Friday, November 15, 2013

my first gluten free baking class

this week brandon and i attended our first gluten free baking class. it was taught by zingerman's, which is a world famous deli/restaurant/bakery in ann arbor. they have AWESOME baking classes and this is the second one we've done there. the first class we did we took home 8 coffee cakes between the two of us so i only had dreams of how many baked goods we'd take home in the gluten free class!

the recipes we worked on in class were:

  • gluten free white bread
  • gluten free focaccia bread
  • gluten free dark chocolate brownies
  • gluten free banana muffins 

what i love about these classes is that you learn a ton and the classes are so easy. all of the ingredients are pre-measured for you and the baking class assistants do all the clean up and dishes! plus, you get to taste (and take home) everything you bake. its pretty much the best way to feel like a world class baker, in my opinion!

my pre-portioned ingredients for the gluten
free white bread

i learned a lot about gluten free baking, and other baking tips in general. here are a few things i didn't know before the class:

  • there are two "types" or purposes of gluten free flours. there are blinders/stabilizers which bind the ingredients together and then there are fillers which essentially give the baked good body and substance
  • if you crack an egg flat on the table, versus on the rim of a bowl, you are less likely to get broken egg shells and chips (this really did work!)
  • never punch a gluten free bread dough and let it rise again
  • most gluten free bread batters will bake in the shape you leave them in, so smooth them out or put them in a pan if you want a specific shape. use a pipe bag to make dinner rolls or baguette type shapes
  • ground flax seeds can be used as an egg replacement
  • more sugar is why brownies are chewier than cakes (the recipe we used to make brownies had only 6 tablespoons of flour, no joke!)
  • vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world next to saffron
  • warm water is used in gluten free recipes because it helps activate the "gums" used (like xantham gum or guar gum)
  • salt content is not regulated in the industry so thats why its better to use unsalted butters in baked goods 
  • butter is purchased by the fat content, so the more expensive the butter, the more fat it has

here i am stirring up some bread dough

brandon and i have a ton of fun at these classes. this one was a little unique because i got to hear about the other classmate's journeys as to why they were learning to bake gluten free. a lot of the participants were there to help learn on behalf of a loved one, which of course touched a soft spot in my heart. brandon cooks and eats gluten free to support me, so i appreciate all of the effort that goes into supporting a gluten free friend :)

we also left the class with a recipe to make our own gluten free multi-purpose flour blend. it will be nice to get to a point where i can get crafty with my own blends, but having a point to start from is so helpful.

the dark chocolate brownies. they are so moist!

i normally don't like focaccia bread but this is SO good

the awesome white bread. best gluten free bread i've EVER had -
and now i know how to make it! wahooo!

banana muffins - can't wait to try these with zucchini

i took the focaccia bread and muffins to work and they got rave reviews. hopefully when i try and recreate them at home they will still taste awesome!

happy bakers. 

has anyone else out there tried a baking or cooking class? what did you love or hate about them?


  1. That looks like fun!! And by the way, totally random, but maybe because I've never met you in person, every time I see a picture of you that doesn't immediately look like your profile picture, I get so thrown off. haha. My goal for 2014 is to take a cooking class of some sort.

    1. Ignore my crazy, wild hair and then maybe it looks a little more like me :) Do you have a Sur La Table near you? They do a TON of cooking classes on all different types of cuisine! I'd like to do one of those next year to try something other than baking.

  2. How fun! I'd love to go to a baking class, and lord knows I need it! About the brownies, I HATE cake like brownies. I know that some people love them, but really? Ew. When you're making them from the box (aka the only way I make them) they tell you to add an extra egg when you want them cake like. I guess that is the same thing as having less flour.

    1. I don't understand cake like brownies. Brownies should be dense and gooey. I like my cookies gooey, too.

  3. I had NO clue they did cooking classes!!! Reason #448 I need to get to AA more often!

    1. Abso-freaking-lutely!!!!!!! If you want to do a class together, you let me know :)

  4. I loved the cake decorating class I took. Your focaccia bread looks great!

    1. Cake decorating! That sounds like so much fun but also something you'd need t have a lot of patience for...

  5. oh yum, everything looks so good!! I love zingerman's, so I'm sure the classes are top notch. I'd love to take one of their classes sometime. Glad you had fun and got to make so many good things!

    1. Hope you can take one of their classes! The classes are amazing and they basically give you their real recipes. I'm not sure it gets better than that!

  6. What a neat idea!! Sounds incredibly yummy, too. I've never taken a baking class but this post definitely put the idea in my head! Thanks!! :0)

    1. I hope to read on your blog sometime your adventures in cooking classes. Wouldn't it be fun if Disney did a cooking or baking class? Oh man... imagine the wait list for that! LOL


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