10 tips from a professional chef for enjoying gluten free
Bernie Rieder, a successful chef, cookbook author and proud family man is very well educated on the matter of gluten intolerance. As more and more of his guests kept asking for gluten free meals, the gourmet chef (Gault-Millau Award) started to research this topic. He is sure of the following fact: Gluten free food and culinary enjoyment are not mutually exclusive, but can be combined with each other in unique ways. Here are his 10 tips for delicious gluten free food.
1. Diagnosed as gluten intolerance – what now?
Research is the first step
After you have received the diagnosis that you are intolerant to gluten, you should find out as much as possible about it. A clear website to start with is schaer.com. Here you will find a lot of important information about the subject of gluten, practical tips and tricks when dealing with gluten free meals and many delicious recipes.
2. Know what to pay attention to
Get to know the ingredients
Following your research, you should be well informed about the offer of gluten free food and know its properties in more detail. From breakfast to dinner, Schär offers a wide variety of different gluten free products like bread, pasta, sweets and snacks.
3. Basic gluten free recipes
Basic recipes are the most important thing
Bernie suggests: “Test basic recipes from the very beginning, such as gluten free short pastry, yeast dough or even a bread dough. If these can be prepared without any difficulty, there are lots of other things you can begin mastering”. Very important: gluten free doughs have a different consistency than conventional ones and for this reason, they dry out faster. In order to give more moisture to the dough, you can add 1 teaspoon of apple fibre (roughly rasped apples with skin) per 100 g gluten free flour or use 10% less flour. Alternatively, you can also add one more egg.
4. Dry ingredients first
Gluten free rule of thumb
Even with gluten free food the following applies: Mix all dry ingredients first and then add the liquid ones. Bernie recounts: “I have had positive experience, especially with the Schär flours, for instance with the Mix C – Patisserie and the Farina”.
5. The list of ingredients is essential
When handling your ingredients it is recommended, as with any other kind of food, to have a quick look at the list of ingredients, to make sure no gluten is in there. This is particularly important when dealing with chocolate icing, baking powder or even spices.
6. Separate your utensils
Food containing gluten should never be cooked together with gluten free products. Separate pots and pans have to be used, as even the smallest crumb of an ingredient containing gluten can be enough to cause a reaction in anyone intolerant to gluten.
First of all, working surfaces, cutting boards and knifes have to be cleaned thoroughly to make sure there is no gluten left. It could be useful to label the kitchen utensils with different colours, such as green for the preparation of food containing gluten and red for gluten free items.
Bernie even stores his gluten free products separately from the other food: “In this way I am sure that nothing can go wrong. I also store the products into food containers with labelled lids to be sure that nothing gets mixed up!”
7. Make it easier to get information
All have to know
In order to keep everybody well informed and avoid the possibility of something going wrong, Bernie has a large poster with information on gluten intolerance and allergies in his kitchen, so that the entire staff is informed and can check whenever they feel uncertain about a certain ingredient. This is a valuable tip, even in your kitchen at home to make the transition to gluten free easier for the rest of the family.
8. Stay informed
Preparation makes the difference
In order to always find the most appropriate restaurant when you are going out for a meal, Bernie recommends the “Eating gluten free“ service from Schär. Here you can find addresses of restaurants and shopping facilities all around the world that will suit your needs. “This page is really great as it helps to find a good restaurant offering gluten free meals in a foreign place, which can be tricky for those intolerant to gluten“.
9. Make inquiries
Be open about the topic
Bernie suggests discussing one’s questions directly with the chef, when going to a restaurant. This way, the chef can respond to the needs of the customers and you can relax, and fully enjoy your meal. For Bernie it’s important that gluten free customers are not neglected, and that, they also do not have to sacrifice on taste with their meals: “In my restaurant customers may also come in and have a look in the kitchen to make 100% sure their food is gluten free”.
10. Don’t panic
Enjoy and be well informed
Bernie’s suggestion: “People with a gluten intolerance should not be afraid to eat out, and to ensure this happens they need to stay informed about their requirements. To enjoy a gluten free meal while eating out, ensure that your chef is aware of your condition! And back home my tip is: Practice, practice, practice – until it comes naturally to you!”.