Gluten Free.. Is It Worth The Effort?

Baking By tokazodo Updated 15 Jun 2011 , 11:15pm by coleslawcat

tokazodo Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 12:23am
post #1 of 13

Recently I have had several cake requests for gluten free. As a traditional baker, I am not familiar with gluten free and would need to do the research/ experiment with it.
Has anyone found a decent cake recipe for gluten free cake?
Is it worth the effort, offering your customers that additional choice?

12 replies
Cealy Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 12:34am
post #2 of 13

I made one from a mix the other day, I found the mix and wanted to try it before I tried making one from scratch so I would know what the 'taste' was like.
The mix was rather expensive 5.99 for a small 9" cake, didn't rise a whole lot either!
One of the managers where I work has a gluten allergy so this was a treat made special for her! I bring in things once in a while and she can never have any-so this was made for her!
She is a chocoholic too so thinking the cake would be nasty, I cut it into three layers (due to it not rising very high) and put two layers of chocolate buttercream in between.
I took it in and she looked like she was drooling waiting to eat it! lol
Everyone including the non-gluten people loved it!
So if anything just seeing how happy she was FINALLY getting a piece of cake was worth the trouble and expense.
Now saying that, another friend of mine is highly allergic to gluten and dairy, she has a recipe for A/P flour that she uses where you barely can tell the difference-I am getting it from her to try more gluten free cakes so everyone can enjoy my creativity!

cownsj Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 12:49am
post #3 of 13

So far I have only used the Betty Crocker gluten free. As already said, it's very expensive and barely rises. You only get one layer out of a mix as opposed to a typical two layers.

Now, having said that, I have a friend who can only eat gluten free. And yes, for her to be able to share in cake with the rest of us is so worth it. In fact, when we have someone new in the group, we don't even say it's gluten free to see if they like it, and they always have. I especially like the chocolate and think it's even better than the regular chocolate cake mix. Remember too, for someone who has to eat gluten free, it's not like they have a choice, just as someone who is lactose intolerant has to stick with milk free.

LindaF144a Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 3:03am
post #4 of 13

I am opening a cake shop. The number one question I get ALL the time is if I am going to offer Gluten Free. And when I say it is expensive to make, no one cares about the price, they just want their goodies. So yes, it is worth the trouble. I have yet to have someone ask me if I am going to do vegan or sugar-free. It is always gluten free.

Surprisingly I tried a gluten-free vegan cupcake at a recent health food store. I was expecting the worst, but it tasted quite good. It was a chai cupcake with lots of flavor, but it wasn't as dry or as dense as I was thinking it would be.

I am researching and testing now. If I like the results, I will be offering a gluten-free flavor cupcake every day. From there I will also explore other gluten-free items also. I am fortunate that I have a separate room in my cake shop where I can prepare the gluten-free products.

dukeswalker Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 4:05am
post #5 of 13

I have a daughter who needs to eat gluten free...so we do quite a bit of GF baking around here. When making a GF cake - chocolate ones tend to taste better - I also aim for 6in cakes as I getter a higher rise and only need to use 2 layers. I'm a huge fan of Pamela's Products for a quick mix (you can buy them on Amazon at a better price). One mix makes 2 6in cakes with a little left over for a cuppy or two. (Make the recipe with the sour cream - SO good) It produces a sturdy, easily stackable and carvable cake. Another yummy mix is Sofella's GF Chocoalte cake - but it is light and moist - a perfect match for IMBC or SMBC.

There are scratch cakes and you DO cut costs but there is a fairly large up front cost related to the different flours you would need to purchase. You should also familiarize yourself with the intricacies of GF baking/cooking. Cross contamination is a huge problem.

steffla Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 4:22am
post #6 of 13

Yes, as dukes walker said there are far more concerns than justtheingrdients when working with gluten free recipes so whether or not to offer it depends on the circumstances you are working in.. For us, it is not always worth the trouble because we can not technically offer a gluten free product. We share a kitche space with a restaurant so cross contamination is a huge concern! Your utensils and equipment all need to be free of flour etc. Definitely do the research first!plus, many products say they are naturally gluten free but made somewhere that is not certified a gluten free facility (for exmple Wilton gel colors, duff fondant, cornstarch, powdered sugars- which are made with cor starch, some vanilla extracts etc.) lots to consider!

jason_kraft Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 7:09pm
post #7 of 13

GF is a pain, but once you get your baking processes structured to be as efficient as possible while avoiding cross-contamination it is definitely feasible to bake both GF and non-GF items consecutively (but not simultaneously of course).

