What ingredients increase moisture in baked goods?

bocca

When I adapt a recipe to gluten free I have to be very careful of the finished product being dry. It could be cookies, cake, quick bread etc.

I know each ingredient has it's own affect on the finished item but is there a general guideline?

badge posted by: bocca on October 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm in Baking, misc.
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reply by: MaWitz on October 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm
MaWitz

I read in the various recipes blogs and reviews that potato flakes or potato flour will help keep the moisture. Look at the Golden Pull Apart Buns recipe which calls for those ingredients. The discussions and KAF replies explain that.

reply by: kelseyf on October 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm
kelseyf

Each ingredient certainly does contribute it's own function in baking. Ingredients that add moisture/tenderness to baked goods include some dry sugars (brown, granulated white, etc.), liquid sugars (honey, molasses, corn syrup, etc) eggs (specifically egg yolks) and fats (oil, butter, shortening, etc). Certain flours will contribute more tenderness and moistness than others. For instance, pastry flour will yield a softer, less brittle baked good than bread flour.

reply by: frick on October 28, 2010 at 6:01 pm
frick

Honey, ground or pureed raisins are especially good, other fruit purees like applesauce and pearsauce (made in the food processor), dates and bananas if appropriate, sour cream and perhaps pumpkin and pureed carrot, also try fruit nectars like pear.

reply by: Cindy Leigh on October 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm
Cindy Leigh

I know this sounds kinda strange, and I don't know if it's gluten free, but a cake baker I worked with always added 2 tbsp of mayo (not miracle whip) to her cake batters. She had the most delicious, moist cakes I ever tasted. I guess, basically, it's eggs and oil, right?

reply by: Mike Nolan on October 29, 2010 at 12:47 am
Mike Nolan

Mayonnaise in a chocolate cake is a classic recipe, it makes for a really moist cake. That's supposed to be the secret behind the chocolate cake at Portillo's restaurants in Chicago.

I haven't seen enough GF cake recipes to know if there are ones that call for mayonnaise, but off the top of my head I don't know why it couldn't be added.

Bocca would be more informed on whether commercial mayonnaise is gluten free, but there's nothing in most homemade mayonnaise recipes that has gluten in it: Egg, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, spices (usually just mustard powder.)

reply by: calico on October 29, 2010 at 8:52 am
calico

When I use buttermilk in baked goods, I find a noticeable difference in texture from when I use other liquids. For example, whenever I make a regular loaf of bread with buttermilk, the crumb is more tender and moist than one made with milk. And the loaf itself even slices better - it's not crumbly at all. In fact, I used to buy potato flour for this very reason - to avoid dry crumbly bread. Now, I no longer need the potato flour since I always have buttermilk in. Plus, I love baking with buttermilk. In addition to the baking qualities, there is just something so wholesome about it.

reply by: bocca on October 31, 2010 at 11:00 pm
bocca

Well gluten free flour blends tend to contain a rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour and potato starch so in that area I'm covered. If I use too much coconut flour dryness is a major factor which means I use more eggs which give almost a custard feeling to the quick bread.

I can't increase sugar much as with most baking recipes too much is well just too much!

I was wondering if one is making a cake and let's say it isn't gluten free and you add more egg to it, will the cake be more tender but what are there other effects to watch out for?

So I guess what I should ask is if there is a guide to if I increase this, the good effects can be this (fill in the blank) but the bad effects to watch out for is (fill in the blank).

reply by: bocca on November 04, 2010 at 7:55 pm
bocca

Ah, buttermilks a great idea.

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 04, 2010 at 11:22 pm
Mike Nolan

Bocca, I'm sure you know this (but I didn't until recently and others might not, either) but not all buttermilk is certified as gluten free by the dairy that makes it. I've seen at least one locally that lists 'modified food starch' on the label, and it is NOT on the 'gluten free' list on their website.

Buttermilk powder appears to be fine, though.

reply by: calico on November 05, 2010 at 7:07 am
calico

Mike, thank you for bringing this up. I had no idea that buttermilk could possibly contain gluten. I just naturally assumed that it was okay - big mistake. bocca, I do apologize - I am so sorry! If it's any help, I checked my buttermilk carton (Friendship brand).

