Tips for Mixing Gluten-Free Doughs and Batters
7 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Gluten-Free Baking Tips and Tricks
You prepare most gluten-free recipes the same way as traditional wheat recipes, although you can skip some steps when mixing gluten-free doughs and batters. For instance, adding liquid and flour alternatively to a creamed butter and flour mixture isn’t necessary. You can just combine all the ingredients and beat for a few minutes. That saves you lots of time and work in the kitchen.
Gluten-free batters and doughs are different from wheat batters and doughs. Because the flours don’t contain gluten, you need to build structure in other ways. Combining flours and starches is the easiest and, really, the best way to make good doughs and batters.
Keep these points in mind when mixing gluten-free doughs and batters:
Stir flours, starches, gums, salt, and yeast or baking powder together until they’re one color so that everything is evenly distributed before proceeding with the recipe. Use a wire whisk to make sure the dry ingredients are well combined. Gluten-free doughs have different colors, so mixing until the colors are blended tells you that they’ve been thoroughly combined.
If you don’t use a scale to measure flours and mixes, always measure by spooning the flour or mix lightly into a measuring cup and leveling off the top with the back of a knife.
Always mix the additives, such as xanthan gum or guar gum, into the dry ingredients before you add the wet ingredients.
Beat the batter longer than the traditional recipe suggests. Because the recipe has no gluten to overdevelop, you don’t have to worry about creating a tough product. But these flours need a little extra time to absorb water and hydrate properly so they form a nice crumb. And beating adds air to your recipes, which creates the airy texture you’re looking for.
You mix most gluten-free quick breads like wheat quick breads — just until the ingredients are combined.
You usually beat cookie doughs and batters for a minute or two to hydrate the dough and form the crumb structure.
Beat cakes for a minute or two. Folding in beaten egg whites can help make the cakes fluffier and lighter.
Beat bread doughs and yeast breads with a mixer, using the paddle attachment, for several minutes to add air and develop the protein structure. You don’t knead gluten-free bread doughs, because they’re soft and sticky.
For pie crust, you may need to add more flour until a soft dough forms. Chill the dough before rolling it out.
A food processor can help mix doughs thoroughly and in little time. Process the ingredients until they’re well mixed. Add a few more seconds of processing time if the recipe tells you to beat by hand or with a mixer for a few minutes.
If a recipe calls for a dough to be refrigerated, follow those instructions to the letter. Resting time lets the flours absorb more of the liquid in the recipe so the protein structure can develop.
Use pans to shape most gluten-free doughs and batters. Most of these recipes are softer than wheat-based doughs. In fact, a kneadable gluten-free dough is very rare! Use loaf pans, jellyroll pans with sides, muffin tins, and cake and springform pans to shape doughs and batters.