People living in Australia are very lucky in that there is an enormous variety of Australian gluten free products readily available online and at the local supermarket. However, many people don’t understand how to use these food products, which can lead to disappointment when a gluten free lasagna or chocolate cake is pulled from the oven.
With that in mind, continue reading to discover top tips for cooking with popular gluten free products.
Pasta is a pantry staple for many of us and gluten free varieties mean that even those who are coeliac can enjoy a delicious plate of spaghetti bolognese.
Pasta typically contains wheat, making it off-limits for those following a gluten free diet. However, gluten-free pasta is typically made using different grains, including corn, millet buckwheat, quinoa, and rice.
In terms of cooking your gluten free pasta, you are best off referring to the packet instructions. Typically, gluten free varieties have a different density to their gluten counterparts, which means that cooking time may vary.
There are a few other tips you should follow to ensure that your pasta meal turns out as expected:
● Check the serving size: Gluten free pasta tends to expand more when cooked. As such, pouring your regular serving size into the pot may result in you having far too much food on your plate. As a guide, check the serving size on the packet.
● Stir regularly: One of the biggest complaints people have about gluten free pasta is that it is too ‘sticky’. This stickiness is actually the starch and the easiest way to get rid of it is by making sure that you are stirring the pot regularly. Alternatively, you can also add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pot to prevent individual pasta strands sticking together.
● Don’t leave it to sit: It can be hard to coordinate your pasta and sauce cooking so that everything comes together at the same time. However, you should avoid getting into the situation where you have to leave the cooked pasta to drain and sit in the colander. Doing so will cause it to lump together and can result in an unpleasant tasting dish.
Flour is one of the main ingredients in a lot of essential foods, including bread. As such, gluten free flour is an important food source for coeliac people.
There are many different varieties of gluten free flour, each with their own recommended uses. Gluten free flour is that in which the wheat has been replaced by a non-gluten grain — for example, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, almond, oat, or chickpea.
When using gluten free flour in baked goods, many people find it useful to combine multiple varieties of flour. This can help get the right consistency for your cake or muffins. It is also recommended that you use additional binding ingredients, which can help make sure that your baked product rises as expected. These binding ingredients can typically be found at a grocery or health food store and include xanthan gum, guar gum, and arrowroot.
You should also consider the taste of both your gluten free flour and your end product. If you are cooking a very light dish — lemon cupcakes, for example — be sure to pick a gluten free flour that does not have a very strong and overwhelming flavour palette.
Not everyone realises that bread crumbs — the kind used to make chicken schnitzels — usually contain gluten and are therefore off-limits to coeliac sufferers.
The good news is that there is a wide range of gluten-free substitutes that can be used to exactly the same effect. Rice crumbs, for example, can help create a crispy outer coating for all your favourite baked and fried meals.
If you have recently been diagnosed as coeliac and enjoy a good snack, never fear. There are a wide range of snack options at your disposal that are both naturally gluten free and also made using gluten free substitutes.
If you’re buying packaged and processed foods, the general advice is to read the ingredient list carefully. Gluten free food usually advertises its coeliac-approved status, but it is still worth checking whether the product has been manufactured at a facility that also processes wheat-based products (there will be a small disclaimer on the back of the packaging).
Generally speaking, it is best to opt for raw, unprocessed foods when looking at your snack options. Not only are they less likely to contain gluten, but they will also be better for your overall health.
As mentioned, fresh produce tends to be gluten free. Fresh fruits and vegetables, for example, do not contain gluten. Canned and tinned fruit, on the other hand, can be coated in preservatives that contain traces of wheat, rye, and barley.
Natural dairy products — like milk, unprocessed yoghurt, and cheese — are also gluten free. However, sugary treats, like frozen desserts — are not always safe for those following a gluten free diet. Again, remember to read the packaging!
Australian gluten free products are amongst the best in the world when it comes to taste and nutritional quality. Try some today to discover for yourself!