GF. Gluten Free. You see that little notation on menus all the time these days. But what does it mean? Gluten Free or GF means that it’s OK for those who suffer from a gluten intolerance to eat the meal without an adverse reaction. What is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats and in products made from those grains such as flour. It’s responsible for the elastic texture in dough, which is stretched as you knead it. It helps dough to keep its shape and provides the chewy texture in baked goods. So having a gluten intolerance can be very frustrating if you enjoy bakery items!
The most common form of gluten intolerance is Coeliac Disease that affects around 1 in 100 Australians. Whilst the percentage of people with a gluten intolerance remains relatively static, what has changed is that diagnosis techniques and awareness has improved which means it seems like more people have the intolerance.
I’m not gluten intolerant but GF is mentioned on a regular basis, particularly if I’m cooking for a group or making something for a morning tea at work. I generally just cater for the masses but it can leave some people with not much to eat except a few carrot sticks. So I was very happy when Melinda from Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies sent* on a sample pack of their GF cake mixes as well as some GF flour. I made up a couple of the mixes and tested them on unsuspecting but willing guinea pigs.
Lemon Curd Delights
Contains: Cake mix and a sachet of lemon curd, to add flavour and moisture.
You Add: 100g butter, 2 eggs or 4 egg whites
Makes: 12 cupcakes or 40 mini cakes
Tastes: Butter cake with a lemony tang
Trialled: At the Monday morning executive meeting
Comments: ‘Can I have another?’ ‘I wouldn’t have know these were gluten free’ ‘A bit dry but nice taste’
Tips: * These browned very quickly, probably due to the sugar content in the curd so I turned them down to 170c and turned the fan off. Make sure you watch them. * Gluten free cakes can sometimes tend to dryness so I suggest cooking these for 2 minutes less than the stated cooking time to retain moisture and avoid drying out.
Contains: Cake mix
You Add: 120g butter, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup milk
Makes: 1 loaf
Tastes: Rich ginger flavour with hints of spice. Not too gingery for the timid.
Trialled: At a Sunday afternoon baby shower
Comments: ‘Very moist’ ‘Soft crumb’ ‘I wouldn’t know it was gluten free’ ‘Nice!’ (Miss 3)
Tips: Sift the mix into the bowl to make sure there are no little lumps of brown sugar in your batter.
A word to the innocent – whilst these delicious baked good are GF, they are most certainly not fat or sugar free! They are like any other cake in that respect so don’t go confusing GF with low fat!
If you were cooking for yourself or someone else with a gluten intolerance on a regular basis, you might want to explore what you could make with Melinda’s GF Flour. For me though, this is perfect. It gives me the option to grab something from the supermarket and have it in the cupboard as a stand by for those times when I need a GF solution.
The Company: Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies
Melinda’s is an Australian based company. Melinda is a real person. She is the owner operator of Melinda’s GFG and a qualified nutritionist. After she was diagnosed as a Coeliac she began searching for and making recipes that she would be proud to serve.
The Product: A variety of sweet and savoury cake and muffin mixes. Melinda’s developed the first GF water crackers in Australia. Check them out here.
Available: In a wide range of supermarkets, health food stores and GF specialists. Search here.
What Else?: There’s a wealth of information on the boxes including general information about gluten and suggestions for making the final products vegan friendly. The website has lots of product information, a blog and a link to a free ‘Allergy Free Entertaining’ app. Plenty to keep you busy.
*TIFFIN was supplied with samples of Melinda’s GFG to test run, by Melinda’s.