You hear a lot about gluten sensitivity these days. Store shelves are packed with new, gluten-free products. But that doesn’t mean people who have a wheat allergy should assume they are actually free of wheat.
Gluten-free isn't the same as wheat-free. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains like spelt (which is a form of wheat), barley, triticale, and rye. A baker might use wheat flour that’s had its gluten removed (known as wheat starch) to make a loaf of bread. Read ingredients lists to avoid wheat.
You may be able to eat these grains instead. Check with your doctor before you try them:
Wheat flour. Use flour made from rice, potato starch, soy, tapioca, or corn instead. If you can't tolerate gluten, look for gluten-free baking powder. When you're baking, remember that wheat-free and gluten-free flour may be drier, may not rise as much, and may have a crumbly texture.
Noodles. Choose wheat-free pastas. They can be made from lots of different grains, including quinoa, corn, potato, rice, or beans.
Breadcrumbs. In recipes like casseroles, fried chicken, eggplant parmesan, or meat loaf, substitute shredded parmesan, crumbled wheat-free crackers, or cornmeal.
Thickeners. Bulk up sauces and gravies with cornstarch or rice flour. Pureed tofu can work, too.
Beer. Use apple juice or wine instead.