Here is a list of the ingredients:

Cultured pasteurized grade A reduced fat milk
Concentrated skim milk
Vitamin A palmitate
Vitamin D3 and Enzyme

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 05, 2010 at 11:22 am
Mike Nolan

It sounds like that one is OK.

I've checked 4 or 5 brands of buttermilk at stores (not just in Nebraska) and so far I've only found one that listed modified food starch as an ingredient, and that's the one that excludes their buttermilk from their 'gluten free' list on their website. (Sorry, I don't remember the brand at the moment, it's one available in Nebraska but not the brand I currently have on hand.)

reply by: bocca on November 09, 2010 at 10:49 pm
bocca

OH GOOD GRIEF! I never ever thought to check the buttermilk label and I tell everyone to check labels and check them every time you shop! GAH

Darigold is great because they label gluten free in an easy to find place. Some gf labels are useless because I can't find them.

Oh and I did find out the hard way, not all gluten free labels are really a gluten free product. Tried a seasoning mix that said gluten free and it took me 2 weeks to recover. Thats why I've been so very tired lately, still struggling with fatigue (its as though I can't consume enough iron).

reply by: bocca on November 09, 2010 at 10:50 pm
bocca

Calico no apologies needed. It should be a naturally gluten free food! Why manufactures need gluten in there is beyond me.

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 09, 2010 at 11:33 pm
Mike Nolan

Sorry to hear that, you should report that one to the FDA.

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 09, 2010 at 11:38 pm
Mike Nolan

If there's a general purpose guide to this, I haven't found it yet.

I've been thinking about this question for several days.

The challenge is that it usually takes several different products to replace the structural function of the wheat, and a number of them have effects other than producing that structure, so it's a delicate balancing act that I haven't figured out yet.

I doubt I'll ever write a cookbook on gluten-free baking (especially now that Peter Reinhart is doing one), but if I did, I think the opening sentence might be:

Most of what you think you know about bread baking is now wrong!

reply by: dachshundlady on November 10, 2010 at 7:20 am
dachshundlady

A friend with celiacs told me that Walmart requires all its suppliers to label everything either "gluten free" or "contains wheat". Is that true?

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 10, 2010 at 10:20 am
Mike Nolan

I suspect there are still thousands of food products at WalMart that don't contain either notation on their labels.

Whether they will succeed in forcing all their suppliers to change their labelling in this manner (which may or may not comply with US labeling standards) remains to be seen.

reply by: bocca on November 14, 2010 at 11:50 pm
bocca

I've not tried mayo before but that is a good thing to remember.

reply by: bocca on November 14, 2010 at 11:55 pm
bocca

Mike I am looking forward to his book, a person that truly knows great bread I am hoping knows what gf bread needs.

I am going to use this "The challenge is that it usually takes several different products to replace the structural function of the wheat".

That is the best way I've heard it put and that really is the issue. In cakes, cookies, quick breads I like to add in coconut to help replace that structure, especially the flour or the dry.

reply by: bocca on November 15, 2010 at 12:00 am
bocca

Food labeling is a great frustration to me. Some companies just don't cooperate, some lie, some are hard to read, some don't make it clear to understand!!!

The best labels are the ones that talk about why they went gluten free and how their products are tested.

Some companies like Sara Lee or McCormick say that if it's in the product then it's on the label. While I am not advocating packaged foods most of us do need them it is helpful to know which companies you can trust.

reply by: dachshundlady on November 15, 2010 at 6:38 am
dachshundlady

In my limited foray in this area, I don't understand why they would just put "modified food starch" if it is not wheat. Some people would be able to buy that product if they were more clear. Others have to be verrrry careful. I met a lady at the local farmer's market who sells gf goods. Her teenage son had to suffer a stroke before the doctors in central NY "got it". The kid is fine, but why go through all the stress and money spent in the health care system when it could have been prevented? And he was showing neurological signs but the doctors poo poohed it.

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm
Mike Nolan

I think one time when this came up on the OBC, someone posted that they had written the manufacturer of a product and the response was along the lines of "We use whatever starch we can get at the time, sometimes it is wheat based, sometimes it isn't".

I was looking at some products at the co-op yesterday, I noticed that several were using a notation of "modified food starch (corn)".

reply by: dachshundlady on November 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm
dachshundlady

Good idea. And Mike, I asked on the old BC, could you tell me how to use the garbanzo flour to thicken gravy. What proportion of it to water to drippings? I bought the flour today. Also, what can I use this flour for other than thickener?

