free baked goods and breads get soggy if they stay too long in their cozy pans. Remove loaves and cakes and muffins from the pan as SOON AS possible. The longer a gluten-free baked good remains in a hot pan, the soggier it gets.

If your end product is gummy in the center- or it falls in the middle- the problem is most likely too much liquid. Use 2-4 tablespoons less when you mix the batter or dough next time. Add only a little liquid at a time to achieve the consistency you need. If it happens often, your flours may be damp or your oven too cool. Or you may be taking the baked good out of the oven too soon; if so, bake it longer.

Remember - it's an intuitive thing, this gluten-free baking deal. There is really no substitute for experience. The trial and error method is your best teacher in Gluten-Freeland. Practice. Practice. Practice.



Living gluten-free is tough. It really is. And in this Gluten-Free Goddess’ humble opinion, a truly tasty gluten-free treat is worth a thousand words- or a thousand smiles. Eliminating wheat from recipes is huge and problematic; you know, you lose that whole stretchy elasticity and tender crumb mouth feel thing. To create a gluten-free treat that really is a treat is a challenge. Taking sugar out of the equation diminishes the texture and mouth feel of traditional recipes even more.

Sugar adds not only sweetness to baked goods, but structure. I’ve tried baking without it. I’ve used date sugar, processed raisins, agave syrup, stevia. The end results too often screamed Health Food. They were a tad, shall we say, cardboard-esque. And they usually ended up getting tossed in the garbage after a six month stint in the depths of the freezer.

My compromise? I usually bake with organic brown sugar and cane sugar. I have one treat a day. It satisfies my sweet tooth, and I don’t feel deprived.

But if you really must avoid sugar, Darling, here’s one possible sub if you're not a vegan: 3/4 cup honey (reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup) can be substituted for 1 cup granulated or brown sugar. Not recommended for cookies. Flavor and density will be affected.

If you are a vegan, try using maple syrup or gluten-free brown rice syrup, or agave syrup. I'm experimenting with maple syrup lately, and find it delicious.

If it is humid out, you may have to adjust your recipe, as both agave and honey are humectant, and attract moisture to baked goods.

Brown sugar adds a little extra moistness to gluten-free baked goods; cane sugar makes cookies crisp.

Read more about sugar substitutes in baking here.

Fruit, Flavor and Dairy Subs

I am often asked, Can I sub pumpkin for the sweet potato in a recipe? Or, dried cranberries for raisins? Yes. And yes. I find that most fruit purees are interchangeable, according to taste. If you don’t care for banana, try subbing pureed pumpkin. Hate walnuts? Use pecans. Love dried cherries and dislike raisins? Go with cherries. Experiment and have fun. Be creative with recipes. Some of my favorite combos were accidental pairings. Think: fruity with spice, sweet with sour, creamy with crunchy, chocolate with anything!

The Dairy Question

Yes, Babycakes, I know. I feel your pain. Many gluten-intolerant folks develop a lactose intolerance or casein allergy as a result of celiac damage. I sympathize. I’m one of the fifty per cent of celiacs who are saddled with gluten and casein intolerance. You're not alone.

Cooking Dairy-Free Tips

My favorite dairy free substitute in gluten-free cooking is organic light coconut milk. I use it in sauces, soups, curries and stir-fries. It’s fabulous in whipped sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squashes. Check and compare labels as too much guar gum, a common additive in coconut milk, can act as a laxative for sensitive individuals. I also love unsweetened soy or nut milk (non-GMO and no carageenan), if soy or nuts are not an issue for your family.


There are some great tasting vegan butter substitutes out there now. Some feature olive oil or flax oil. One is even soy-free (with pea protein). Check labels. 'Stick' style works better in baking than the softer tub style (too much water). Spectrum Organic Shortening, made from palm oil, basically acts like Crisco, without the trans fats.

My new fave in gluten-free dairy-free baking is raw organic coconut oil. Lovely aroma, taste and texture.

I also love using olive oil in muffins, quick breads, and bread. When one half to one cup butter is called for in a recipe, oil will work (but in general, use a tad less oil than the butter called for).

In the case of a flourless chocolate cake recipe calling for two sticks of butter, though, nothing truly substitutes. When butter is the star, oil will only be oily (though I might be tempted to try Earth Balance sticks).

Another vegan alternative to baking with butter is silken tofu- it works in many recipes.


Some experts suspect that half of all celiacs (yup, 50% of us) are allergic to casein- the protein in dairy- did you know that? This is not a lactose (milk sugar) issue. It's a protein allergy issue. So if you still have symptoms, cut out milk and dairy products- it's often the final piece of the puzzle.

