It always seems that grains get a bad rap, especially when you are first learning about real food. Many people with health problems try gluten free first before anything else. Going gluten-free just wasn’t enough for me. I ended up going almost completely grain-free for the past two years. I do sometimes eat rice and corn but I was not able to really use most gluten-free flours and flour mixes. Many of the grains used in gluten-free mixes are not properly soaked or sprouted so they caused me the same digestive issues that gluten did! Imagine that?
The Grain-free Baking Learning Curve
When I first went grain free, I was at a loss for what to use to bake sweet treats and how to be successful at it. I tried many recipes and made many mistakes. I want to share those with you so that you can avoid these common mistakes!
5 Mistakes to Successful Grain-Free Baking
- Your expectations are too high – grain-free recipes are not the same as recipes with grains. You might see some amazing looking coconut flour graham cracker recipe on my site and think: “WOW! This is going to taste like regular old graham crackers”! Wrong! Grain-free recipes will give you a nice throw back feel to the real thing but it will not be the real thing. There is just something truly special about grains, right?!
- Treating grain-free alternative flours the same as regular grain-containing flours – Coconut flour is not the same as regular flour. It is very absorbent and recipes containing coconut flour have a very different ratio of wet to dry ingredients. Be careful when converting recipes using coconut flour. If you are just starting out, use recipes you know have been tested. Many coconut flour recipes out there can look great in a photo but most are dry and chalky and require an entire glass of milk or water just to swallow them. No joke – I have tried many like this! This is why I love my coconut flour muffin recipe…it is moist and delicious and I can eat them without a drink! Coconut flour is also not great at becoming very crunchy and crispy like almond flour.
- Assuming grain-free treats are healthy enough to eat all of the time – eating grain-free treats are about the same as eating any treat. You don’t want to over-do it. If you are prone to binging on goodies, you will probably binge on grain-free goodies too! The one thing they do have going for them is that many include tons of healthy fats and eggs which are very filling – so you may not eat as many as before.
- Not understanding what is really in grain-free flours – Almond flour is a commonly used alternative grain-free flour but have you ever thought about how many almonds are in one cup of almond flour? 90 almonds! When would you ever eat 90 almonds in one sitting? There are many downsides to eating so many nuts at a time which you can read about in detail here.
- Not listening to your body – just because something is grain-free doesn’t mean your body is going to like it. I personally, for example, have trouble eating almond flour. It gives me a stomach ache. Nice label (grain-free) or not, I can’t eat it. So I use coconut flour. You might be the opposite or you might not be able to eat either in which case you will love this recipe for Flourless Brownies which are grain-free and use no alternative flours at all! My point is -listen to your body and do not overdo it. Test various flours and recipes and see what works for you.
Interested in Learning More?
Don’t struggle and make the same mistakes I did. If you are interested in learning more about grain free baking and you want recipes that actually work and are delicious, I highly recommend Indulge! by Carol who blogs at Ditch the Wheat.
This beautifully photographed cookbook contains 70 grain-free recipes and an excellent introduction to the basics of grain free baking.
What You’ll Learn
- Basics: intro to grain-free ingredients, storage of ingredients, baking prep and methods, how to switch ingredients
- Icings, Sauces and How-to’s like how to make your own chocolate chips, sprinkles, and dairy free condensed milk
- Recipes: Cakes, Treats, Bars, Pies & Tarts (yes–pie crusts!), Cold Treats, Cookies, Fair Treats, Cupcakes and Muffins
These are my personal favorites…
Chocolate Truffle Cake
Classic Vanilla Cake
Don’t those look amazing?! I have personally tested many of the recipes in this book and am surprised at how good they all are! Sure you can Google recipes but if you want all of them in one place and have the peace of mind they are good recipes, then this is your guide.