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 16, 2010 at 11:26 am
Mike Nolan

The standard ratio for making a roux is 1 part flour to 1 part fat, by weight. A roux made with 3 tablespoons of butter and 4 tablespoons of flour will thicken 1 to 1 1/2 cups of liquid (depending on how thick you want it.)

When using drippings, I sort of have to guess how much fat there is.

Garbanzo bean flour doesn't have quite the thickening power that wheat flour does, so it takes a bit more flour relative to the amount of fat.

However, as bocca noted, using too much garbanzo bean flour can result in a 'beany' taste.

IMHO, this is more of an issue when making something with a delicate taste, like a Bechamel or Mornay sauce, than when making gravy. However, I once made two cheese souffles (to serve 8), one using wheat flour for the Bechamel and one using garbanzo bean flour. None of us could tell which was which.

Sometimes I use a mixture of half garbanzo bean flour and half tapioca flour. (I think tapioca flour all by itself makes a gravy that is too gummy, and I don't normally use cornstarch when making gravy because my son doesn't like the taste of cornstarch unless it is thoroughly cooked.)

reply by: dachshundlady on November 16, 2010 at 2:16 pm
dachshundlady

Thanks, Mike. Instructions printed for my new "GF" file!

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 16, 2010 at 7:01 pm
Mike Nolan

Start a separate topic on 'uses for garbanzo bean flour', that might provoke some interesting discussion.

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 16, 2010 at 7:05 pm
Mike Nolan

If I make anything with coconut, I usually get to eat it all, because neither my wife nor my younger son (who still lives with us) like coconut.

I get all the coconut candies in the boxes, too, along with the raspberry ones (because my wife is allergic to red raspberry).

reply by: PaddyL on November 18, 2010 at 11:32 pm
PaddyL

Chopped apples! I made 80 Caramel Apple cookies last night and they're just about fused into one giant cookie today. The apple seems to melt them.

reply by: beachdee on November 20, 2010 at 2:02 am
beachdee

Along the buttermilk line, I made a cake the other day that was primarily whole wheat pastry flour, which can sometimes make the cake a bit dry, but I used a bit of kefir in it and it was very nice and moist (of course it also had fresh, ground up cranberries in it, too!). I do think the cultured milk products help with moisture, also have heard the potato tip, and honey of course.

reply by: bocca on November 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm
bocca

This sounds good, love the cranberries!

reply by: bocca on November 23, 2010 at 3:39 pm
bocca

Well I tried converting a cupcake type quick bread to gluten free and it was too moist/dense/heavy.
It is a fine line as to how much leavening to increase along with keeping the moisture correct.
Oh well, tasted good.

reply by: bocca on November 23, 2010 at 3:41 pm
bocca

Mike I have the flour but am cautious to use it. I would be interested in seeing recipes using more of it though as it really does help with the body of gluten free baked goods.

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 23, 2010 at 4:45 pm
Mike Nolan

Most of my GF conversions have wound up being heavy and taking a long time to bake, but unfortunately not all of them tasted good.

However, I bought a loaf of rice bread from the co-op a while back, cardboard would have tasted better!

If bread baking is a combination of art and science, I think science holds all the trump cards in GF baking.

reply by: frick on November 23, 2010 at 9:57 pm
frick

Paddy, I've made so many apple cakes that were mushy the next day. The moisture from the apples leach out into the baked product and I can see what happened to your cookies.

My favorite apple cake has a glossy, slightly crunchy top on the first day but not the second.

Honestly, I don't know of a remedy for this. You may never try that recipe again but if you do, I wonder if putting half the dough in the frig and baking only as much as you need, if that would help.

reply by: frick on November 23, 2010 at 9:58 pm
frick

Paddy, I've made so many apple cakes that were mushy the next day. The moisture from the apples leach out into the baked product and I can see what happened to your cookies.

My favorite apple cake has a glossy, slightly crunchy top on the first day but not the second.

Honestly, I don't know of a remedy for this. You may never try that recipe again but if you do, I wonder if putting half the dough in the frig and baking only as much as you need, if that would help.

reply by: PaddyL on November 24, 2010 at 12:25 am
PaddyL

Well, about half of them were pitched out and replaced by a simple butter cookie from Dorie Greenspan's book.