For milk substitutes in baking, gluten-free soy, rice and nut milks work very well. Use plain for a neutral flavor, or vanilla/chocolate for a flavor boost. Coconut milk also works.

For milk substitutes in creamy sauces, try using plain gluten-free soy milk, hemp milk, or unsweetened rice or almond milk. Rice milks usually need a little help in thickening, but they work.


Cheeses can be harder to sub. Gluten-free cheese subs are often soy based, nut based, pea and cashew derived, or rice based. Some are just plain awful. Others, only mostly awful. Most don’t melt well (what's up with that?).

If you're going to use a non-dairy cheese try one with diced jalapeños; the peppers help cover up the bland flavor. Add extra spices and seasonings to the dish and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil as well. For those sensitive to milk proteins- read labels carefully. Casein or whey (two dairy proteins) is often added to "Dairy-Free" products. Go figure.

Looking for a tasty creamy sauce for comfort foods like mac and cheese? Try my vegan Cheesy Uncheese Sauce- it's scary good. Seriously. It's all I use now.

More Dairy Free Meal Ideas

Use dairy-free pesto and tapenades for flavorful sauces and spreads. Make homemade basil or cilantro pesto without cheese [add a dash of sea salt instead] and use it as a sauce on pizza and sandwiches, quesadillas and foccacia.

Make black olive, sun-dried tomato or roasted pepper spreads in your food processor for a quick and flavorful schmear on rice or nut crackers, pizza and grilled sandwiches. You won’t miss the cheese.

Try fresh guacamole and salsa as a healthy condiment. Both are dairy-free and huge on flavor.

Enjoy hummus tahini as a protein packed dip or condiment; any flavor of hummus is a tasty sub for cheese. Serve a dollop with your favorite brown rice dish, baked casserole, salad, grilled and roasted vegetables.

Serve a good fruity extra virgin olive oil instead of butter or cheese. Drizzle it on toasted or grilled gluten-free bread, baked potatoes, and gluten-free pizza shells; try drizzling a hot gluten-free pizza shell with extra virgin olive oil and some sea salt, then top it with a crisp baby greens salad with your favorite fixin's.

The classic combo of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar makes a fabulous naturally dairy-free condiment for brown rice, veggies, sandwiches and wraps, and even cooked polenta.

Egg Free

Baking gluten-free and egg-free is certainly a challenge. I'll share some tips based on my growing experience (I baked strictly egg-free for four years).

For the average recipe, Ener-G Egg Replacer is the popular choice.

You can also make your own egg replacer using milled flax seeds, silken tofu, mashed banana or figs. Or simply add a liquid such as a rich non-dairy milk [two tablespoons equal one egg] and boost the leavening with more baking powder.

I find I do best baking egg-free when I choose recipes that are traditionally egg-free such as fruit crisps and Asian crepes. Waffles work fine without eggs (try a mashed banana).

If a recipe calls for one egg, I might simply leave it out and add two tablespoons rice milk and an extra teaspoon of baking powder.

For two average eggs, combine:

1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
4 tablespoons warm water

Whisk together until frothy and foamy. Fold into the recipe and mix well. This mixture won't bind, but it seems to work in baking.

Note that recipes using tapioca starch often turn out gummy with an egg replacer; and mixes containing tapioca and lots of starches are less likely to turn out using egg replacers. (One popular allergen free brand of mixes called Namaste has not worked without eggs- I've tried the brownie and chocolate cake mix using Ener-G Egg Replacer and both were a disaster at high altitude. I suspect the starch ratio in the mixes is too high. But I'm no chemist.)

Soy Free

Many celiacs find they also have a sensitivity to soy; and many have autoimmune thyroid disease. Whether by necessity or choice, a great many celiacs are also soy-free.

For a soy sauce sub I use a dab of molasses whisked into a quarter cup of soy-free vegan broth. I add a splash of balsamic or rice vinegar, to taste, and a dash of sea salt, sesame oil, ginger, cumin, curry or red pepper spice, to taste.

Another choice is to make an Asian sauce based around peanut butter, sesame tahini or cashew butter stirred into a cup of vegan broth. Add chopped garlic, spices and a squeeze of lime juice as an accent.

New on the market is a soy-style sauce called Coconut Aminos- look for it in the condiment and sauces section.

For thickening sauces, soups and gravies, and dredging (coating in flour)

For thickening stir-fry sauces, basic white sauces and soups, I use tapioca starch or arrowroot starch (mix it with a little cool water or rice milk first before adding it to sauces). Arrowroot starch works well for gravies served right away. Cornstarch can also be used but I find it get gluey (as can potato starch).

