Wow, we sure did cover a lot in May and June. In case you missed any of them, here are all the allergy free ingredient swap resources I shared in the May and June Newsletters. This includes:
- How to make your own gluten-free all purpose flour if you don’t have access to the gluten free bakery Boulder is home to.
- How to identify gluten on food labels with a gluten names list to download
- How to identify dairy on food labels with a dairy names list to download
- How to use potato flakes instead of breadcrumbs
- No-soy and gluten-free soy sauce options
- Using coconut milk for dairy-free cooking
Make Your Own Gluten-Free AP Flour!
This is the blend I use anytime I need a little flour; to thicken a sauce, or help bind a patty, to dust my chicken for a chicken marsala or when making breaded chicken tenders. When it comes to gluten-free flours, there is no one flour that exactly replaces wheat. So it is very common to see multiple flours used everywhere. This blending produces the best end result which is closer to wheat flour than just using one replacement flour.
In a pint jar, mix equal parts brown rice flour and tapioca starch. Seal and store on the shelf! Sometimes I add in a little almond flour too.
All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend Recipe:
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
To add almond flour, mix in 1/2 cup almond flour to the blend above.Bob’s Red Mill is my preferred brand for gluten-free flours. The company has a dedicated facitily for their gluten free line, which means you know you are not at risk for your flours having any cross-contamination with wheat flour. My baked goods always come out great.
How to Identify Gluten on Food Labels
Hidden gluten in ready-made foods places many of us at risk for not feeling too good. If you’re new to the gluten-free diet, you need to understand what the term “gluten-free” actually means on food and product labels.
First of all, “free” doesn’t necessarily mean zero. Instead, it suggests an acceptable level of gluten as determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I don’t know about you, but I want my products to have NO GLUTEN in them at all, so this “acceptable” level they decided doesn’t work for me.
Manufacturers are not required to disclose this tiny bit of gluten on food labels, making it difficult to choose “safe” products if you have extreme gluten sensitivity.
So, it is up to us to be armed with the knowledge of all the words that could mean gluten so you know exactly what you are buying and eating.
Gluten-Free Names List
I put this list together so you can get to know all the names gluten can be disguised as. Wheat can be called semolina (like in pasta), or modified food starch (in a dried seasoning packet) and barley malt, or just malt. Ingredients can be listed on a product that mean wheat or gluten, without the box ever actually saying “wheat!!
Click here to download the list so you can better understand what’s in the packages you are buying.
** This is not a complete or exhaustive list. New ingredients and blends and extracts can be made that I haven’t captured. Please do not consider this to be the only source, but a great place to start from.
How to Identify Dairy on Food Labels
So last week we talked about how gluten can be hidden in food, what about dairy? For me, this is absolutely a source of potential digestive upset and frustration. I don’t feel well when I eat dairy and it can be a challenge to find hidden dairy in products. For example, did you know that dairy can be found in salami and cured meats?
Dairy-free does not get the same kind of labeling rules and attention like gluten does. And yet, it can be a huge source of digestive problems for people just like gluten is. Check out the list below to learn all the words that could mean “dairy” in your ingredient list if you are trying to avoid it.
Dairy-Free Names List
Here is a compilation of all the words and ingredients that could mean dairy. The length of this list is a bit daunting. If you are sensitive to dairy, then these words are a valuable tool to helping you determine which products are safe for you.
Click here to download the list and really look at all those words. Does some of this surprise you? For example, “caramel flavoring” and even “caramel color” could mean dairy. And if you pick up a “lactose free” cheese or milk, that doesn’t mean there is no dairy. There is probably casein in it, which is the milk protein.
I would love to hear what you think about this list and if you were surprised about any of it.
** Note, this is not a complete or exhaustive list. New ingredients and blends and extracts can be made that I haven’t captured. Please do not consider this to be the only source, but a great place to start from.
Potato Flakes instead of Breadcrumbs
When you are making a traditional meat dish like meatloaf or meatballs, usually you would use some breadcrumbs mixed with milk to help create moisture and binding. The breadcrumbs help keep the meat proteins from shrinking too much and becoming tough. They literally create pockets of space that happen to also be tender and soft. Well, with gluten-free bread that is made of rice or some other grain, it just doesn’t benefit the meatball like wheat bread does. Gluten-free bread is much denser and usually drier and contains much more starch than wheat bread.
