Gluten-free mixes for baking are available in a variety of options. They are first and foremost made from a combination of individual ingredients that do not contain gluten, a protein found in wheat flour that is not digestible by people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy. Gluten-free mixes are made of a combination of dry ingredients to which egg, water, milk, butter or oil can be added to create a base for making a variety of baked goods such as pancakes, cookies, breads, muffins, and so on.
There are specific gluten-free mixes for making bread, pizza crust, and cookies and there are also all-purpose or multi-purpose mixes suitable for making pancakes, crepes, waffles, biscuits, or any variety of baked goods. Multi-purpose gluten-free mixes are ideal because of the variety of uses, but mixes created specifically for one type of food are just as plentiful. These mixes are available from both independent manufacturers as well as bigger national brands.
As a specialty food addressing a dietary need, gluten-free mixes were once reserved for specialty food manufacturers, but national brand food manufacturers have expanded their lines to address a growing consumer interest in gluten-free products. Consumers can now choose between national brand, independent brand, or from-scratch mixes. It is quite possible with the combination of readily available mixes to make many of the baked goods gluten-free dieters may have once sacrificed.
The most common ingredient in a gluten-free mix is brown and white rice flour. It is also common to find some combination of other ingredients including corn and potato starch, tapioca flour, soy flour, almond meal and xanthan gum. One of the primary dietary concerns with gluten-free baking — with or without a mix — is the added cholesterol. Many recipes call for 2 to 3 eggs to provide binding, which is more difficult to achieve without the gluten. Other concerns that should be noted when using gluten-free baking mixes include the presence of soy, nuts and dairy. There are a few select mixes that are free of diary, nuts and gluten to address very specific food allergies.
Gluten-free mixes for baking can be found at most grocery chains as well as specialty health food stores. These mixes, like other baking mixes, should be stored in airtight containers and should not be used beyond their expiration date. Remember that even though a product may be labeled as gluten-free, any added ingredients must also have no gluten in order for the finished baked good to be gluten-free.