For a making roux, or paste, for basic white sauce or cheese sauce, my favorite is sweet rice flour; but any basic rice flour or gluten-free flour mix will work -but don't use bean or soy flour - they have too strong a taste.

For dredging veggies, potato cakes or veggie burgers before frying, try your favorite gluten-free flour mix, or simply use rice flour, or tapioca starch, or cornmeal. A lower carb option is almond flour.

For Wheat-Free Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs

My favorite crumbs- for all kinds of recipes- is a tad unconventional, but really delicious! I haul out my food processor and process several toasted gluten-free waffles into crumbs. Plain gluten-free waffles usually have no sugar. Add some dried Italian herbs or your favorite seasoning, if you wish. Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter and pulse. Very yummy, crunchy and golden when baked. And no, they're not too sweet.

Processing pieces of your favorite toasted gluten-free bread also works. Especially gluten-free cornbread. Cornbread makes lovely crumb topping.

For crunchy toppings try crumbled corn tortilla chips, rice chips, or potato chips. Failed gluten-free breads can be processed into crumbs and frozen for later use.

Note that adding dried herbs and seasonings give gluten-free bread crumbs a big flavor boost. Some folks advocate processing cornflakes or gluten-free cereal into crumbs but I find it gives the recipe a mealy, breakfast cereal taste.


My last tidbit of advice- let go of old expectations, forget the tried and true of the past and have a little fun playing in the kitchen. Risk new flavor combos. Get inspired by world cuisine and browse cookbooks for ideas. Living gluten-free is a challenge, yes.

But you know what? It can also be delicious!

Karina Allrich copyrights this original article ©2005-2014. All Rights Reserved. 
No reposting or copying of this article is permitted.

xox Karina


Anonymous said...

Karina, do you have a cut out sugar cookie recipe that you like? We use Pamela's mix as well, but when we made xmas cookies they spread out so much the shapes were unrecognizable. We'd love to make hearts for V-Day.


Sheri said...

Great post! Your blog was extremely helpful to me when I was debating going GF. And dang it, one of these days I am going to get a bunch of stuff from your store! The Man promised me an apron for Xmas but didn't deliver, so it looks like I will be picking out my own soon.

April said...

Thanks for the tips Karina!

FYI- You have been tagged :)
Check out my blog for the challenge and rules

Garrett said...

Wow, thats an excellent post. I'm intrigued to try to make a gluten free cupcake!

Kelley said...

What excellent tips. Thanks, Karina!

Fran said...

Thank you for the wealth of information. Very helpful.

Fran said...

Thank you for the wealth of information & ideas. Very helpful.

Karen said...

Such valuable information... Thank you a thousand times over!!!

Happy Homemaker said...

Thank you so much! I am printing all these tips out. I'm at the stocking a bazillion tiny bags of flour stage.

Kathy said...

Oh oh...after ten years of this celiac stuff, I STILL have numerous bags of flours, muffin mix, cookie mix, etc., in my pantry. I have every intention of using these items, but I best hurry before they become rancid. :)

Trevor said...

Thanks so much for your column. I suddenly came down with a serious case of involuntary weight loss and exhaustion in 2005. It took six doctors four months of tests to finally find one doctor that knew what my problem was... Celiac Disease. Since then it has been very interesting trying to convert to a gluten-free life. Eating out is almost impossible. My eldest daughter sent me a link to your site. I can really relate to what you have said about trying different flours and getting varying results. I'll have to try Pamela's flour. Please keep the information flowing.


SusanV said...

Karina, this post is wonderful--so thorough and helpful! I will bookmark it to come back to whenever I have a gf question.

Erika said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I just read your post about baking. Your website is so encouraging and inspiring. I am celiac, have been gluten free for 7 months, and just found out I'm pregnant with my first child. I feel like this is a miracle baby, and I am doing my best to eat well, and of course am following the GF diet religiously. With morning sickness and no easy way to satisfy some of my weird cravings (can't really eat an ice cream sandwich or brownie sundae right from the store) it's encouraging to have such a great resource.

I wish you continued good health, happy GF cooking, and a wonderful New Year.

Kleja said...

Thank you for posting this it's really wonderful. Isn't Pamela great! Now I just have to encourage the local stores to carry more of that.

Christan = ) said...

And same to you!! 2007 is shaping up to be a good one, but not too sure about our weather!!
I'm itching to make the flourless cake, so being snowed in again, thinking it's time to get busy!!

Karina said...

Hi Steph! I don't have a sugar cookie recipe on hand. I did see one over at Land-O-Lakes website the other day, under Gluten Free Recipes. Check it out!

