So I’ve mentioned before that my husband can’t have gluten anymore. It’s full-on baking season for me, now – and it’s finally the dreaded time of year for him where he’s really missing his baked goods. I’ve tried a lot of different kinds of flours this year since we first found out, and was really excited to try Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour, after hearing success stories from other friends in our same situation. It’s a 1-to-1 substitution for all-purpose flour that’s specifically formulated for baking, and I’m really impressed with it! My husband has been asking for blueberry muffins ever since the end of summer, and with a few tweaks, I’m thrilled to say, we’ve got a winning gluten free blueberry lemon muffin recipe here. (Okay, it didn’t really win anything but a place in our regular recipe rotation, but you know what I mean – this one is a keeper.)
The best part is that if you’re serving guests who don’t have a gluten allergy, this recipe is delicious on its own, so you can make just one recipe for everyone! Today I’m going to give you a few tips if you’re trying to bake gluten-free for what may be the first time – because this is the time of year that we bake and share, right? If someone you know can’t have gluten, then they can’t have wheat – and wheat is in SO MANY things. But don’t be intimidated. Just being aware of every ingredient, and of your kitchen space, goes a long way.
All flours are not created equal. You have to start out with a great 1-to-1 flour blend (meaning, you can substitute it into your regular recipes exactly as it’s measured with wheat flour), and I’m loving Bob’s Red Mill. It’s a blend of brown rice flour, sweet white rice flour, whole grain sorghum flour (which helps your goodies to brown properly), potato starch, tapioca flour and xanthan gum (which helps make your cookies chewy and your breads soft).
A quick note if you don’t normally bake gluten-free: check over your kitchen and your work space before you begin, if you’re serving someone with allergies. Even trace amounts of wheat can make someone with celiac disease sick – and that’s no fun for anyone! Make sure you don’t still have traces of wheat flour in your mixer or anywhere else. Don’t bake a wheat flour recipe at the same time as a gluten free recipe – all it takes is a spoon from one batch of batter to the next to cross-contaminate a recipe, even if you’ve checked all your ingredients. Check your baking powder to be sure it’s gluten free (it should be, but during processing, traces of wheat can get in there, so you want a brand that’s processed in a gluten free facility). Use paper baking cups, or regular butter to grease your pans – baking spray can sometimes contain gluten. Finally, don’t store baked goods together in the same containers.
Now, if your guests are going gluten-free voluntarily, you won’t need to be so meticulous. Trace amounts of wheat won’t affect people who choose to avoid gluten. But actual allergic reactions to gluten are similar to food poisoning or the flu, though – and that’s not a fun way to spend a holiday! My husband has been there, and it’s a bummer for everyone.
Don’t be intimidated, though – because a proper gluten free muffin or cookie is such a wonderful treat for someone who usually can’t enjoy home baked goods. It’s SO worth the extra steps!
- 1 c. Bob's Red Mill gluten free baking flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder (for gluten allergies, check that it's a gluten-free formula)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ c. butter
- ¾ c. sugar, plus a tablespoon or so to sprinkle on top
- 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (one lemon is plenty for this much)
- 1 egg
- ¼ c. buttermilk (tip: since you are already zesting your lemon, you can use fresh lemon juice and whole milk or heavy cream - I'll note that below)
- ¾ - 1 c. blueberries
- Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin tin or use paper baking cups. This recipe makes 8 muffins.
- If you don't have buttermilk, not to worry! You can prepare some, but it should rest for 10 minutes before beginning your recipe. Measure ¾ tsp. of lemon juice into a ¼ c. measuring cup, and fill it up the rest of the way with milk or cream. Stir gently and allow it to rest. It may curdle - and that's perfectly fine. You can double this if you're planning to double your recipe.
- Sift your flour and baking powder together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cream together butter, sugar, egg, salt, lemon zest, and milk. Stir the flour into the milk mixture. Finally, fold the blueberries into the batter gently.
- Pour into baking cups and bake for 28-32 minutes (remember, altitude and weather pressure can affect cook times, I'm not going to travel around the country to test for adjustments, I'm just going to note that you should check for when they brown, rather than rely on the timer).
- Note: do NOT add your batter to the oven early, be sure your oven is fully heated before adding your muffin batter. This is something I've noticed anytime I cook gluten free - and some recipes even suggest you preheat your oven 50 degrees hotter, and then turn it down as you add your recipe to account for the heat loss from opening the oven door. What you can get away with using wheat flour isn't necessarily the same when you're baking gluten free.
- Your muffins are done when they've browned slightly on the top like the photo (you can toothpick test them, too).
Most gluten free baked goods are best enjoyed right away, but we found that these muffins have held up really well for a couple of days, which says a lot about the flour! I can’t wait to start converting some Christmas cookie recipes now that we’ve found a true 1-to-1 blend – this is going to be so much easier just to use our favorite tried-and-true recipes, than to search out new gluten free ones with specialty ingredients.
Bob’s Red Mill also has other great flours, including an organic whole wheat flour and an organic unbleached all purpose white flour. You can click here to download a $1 off coupon for any Bob’s Red Mill product.
What’s your favorite thing to bake this time of year?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.