Tag: Gluten-Free Flours

Working with Gluten-Free Flours


I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last few years learning how to bake biscotti with various gluten-free flours. I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned and the flours I like to work with.

King Arthur makes gluten-free multi-purpose flour that contains both white and brown rice, tapioca and potato starches. This is a mild-flavored flour, which works well and doesn’t interfere with my flavor profiles.

Bob’s Red Mill sells a gluten-free all-purpose flour that contains garbanzo flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, and fava flour. The beans and sorghum have dominant flavors. In general an increase in the amount of flavorings used, such as extracts or liqueurs is needed to offset the prominent flavors of the flour. For my recipes, this was not the best choice. I can see where it would work with bread baking or as a coating on fried foods.

Nuts.com offers a gluten-free all-purpose baking flour with garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour and fava bean flour, this is also a mild-flavored flour that didn’t interfere with my flavor profiles.

Almond Butter Gluten Free Biscotti

Almond Butter Biscotti using Gluten-Free Girl Flour and waiting 2 hours before slicing.

A recent new-comer to the gluten-free flour market is Gluten-Free Girl all purpose flour blend, which contains millet, sweet rice four and potato starch. The “sticky” rice flour has a higher amylopectin content, which helps the stability of the dough. Shauna Ahern, from Gluten-Free Girl, doesn’t use any additives, such as guar gum and/or xanthan gum, in her flour and doesn’t recommend adding it. This mild-flavored flour worked well with my biscotti recipes and Shauna is correct, it does not require any additives. It was on her recommendation, that I increased the cooling time for the gluten-free recipes. Though she recommended overnight, I found a couple of hours were sufficient and had only an occasional broken biscotto, the same as the regular biscotti. This cooling technique works with the other flours, too.

Basic Gluten Free Recipe with Peanut M&Ms

Basic Gluten-Free Biscotti Recipe with Peanut M&Ms using Gluten-Free Girl Flour and waiting 2 hours before slicing.

Are the Gums Essential?

My initial research on using gluten-free flour was a couple of years ago and it was strongly recommended to use either guar gum or xanthan gum or a combination of both to stabilize the dough. I found the best results were using equal amounts of both with the ratio of ¼ teaspoon each per cup of gluten-free flour. The only flour I trust to use for the biscotti recipes without the gums is Gluten-Free Girl all-purpose flour blend.

Guar Gum

Guar gum is a powder that comes from the seed of a legume, the guar plant. It is also a thickening agent with a high-fiber content, however, too much of this gum produces a stringy dough.

Xantham Gum

Xantham gum is a polysaccharide secreted by a bacterium (Xanthomonas campestris), a byproduct of corn and is used as a thickener. Too much xanthan gum in a recipe may produce an unappealing gumminess to the dough, so measure carefully.

One-to-One Blends (includes guar gum and/or xantham gum)

If you want to forgo buying the gums separately, Bob’s Red Mill sells a gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour that contains sweet white-rice flour, whole-grain brown-rice flour, potato starch, whole-grain sweet white-sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum.

There are some other brands out there such as Cup 4 Cup, which contains xantham gum. The first ingredient is cornstarch and corn is a problem for some of my friends who are gluten-free. It also contains milk powder another common allergen. I prefer to keep to the rice grains, potato starch and more neutral flours.

Alternatively, there are many recipes out there for making your own gluten-free blend. Since celiac’s disease is not an issue for us, I prefer to use pre-made blends.

Use these few rules and good quality ingredients to get consistent results in your recipes.

Apple Cranberry Walnut Gluten Free Biscotti

Apple Cranberry Walnut Biscotti using Gluten-Free Girl Flour and waiting 2 hours before slicing.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti

Here’s a recipe for gluten-free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti. I also want to share my research and solutions to making a great tasting gluten-free biscotti with excellent texture.

Why Gluten Free?

Eating gluten-free eating is having its 15 minutes of fame. With awareness of celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder where ingesting gluten can damage the small intestine) and other gluten allergies and intolerances on the rise, there are more options than ever for those who want to eat gluten-free. There are also many excellent cooking blogs entirely devoted to gluten-free cooking, such as Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, Elana’s Pantry, and Celiac Chicks.