Hey Sheri! Every gluten free goddess deserves her own apron! ;-)

April - I'll check it out. Thanks!

Garrett ~ Darling, I'd love to see what you come up with. keep me posted.

Hi Kelley! My pleasure.

Thanks, Fran!

You're welcome, Karen!

Only a bazillion bags of flour, Happy? ;-)

Hey Kathy ~ These flours do go rancid quickly. Especially the brown rice, soy and bean flours.

Welcome, Trevor! Browse around and most of all, relax and have fun.

Heya Susan! Cool.

Erika! Congrats and mazeltov. Be well [I remember well those crazy cravings; my oddest was a chocolate ice cream soda made with orange sherbet!].

Hey Kleja! Pamela's rocks.

Christan! Thanks. The new flourless cake recipe is divine. :-)

Anonymous said...

It is so helpful to know that you can sub Pamela's bread mix for Pamela's self-rising mix for dairy- or nut-free folks by simply adding leavening - but in what amounts do I add what leavening? Also, you mention shredded vegetables for flavor and moisture. Do you have any dessert recipes that call for shredded zucchini?

Karina said...

Hi C~

Above, I have this:

To make a Self-Rising Flour Mix::

1 cup gluten-free flour mix
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

As far as shredded zucchini - I don't have a recipe at the moment. But you could sub zucchini for the carrot in my Coconut Carrot Cake recipe. You could also try adding some shredded zucchini to a chocolate cake or pumpkin cake recipe. Why not?

~M said...

Cinnamon and chocolate sound so good together - any specific recipes?

Karina said...

Dear ~m,

Try my Mexican Hot Fudge Sauce [under the Label: chocolate]. I also sneak cinnamon into chocolate cake recipes and brownies when I want a "little something extra".

Vidalia said...

What an amazingly informative post! Sorry to be responding late, but since you welcomed info on egg substitutes, I thought I'd share my experience.

Basically, I have been able to use EnerG Egg Replacer with great success in almost all of my baked goods- especially those using Pamela's baking mixes. It has even worked in making meatballs and latkes. I would only advise adding a little more water than called for. Also, make sure the recipe does not call for more than 3 eggs (doesn't seem to work). To replace eggs when breading meats/veggies, try buttermilk if you're not dairy intolerant.

Hope that adds to the discussion, even if it is late.

Karina said...

Hey Steph!

I found the recipe I saw.

Gluten-Free Cut Out Cookies

Let us know if you try it!

Karina said...


So nice to see you. Thanks a bundle for posting your excellent tips on working with egg substitutes.



Robin said...

I just have to say THANK YOU!!!! I haven't been able to enjoy pasta since going GF. Tonight I made your GF macaroni bake!! YUMMY!!!! I used to make homemade mac n cheese for the kiddos all the time before celiacs. They are so happy with it!! It is so delicious!!!Thank you!!

Robin said...

I just wanted to say THANK YOU!! I haven't been able to enjoy pasta since going GF. Tonight I made your GF mac n cheese. It was amazing!!! We loved it!! I added frozen peas, broccoli, and some spices and we just love it!! Thank you so much!! I plan on trying many of your recipes over the next few weeks. Thank you again!!!

Karina said...

Dear Robin! Yay. I love to hear it. Gotta have a great mac and cheese. It's the best comfort food. Thanks for letting me know.


Mary said...

What a helpful blog, thanks. Is it possible to suggest a timetable for successful breadmachine breadmaking? I am uncertain how many minutes to program for mixing, rising, baking etc? I am not happy with the built-in programs, but don't really know what to set for a personalized one.

Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

in regards to the earlier comment about cookies spreading out... I've heard that using vegetable shortening instead of butter will solve that problem (I haven't had a chance to test this myself though)

Karina said...

For bread machine help please read through the Readers Comments on the post: First Loaf in My Gluten-Free Bread Machine, linked in the sidebar. There's lots of info and tips from readers...

For a tip on cookies:

I find chilling the dough first helps. Using almond meal or nuts in the dough helps, too.

Make sure the pan is not in the bottom of the oven.

Using a sheet of parchment may help, too.

And be careful not to use too much xanthan gum - too much may cause cookies to melt and spread.


cyberprof said...

Karina, thanks for the tips. I used the link on your site and your recommendation and bought Pamela's bread mix - a box of 6. How should I store it until I'm ready? I've put the extra 5 in foodsaver bags and can put it in the freezer? Basement?

Thanks in advance.


Karina said...

Hi Laura,

I usually keep mine in a cool pantry or closet; an open bag, I keep in the fridge.

