Epic fail-au gratin potatoes


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Being that it was just my husband and I for Christmas dinner this year, I went on the hunt for an au gratin potato recipe I could try.  It is truly a challenge to find a gluten and dairy free recipe. After reading and rejecting numerous recipes, I decided on this one:

Gluten-Free Au Gratin Potatoes

5 Yield: 6-8 Servings

Ingredients: 12 small potatoes, (3 lbs.) peeled or not peeled, and sliced about 1/8″ thick (enough to go about half way up the baking pan) 1 – 2 Tablespoons yellow onion, grated or minced 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (or cheese substitute*) Olive oil spray for layering 3 Tablespoons butter (or butter substitute such as Earth Balance spreads) 1 1/2 cups low fat milk + 1/2 cup half & half; or 2 cups whole milk; or 1 cup non-fat milk …

Read more at glutenfreerecipebox.com/au-gratin-potatoes/ © Carla’s Gluten Free Recipe Box

Ok, it does say gluten free, not dairy free, but I figured, I can substitute dairy free milk with no problem….or so I thought.  As you can see in the picture, the milk curdled.  Yuck!  She did indicate you could use dairy free cheese and butter substitute. I think she should have tested the recipe with dairy free milk if she was going to indicate dairy free options in the recipe.  She used half and half and milk for the sauce. I did not add cheese or cornstarch.   Someone else did say that the milk curdled in theirs too.  This was her response:

Sorry to hear you had trouble. What type of milk did you use? I used 1 1/2 cups low fat milk + 1/2 cup half & half. Cream works better than milk when it comes to preventing curdling. If it is watery, it sounds like you did not cook it long enough. You want to cook it until most of the milk is absorbed. Next time you can always crank up the heat if you are in a hurry, but if you’re worried about curdling, higher than 350 degrees tends to cause milk to curdle, as well as adding too many layers of …

Read more at glutenfreerecipebox.com/au-gratin-potatoes/ © Carla’s Gluten Free Recipe Box

I’m not sure what kind of milk the reader used. I don’t think cooking until milk is absorbed is a correct answer here.  Once milk curdles, cooking it more will not save it-not in a recipe such as this. It might work in hollandaise.  I really think I should have lowered the temperature or made the sauce and then poured over the potatoes  But I learned a lesson here-dairy free milk does not work in all cases.  Now it does work in baking cakes and such.  I have also used dairy free milk to make chicken pot pie, but it was a small amount.  There might have been other factors in this failure.

  • the use of olive oil spray in between layers
  • too many layers of potatoes
  • too much liquid

I am not faulting the recipe or the poster, but again, if you are going to say you can use dairy free cheese and butter substitute, you should indicate whether dairy free milk will work.  It seems to work using dairy milk with that one exception. I am posting this so that you can see that you are not alone in failing.  This is how we learn.  Cooking and baking gluten and dairy free is an immense challenge.

There are some things you can do to avoid this:

  • read the recipe through for ingredients.  Do not substitute ingredients
  • read the comments section to see if the recipe is a flop or a success
  • Make sure there are clear instructions

Learn from your mistakes and move on.  Don’t give up!  You can do this!

2 thoughts on “Epic fail-au gratin potatoes

  1. Pingback: Little Miss Muffet sat on a Tuffet… | Gone with the wheat

  2. Pingback: Surviving Holiday dinners gluten and dairy free | Gone with the Wheat

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