Jumping into gluten-free baking

Wheat flour is a pretty essential staple in the baker's kitchen. When mixed with water, it forms gluten to provide structure to all kinds of things from cakes to muffins to phyllo. The lovely Big Al is sensitive to gluten and is trying to reduce her consumption of dairy, soy and sugar as well. So, I am embarking on a new baking journey to try out gluten-free recipes for her. I was surprised by the wide selection of “alternative” cookbooks at Chapters, and picked out Gluten-Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly. This author has trained at Cordon Bleu and Lenôtre Pâtissier so I hope her experience will translate into tasty baked goods, rather than the unpalatable products that are often found in health food stores.

I'm still stocking my shelves with new flours, starches and other ingredients. Here is where I bought some of the items I needed. Most of the flours are available from retailers that carry a wide selection of Purely Bulk or Bob's Red Mill products. This list isn't definitive, only what I recall seeing or what I have actually purchased:

brown rice flour×× ×××
potato starch× × ××
tapioca starch  ××××
sweet rice flour  × × 
sorghum flour    ××
xanthan gum   ×× 

Some notes:
  • HF - Highland Farms Mississauga, L - Loblaws Credit River Market, T&T - T&T Mississauga, WF - Whole Foods Market Oakville, PO - Planet Organic Port Credit, A - Ambrosia Natural Foods Thornhill
  • Potato starch may be labelled potato starch flour, but is not the same as potato flour.
  • Most of the health food stores I called in Mississauga carried xanthan gum, but none had tapioca starch.
  • If anyone lives in the Mississauga area and wants to share some xanthan gum (I have a 227 g container), contact me.

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