You could freeze a couple [in a food saver bag] for safe keeping - sure - why not?



cyberprof said...

Thanks Karina, you're so sweet.

Anonymous said...

Karina, I just wanted to let you know how happy i am that i have found your blog. I am 23 and i just found out that i have CD and I have always had dairy problems. Its bad enough that i have to re-learn how to cook and make so that i can eat "normal" but you have made itso much better for me. To know im not alone is priceless. My husband and I give u a standing ovation!!!

Karina Allrich said...

Hi Anon!

I know what it feels like - learning all new techniques with unfamiliar ingredients...

Thanks for stopping in to post. I really appreciate it! Good luck and please let me know how it goes...



J. said...


I am not quite a year into GF living. This AM my sister sent me a link to your blog and I've been greedily reading much of the day, ignoring the fall cleaning I had planned. Alas, on that score, I've decided I need to go deeper in the kitchen after reading your info. My beloved wooden tools will have to go - one is my late mother's wooden spoon, which I seldom use. I will be replacing my cutting boards, etc. Your info has confirmed my suspicion that some of my tools may be the source of some of my surprise reactions.

Now to the main point of all of this. I usually do a big extended family Thanksgiving dinner- about 15 or so mouths to feed. I have been doing this since moving back to New England after many years living in a variety of places around the world (after Dear Husband retired 5 years ago). Last year I did a semi-GF menu. This year I want to go further. Do you have any suggestions for GF stuffing for the turkey? I am going to experiment ahead of the holiday with GF pie crust - I tried one last year and it was a bit of a disaster. But any advice on that score would be appreciated as well.

I have managed to adapt many recipes to GF alternatives. But pie crust and bread stuffing have me a bit stymied.

Your site has also started me thinking about my art quilt studio upstairs - wondering if any of the sizing in fabrics could be a source of gluten. Another topic for another day, but if I find the answer I'll be posting it on an art quilt web list. Fortunately I laundry most fabric before they go upstairs.

And finally, sincere and deep thanks for the best GF web site I have encountered in 10 months of trying to live GF. Blessings on you!

Joyce in NH

Karina said...

Hi Joyce-

First- thank you! ;)

As for Thanksgiving- there really are wonderful gluten-free recipes for the holidays, and many that are inherently gluten-free.

Turkey gravy can be thickened with arrowroot starch instead of flour; stuffing can be made with your favorite gluten-free cornbread recipe (in fact, I have always used arrowroot to thicken gravies and sauces, and my favorite stuffing was-is still- made with toasted cubes of cornbread, onion, chopped celery and apple, and if you like, some pecans or even crumbled chicken-apple sausage).

As for pies- I have not pursued a true pie crust. I hear Rebecca Reilly's recipe is excellent (she authored a cookbook on gluten-free baking). I have been making apple crisps instead. I make them in a pie plate, and put a lot of brown sugar and cinnamon on the top, so it looks much like an apple pie.

One year I made a pumpkin cheesecake with a cookie crumb crust. I followed the recipe for a crumb crust in Joy of Cooking, and simply used Pamela's gluten-free cookies. Everyone loved it.

Check my post on the holidays for more crust recipe ideas- I'm posting from my husband's laptop so I don't have the bookmark for it- but you ought to be able to find it in the archives- look for the label Holidays, or put Holidays in the search box.

I'll be posting more ideas for the holidays in October, too.

Thanks again for your comment and I wish you better health and and a happy holiday season!


Anonymous said...

Karina, could you please tell me if there are any flour mix substitutes I can make without rice flour included?

Like tapioca, potato, almond or something like that? I hate the flavor and texture of rice flour.


Karina said...

Hi Kim!

My gluten-free flour mix changes on a whim.

If you can tolerate it, sorghum flour is a fab sub for rice flour. Some folks use a simple mix of sorghum and tapioca. 2:1

For two cups flour, I might try:

1 cup sorghum
1/2 cup tapioca
1/2 cup cornstarch or potato

You can add 2 tablespoons almond flour to that, for flavor and protein.

And 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum.

I really like buckwheat for the flavor and for the protein. Here's a basic mix I've been using in baking:

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sorghum or rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

I'm allergic to brown rice, beans, soy and almonds now- so unfortunately I can't use a lot of flour blends. I used to love Pamela's blends.

Good luck and let me know what you come up with- and what works for you. Take care,


Karina said...

Hey Marissa!

I am so about simplicity. ;)

If you can handle the ingredients in Pamela's baking and bread mixes- her flour blends are awesome.

Whole Foods has started packaging gluten-free flour blends and mixes, too- I'll be trying a few over the next week or two.

