Gluten freedom by Amy Rice, part 2

In a way it was a bit heart-breaking to not have the knowledge to bake successful gluten free products, so I booked a course hoping it could give me some insight.

I recently travelled to New Zealand and attended a one day gluten free baking course, held by Neville and Judy Green in their home in Auckland city.  A very nice couple with 17 years experience baking gluten free and so much passion towards teaching others.

Many years ago they owned a cafe where Neville got frustrated when he couldn’t cater for a customer who had coeliac disease. He began to develop his gluten free and allergy friendly recipes, which has lead him and his wife to unquestionably ‘change peoples lives’, through their company Gluten Free Made Easy (GFME).

For example, a lady attended a workshop who had multiple food allergies and had not been able to work for 12 years due to her health. When she started baking what she had learnt on the course, her health started improving and began working full time after only a few months.

Judy and Neville say to help parents with autistic children or children with behavioural issues discover the benefits from a gluten free diet and to hear their successful feedback is remarkably rewarding.

“The workshop has made a great difference to my son’s diet (he is coeliac and I have only changed his diet in the last three months and what a change), he is a happier child and his moods have decreased. Thank you so much for making a huge difference”.

Apart from experiencing the best gluten free bread, muffins, pizza base and pasta I have ever had, during this day course I learnt a lot about the advantages of baking my own gluten free food.

I have noticed nearly all ready-made gluten free products contain modified starch. It was something I hadn’t put much thought into, until Neville and Judy spoke highly against it. Modified starch is either cornstarch or tapioca starch. It is genetically or heat modified which stops it breaking down on reheating or freezing. It also allows the producer to create a perfect product every time. Scientific data will tell you that modified starch caused liver lesions and stunted growth in test rats and it is advised not to feed it to children or infants. A little in the diet is fine but when most commercial products contain it, the system can get over loaded. Also it hasn’t been around long enough to know what it does to the human body in the long term.

So learning to bake without pre-made gluten free flour mixes was a bonus, and GFMEs recipes always focus on keeping the nutrition value high. Many recipes incorporate, for example, chia seeds. They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 and if you were to google it, you will see the never ending hype about this superfood.

I learnt baking gluten free bread is easier than baking ‘normal bread’. Obviously this is my opinion, and here’s why: personally I had never given much time into learning how to bake traditional bread. I know it can be time consuming and buying it pre-made is cheap from the supermarket, however gluten free bread is different. Neville has masted several bread recipes where the basis is to:

1. mix the dry ingredients,

2. mix the wet ingredients,

3. mix the dry into the wet ingredients,

4. let it rise for 20 minutes and bake it within an hour.

Done. White fluffy bread …and its delicious!

I was very surprised with just how easy this new way of baking was. Especially after hours of researching the internet for a decent recipe and even worse, the hours I had put into trying to make a decent loaf of gluten free bread at home (not to mention the amount of new strange ingredients I brought).

I won’t lie, getting set up with the ingredients to bake gluten free can be daunting at first, usually because the ingredients are new to you. Thankfully Neville and Judy have the knowledge and experience to share the differences in flours and starches and their qualities. On their website you can become a member of the recipe club to have access to their detailed Grain and Flour Information page, great recipe tutorials and many fantastic recipes.

I can honestly say that being gluten free is now absolutely no trouble.  I love finding my favorite classic recipes and making them gluten free. I have gone back to eating my french daily bread diet and I feel great!

Gluten Free Made Easy:

kiwis SONY DSC

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