Let me start off by saying I literally just started baking with gluten-free and vegan products. Before my daughter was diagnosed with food allergies to wheat, eggs, dairy, and nuts, I ate whatever I wanted. Since determining that her eczema flare ups were caused by what she was consuming from my breast milk, I had to remove a ton of stuff from my diet. I quickly realized how difficult it was to just go out to eat or grab a snack. I’ve really had to monitor what I eat rather closely. In an effort to not ingest anything that could harm Emory, I’ve started to make more meals at home. This allergen-friendly baking guide highlights the ingredients I’ve found, and recipes I’ve made using them.
Honestly, I’m not sure what’s been more difficult,watching my child suffer from eczema for months unaware that I was the cause, or seeing her eczema symptoms instantly disappear after removing wheat, eggs, dairy, and nuts from my diet. She hasn’t had a single outbreak since I changed my diet over three months ago. I should add that in addition to altering my diet, we also got rid of our cat! All of those things combined have thus far made a difference. Our next challenge will be to determine if she is in fact allergic to these items once she is no longer breastfed. The one blessing about her allergies is that they trigger eczema and not anaphylactic shock. Although her allergist did prescribe an epipen for her just in case. Currently I make all of her food. At 16 months her diet consists of pureed fruits and vegetables, pan seared organic chicken breasts, a few potato chips (she love chips!), and about 21 oz of breast milk. Once she starts sleeping through the night – no she’s not sleeping through the night – I anticipate this number will decrease.
Allergen-friendly Baking Guide | My Favorite Products
I’ve slowly started researching vegan and gluten-free recipes. Specifically recipes that assist in limiting my cravings for breakfast breads, cakes and cookies. I quickly realized that when compared to your standard baking ingredients (butter, eggs, milk, and wheat based flour) gluten-free and vegan baking ingredients yield slightly different results. Lately I’ve been working with gluten-free flours, vegan butter and flax eggs. I’ve also found that I prefer certain brands over others.
Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal | Egg Replacer
If you’re at all familiar with vegan baking then you know that finding a good egg replacer is key. Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal has yielded great results when compared to other brands. My first experience with the egg replacer was in my Vegan Cranberry Muffins. The trick to egg replacer is allowing it to sit once mixed. You want to ensure that it is the same consistency as an actual egg, before adding to your recipes.
Types of Gluten-Free Flour | What & When
There are several types of gluten-free flours on the market. Each of them producing different outcomes when baking. One of the most popular all purpose flour substitutes is almond flour. As Emory is allergic to nuts I’ve had to a play around with a few other flour options. The following list contains those that are in heavy rotation at my home.
Oat Flour is my gluten-free flour of choice and it’s perfect for cakes and crumbles. I used oat flour is my Apricot Oat Crumble and my Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars recipe. The flour is made with freshly milled whole grain oat groats and includes all of the nutritious germ, bran and endosperm. Oat flour can be used to replace up to 20% of the flour in most baked goods for unique flavor and increased nutrition.
Quinoa Flour is high in protein and high in fiber. This particular flour provides the structure and rise that gluten-free baked goods so desperately need. I’ve only used quinoa flour once, and that was to make a crispy Pear + Quinoa Teething Biscuits for Emory. I also used Tapioca flour in that recipe as it helps add crispness to crusts and chew to baked good. Use this smooth flour as a thickener in sauces, pies and soups or in combination with other gluten free flours for best results.
Nothing warms my heart more than watching Emory nibble on the cookies and cupcakes I make with her six little front teeth. My goal is to create a universal allergen-friendly baking guide that includes products safe for our kiddos. Therefore, I try to steer clear of using refined sugars in my recipes. I really like date syrup. It’s jam packed with flavor and makes homemade jams and spreads irresistible. Not only are these healthy alternatives to refined white sugar, they’re also guilt free (IMO). Lol
Most of my recipes include alternative sweeteners like:
Organic Maple Sugar
Sugar Cane Juice
There are so many amazing products out there. This list is just the tip of the iceberg. This gluten-free/vegan baking journey has become one huge science experiment. I am hopeful this allergen-friendly baking guide helps in some way. As I continue on this journey, my goal is to create a more extensive allergen-friendly baking guide. Specifically one that is truly wheat, egg, dairy and nut free!
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