Free up for the holidays

Gluten-Free Baking

by Laura Silber

Gluten-Free Baking

Elizabeth Cecil

Since I bake dairy-free at home, these recipes can all be dairy free as well as gluten-free, and the options are noted in each recipe. I have tried the recipes both ways and they are virtually indistinguishable from each other. I generally prefer to use hemp milk for dairy-free baking because it is creamy, full of protein, and bakes as beautifully in cakes as whole cow milk. Add one teaspoon of cider vinegar per cup to use in place of buttermilk.


Sorghum: One of the oldest known grains in human history. It is hearty and grows well in arid climates, and has been a staple food in Africa for thousands of years. It was introduced into the US around WWI, and grows well in the American South. It is naturally gluten-free, has a low glycemic index, and a mild flavor. Bob’s Red Mill makes different kinds that are available at local grocery stores around the Island, or you can order bulk amounts online through various companies.

Tapioca: A naturally gluten-free starch derived from the root of the cassava or manioc plant, which is indigenous to South America but is now cultivated worldwide. Available at Cronig’s Market and Vineyard Grocer from Bob’s Red Mill.

Potato Starch: I grew up in a family with Eastern European culinary traditions, and potato starch was an ingredient always in the pantry. It can handle higher heat than cornstarch, has a milder flavor, and can also be used in kosher foods. Although quite gummy and stretchy, it is naturally gluten-free.

Best Sorghum Flour Blend: This blend is lighter than the one I used to use. I increased the tapioca and
potato starch to give it a bit more fluff and stretch. It can be easily and successfully substituted one-for-one in place of wheat flour in most traditional cake and cookie recipes. It is similar to whole-wheat pastry
flour but with a milder and more neutral flavor. I make a huge tub of it and use it for everything: pancakes, muffins, biscuits, pie dough, cake, cookies, etc. For cookies, I still add a teaspoon of xanthan gum per recipe when adapting them to be gluten-free, but for cake recipes it isn’t necessary.

3 cups sweet white sorghum flour
1½ cup tapioca starch (also called manioc starch or tapioca flour)
1 cup potato starch

Combine all ingredients in storage container, and mix thoroughly so flours blend evenly. Store in pantry.