Thanks for your comment- and be well! Stop by again!


MrsPacNW said...

Karina, I just read that someone is looking for a pie crust. I used these for Thanksgiving pies this year.
GF Pie Crust~found online in many resources, not sure the original creator.
1c white rice flour
1/2c sorghum flour
1/2c potato starch
3T Sweet Rice Flour (can be omitted)
3t sugar
1/4 t salt
1t cinnamon
1 stick of cold butter
1 egg
2 T vinegar (cider, white, redwine)
1/4 c cold water
Mix dry ingredients, cut in butter, beat egg and vinegar, toss with crust mix. Add water bit at a time until you can form a ball.
Split in half, and pat out each piece on parchment. Wrap in plastic or tuck into baggie and refrigerate atleast an hour. Let come to room temp enough to soften the pastry.
Roll out between 2 parchment pieces. Makes enough for a double 9" or 2 single 9" pies.

Maple Oatmeal Anna Olson
I used the above flour blend to replace the 2 cups of AP flour called for.
2 cups AP Flour
2T oats (omit if you can't find gluten free)
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
2 T sourcream
2 T maple syrup
~ice cold water as needed to bring dough to a ball.
Combine dry ingredients, cut in butter, stir in sourcream and maple syrup. Add water if needed to bring together. Chill dough 15 minutes. Makes enough for 2 9" crusts.
I found it easier to press into the pie plate instead of rolling out because of the softness of the GF flours..but 2 sheets of parchment and extra GF flour and you'll be fine.

~Happy Baking~
Terri said...

Is there alternative replacements for the corn starch and potato starch that one can use with similar results?

Thanks bunches!


Karina said...

For other starches- you could try tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, or a light white rice flour- such as sweet rice flour.


Ant said...

Hi Karina,
I just found your blog through Facebook. Your tips are wonderful. My husband is a coeliac (he was diagnosed when he was a baby), so I cook and bake lots of gluten free food.
I think I will be your regular visitor.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hello Katina. I am about to make your glutten free choc cake for the smallest tier on our wedding cake for our gluten free friends. I would just like to know how much is a stick of butter?

Denise, New Zealand.

Karina said...

Hi Denise,

1 stick of butter = 113.5 grams, or 1/4 pound, or 4 ounces, or 1/2 US cup. Hope that helps!


Amy said...

I am so glad I found your blog! I just went gluten-free a few days ago, after suffering horribly for the past year, and already I feel much better. (Still not 100% well, but I think it will take time...)
I've been reading about cross contamination and gluten sticking to certain pans. We are getting rid of the teflon and switching to stainless steel pans. But I have a question--do you know if the silicon liners retain gluten? Are the ones I've previously used to bake gluten foods safe to use gluten free after a good scrub? I've been googling for an hour trying to find the answer, but it doesn't seem to be out there!

Garrett and Becky said...

my goodness! may i just say i came across your blog right now (yes, 3 a.m. - pregnant and wide awake) and was baffled at all your great recipes and ideas! im excited to try everything out, thanks so much! question - your recipes call a lot for hemp milk, rice milk, etc. is this because of the CF thing? my husband is celiac but is fine with milk products. can we use reg milk??

Karina said...

Hi Amy! Good for you, changing out your cookware. Non-stick and cast iron pans can retain gluten protein.

As for silicone- hmmm. I'm not sure. I've never read any info on it. I- personally- wouldn't trust using it. It seems a bit "sticky" to me.

If possible I would start with new liners. Sorry!

Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Becky! Wow- glad to know someone is popping by to read the blog while I'm sleeping. ;)

Yes- you can use dairy milk in my recipes. I used to (earlier recipes used dairy) but have been GFCF since last June.

I've done enough baking/cooking with both to say that either will work.

As always, use your experience and adjust the wetness of batters and doughs. Especially in warm humid weather- you might need a tad less milk in a baking recipe.

Good luck and health to you and your growing family!



Mollie said...

This gave me the confidence to adapt a recipe to gluten-free for the first time. Thank you so much! My cake turned out beautifully.

Sara said...

Thank you so much! You're fantastic. I'm a newbie to gluten-free living and love baking. Your site makes it so easy. :)

Karina said...

Mollie- Fantastic! I'm so glad. Thanks so much for stopping back to let me know. Yay. ;)

Sara- Thanks for your kind words- I appreciate your comment! Stop by again soon. :)


Maryjean said...

I just want to mention flax seed meal as a wonderful dredge for frying etc. I use it on fish.

Anonymous said...

