Nov 15 2014
Even with all the health benefits of going gluten-free, I know many of my friends and family have a hard time imagining a life without gluten. Even if they like the taste of gluten-free alternatives, they still dislike the texture. And theyâ€™re right. Baking is especially difficult without gluten proteins to hold certain foods together, but believe it or not, thereâ€™s a simple solution to that crumbling bread dough and weak pasta: psyllium husks.
What Are Psyllium Husks?
Psyllium husks are the outside portion of the seed of the psyllium plant. You can get them in whole husk form or in a powder. WebMD recommends psyllium husks as a natural cure for constipation. In fact, if you canâ€™t find them in the health food section of your grocery store, look for colon cleanser in the pharmaceutical section, because itâ€™s often just psyllium husk powder.
But donâ€™t be alarmed. For most recipes, you only need a few tablespoons of psyllium husks, which isnâ€™t enough to really clean you out. If you do a lot of baking, though, youâ€™ll be pretty regular!
Baking with Psyllium Husks
Gluten-free baked goods have come a long way, but there are still many benefits to making your own baked goods from scratch. For one, many manufacturers of gluten-free products add extra sugar or fat to help it taste like a gluten-filled product. If you want to avoid these nutritional hazards and feed your loved ones healthier options, baking at home is a great option.
While gluten-free foods such as cakes and cookies hold up pretty well, other baked goods need a bit of help. Bread loaves, rolls, pizza dough, and pasta all rely heavily on gluten proteins to stay together. These are the foods that benefit most from a little psyllium husk. Whole husks usually work better than psylium husk powder, but you can substitute either in the same amount your recipe calls for.
What if you have a recipe that doesnâ€™t call for psyllium husk at all? If youâ€™re trying to make a gluten-free version of a wheat-based recipe, start with a gluten-free flour mixture that you like. Then, experiment! Every baker seems to have their own perfect flour-to-psyllium husk ratio, so find yours! Gluten Free Girl uses just 10 grams of psyllium husks for every 420 grams of flower. Most bakers use anywhere from a pinch to 6 tablespoons of psyllium husks per loaf of bread, but every food is a bit different.
If youâ€™d rather start with some tried-and-true recipes, check out this coconut flour flatbread or sweet potato and rosemary protein bread. If texture is whatâ€™s stopping your loved ones from going gluten-free, then a little psyllium husk might just do the job!