01 Rules & Tools

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What you’ll learn

Pave a path for successful bakes with helpful guidelines, ingredient and tool know how, a little chemistry, history, and shopping tips.

The objectives for this module:

  • Master some simple guidelines for happy, successful baking
  • Gain know how about a variety of ingredients like gluten-free flours and binders
  • Master shopping and learn what tools do what for a variety of bakes
  • Understand the difference between chemical and biological leavening


Required: watch and complete the recap for each lesson

1: Six Basic Rules

These are the six basic (but most important) rules to keep in mind as you bake your way through this course.

02:04 Rule #1: Follow the recipe
03:42 Rule #2: Welcome texture/flavor
04:45 Rule #3: Open mind to the new
05:24 Rule #4: Let it cool/no peeking
06:13 Rule #5: Measure properly
08:23 Rule #6: Have fun

2: Flour Power

Now that we have some guideposts to keep in mind as we learn to bake, let’s acquaint ourselves with new ingredients, especially what we aren’t using and why.

01:07 Flour power
03:10 What is gluten?
04:03 Know the ingredients
04:57 Gluten-containing ingredients (wheat/related to wheat)
07:28 Gluten-containing ingredients (wheat-free but NOT gluten-free)

3: Gluten Freedom

Get acquainted with the main players for gluten-free baking—the gluten-free flours. You’ll learn the properties for each, how you can make your own, and some general substitutions.

01:30 Almond Flour
04:00 Amaranth
04:50 Arrowroot
06:25 Brown Rice Flour
07:20 Buckwheat
08:20 Cassava Flour
08:44Coconut Flour
09:34 Cornmeal/Corn Flour
10:37 Garbanzo Flour
11:49 Millet
12:35 Oat Flour
13:48 Sorghum Flour
14:39 Teff Flour
16:00 Quinoa Flour
17:02 Shopping Tips
17:02 Milling/Grinding Flour
18:55 Storage Tips

4: The Supporting Cast

Learn all about alternative egg- and gluten-replacing ingredients, natural sweeteners, salt, and oils.

00:35 Gluten & Egg Replacers
00:48 Chia Seed
01:29 Chickpea brine/aquafaba
02:13 Psyllium husk
03:02 Natural sweeteners
06:37 Apples
06:50 Banana
07:28 Honey
08:10 Maple syrup
08:58 Sucanat
10:00 Sea salt
10:27 Oils

5: Leavening

This lesson is all about leavening—chemical leavening (baking powder and baking soda) and biological leavening (yeast/sourdough).

00:27 What is leavening?
01:11 Chemical leavening
02:30 Acids
02:58 Baking powder
04:47 Baking soda
06:31 Biological leavening
07:39 Store-bought active-dry yeast
09:12 Sourdough starter

Practice Recipes

Recommended: prepare 1 recipe

We’ve set things up so you can spend time learning and shopping this week—ready and confident to dive in next week and beyond. Your Practice Recipe isn’t required, but it’s fun to make your own Applesauce to use in Quick Breads when we get to Module 3. Applesauce is a helpful binder in gluten-free breads—the pectin helps retain moisture. It also adds mild sweetness and the fiber in it helps to build a cake-like crumb.


Prepare this applesauce with just the apples and the water for plain (skip the other ingredients), or prepare as directed in the recipe for a spiced version that’s delicious in sweet quick breads. This recipe makes 10+ servings, so use the Measuring Cheat Sheet to halve or quarter the recipe if you only need a little bit.


Helpful and inspiring know how and support for gluten-free bread baking of all kinds. Please make sure that you read through the Troubleshooting / Q&A section if you have questions—your answer is most likely in there.

Extra Learning & Cheat Sheets

Ensure that your bakes go to plan every time with this extra know how and support. Gain an understanding of potential variables and substitutions, get troubleshooting ideas, a general shopping list to get started, tips for caring for your baking vessels, and much more.


Shopping: General Checklist List of Ingredients

General Shopping List for All Modules

If you want to get a jumpstart on stocking the pantry, here’s a list of all ingredients needed to make every Practice Recipe in the Gluten-Free Bread Basics Course.

Shopping: Appliances & Tools

Troubleshooting / FAQs

Is it possible to sub the applesauce for some cooked squash?

What can I use instead of applesauce (that wouldn’t have an over powering taste like bananas) in the recipes?

