5 tips for mastering gluten-free baking from a local bakery pro (RECIPE)

May 18 2017, 10:32 pm

There’s no rule that mandates that just because it needs to be gluten-free it also needs to taste gross. In fact, gluten-free can be pretty damn delicious.

Joanna Schultz has definitely figured this out. She operates an award-winning artisan bakery in South Surrey called Pikanik where all the treats are gluten-free, wheat-free, nut-free, and dairy-free, and many are vegan, to boot.

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With a roster of goods available for delivery all over Metro Vancouver (their epic delivery zone includes: West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Richmond, Delta, Surrey, Langley, White Rock, Abbotsford, and Mission) or in their Surrey bakeshop, Schultz is wowing those with food allergies–and the people that eat with them–with her chocolatey cupcakes, damn fine date squares, crave-worthy cookies, breads, muffins, and even mixes so you can make your own at home.

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Speaking of making your own, for those who are ready to get baking without the potential allergens, Schultz shared with us her five tips for mastering gluten-free baking.

1. Start with a gluten-free (GF) recipe

The biggest mistake bakers make is taking a conventional recipe and just substituting a gluten-free AP flour – trust me, it won’t turn out the same. Instead, begin with specifically GF recipes — get used to new batter textures, get a sense of the different ratios used, and build some confidence before trying to modify conventional recipes.

2. Know your texturizers and flours

When you see GF recipes mention “texturizers,” they mean ingredients added to try to mimic the texture of wheat-based products. This typically means a variety of starches and often means modified starches – we use potato starch, tapioca flour and sweet rice flour as our starches and we do not use any modified starches. Chia and flax are also helpful as texturizers. We also use xanthan gum – most gluten-free baking requires an added gum which really helps hold things together. Guar gum is popular but we don’t use it because it is a bean derivative and so many people have bean/legume allergies.

For flours, I like to use finely milled brown rice flour as a dominant base in our AP Flour to boost flavour and nutrition, and sweet rice flour adds lots of moisture. For a great crust, tapioca flour is something to consider. And if you’re working on something chocolatey, you can enhance its flavour with teff flour.

3. Up the protein

Gluten is actually a protein – so, to achieve wonderful textures and chew, ensure you add protein-rich ingredients like egg, ground almond, ground flax, or yogurt.

4. Timing is everything

Gluten-free doughs and batters need time for liquids in the recipes to hydrate the dry ingredients. For cakes and cupcakes, we let the batter stand 20 minutes after mixing. This “soak-it-up” time makes a huge difference in eliminating the gritty texture that you often find in GF baking.

5. Different is good

Many GF bread recipes have a ratio of dry-to- wet ingredients that try to mimic conventional bread dough texture but this often leads to dry textures once baked.  Instead, our GF breads are made from batters — and are very wet. We do a short rise, and let the convection ovens do the heavy lifting on getting a nice high loaf. The result? Bread that is light, chewy, and satisfying!

Pikanik Pie Surrey

Photo courtesy Pikanik

Feeling brave? Schultz is sharing her recipe for a gluten-free and dairy-free lemon meringue pie, which can be a real winner for your next gathering.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 9″ pie

Lip-smacking looks and punchy lemon flavour result in a seriously delicious gluten- and dairy-free dessert. If you’re not up for making a crust (don’t be afraid–it’s easy!), you can buy a nine-inch GF pie shell, but note that it’s not likely you’ll find one that’s GF and DF.

  • 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 recipe Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Pie Crust (follows)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make the lemon-curd filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup of the sugar along with the tapioca flour, cornstarch, and salt.
Stir in 11/2 cups water and the lemon zest and juice. Whisk over medium heat until it begins to boil.

Place the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Ladle 1/2 cup of the hot lemon mixture into the bowl of yolks and whisk to combine. Add the yolk mixture to the saucepan with the rest of the lemon mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick, about 5 minutes. Use a heat proof spatula to constantly stir the curd to avoid it scorching or lumping on the bottom of the pot. Pour the filling into the pie shell when it has thickened.

Make the meringue: Whisk the egg whites in stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment until eggs start to foam. Ensure your bowl and whisk are completely clean, dry and grease free. In a small bowl, combine the cream of tartar and the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, mix to combine, then gradually add it to the egg whites while mixing on low. Whip the whites until stiff peaks form. Meringue should be glossy, shiny, and hold its shape. If it looks coarse, grainy, or watery, it has been over whipped.

Decoratively spread or pipe the meringue over hot lemon filling, making sure to cover the area where the filling edges meet the crust. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is slightly browned. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing or serving.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Pie Crust

Makes two 9″ crusts

You can use butter instead of vegan margarine if you aren’t avoiding dairy, and you can make the dough in advance, refrigerate it, and bring it to room temperature before rolling it. You can also freeze extra dough, wrapped in plastic and stored in a ziplock bag, for up to 3 months. Note: the dough requires an hour of chilling, so plan accordingly.

  • Brown Rice Flour 3/4 Cup plus 1.5 tsp
  • Sweet Rice Flour 3/8 Cup (6 tablespoons)
  • Potato Starch 1/4 Cup
  • Tapioca 1/8 Cup (2 tablespoons)
  • Xanthan 1/2 teaspoons
  • Salt 3/4 teaspoons
  • Sugar 1 teaspoon
  • Margarine 7 tablespoons (Cold)
  • 1/4 cup water (approx)

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the margarine and mash it with a fork until the dough is combined and has a loose crumbly texture. Slowly add just enough of the cold water to help the dough come together. Alternatively, mix the dry ingredients with the cold margarine (cube or break into small chunks) on low speed in a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Take care not to over mix, as butter should still be slightly chunky and mealy. Add cold water little by little and mix until dough is coarse and crumbly but holds together when pinched. Do not over mix.

Roll the dough out into one 1/4-inch-thick disk between two sheets of plastic wrap.
Peel off the top sheet of plastic wrap. Placing one hand underneath the remaining sheet of plastic wrap, pick up the dough and gently Ylip it over, dough-side down, into a pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the pan, forcing any air bubbles to escape from the sides. Carefully peel off the remaining plastic wrap, trim any dough hanging over the edges of the pie plate. Press the edges of the dough Yirmly into the corner and edges of pan. Cover the dough with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

If your recipe calls for parbaking the crust before use (as does a Lemon Meringue
Pie) preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a fork, prick small holes all over the bottom of the crust so it won’t puff up when cooking. Lay a piece of parchment paper in the centre of the pie. Top with dried beans or pie weights to weigh down the crust and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. If parbaking is not required, skip the beans step, fill the crust with your desired filling, and bake until desired doneness.

Order Pikanik online for delivery to your home or office in the lower mainland, or visit the shop. 


Address: #127 – 1959 152nd Street, Surrey
Instagram: @pikanikcreations

Lindsay William-RossLindsay William-Ross

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