the WGV « Gluten Freedom
This page is a little Wicked Good Haven for those readers who cannot tolerate gluten. Consider this your map to the Wicked Good Vegan—and don’t be shy about commenting if you need more directions!
Hopefully this page makes those readers who cannot tolerate gluten a little happier—I’m always psyched when blogs or websites have a ‘vegan’ page that makes it easy to find the information that I want.
Below you’ll find:
- My Relationship with Gluten
- Baking by Mass (as opposed to by volume), a trick that I learned from Shauna at Gluten Free Girl
- Wicked Good Tips and Tricks about gluten freedom
- The Wicked Good Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes!
When I started digging through my recipes so as to tag them as ‘gluten-free,’ I was surprised by how many of them were already gluten-free, or could easily be made gluten-free by making sure that ingredients—e.g. soy sauce—were of the gluten-free variety.
Although I can tolerate gluten, my aunt/fairy godmother cannot, and she and I come together in an Alliance around the holidays and other family events to cook a gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free (she can’t tolerate soy or dairy, either) vegan entrée and dessert for us to share. I even wanted to call the gluten-free tag on my blog ‘Aunt Roberta,’ but I had to give in when I realised that no one would understand what that tag meant.
There’s even a sneaking suspicion that gluten intolerance is running around our family, although I suppose that there’s a certain element of denial that comes with learning that one is intolerant to gluten. Like with any lifestyle-changing belief—i.e. changing one’s relationship with religion or God, facing the hard facts about covert operations within one’s government, or even watching ‘Meet your Meat‘—new realities are often uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and inconvenient. Continuing on the harmful path down which one was heading seems so much easier.
In the end, though, it’s not, and it’s better to realise this before it’s too late.
So for those who are facing the uncomfortable decision to restructure their diet not to include gluten (or not to include animal products—or both!), think of it less as an inconvenience and more as a challenge! Maybe this won’t work as well for you as it does for me (I’m extremely competitive, and I turn activities that I don’t like into challenges just so I can be done sooner and ‘beat’ them)—but if you work in some kind of reward for completing different challenges, then maybe it can turn into a motivating factor!
I’ve learned a lot from other food bloggers about gluten freedom, most notable Shauna a.k.a. Gluten Free Girl, who blogs at Gluten Free Girl and the Chef.
One of the most interesting things that I’ve learned from her is the merit of baking by weight instead of volume. In a nutshell, this means using a simple kitchen scale to weigh ingredients such as flour, sugar, and fats (Earth Balance or oil) in a recipe.
A cup is a unit of volume as opposed to a unit of mass. Note that ‘1 c’ of something can weigh anywhere from 70 grams (broccoli florets) to 330 grams (maple syrup)—and a cup of lead and a cup of feathers would have even heavier and lighter units of mass respectively. Saying ‘a cup of something’ is like saying ‘a five-foot-eight woman’—two examples of such things could be considered the same in one unit of measure, but vastly different in mass.
Units of volume were created for bakers who cooked by average, rather than by precision. In that spirit, I’m going to start listing applicable recipes by weight (the flour, sugar, fat, and binders, at least), with the volumetric measurement given in parentheses.
The magic of this is that gluten-free individuals (or anyone!) can substitute by mass as opposed to by volume. Since two cups of two different kinds of flour might have different masses, substituting cup-for-cup won’t produce the same results as substituting by weight. In order to produce more reliable and accessible recipes, I’m going to start incorporating mass measurements. I hope that you find it helpful!
Of course, it might not be perfect in all instances, so I’m sure that there’s an element of ‘eyeing it’ that will come in handy somewhere down the line, but life’s unpredictable like that, so embrace it! If you mess up, then clean up and start over. And give yourself a Justin’s Dark Chocolate organic peanut butter cup as a reward for your perseverance.
After reading about baking by mass, one night I said to Ryan:
“I’m going to buy a kitchen scale.”
“You are!? … How soon!?”
Gadgets are exciting, and kitchen scales are cheap! I end up getting a few kitcheny gadegets on amazon.com, and I went there to find a kitchen scale.
I ended up with this Ozeri ZK011 kitchen scale, which I bought based upon the following criteria:
- It has a nice form factor (round shape with a small rectangular extension for buttons)
- It tares automatically, which means that I can put a bowl on it, zero it out, add one kind of flour, zero it out, add another kind of flour, zero it out, etc.
- I thought that the chrome/black plastic combination would be best executed with the relatively cheap materials in the construction (I was right, the materials are pretty well done for the cost)
- CR2032 batteries aren’t a problem for me
I’ll also be adding tips and tricks as I come across them. Besides grabbing a kitchen scale, the most important one that I can think of right now is to research! There’s a search bar in the top of your browser window for a reason—use it! If you find a recipe that’s almost gluten-free, then Google for a substitution for that last ingredient so that you can enjoy it.
Just like with making vegan substitutions, you’ll find your own way to freedom as you keep forging forward down that path. If you do stumble upon anything particularly interesting, then leave it in the comments below!
You can either check out the category:gluten-free list on its page here, or peruse below!
vegan gluten-free Apricot-Orange Bread (also soy-free)
Split Pea Soup (also soy-free)
vegan New England Clam Chowder, part 2 (also soy-free)
gluten-free Thumbprint Cookies (also soy-free)
Criminally Simple Lentil Soup (also soy-free)
Spicy Squash Soup (also soy-free)
the Wicked Good Vegan