The idea to use potato flakes instead came from America’s Test Kitchen. Their book “The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook” is full of great gluten-free tips including how to make a tender meatloaf or meatball. Read their testing process on page 146. They use 1/3 cup potato flakes for 2 pounds of meat.
I now only use potato flakes in my meatloaf or meatballs and have even used it instead of breadcrumbs in other recipes, which you will see below. Look for the plain dried potato, usually in a box near the rice at the store.
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Gluten-Free Salmon Cakes
Here is a recipe where I use dried potato flakes. I think fish cakes of all kinds can taste great with a little baked potato added. Instead of baking a potato for these, I use those flakes that I already have in my pantry. They are a quick and easy solution especially for a salmon cake where you don’t need too much.
And if you are going to have potato flakes in your pantry, you can search for other ways to use it including breading fried chicken!
No-Soy and Gluten-Free Soy Sauce Options
Did you know that regular soy sauce contains wheat? The traditional method of “brewing” soy sauce combines soy beans with wheat to add aroma, sweetness, and help with the fermentation process. Even though soy sauce is a liquid, you might think it’s fine to use if you are gluten-free, but that really depends on your level of sensitivity.
Tamari can be used interchangeably for a gluten-free option instead. Tamari is also a soy product, is brewed without wheat, has a very similar taste, and can be used in any Asian dish you are making at home. Tamari is specifically a Japanese form of soy sauce traditionally made as a byproduct of miso paste, so it does taste slightly different than soy sauce, but not enough to notice a difference in your cooking.
I trust the San-J brand. If you are purchasing any other brand, always check the ingredient label.
Do you need a soy-free option? I just love using Coconut Aminos in my Asian cooking. It is a little sweeter than soy sauce or tamari, so when I cook with it, I tend to add a little more salt to the recipe, or a splash of fish sauce to balance it out. The ingredients are simple, just coconut tree sap aged with sea salt. It is a similar product to Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, which is something I used to have around all the time.
This product is now a regular item at the grocery store since Paleo cooking has become so popular. Paleo recipes use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce to get that Asian, salty taste without using a soy product.
Here are some recipes to use your tamari or coconut aminos in:
Asian Style Tempeh Kabobs
This is a recipe from my archives that features both tamari and coconut aminos in the sauce. You can use just tamari or just coconut aminos depending on your dietary needs. They both taste great in here, and shows my tendency to use a little of both.
This is an incredible recipe, and super easy as you marinate the chicken overnight and then bake the next day. It creates so much flavor. Just use tamari instead of the soy sauce listed in the ingredients.
Coconut Milk for Dairy-Free Cooking
If you need to eliminate regular dairy cream or milk from your cooking, coconut milk makes a great non-dairy replacement! Coconut milk is a creamy liquid blend of puréed coconut flesh and water. It’s a popular ingredient in Indian, Asian and Caribbean cooking, where it’s often used in curries.
Coconut milk has the consistency of very thick cow’s milk, and is often sold in a can. Due to its thickness, it makes an excellent addition to smoothies, soups and stews. Most often the thickest part of the coconut milk rises to the top of the can and can be scooped out and used like cream. You can place the can in the fridge overnight to help ensure that thick layer comes to the top.
Replacing Milk – use a nut milk or coconut milk from the shelf-stable tetra pack, (thinner consistency). Make sure it is unsweetened and contains no vanilla!
Coconut Milk instead of Heavy Cream – use the thick part of the coconut milk from the can. Place the can in the fridge overnight so you get a nice solid layer at the top of the can.
I cover techniques like this in my upcoming Dairy-Free Cooking course. I am finishing up the details in this course now and plan to launch it in about 3 weeks. This course is incredible. If you have specific questions about Dairy Free cooking, hit reply and let me know. I have a little time left to make sure it gets in my course!
What about the other ingredients in that can of coconut milk?
Coconut milk is usually made up of coconut and water. But some brands of coconut milk also contain a stabilizer called guar gum. This helps to keep the coconut milk from separating. If you have a sensitive digestion and are avoiding gums, it is easy now to avoid this ingredient. The only difference with using this version is that your creamy sauce or soup might need a little extra blending if the coconut milk separates a little during the cooking process.
Here are the two brands I tend to find easily that contain no gums: