Traditional pastries are commonly made from wheat flour, either refined white wheat or whole wheat, and contain a protein called gluten. People with gluten intolerance can't digest this protein, so these individuals have to find alternative pastries made without wheat or other gluten-containing flours. There are many different types of gluten-free pastries available, including donuts, cakes, cookies, and brownies, as well as danishes and bagels. Almost every pastry and dessert made with wheat has a gluten-free alternative, and these products are often made with safer ingredients, such as rice flour, corn starch, almond flours, and coconut flour.
Popular gluten-free pastries include cookies and brownies, because these are the most easily replicated desserts that are traditionally known to contain wheat flour. Since gluten-free pastries usually contain different combinations of starches and refined flours, as well as sugar, it is often difficult to notice a difference from their wheat-flour counterparts. Every type of cake, whether it be chocolate or white cake, as well as German chocolate or black forest, can be made from gluten-free flours. Some gluten-free items will contain natural sugar substitutes or less sugar in general to make a healthier pastry; however, this is not a necessity for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Pastries typically made with gluten are sometimes hard to replicate in gluten-free cooking, as the gluten protein present in flours like wheat or rye makes the dough elastic and binding. Donuts and bagels can be made without any gluten, but are more difficult to produce due to the absence of gluten's protein structure. Gluten-free pastries, however, can have a thickener added to them to replicate this gluten, helping to resemble a traditional wheat flour baked item. These gluten-free flours are often made from ground rice, like brown rice or white rice, and can contain a combination of other flours and starches. These include, but or not limited to, potato starch, corn starch, almond and coconut flours, or even buckwheat and quinoa flour.
Popular gluten-free pastries include danishes and rolls, as well as sweet cracker cookies and muffins. Cupcakes and muffins, which are similar pastry types, are easily made to be gluten-free, and are quite popular among consumers. Most gluten-free pastries can easily be made at home by using store-bought gluten-free flours and nut meals, making these products more accessible to those who are intolerant to gluten.