I became interested in gluten-free baking when I realized I had a family, friends, and colleagues who either suffer from celiac disease or have a low tolerance for gluten. This means they aren’t able to enjoy my biscotti, which lead to a lot of research on how to exchange all-purpose flour for a gluten-free version.

Baking gluten-free presents a challenge. Without gluten as a binding agent, the chances of the cookies breaking and crumbling increases. Despite some early failed attempts, I persisted, thanks to ample encouragement from my friends, who are always on the hunt for high-quality, good-tasting gluten-free treats. I had a handle on the flavor profiles, but the real challenge with gluten-free biscotti is the texture.

Resources

There are a number of gluten-free flours available and I needed to find out how they work and which is best. King Arthur makes an excellent gluten-free multipurpose flour, which uses both white and brown rice as well as tapioca and potato starches. It has a nice texture and a neutral taste.

Bob’s Red Mill also sells a gluten-free all-purpose flour, which is made from garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, and fava bean flour. The beans and sorghum have a noticeable flavor, but I’ve found that the two brands work equally well.

To compensate for the loss of gluten, guar gum and/or xanthan gum are used to stabilize the dough. In my experience, without these gums, the log of biscotti easily crumbles. Use an equal mixture of the two for best results. Too much guar gum can produce a stringy dough and too much xanthan gum may create an unappealing gumminess. One-quarter teaspoon each, per cup of flour is sufficient.

If you want to forgo buying the gums separately, Bob’s Red Mill sells a gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour that contains sweet white-rice flour, whole-grain brown-rice flour, potato starch, whole-grain sweet white-sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum.

My Results

After some initial trial and error, I’ve honed my techniques for delicious gluten-free biscotti with great texture. Less fillings, such as chocolate and nuts, make a difference. The presence of these chunks prevent the dough from staying connected. Of course, there is no guarantee, even with regular biscotti, that a biscotto or two won’t break, but the likelihood of this happening increases with gluten-free versions.

The real key—a shout-out to Shauna Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl for passing this along—is to let the baked biscotti sit until it has cooled completely before cutting. Shauna recommends letting it sit overnight, but if you’re less patient (as I am), two hours is sufficient. Giving your gluten-free biscotti the extra time to cool helps ensure that they’ll hold together as well as those made with wheat flour.

Following is my recipe for the Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti.

 

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti

A delicious, gluten-free biscotti with peanut butter and chocolate that won’t disappoint in taste or texture!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 dozen 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
Scale

Ingredients

Glaze

1 large egg

Biscotti

2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup salted peanuts
3 1/2 to 4  ounces dark chocolate (85% cocoa) or milk chocolate, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multipurpose Flour, plus more for dusting
1  teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon guar gum

Instructions

Setup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat one egg until frothy and set aside with a pastry brush.
Line a 17- by 10- by 1-inch  baking sheet with parchment paper.

 Method

Beat the eggs, sugars, vanilla extract and salt in an electric mixer, fitted with the beater attachment, on high until thickened, about two minutes. Mix in the peanuts, chocolate and peanut butter. Add the flour, baking powder xanthin gum and guar gum. and beat on low, scraping the sides as needed, until the flour is moist. Scrape sides and beater once more and mix on medium high until the dough is smooth, about ten seconds.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form a thick log. Roll the log back and forth, adding bit of dusting flour as needed, until the log is 18-inches long by 2-inches wide. Cut it in half, place on the prepared sheet tray and gently press the log to about a 1/2-inch thickness. Brush each log with the egg wash, place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let sit for at least two hours or overnight.

Cut the log on an angle into 1/2-inch slices and lay flat on the sheet tray and bake for 15 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Notes

The recipe calls for 3 1/2 to 4 ounces chocolate because not all chocolate manufacturers sell the same size bars. Don’t fret, use whichever brand you like. My preference is primarily Lindt (3 1/2 ounces).