Converting a Recipe

December 8th, 2010 by Jean Duane

Easy Steps to Convert Favorite Recipes to be Gluten (and Dairy) Free
Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies 2010 edition hit the newsstands and features a recipe by gluten-free, dairy-free (GFCF) expert Jean Duane, Alternative Cook. If you?re on a special diet, you might feel deprived when flipping through these mouth-watering pages with only one gluten-free recipe. Why stop at one when you can easily convert every one of those recipes? Jean shares her tips on how to convert recipes to be gluten and dairy free. BetterHomesCookies
Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications ? Christmas Cookies contains 101 holiday treats with beautiful photos and easy-to-make recipes. One of the recipes, Snickerdoodles is from Bake Deliciously! Gluten and Dairy Free Cookbook by Jean Duane, Alternative Cook. ?I am pleased to offer a gluten-free recipe for this publication, says Jean, but why limit yourself with one recipe when converting is so easy?. Below in this excerpt from Bake Deliciously!, Jean shares her secrets gleaned from years of trials and learning from (many) errors. What follows are general guidelines to convert a traditional wheat-flour recipe into gluten-free.
How to Convert a Traditional Recipe to Gluten and/or Dairy Free
1. Start with a combination of flours in these ratios: 50% grain flour (brown rice or sorghum), 25% starch (cornstarch, tapioca or potato starch) and 25% protein flour (navy, fava, garbanzo, soy, gafava flour) or a different grain flour. One cup of wheat flour translates into 1/2 cup of grain flour, 1/4 cup of bean flour and 1/4 cup of starch.
2. Add 25-50% more leavening (baking powder, baking soda or yeast).
3. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp. acid (vinegar, citric acid, ascorbic acid dough enhancer, cream of tartar or citrus juice).
4. Add 1/2 tsp. of either xanthan gum to the dry ingredients or guar gum to the wet ingredients for every cup of flour, or 1/4 tsp. of each. For smaller baked items, gums can be omitted.
5. Substitute butter with oil or ghee, cow?s milk with nut or rice milk (ideally with the same fat content).
6. Let the batter sit for a few minutes to absorb liquids before baking.
Sound easy? It really is, after you get the hang of it. Here?s an example:
Original Recipe
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. coffee crystals
GFCF Adaptation
1/2 cup sunflower oil
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. guar gum
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sorghum flour
2 TBS starch
2 TBS protein flour
1/4 plus 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. coffee crystals
Beat together the wet ingredients. Whisk together the dry ingredients and mix with wet ingredients. Divide into an oiled muffin pan and bake at 350? for 25 minutes.
Need more help? Have a treasured or family-favorite recipe that you just can?t get right using GFCF ingredients? We?ll convert your recipe for you for a nominal fee. Go to and click on ?Convert a Recipe.?
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