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Gluten-free baking with the right ingredients

Coeliac disease requires a strict gluten-free diet. As such, baking can become a bit of a challenge. For sufferers, there are now plenty of gluten-free recipes for cakes, pastry, etc. However, whipping up delicious treats requires a little more effort than simply replacing wheat flour with gluten-free flour.

Successful baking requires individual recipes and different quantities of ingredients. In this article, find out what you need to know when baking gluten-free treats, which ingredients you need and how to get the perfect pastry with a few tips and tricks.

Baking with gluten-free flour

Two gluten-free cakes in a loaf shape and unbaked bread rolls
Gluten is also known as "sticky protein", and for good reason: gluten is the component in flour that holds the dough together later on and thus ensures that it becomes elastic and voluminous. These days, there are plenty of gluten-free flour alternatives, but they all have different baking characteristics to normal flour depending on the type. It is often advisable to combine different flours to get the best baking result.
Rectangular loaf tin with gluten-free, uncooked bread rolls next to a scoop of gluten-free flour
These gluten-free types of flour are particularly well-suited to baking:
  • Buckwheat flour is a dark flour with a nutty taste. It is particularly suitable for baking bread, waffles, or other savoury foods.
  • Wholegrain rice flour is milled from the entire rice grain, including the hull. As a result, it contains more dietary fibres than white rice flour. It has a mild flavour that works well in both sweet and savoury baking.
  • Coconut flour has a slightly sweet flavour and an exotic note. Pastry containing gluten-free coconut flour requires a little more liquid.
  • Gluten-free oat flour can be used in numerous ways and goes well in both sweet and savoury foods. Gluten-free oats are generally well tolerated by most people with coeliac disease. However, a small number of people may react to the avenin in the oats. Gluten-free oats must also be avoided in the case of this intolerance.
  • Almond flour has a slightly nutty flavour and is particularly well suited to sweet baked goods such as brownies or muffins, but also as a nutty coating for fish.
  • Cornflour has a very mild flavour and can therefore be used in a variety of ways, whether in pastry or for setting flans and custards.

Gluten-free flours

How to make gluten-free dough

Beautifully decorated, gluten-free lemon muffins cooling on a rack
When baking without gluten, it is not only the type and quantity of gluten-free flour that is important, but also the baking additives such as psyllium and xanthan gum. These function as binding agents and give the dough a good structure. There are also a few tips and tricks that are useful when making gluten-free dough.
Use cling film to roll out
As pastry dough without wheat flour is usually much stickier than normal pastry dough, it is advisable to allow the dough to rest for around 10 mins before rolling it out. To prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin, place a sheet of cling film over the dough. Baking sheets made of silicone are particularly suitable as a base for working the dough.
Give the dough moisture
Dough without gluten tends to dry out quickly. To prevent this, it can be helpful to add more liquid to the dough, for example in the form of quark. Components such as nuts, vegetables and fruit also give the dough more moisture.
Preparing the tin
After baking, it can be a real challenge to get gluten-free baked goods out of the tin in one piece. To ensure the baked goods come out of the tin easily, it is advisable to line the tin with baking paper before baking.
Bake without convection
Convection/fan-assisted baking is not suitable for gluten-free baked goods, as the circulating air dries them out quickly. It is better to use conventional cooking (top and bottom heat).
Did you know: for moist yet crusty gluten-free bread, we recommend adding water-binding ingredients such as soaked linseed, buckwheat, ground tigernuts or psyllium to the mixture. They bind the moisture in the dough and the bread stays fresh for longer. Because of the high starch content, breads need to be baked for longer and on a higher temperature, as the starch can only bind moisture when exposed to heat and the bread forms a nice crust.