Where or where has my gluten free gone?  Finding gluten free ingredients 

Yesterday i I was searching for recipes on a gluten free website when I came across a comment by a poster.

“Why do you write recipes that call for ingredients that have to be special ordered?  I find this very frustrating!”

This made me reflect on the problems I have had finding some ingredients needed to make certain recipes.  I have frequently had to go to several stores to find what I need, especially for baking.   Unfortunately there is no one type of flour used in gluten free baking or from recipe to recipe.  The variety of flours available are enough to make you want to hang up your apron.

There is brown rice flour, white rice flour, coconut flour, sorghum, chickpea-I am sure I missed a few.  You have to have a pantry the size of Imelda Marcos’ shoe closet.

Once I had a bit of experience under my belt, I started using baking flours and mixes.  But even here you have to be careful.  My three main standbys are Bisquick, King Arthur and Pamela’s.  Each has a number of flours and mixes, and depending on what you are making you will need a different flour or mix.  I have learned the hard way not to substitute one mix for another in a recipe.  They have different structures and ingredients so the recipes using them use different amounts of wet and dry ingredients.  Not following this advice can spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.  And I’m not talking about Tammy Wynette.

Another way to trip yourself up is to make recipes that other posters have posted.  I find I most cases that they do not turn out well. They say they are taste but they obviously don’t have my standards.   But I digress.

It frustrates me no end that I have to run all over town to find what I need to make not only baked goods but for cooking as well.  The fear that Walmart won’t have the one ingredient that I need drives me to go to ShopRite.   But sometimes neither store has what I need so I end up having to go to the health food store.  All of this gets to be very time consuming and expensive.  I am very dedicated to my lifestyle but others may not be.  To someone just starting out on being gluten or dairy free it would be enough for them to just cry uncle.

So to the gentleman who was frustrated about having to special order ingredients I want you to know I share in your frustration.  But please don’t give up.  Here are some things you can do:

  • If an ingredient is not available to you check Amazon.  You can often buy in bulk which will save money
  • Write to the manufacturer about stocking the product in your local store
  • Speak to the store manager about stocking those products
  • Try to find substitutes – but be careful and do your research
  • Try to find a recipe using ingredients that are available to you, for example Google cake recipes+white rice flour

Being gluten and dairy free can be extremely frustrating; but it can also be very rewarding.  Don’t give up.  There are millions of recipes out there.  There is a recipe waiting just for you to discover it.  And when you do there is no hanging up your cake pans.

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