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Baking and Cooking With Food Allergies

How to cope with wheat allergies, milk allergies, and egg allergies in the kitchen.
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Wheat Allergy Tips continued...

Ingredients on label to watch for:

  • Wheat (bran, germ, gluten, malt, sprouts)
  • Flour (all types such as all-purpose, bread, cake, durum, graham, high gluten, pastry, stone ground, whole wheat, etc.)
  • Wheat germ or wheat starch
  • Wheat grass
  • Whole-wheat berries
  • Bran
  • Bread crumbs
  • Bulgur
  • Club wheat
  • Couscous
  • Cracker meal
  • Durum farina
  • Einkorn, emmer, seitan, or kamut (mostly relatives to wheat)
  • Modified food starch
  • Graham flour
  • Farina
  • Spelt
  • Semolina (refined durum wheat)
  • Pasta
  • Matzoh and matzo meal
  • Triticale (combination of wheat and rye)
  • Vital gluten
  • The following ingredients may contain wheat protein: flavoring, hydrolyzed protein, soy sauce, starch such as modified starch, vegetable starch, wheat starch, and surimi.

Substitutes for wheat in recipes:

  • For breads, rolls, muffins, brownies, etc., substitute barley flour as long as your allergy is to wheat and not gluten. It performs the best of the alternative flours because it's one of the few grains, besides wheat, that contributes some gluten, notes Lincoln. Some stores also sell gluten-free baking flour, which can be used for making everything from cakes and cookies to breads and muffins.
  • Substitute wheat-free pastas for noodles called for in recipes. Made from a variety of grains including quinoa, corn, potato, rice, and beans, wheat-free pastas are widely available in stores.
  • Eliminate the breadcrumbs in recipes like casseroles, fried chicken, eggplant parmesan, or meat loaf and use shredded parmesan, crumbled wheat-free crackers, or cornmeal (depending on the recipe).
  • For sauces and gravies, thicken the mixture with cornstarch, potato starch, or tapioca starch.
  • For sauces, gravies, or creamy dressing, thicken and blend the mixture with pureed soft or silken tofu.
  • For pancakes/waffles, use flour from other grains such as oat flour, rice flour, or barley flour.
  • Instead of beer in recipes, substitute apple juice or wine.

Baker's notes:

Lincoln warns that recipes made with the wheat-free and gluten-free flour tend to be a bit drier, not rise as much, and have a more crumbly texture. She recommends adding a little xanthan gum to these recipes to help the bread products rise and hold together better. Bob's Red Mill recommends the following amounts of xanthan gum for gluten-free baking:

  • For cookies: add 1/4 teaspoon per cup of flour
  • For cakes and pancakes: add 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour
  • For muffins and quick breads: add 3/4 teaspoon per cup of flour
  • For breads: add 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons per cup of flour
  • Pizza dough: add 2 teaspoons per cup of flour

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