We have come up with our own proprietary gluten-free scratch recipes (plus some that are also egg-free and dairy-free) and the ingredient costs are somewhat higher but not outrageous. For our gluten-free flour mix we use rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum, of these the only really expensive items are the sorghum flour and the xanthan gum, and they are a relatively small proportion of the mix. FYI a good scratch GF recipe is far better (and cheaper) than GF box mixes in terms of taste and texture.

cownsj Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 7:14pm
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

FYI a good scratch GF recipe is far better (and cheaper) than GF box mixes in terms of taste and texture.




Wow, now I really want to try a scratch recipe because I like the BC mix, especially their chocolate. Funny, each time I have the GF cake I'm surprised all over again how good it is. (Yeah, I'm easily surprised.... icon_surprised.gificon_lol.gif )

tokazodo Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 11:20pm
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

GF is a pain, but once you get your baking processes structured to be as efficient as possible while avoiding cross-contamination it is definitely feasible to bake both GF and non-GF items consecutively (but not simultaneously of course).

We have come up with our own proprietary gluten-free scratch recipes (plus some that are also egg-free and dairy-free) and the ingredient costs are somewhat higher but not outrageous. For our gluten-free flour mix we use rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum, of these the only really expensive items are the sorghum flour and the
xanthan gum, and they are a relatively small proportion of the mix. FYI a good scratch GF recipe is far better (and cheaper) than GF box mixes in terms of taste and texture.




Jason, as far as the cross-contamination is concerned, is it simply breaking the equipment down and washing it as you would regularly clean it at the end of the baking session or is there more to it? Thank you for your input Jason, I see that you take pride that your business is allergy free. I appreciate your knowledge on the subject.

jason_kraft Posted 13 Jun 2011 , 11:49pm
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tokazodo

Jason, as far as the cross-contamination is concerned, is it simply breaking the equipment down and washing it as you would regularly clean it at the end of the baking session or is there more to it? Thank you for your input Jason, I see that you take pride that your business is allergy free. I appreciate your knowledge on the subject.



Careful washing is an important part of the process, as is making sure you're only using non-porous surfaces and minimizing the sharing of equipment. But there's nothing wrong with sharing non-porous equipment and surfaces as long as they are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized after each use.

You also have to plan out your schedule ahead of time to make sure the products with the most allergens are made last. For example, if you have a gluten-free cake and a non-GF cake to make the same day, you'll want to ensure the GF cake is completely sealed and put away (with no gluten-containing products or ingredients stored above the cake) before you start making the non-GF cake. This is especially important with gluten since it can be airborne for several hours - once you take the cake flour out, no gluten-free products should be brought out of storage that day.

There's also the issue of cross-contamination at the manufacturing site of the ingredients. If a product comes from a company that also makes other products containing an allergen, we assume the product is cross-contaminated with that allergen unless we are satisfied by the manufacturer's cleaning processes. Some mfrs have no idea what we're talking about (we avoid them), while others have personnel dedicated to ensuring cross-contamination is avoided and can explain their cleaning processes in detail.

tokazodo Posted 14 Jun 2011 , 10:19pm
post #11 of 13

Is this what we referred to years ago as 'a wheat allergy'?

Thanks for all of your input, Jason. It's a shame for someone to be so allergic to something that one little grain of wheat flour would set off an allergic reaction. It just doesn't seem fair.
We have dairy allergies in my family and I am starting to wonder about my daughter and gluten allergies. She is 18, had her gallbladder taking out this past January and is still having stomach issues.

Thank you for all of your input!

jason_kraft Posted 14 Jun 2011 , 10:51pm
post #12 of 13

Gluten intolerance (i.e. Celiac disease) is more comprehensive than wheat allergy, since gluten is found not just in wheat but also rye, barley, some oats, etc.

If you're worried about gluten allergies I would find a local GI doctor or allergist that has dealt with Celiac and gluten intolerances before. You can probably get some references from your local Celiac discussion group.

More info:
http://www.snoety.com/2008/06/13/wheat-andor-gluten-free-when-should-you-be/

coleslawcat Posted 15 Jun 2011 , 11:15pm
post #13 of 13

I wanted to reply because I have celiac disease. I agree with everything jason_kraft has said so far. There are a lot of precautions that must be taken for gluten free baking. All it takes is one grain of wheat flour to get in the cake to make someone sick. It's a lot more involved then just learning how to make the recipes work. I myself can't even bake at all using wheat flour. Even if I use someone else's kitchen and wear a mask I will still get sick from the flour floating in the air. I love that there are more and more people catering to gluten free and I want to encourage it, but I also want anyone who thinks about doing it to be certain they can guarentee they are providing a truly gluten free product.

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