Celiac Support Association

CSA Test Kitchen 

To better advise those cooking and baking in the gluten-free arena.

Our CSA Test Kitchen staff utilizes food science principles and techniques to enhance gluten-free results. Nutrient density and recipe/nutrient analysis are important factors to achieving optimal health while providing food that pleases family and friends. Thanks to the CSA Test Kitchen Staff and CSA Recipe Consultants

There are a growing number of gluten-free substitutions for wheat flour. Many of us wonder which mix or product to use when and where. What is the cost of convenience? Our test kitchen crew sifts through the ubiquitous options in the marketplace. Expect the crew to investigate products in our test and home kitchens. Expect them to do what it takes to evaluate and guide you on how to make the best choices in converting classic wheat flour recipes to gluten-free.  The goal is to use science and experience to better report to those throughout the gluten-free arena. 
Test Kitchen Coordinators: Home Economists, Melisa Belser, Yvonne Steinbach, Mary Schluckebier

Recipe Consultants:    

CSA Test Kitchen Results Technique for reducing arsenic by cooking rice. 

Flour Blends and mixes  to make in your own kitchen
GF Baking Trouble Spots and Exploring leaveners

What we are doing now

Comparison of Whole foods gluten-free Angel Food Cake 6" and homemade. See Adventures in a Celiac Kitchen recipe. Log in as a member. Both cakes were winners. The homemade version was softer, more tender and whiter. The Spring Lifeline 1995 recipe specified a 10 inch angel food cake pan, here we used two 6" spring form pans with a tall juice glass set in the center. Slightly shortter baking time was needed. 

Comparing results of cakes made with "all-purpose" gluten-free flour blends designed for equal substitution with all-purpose wheat flour. Current test kitchen favorite for white cakes is Authentic Foods  Steve's Cake Flour Blend.  Do you have a favorite? Contact US

All flours are used in two standard recipes where the flour contributes structure and flavor under various leavening conditions and no added gums. Almond Cake  Buttermilk White Cake

 Quick Almond Cake          Print version    

Log on as a CSA Member to print  "Member 0nly" recipes from the Recipe page 

2 eggs, beaten to light color (may take 5 minutes)
½ cup melted butter or margarine, cooled to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon GF almond flavoring
1 cup Gluten-Free flour or blend
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup slivered almonds
1-2 teaspoon granulated sugar

Bring ingredients at room temperature (remove eggs from the refrigerator and melt the margarine about 30 minutes before mixing.)Preheat oven to 325° F. Lightly grease or use a gluten-free non-stick spray on a 9x9 inch square pan.

With an electric mixer beat the eggs until thick and lemon-colored. This may take 3-5 minutes. Make topping and set aside. Reduce mixer speed. Gradually add the sugar, a couple of spoonful at a time. Add a slow stream of melted butter or margarine. (This way the egg can hold large amounts of oil without breaking down.) Add the flavoring. Gradually add the flour. (Beat gently or fold in the flour to maintain the volume.)

Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with sugar and almond topping. Bake about 30 minutes or until the top is light golden brown. Use a toothpick to check, not all flours promote browning. The toothpick is inserted in the center of the cake, if nothing “sticks” the cake is done. Set pan on a rack to cool. This is a rich cake or bar, so I cut and serve from the pan. The secret to success is patience when adding ingredients to the beaten eggs.

Excerpted from Adventures In A Celiac Kitchen 
This is a quick recipe to test the flavor and texture results of a “new-to-me” gluten-free flour mix. Used in the CSA Test Kitchen to evaluated baking properties of flours.

Quick Almond Bar/Cake uses eggs as the only leavening agent. As a leavening agent, the egg is whipped to incorporate and trap air. To get the most volume from the eggs in this recipe, the whole eggs are whipped first and the other ingredients added gradually to maintain much of the air in the mixture. This is a job best done with an electric mixer, beginning at a slow speed until eggs are frothy then increasing the speed. It takes about 5 minutes for the eggs to reach top volume and become thick, with a pastel lemon color. Use a slower speed when adding other ingredients. The more air the mixture holds, the more the texture will look like a cake. The less air trapped the, the more it will look like a fudgy brownie. Both are keepers—just use the name that applies.

This rich recipe works with brown rice flour, white rice flour, and commercial or homemade blend of gluten-free flour. (At least all I’ve tried.) I sift flour once or weigh for a 1 cup equivalent based upon package serving size in grams to avoid using too much flour. The heavier the flour (such as brown rice flour and soy flour blends, have more oil) the more likely the texture will be more dense like brownies. Blended flours that include a high proportion of starches will produce a fluffier product.  

Make the most of the eggs used in baking recipes using gluten-free flours. Whole eggs can be used to add leavening, structure, and tenderness, form emulsions, and hold air as a foam. Included is a recipe to check out your skills in handling eggs to develop and maintain volume. Quick Almond Bars are my go to for rehearsing a gluten-free flour mix for color, flavor, texture, smoothness, loft, mouth feel plus and cutting/crumbling properties.  Good habit is to break the eggs one at a time in a small custard cup or separate container. This allows for close inspection of structure and easy retrieval of any broken shell. Most recipes are based upon use of room temperature, size “large” eggs. An average large egg equals ¼ cup liquid, but can whip up to over three times the original volume.

Buttermilk White Cake           PrintVersion      Member Only Recipe

Combination leavening: egg whites and yolks beaten separated with buttermilk, baking soda and baking powder.

 Buttermilk Cake
From Kitchen Klatter Radio Program; Reminds us all of a traditional wedding cake

Bring ingredients to room temperature

 ½ cup butter
1/3 cup margarine
1 ½ cups sugar
2 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar 
½ teaspoon salt
6 egg whites (3/4 cup)
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon lemon flavoring
1 cup commercial buttermilk

 Cream together butter, margarine and sugar (1 ½ cup) until very smooth and fluffy with an electric mixer. Sift all dry ingredients together and add to the first mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Mix in flavorings. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the sugar (1/2 cup) slowly incorporated until shiny and stiff peaks form. Fold the stiffly beaten egg whites into the first mixture and smooth evenly into pan(s).

Bake in two eight or nine inch greased pans for 25 minutes or a 9 inch x 13 inch oblong for 30 minutes in a 350°F oven.

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