4am: I just stumbled upon your site while trying to comprehend newly discovered need for dairy/gluten/sugar-free, alkaline-balanced diet with no soy usage (thyroid issues). Wow! You must be an angel! Thanks for sharing your very helpful information. Your confidence is contagious. It definitely helps to know that I am only one of many, too.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning...just discovered your blog. New to cooking GF. Can you tell me if GF all purpose flour is used the same as all purpose flour in recipes? Trying to make a birthday cake for my daughter and discovered that I do not have potatoe starch flour...thanks for all the great recipes and tips.

Karina Allrich said...

Maryjean- Thanks for the flax tip!

Anon- Thank you! All my recipes are gluten and soy free; since June 2007 they are dairy-free. Browse around and welcome!

Anon- Yes, an all purpose flour mix replaces a regular flour mix. You need xanthan gum added to help replicate the gluten no longer present.

You can sub cornstarch for the potato starch; or use tapioca starch.


Tamara said...

Your blog has been a great resource.
I was identified as being wheat allergic about two weeks ago and am awaiting results for Coeliac's as well. Regardless of the CD test results I will be living with the same dietary restrictions. I love to bake and was panicking about finding recipes that actually tasted great.
Please keep up the hard work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all the information. We found out that my husband and 2 of our 2 children are gluten intolerant last Christmas and finding a variety of foods for them has been a huge challenge! My husband gets a little discouraged when a recipe doesn't work out. Your tips are so helpful. Thank you!

windy said...

Karina: cooking GFCF was a chore and an expensive series of disappointments until I found you! I used to hope for edible. But with your recipes I get delectable and reliable (not to mention entertaining). Your photos help my kids to see that our 'diet' can be pretty and tasty, too. They like to help pick recipes by looking at the photos. Thank you for your openness and sharing, talent, and wit. You have helped so many people--it goes way deeper than recipes: it's hope, health, compliance-made-easy, confidence, fun.... God bless Karina!

moonwatcher said...

Hi Karina,

I just want to thank you for this tips page, which worked beautifully. I don't do a lot of gluten free baking but I might now! I was asked to be the one to bring gluten free dairy free cupcakes to a birthday gathering for those who needed them, and on top of this, I myself eat a whole food plant based diet with only very minimally added oils because I have MS. So I read these instructions carefully, and used your gluten free baking mix recipe in Happy Herbivore's fat free carrot cupcake recipe. The results were delicious and lovely, too!! Since the mix IS easier for me to digest (I used the brown rice flour, sorgum flour, buckwheat flour and cornstarch combination) I am going to keep experimenting with it. Thanks for all the smart tips. It was nice to know that gluten free flours work well with fruity things, and adding in the baking powder or soda called for in the conventional recipe on top of what's in the mix also was a good idea. I also found (second time around because my son wanted more!) that increasing the temp in my oven by 25 degrees helped too. Anyway, this is great workable advice!! Thanks for your creativity and your generosity in sharing it with us!!



Twisted Cinderella said...

This is a wonderful post! Thank you so much for all this helpful information!

Anonymous said...

Karina, Thank you!

Suzanne said...

Hi Katrina,

I was wondering what you thought of coconut flour? I haven't seen it in any of your recipes but I understand it is high in protein and fiber. Have you tried working with it? If so, can one use it instead of other flours in your recipes?

Thanks again for the Vanilla Brownie recipe. It's still our favorite.

NextMoon said...

Thanks for the tips. I am new to cooking for celiacs, and I needed a substitution for breadcrumbs in a spinach casserole. Not only did I find another interesting approach (the shrimp & spinach casserole on brown rice), but I realized that I could use crushed corn chips.

BTW - there's a bakery in Novato CA that makes fabulous GF cakes -- FlourChyld. They use ground almonds and ground coconut, among other things.

Karina Allrich said...

Tamara, Anonymous, and Windy- Thanks so much and (hugs) to you. Your kind words mean a lot to me. xox

Moonwatcher- I have read that a gluten-free casein-free diet may help some with MS symptoms. I'm so glad it helps and happy you found me. Thank you for your kind words, too. Take care- and be well. xox

Twisted Cinderella- Muchas gracias to you both! xox

Suzanne- I experimented with coconut flour before I found out I have a mild allergy to it.

It's lovely- but a tad heavy, so I would recommend you add an extra egg when you use it; and I'd also suggest starting with a half a cup in a recipe, blended with other flours. Experiment and see what ratio works best for you.

In a recipe like brownies where there's a scant amount of flour- like a half a cup- I'd just use all coconut flour.

Have fun!

NextMoon and Anonymous- You are quite welcome- my pleasure!



