When You’ve Given Gluten the Bootin’

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The Struggle:

When the decision to remove gluten from the diet is made, it can leave one with cravings for all the things we love to cook and eat. We all know the foods that are craved, things like sandwiches, pasta, pies, pastries, cakes, and so much more. Most gluten free replacements are a mere shadow of their counterparts in terms of taste and texture. Many times this leads people down a rabbit hole of recipe testing and tweaking. All this in hopes of finding the right formula for the perfect recipe. Gluten just so happens to be a very complex group of proteins that is difficult to replicate. We here at Modernist Pantry have a number of gluten replacers and it’s a common questions when people ask:


“What gluten replacer should I use?”


On The Rise


Well thankfully over the last decade massive advancements have been made and there is hope for great gluten free foods. The first breakthrough came in the form of xanthan gum. Xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is a thickener that has an elastic quality. This sticky gum was able to create a network that could capture the bubbles created by yeast or chemical leaveners. People rejoiced! finally there was something to help with their doughs and batters. But over time the negatives started to rear their ugly heads. Xanthan gum while its good for some foods it’s really just a placeholder in gluten free baking. Xanthan is a good binder but it doesn’t really add the structure needed for a great gluten free loaf. On top of that if xanthan gum used at a high ratio it has a slimy….. I’ll just say it, its has a snotty texture. The snotty texture is not something any of us associate with baked goods. Thankfully there are two more ingredients that provide the structure needed to create great gluten-free baked goods. Expandex and I’m Free Perfect Gluten Replacement can be used separately or together to create the right structure needed for dough to rise. Expandex is a modified tapioca starch that is used to improve the crumb structure and moisture retention in gluten free doughs. Moisture retention is a major issue with gluten free breads and Expandex works wonders with this. I’m Free Perfect Gluten Replacement is a 1:1 replacement for xanthan gum.  I’m Free Perfect Gluten Replacement improves upon everything xanthan gum gives to the dough without the off putting texture. I’m free perfect gluten replacement is made from cellulose. Cellulose is a thickener that allows the dough to proof properly. But the best part about cellulose is that when it is heated it creates a gel. This gel is crucial for maintaining the structure through the cooking process. As the starches cook and moisture is removed from the dough the bread will hold its shape. Each of these ingredients will improve the dough structure and give a better loaf than any other product.


Another question we hear all too often is “ How much do I use”? Honestly this is such a tough question to answer. I like to equate it to gluten development in traditional bread baking. If the dough you are trying to make is short dough. This means there is a short gluten structure, this works for doughs like biscuits and pie crust. If you are looking for a softer crumb try adding slightly less of your gluten replacer. For a bread dough with more gluten development (like brioche) you could add a small amount more of expandex. But all this comes down to testing, getting something right on the first try is extremely hard. On top of that making amazing gluten free baked goods is also hard. We always suggest starting with the recommended usage ratios on the back of the package and tweaking from there.


Ready to get Cooking?

Give our Remarkable Gluten Free Brownies recipe a try! These brownies passed our most rigorous test – being put out in the break room with no fanfare. The plate was emptied in a few hours and not a single “Hey, is this gluten free?” was uttered. Try it out in your own kitchen and convert doubters into believers.


  • Is there more info on the types of celluloses in the perfect gluten replacement (like viscosity, gel/melt point, soluble/insoluble)? GF baking is such a moving target and any info is appreciated!

  • I purchased ultra Tex 8 and would like to try it in a gluten free bread recipe. What is the recommended percentage for bread?

    • We don’t typically use or recommend UT8 in gluten free baking, but if you have a recipe that called for it then replace it in a 1:1 ratio for any tapioca starch already in the recipe.

    • I make a great bread with millet flour and tapioca starch. How would I add Expandex to make a better bread? What is the ratio? There is xanthan in this bread as well.

      • Just sub in 1:1 Expandex in place of the tapioca starch already in your recipe.

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