Is there anything that can be done to make [gluten-free] cakes and breads fluffy as opposed to thick and sticky?
Hi Shannon. The gluten in wheat-based products is what helps to keep the elasticity in them…making cakes and breads light and airy. When baking gluten-free, we need to find a way to add back in something to help give the texture we are looking for and also make it taste great.
There are many gluten-free cookbooks on the market today. I just did a quick search on Amazon.com for “gluten-free cookbooks” and 601 results popped up! My point is that, instead of trying to figure it out on your own, which can take a lot of time and be costly, turn to the experts. There are cookbooks dedicated to breads, meals, desserts, kids, and more. There are also many gluten-free cake and bread mixes on store shelves where you just add water, butter, eggs, etc. and achieve a terrific product.
Here are a couple of hints about gluten-free baking:
Some of the flours are denser than others, so using a combination of light flours (cornstarch, tapioca starch) with heavier flours (brown rice flour) will help. Sifting the flour can help, too. NFCA’s Getting Started Guide has some useful information regarding different flour mixtures (download it from the Printable Guides page).
Some ingredients that may help to create that fluffier and more elastic end result include: unflavored gelatin, xanthan gum, guar gum, and eggs.
NFCA’s website has a page listing gluten-free cookbooks and magazines. I also like the magazines Gluten-Free Living and Living Without, which include recipes in every issue.
Nancy Dickens, BS, RD, LDN