Wheat isn’t just a staple of the American diet, it’s an integral part of traditional cuisines worldwide. But what happens when you can’t eat this popular grain?
Anyone following a gluten free or paleo diet knows that wheat isn’t easy to replace in baked goods and that wheat-free products are often strange in texture or in taste. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the success of wheat-free baking lies in the kind of flour you use.
On Wheat-Free Baking
Wheat contains gluten, a protein that helps dough rise and gives shape and a chewy texture to baked goods (1). Gluten is found in many grains, including wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale (2).
“Baking without gluten can be challenging because gluten contributes important properties to baked products like cookies, cakes, pastries, and breads,” says Carol Fenster, PhD.
Instead of gluten, many gluten-free recipes rely on starch to improve the taste and texture of your food. Popular gluten-free flours are made from:
- Brown rice
- Fava beans
- White beans
These options may be gluten-free, but most aren’t suitable for the paleo diet, which bans wheat and all other grains (3).
The Challenge of Paleo Baking
The Paleo diet mimics the eating habits of our ancestors in the Paleolithic period, between 2.5 million and 10,000 years ago. At this point in time, humans lived as hunter-gatherers and did not cultivate food.
The diet restricts the consumption of dairy, processed grains, legumes, and sugar. Instead, it focuses on eating large quantities of meat, as well as fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Following a daily paleo diet is already difficult on its own, but baking takes it to a whole other level.
Here’s a list of 5 Gluten Free and Paleo Perfect for Baking: