Ask Essie:Making GF Recipes Not GF and AP Flour in GF Cake-Bad?

Judy asks how to convert a recipe from gluten free to not gluten free?

Well, Judy – we in the gluten free baking/cooking world don’t often hear that question.  Usually people want to know how to convert a favorite recipe to gluten free.

Convert the amount of GF flour listed in the recipe to the same using AP flour. However, flours vary in weight – sometimes tremendously.  One cup of AP flour will not weigh the same as one cup of any type of gluten free flour.

Your best bet is to look for recipes that list dry ingredients in  grams or ounces as a measure.   A small digital scale is a great investment for the kitchen.

This Salter digital scale at Amazon is $38.  I found it on sale for $30.  I keep it on the counter and weigh almost all my ingredients these days.

So, to answer your question –  yes, you can covert any gluten free (GF) recipe to one using AP flour.  Just be aware that the conversion measurements are probably close and if you are able to get your hands on a recipe that uses weights you are in luck.  Duplicate the weights and the conversion should be almost spot on.

But if it is a recipe that only uses cup measurements you might have to experiment a little bit to get at exactly how much AP flour you will need.  Keep in mind that AP flour generally weights slightly more than most GF flours.

Happy baking!

Andy asks if it is ok to make a cake for a Celiac friend if the recipe only calls for a tablespoon of AP flour?  Would that really be a problem, he asks?

Andy, even dusting the pan with AP flour will harm someone with Celiac disease.

For anyone with gluten intolerance, Celiac disease, or a food allergy, we never cease to be amazed at how little some (not all) people, including those close to us, don’t understand, no matter how much we explain.  Some think we can psyche ourselves back to the gluten world if we just try hard enough.  There are those that assume we are doing this because it is a fad.  And then there are those that unless they see damage, can’t believe it.  And some people think that if it is only a tiny amount of AP flour in big old  whole cake, that can’t possibly be an issue.

Going out to eat with those folks can be frustrating.   If your dish comes with the bread hanging off the plate though you explained to the server about your limitations, and you send it back and tell them they have to actually redo the whole thing – count on your doubting companion to make some crack about you being just like the Meg Ryan character in When Harry Met Sally.   And count on the server to give them a giggle and a nod.

But then again, your friend doesn’t have to live with you for the next four days as you suffer through flu-like symptoms and live about 2 feet from the nearest bathroom.  All because your dish was cross contaminated with gluten.  A very tiny amount of gluten.

In any case, Andy, the answer is yes.  That tiny bit of AP flour will be a problem.  You’re a good friend to want to make them a cake, but better yet – get them a plant.  Herbs are nice.  And they’re gluten free.


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