Kristin J said...

Oh thank goodness I found your post. This is going to help me so much! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I am gluten free for two years by avoiding all baked goods. I live in the mountains about 7000ft above sea level. This has disastrous effects on regular baking, I can only imagine what gluten free baking would do at high altitudes.
I have many questions about gluten free baking. I bought a gluten free flour made with potato flour and all I have been able to make is wall paper paste. Help

Anonymous said...

First I want to say thank you, I started my son on the GFCF, yeast free, vegan diet back in November, and your recipes have made our lives tasty.
I have a question; For the flourless cake recipes, is it possible to use egg replacer instead of 8 eggs?
I did make it with eggs before starting vegan and it was freakin awesome!!! And I want to make it again but am stumped as to whether or not I should take the chance and it going horribly wrong and Ive wasted money I dont have.
Thanks again, we eat happily and healthy!

Karina Allrich said...

Anon- I bake at 7,000 feet. My recipes should work fine for you. And use potato starch not flour- the flour is gluey and dense. The starch should be a part of a blend with other flours like sorghum and millet or buckwheat. See my FAQ's page for more info and links.

Anon 2- The Flourless Chocolate Cake with 8 eggs relies on the eggs and sugar for structure- a replacer won't work.

However, I have developed a new vegan recipe that has a similar dense chocolate texture: Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake. It is "awesome" as well. Promise!


Debby said...

Hi Karina,
I'm rice, soy, wheat & pretty much all grains (except oats strange huh?) intolerant. Do you have any suggestions for gluten free flour mixes to make muffins/pankcakes? I've tried using chickpea flour/tapioca/potato/corn flour mix but the chickpea flour is gross!! and the other combos on their own don't seem to work well! Do you have any suggestions for flour combinations? Dairy, sesamee and cashews are also a no-no. I'm getting deperate...hehehe

Karina Allrich said...

Dear Blog Comment Subscribers-

Unfortunately a WOW spammer snuck through a comment with links. For that I truly apologize.

Please delete the comment.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Hi Karina, I know you said you don't like bean flours, but for anyone who doesn't care for chickpea flour, try dry roasting it in a pan before using it. The bitter or green taste completely goes away and is replaced by a rich, nutty flavor. I discovered this trick in a vedic cookbook by Yamuna Devi. Apparently, in India chickpea flour is often roasted before it is used.

Fatima said...

Hi, Karina :)

What brand of "light" or "extra-light" olive oil do you use? I can only find extra virgin olive oil at my Whole Foods. I have never used anything less than extra virgin (and mostly for dressing salads and cooking), as I was taught that "virgin", "pure", and "light" means it's been super refined and is not as heart healthy.

Karina Allrich said...

Fatima- Extra virgin is wonderful for drizzling on bread, making dressings, etc- using on foods that are at room temperature, warm, or cooking on low heat.

Frying or broiling with it can be problematic because it has a low smoking point; so using a light olive oil with a higher smoking point is best for baking and cooking. I find it at the regular grocery store (not Whole Foods). I use one made in Italy.

You could also use another high smoking point oil instead, such as Canola, sunflower or safflower oil.


Fatima said...

Thanks, Karina. I went to my neighborhood grocery store and found it :)

sioban said...

Hi Karina,

Sorry if you have answered this question before. I hunted around a bit and couldn't find this answer: in your experience with Pamela's cake mixes, can you double the recipe? And if so, do you have any tips for success? I need to make a large birthday cake.

Love your blog. I've been using it as reference for a couple of years now. Useful information and very nicely laid out, too.

sari said...

Karina, you are angel!

I've been celiac for several years, but only recently did I realise that the painful stomache aches that I've been having on and off are due to an egg intolerance, and, very likely, to a legume intolerance too. I have been married for almost a year, having been spoiled until then by not having to lift a finger in the kitchen. In addition, I am a physics student, so the time and budget I have for cooking is very limited. Learning to cook on my own has been mostly disastrous...
I'm pregnant now, on top of all that, and I've been breaking my head trying to get all the nutrients I need, and squeeze some pleasure out of them somehow.
Thank heavens for your beautiful and inspiring site!
I just finished making one of your gluten-dairy-egg free breads (with several adaptations)... half the loaf has already disappeared!

Lynne said...

Thrilled to have baking options again after a year of no breads/crackers/etc!
My question is on how to use natural sugar substitutes, as I am also a diabetic and can not use honey/ agave/ maple syrup or other high carb substitutes.
Any suggestions on how to successfully bake with xylitol/ stevia/ mesquite...other suggestions?
Thanks so much for a safe return to breads!!

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