When you or a family member suffer from celiac disease, figuring out what to eat can be downright frustrating! Unless you are actually looking for gluten in food, you never really understand just how prevalent it is. It is everywhere. Not just in baked goods, but also as an additive in all kinds of other things. Who would guess that wheat byproducts can be found in baking powder, for example? But, it's true. If you are serious about going gluten free, you really need to start checking labels diligently. You should also get a handle on understanding what makes an item gluten free and start playing around with different recipes. For this example, we are going to be talking about making gluten free crackers.
It's not hard to make gluten free crackers if you can determine what grains to substitute. Of course, you are already aware that wheat is bad news. Most recipes for making gluten free crackers will be using the common gluten free flours. These include rice flour, amaranth, tapioca flour, teff, quinoa and millet. While these all have potential, the first three are the most common substitutions. Some people with celiac disease are also quite tolerant of oats, though it can't be considered gluten free in it's own right. You may want to play around with it yourself, and see if you have good luck with the inclusion of oat flour in making your gluten free cracker recipes.
When making your gluten free crackers, you will first want to examine a basic cracker recipe. Most recipes will call for a flour (white or wheat flour in the original), a leavener (eggs, baking powder or baking soda), salt and some type of fat, usually oil or butter. Of course, there are also plenty of additions as well, but they are mostly for flavor or a particular texture. Think seeds, nuts and herbs. When making your gluten free crackers, make sure that all parts of your ingredient list are gluten free in their own right. (Remember the baking powder?) Then, start substituting. Take the original recipe and just change out the wheat or white flour with rice flour on the first try. If you don't get good results, add a bit of tapioca flour or use amaranth and see if it changes the outcome. Eventually, you should be able to find a substitution that will allow you to make gluten free crackers that are similar to the original recipe. Also, make sure that you are monitoring the gluten free crackers as they bake. Changing the flour type may also change baking times, so be sure to not over or under cook your experiments.
Of course, if you never have good luck in making gluten free crackers yourself, there should be plenty of already tried and true recipes. Whether you're looking for cake or are trying to specifically make gluten free crackers, you can find someone who has played around with the process. Or, barring that, it's simple to take your favorite recipes and modify them yourself.