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gluten free dough basics

This great guide to Thermomix gluten free dough basics explains all the different dough types for gluten free baking. It contains top tips and some trouble shooting advice.

Learning how to bake gluten free may seem like a daunting task to many of us. But help is at hand. This handy little guide to gluten free dough basics explains all the necessary techniques to make baking a fun task again. Don’t be afraid to experiment, sometimes the humidity, weather and other circumstances can influence the outcome, so don’t be disheartened, we have all been there. I know you can do it.

Gluten Free Dough Basics

Baking gluten free requires a few basic steps that you need to know to become a successful gluten free baker. If you are new to gluten free baking, it is best to start with a pre-mixed flour blend that you can buy in most supermarkets. Although it is always best to mix your own flour blends, start simple. I will cover Gluten free flour blends in next week’s guide. For shortcrust, choux and puff pastry use the plain gluten free flour blend. For breads it is best to use a strong white gluten free flour blend. Simply follow the recipes in the gluten free dough basics guide and once you have your own flour blends, you can substitute.

The other important element in gluten free baking is creating the elasticity that binds the dough together. Because there is no gluten to activate, we need some form of gum to mimic the elasticity that a gluten dough gets. Most commonly people use Xanthan gum. There are however alternatives which work just as well. For example, chia seeds, flax seeds or psyllium husk powder work very well to absorb moisture and create elasticity and structure in your dough. You can use them whole or mill the seeds into a powder for best results. The guide is to put 1/2-1 tsp of chia seeds, flax seeds or psyllium husk powder per 140g of plain flour.

Gluten Free Shortcrust pastry

  • 175g plain gluten free flour blend
  • 1/4 tsp Xanthan gum
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 75g cold butter
  • 1 egg

Place the flour, Xanthan gum, icing sugar, cold butter and egg in the mixing bowl. Mix 20 Sec. / Speed 6. While mixing, check how dry it is by looking through the bowl. It should come together as a crumbly but smooth dough. If not, add a splash of water through the lid while mixing. Remove and form into a ball. Chill for 15 minutes. Then it is ready to be used. Make sure to roll the pastry out between two sheets of greaseproof paper dusted with flour to make it easier.

Gluten Free Choux pastry

  • 1 pinch salt
  • 80g butter
  • 120g plain gluten free flour blend
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g water

Place the water, butter, salt and caster sugar in the mixing bowl. Cook 5 Min. / 100°C / Speed 1. Add the flour and mix 20 Sec. / Speed 4. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a large rectangular tray with greaseproof paper. Mix the pastry 30 Sec. / Speed 5. While mixing, slowly crack in the eggs though the lid. Mix again 30 Sec. / Speed 5. Spoon teaspoons of the mixture onto the prepared tray and neaten with a wet finger. For choux buns bake 35 minutes without opening the door and for profiteroles bake 25 minutes without opening the door. Then remove, poke a little hole and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes to dry.

Gluten Free Rough Puff Pastry

  • 250g plain gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1/4 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 150g ice cold butter, in small chunks
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 125-150g ice cold water

To make the rough puff pastry, place the ice cold butter, flour, 125g ice cold water and salt in the mixing bowl and mix 20 Sec. / Speed 6. While mixing, check how dry the mixture is. If it seems too dry, add a bit more water to make it smoother. Place onto a generously floured surface and form into a ball. Shape into a square and wrap in clingfilm. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place the pastry between two sheets of greaseproof paper dusted with flour. Roll out to a rectangle about 20x50cm. Fold over the bottom third and then the top third. Turn so that the seam side faces you. Repeat the rolling, folding and chilling process three times until you have created some flaky layers. Puff pastry always works best when handled while chilled so make sure that it is always cold. If you are in doubt, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes in between turns.

Gluten Free Bread

  • 1 Tbsp dry active yeast
  • 150g milk
  • 150g water
  • 400g Strong white gluten free flour blend
  • 2 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp flax seed or sunflower seed

Place the milk, water and yeast in the mixing bowl. Warm 2 Min. / 37°C / Speed 2. Then add the flour, xanthan gum, salt, caster sugar, egg, cider vinegar and olive oil and mix 30 Sec. / Speed 5. The mixture will be like cake batter, quite thin and wet. If it feels too thick, add a bit more milk and water. Then fill into a 2-pound loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper and sprinkle with the flaxseed. Preheat the oven to 190°C and leave to rise uncovered for 20 minutes. Then bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until it sounds hollow.

Trouble Shooting tips

Although you have followed the gluten free dough basics, sometimes there might be something wrong. Don’t worry, here are some trouble shooting tips.

If you find that your dough is very crumbly and hard, a good way to get around that is to use vegetable oil to achieve a smoother texture and make the crumb softer and more moist.

In order to achieve a light, fluffy consistency in your finished baked goods, it is vital to increase some of the other ingredients you would usually put in your dough. The amount of baking powder needs to be increased by about 1/4 when you are using gluten free flours. Adding an extra egg can also be very helpful as a binding agent and very importantly, if a recipe calls for cinnamon or vanilla, this needs to be increased slightly to get the flavours to fully inflate. Adding about 10% more fat also helps achieve a better texture for your dough.

If your batter looks very thin, you have done something right. Just remember all gluten free batters look thinner and slightly wetter so don’t worry that is fine. Many mixtures tend to soak up moisture as they stand and thicken up so don’t be alarmed straight away. Especially if you are using chia seeds or psyllium husk powder you will notice how the dough will become much thicker over time.

If your cake or bread has sunk in the middle, there are two things to watch out for. Too much mixture in the tin can cause it to sink in the middle. Use a bigger tin or bake on lower for longer. Too much baking powder can have the same effect on the finished result.

When you are handling the gluten free dough, oil your hands slightly as they can be a sticky matter. Do not let the dough proof in the bowl, place it in the tin it needs to be baked in immediately to avoid having to handle a sticky or crumbly dough.

In order to get the best results, bake everything on lower and for longer to avoid having a dark crust and raw dough inside.

Gluten free baked goods are best eaten fresh, they don’t tend to keep very well, so make smaller batches and consume within a few days maximum.

Finally, don’t be shy to experiment with the flour blends and make your own. All the dough types in this book can be made gluten free.

I hope you liked the guide to Gluten free dough basics. To put all those tips in practice, you can purchase my book Gluten Free Cakes and Bakes for wonderful recipes to use those gluten free skills

Here are some more recipes to put the gluten free dough basics in practice.

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1 Comment

  1. Mel on January 16, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Thank you so much for posting. I’m newly gluten free and have really missed pastry and bread ????

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