Gluten-Free Tips from our Test Kitchen

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In March, we began our annual recipe testing in the WT Test Kitchen! In an effort to become even more allergy friendly, we are pushing the envelope with every recipe to ensure as many kids as possible can enjoy our tasty meals.

According to Fooducate.com, there are approximately 18 million Americans who follow a gluten-free diet. Though not all suffer from Celiac Disease, most have been diagnosed with an intolerance to wheat. Gluten-free is here to stay, and we are the company you can count on to provide nutritious gluten-free options for your family.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the often misunderstood and unexplored world of gluten-free cooking at home:

Gluten-Free Pastas

When cooking gluten-free pasta, it’s important to purchase a product that will not turn to mush. Rice flour pastas can become very mushy after boiling and often break apart with the slightest pressure. Instead, we recommend a corn based pasta that will hold up its structure for a longer period of time.  If possible, ensure your corn pasta is GMO-free to avoid unwanted chemicals.  Also, avoid reheating leftover gluten-free pasta as it becomes grainier after 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Vegans Beware: Gluten-free pasta is often held together with eggs. Read labels carefully if you are vegan or have an egg allergy.

Baked Goods

Cookies and muffins are staples for anyone who loves to bake. Gluten-free baking makes these recipes very challenging, often leading to a sandy and crumbly consistency that will disappoint the most enthusiastic of cookie monsters.

Choosing the best flour blend: There are many gluten-free flour blends on the market today. Choosing the best one for your needs can often be overwhelming and confusing. When picking a flour blend, make sure to avoid any blends with nut flours that may cause allergies. Also avoid legume flours such as chickpea, lentil, or pea. These may give off an undesirable flavor in baked sweets. Make sure the flour blend includes a binder such as xantham gum to avoid having to purchase too many powders. Usually the xantham powder in gluten-free blends has been added in adequate ratios, saving you time guessing how much binder you need for a specific recipe. With gluten-free baking, a binder is always needed to make up for the lack of gluten, which holds together the structure of a baked product.

Fats and gluten-free flours - Most gluten-free baked goods will have less fat because the starches in gluten-free flour do not absorb fats as readily as the proteins in wheat flour. This is why it is important to find gluten-free specific recipes and avoid wasting product by simply substituting wheat flour recipes with gluten-free flour.

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