28 Cooking Tips


1 large egg = 1 TBL ground Flaxseed meal plus 3 TBL water or 1 ½ tsp egg replacer plus 2 TBL water , 3 TBL apple sauce + 1 tsp baking powder, 4 TBL pureed silken tofu + 1 tsp baking powder*

1 cup milk = 1 cup milk alternative such as gluten-free almond, soy, hemp or rice milk, coconut milk (especially for desserts), 1 cup water + 1 egg yolk, 1 cup fruit juice.

1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup milk alternative + 1 TBL lemon juice or 1 TBL white vinegar (let stand to thicken), 1 cup coconut milk, 7/8 cup water or fruit juice.

1 cup butter = equal amounts of vegetable oil, or Spectrum Organic Shortening or Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, or ghee, or Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine or palm oil (when shortening is requested)

1 tsp baking powder = 1/4 tsp baking soda plus 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1 cup granulated sugar = 1 cup brown sugar (packed) , or 1 ¼ cups palm sugar, (if substituting honey, agave, or a liquid sweetener for granulated sugar use 1/2 cup liquid to 1 cup dry sweetener and increase flour by 2 to 4 TBL

potato starch can be exchanged for equal amounts cornstarch

tapioca flour can be exchanged for equal amounts sweet rice flour brown rice flour can be exchanged for equal amounts white rice flour

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate can be exchanged for 3 TBL unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 TBL vegetable oil

*Here’s what Living Without Magazine has to say about substituting eggs: “Replacing more than two eggs will change the integrity of a recipe…Because egg substitutions add moisture, you may have to increase baking times slightly. “ With Bella Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Mix and Pizza, Rolls and Focaccia Mix recipes, we find that flaxseed meal or egg replacer works well. The breads however may take a little experimenting and best substitution is determined by elevation and climate. Whatever is used in the breads, the end results will be more of a quick bread than a sandwich bread.

BELLA GLUTEN-FREE ALL PURPOSE BAKING MIX can be used as a cup-for-cup substitution for you favorite recipes. It already includes sea salt and xanthan gum. When baking cakes, cookies, quick breads or other desserts add baking soda or powder according to your recipe. If your recipe calls for 2 cups or more of flour add an additional ½ tsp xanthan gum.

Use large eggs when making recipes.

When making pie or pastry crusts, the refrigerator is your ally. Make sure eggs, water and butter are well chilled. Once the dough is mixed, store it between two pieces of parchment paper and place it in the refrigerator to chill well. If, during the rolling-out process, your dough becomes sticky again, place it back in the refrigerator to chill for another 15 minutes or so. If you resist adding more flour and instead use the cold temperature of the refrigerator, your dough will be flaky and tender.

Parchment paper is an indispensable tool for gluten-free bakers. Not do is it great when rolling out pastry dough, it also allows for quick clean up in when lining baking sheets.

When adding more than one dry ingredient to a recipe, I add them to a mixing bowl and use the whisk to blend them. Bella Gluten-Free Baking Mixes are very light due to the special blend of flours used and really doesn’t require sifting.

Expect your bread dough to have the consistency of a loose muffin batter and your muffins and bake goods to be a little thicker than that. Gluten-Free baking is in a world of its own. It will all work out in the oven.

Oven temperatures vary so experiment to with the baking times and adjust to your oven. Muffins and bake goods should be a light brown. Do not over bake. Breads however will be a dark brown in color when done and should reach 200 degrees on a kitchen thermometer. Do not under bake your breads.

When making cookies, decrease butter if they spread too much or add ¼ tsp xanthan gum. Another good method to stop the spread is to refrigerate your cookie dough for 30 minutes before baking.

Butter is my favorite fat for baking. Although it is a dairy product, it contains only traces of lactose, so moderate consumption of butter is not a problem for the lactose intolerant. People with casein allergy, however, need to avoid butter, which contains enough of the allergy-causing proteins to cause reactions. Here are a few butter alternatives I use: Earth Balance Buttery Stick, Ghee (or clarified butter), and Spectrum Organic Palm oil to be used as a healthy shortening alternative.

Sugar Substitutions: Use 3/4 cup of honey replaces one cup of sugar. Reduce other liquids by one-half cup for each cup of honey you add to the recipe. For each cup of sugar replaced, use 2/3 of a cup of agave and reduce other liquids by 1/4 to 1/3 cup. Replace the sugar with half the amount of maple syrup. Other dry sugars such as date sugar, sucanat ( a close relative to brown sugar), and palm or coconut sugar should be a 1-1 substitution.

For elevation over 7000-9000 feet use these High Altitude Baking instructions. When you live high above sea level baking takes on a new challenge, getting the yeast just right. Less yeast, believe it or not is more at higher altitudes. Measuring the yeast( 1 ½ tsp) from the package provided will stabilize the rise of the bread. Discard or use remaining yeast in another recipe. Follow the rest of the package instructions. After saying this-I have actually made the BELLA GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA, ROLLS AND FOCACCIA MIX at 7500 feet without reducing the yeast and it came out great. It can take a little experimenting. If the first time doesn't rise to at least 4" with the reduced yeast, try the full package.

In extremely humid climates, reduce water by 1 TBL at a time until your final results are bread like and cook all the way through.

When oil is called for there are a few good choice. Olive oil is high in antioxidants monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil has been shown to offer protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL ("good") cholesterol levels. This oil is definitely recommended for BELLA GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA, ROLLS AND FOCACCIA MIX. For BELLA GLUTEN-FREE MULIGRAIN and CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD a lighter vegetable oil such as a good canola, grape seed, or nut oil will flavor your bread nicely.

I often get questions about bread machines. The problem is that most older bread machines have a second kneading function automatically built in, and when making bread without gluten there is no benefit to a second kneading. When kneaded twice, gluten-free bread simply results in a denser load. There are many new machines that have a gluten-free cycle that only kneads the dough once. If you have one of these new machines, set bread machine to gluten-free cycle. Set to medium crust. Add yeast, warm water* (3/4 cup only) and sweetener to preheat cycle. Add eggs, oil and bread mix to knead cycle. Scrape down sides of pan while dough is kneading. Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing. Our bread package will make a 1 1/2 lb loaf of bread.
*We found that reducing the water by 1/4 of a cup give a better height to your bread. Of course our test kitchen is at 5000+ feet. I have had many customers use the full cup of water and had good results. These instructions are variable since each machine is different and my require some experimentation before getting the bread timing exactly right. We do not recommend using egg alternatives in the bread machine.

For more baking tips, visit frequently asked questions.