BakingPhil Project: Gluten-Free Foccacia Detour


As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve run into the challenges of industrial, professional level baking instructions in the text On Baking. Mainly, the issue of scale. Even if I could eat two sheets of brownies, should I? So instead of relying on the single book for this baking project, I’ve decided to try different books and methods.

This week I tried a recipe from a gluten free baking cookbook. Really, how different can GF baking be? Silly me. The answer is…..very different. First of all, the ratio of liquid to dry ingredients is almost the inverse, with about a 110% liquid. This makes the “bread dough” batter-like and very unwieldy. Relatedly the process of mixing is different. A food processor is used instead of a standing mixer. The liquid, a mixture of oil and milk, is usually heated, cooled and mixed along with eggs before being added to the “flour” tapioca, buckwheat, almond or coconut. This will take me a while to get used to. Despite the effort and strangeness, the end product yields an airy flavorful bread. Given my recent lesson in focaccia, I decided to try the gf focaccia recipe to have with a bowl of warm lentil soup, dal.

I’ve made at least two mistakes so far:

  1. The recipe called for light buckwheat. I got regular buckwheat. So, although the focaccia is tasty, it doesn’t have the look of a Roman focaccia. Instead, it looks like brownies. What a cruel joke for someone imagining the taste of a decadent chocolate confection! When making healthier options, looks are very important. Next time definitely, LIGHT buckwheat.
  2. The recipe warned to mix thoroughly. I didn’t. The two lumps I found were horrible and grainy to taste, like having sand in my mouth. Yuck. I’m suffering from the gentle mixing dictates of regular baking and am having a difficult time adjusting to batter than needs a heavy hand. Oh well…..its a learning process. Baking is fascinating. Gluten-free and regular baking, are like two different languages with similar end products but very different methods and ingredients.

The other gluten-free recipe I tried this week, unrelated to baking, was Cauliflower Fried Rice. Amazing how the finished dish looks like regular fried rice. As I said, when offering healthy alternatives, aesthetics is SUPER important. It was easy to make and delicious to eat. Will make this again and again regardless of my flexible status as a gluten free eater.


I appreciate and enjoy the creativity involved in these gluten-free dishes. Makes me rethink ingredients, textures, ingredients, aesthetics and taste. While GF cooking is not without its own challenges, GF Baking feels paradoxical and ironic.

As you know, I savor irony.

Wishing you Happy Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free eating,


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