Baking is more of a science than cooking, so if we recommend applesauce, please try the recipe at least once as we recommend. If you’d like to make substitutions after that, reference the Substitutions section of each recipe, the Apple entry in the Ingredient Index, or try one of these other options: pear, quince, summer squash, and/or winter squash cooked and puréed. Note that each substitution adds a different degree of flavor, sweetness (aka weight, color, spread), and texture to a final bake. Grab your baking journal and document your experiments.

Is psyllium powder the same thing as ground psyllium?


Can I use whole-husk psyllium (aka psyllium husks) instead of ground psyllium?

Yes. Note that 1½ teaspoons whole psyllium is equal to 1 teaspoon ground psyllium, so adjust accordingly.

Which is healthier? Is psyllium like flax in that: a) there is little-to-no nutritional value unless ground? b) buying it whole and grinding (in spice grinder) as needed is always preferred?

Why don’t you use flax in your baking?

The main reason flax is ground up is because the protective anti-nutrients in the seed’s casing can pass right through your system undigested. Grinding helps make beneficial nutrients and fats ready for assimilation. With psyllium, it’s fiber—great for your digestive system. We prefer ground for baking as it’s more uniform and blends nicely—both whole and ground (aka powder) work well though. If we buy whole, we tend to fresh-grind in a coffee grinder so more of that gooey binding power is distributed throughout a dough. You really can’t go wrong though, just adjust ratios as needed if using whole when ground is called for. Our thoughts about using flax in baking are here.

Can we use eggs instead of the egg replacers?

The recipes in this course have been developed for use without eggs. You’re free to use eggs instead, but we can’t guarantee the outcome.

Is it possible to make bread without rice flour?

This goes for all flour substitutions: throughout the course, when a substitution is available/possible we share it with the recipe.

Is Sucanat the same as cane sugar?

Sucanat is a brand name (Sugar Cane Natural) for a type of sugar that is minimally processed. It is sugar cane juice, dried with fans (it maintains all of its natural properties/color/flavor). Cane sugar is more processed so color is white and flavors are less caramel-y.

Which gives the best results in GF breads and baked goods (real egg, chia egg, aquafaba, pysillium, flax egg)?

Eggs work very well in baked goods. They’re loaded with structure-building protein—it’s why they’re ubiquitous in quick bread recipes and gluten-free baked goods. But for those who want recipes without eggs, there are many options, and given the fact that their properties vary, it depends on what you want to bake whether a certain egg replacer will be “best.” As we discuss in the lessons, psyllium is best for gluten-free, egg-free loaf breads, and all other recommended egg replacers (including psyllium) work great for muffins, skillet breads, and shallow-dish bakes. Chickpea brine (aka aquafaba) will work pretty well for a loaf bread too. Our thoughts about using flax in baking are here.

Is there a specific way to figure out ratio if using leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda or is just playing around until you get the correct results?

In the lessons we provide guidelines, but the heavier and denser the flour, the more lifting power you will need, so adjust accordingly. You just don’t want to add more than 2 teaspoons total per loaf or you could have a metallic or soapy taste in your final baked goods.

Can you use leftover almond pulp from making almond milk to make almond flour?

This is a great idea, and we have uses this technique on to make crackers, cereal, and even chocolate mousse. We haven’t tested this in leavened breads or flatbreads however, and think that the leftover almond meal may be too dry to create a loaf or bread with good moisture and bend-ability. You may need to add some oil to your loaf to make up for what’s lost from the pulp when making milk. See, when you make almond milk, the oils from the nuts go into the liquid, leaving the meal dry with a squeaky bite. But we do encourage you to give it a go if you want to try it. Just dry the meal and grind in a spice grinder to get it as fine as possible. Again, when making a batter or dough, we recommend adding some fat back into the mix with 1–3 tablespoons of coconut oil, ghee (if you use dairy), or almond, avocado, or grapeseed oil.

If I buy dried chickpeas (super inexpensive) and make them into flour in my Vitamix, is this the same/better than store bought? Will it react the same?

Fresh-ground flours produced in a mill, or ground to fine powder in a coffee/spice grinder work beautifully. If you have the means, do it! If using a coffee/spice grinder it will be more labor intensive because batches have to be smaller, but give yourself a leg up by breaking the dry chickpeas up in a food processor or blender until the bits are as small as you can get them. Then transfer to the grinder 1–2 tablespoons at a time to get them powdery. If your Vitamix or high-powered blender does this for you, awesome. use it!