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Gluten Free Culinary Summit Notes

September 20, 2007

I had the great pleasure of attending the 2nd annual Gluten-Free Culinary Summit in Denver, Colorado. I am not much of a cook or baker, so this was an event that gained me a wealth of information on gluten-free cooking and baking. While some things were over my head (like making a gluten-free wedding cake) other tips were very useful for a beginner.

I got the following tips from Carol Fenster, a popular gluten-free cookbook author and guest speaker at the summit;

– Brush olive oil or butter on the outside of a bread loaf at the end of the baking cycle for a softer crust.

– Carol uses Expandex and likes the results she is getting. Expandex is a new modified starch product that claims to help baked goods “rise” and “give,”  by replacing the missing gluten protein with a different kind of starch.

– She suggests using the mid-gray baking pan for bread loaves. The darker metal will brown too much. The lighter silver color will not brown enough. Look for that middle shade of gray baking pans. Do not use the air-padded pans, they will not cook evenly. Do not use silicone baking materials. The bread needs the metal to “climb” during the rising and baking process, and needs the structure to hold shape.

– She suggests using a cooking thermometer and checking the internal temp on bread. When it reads 205 degrees then it is finished.

– For a nice round bread top, smooth the dough with a spatula before baking. Don’t use fingers, because the dough will hold the form that is pressed into it, even small finger dents.

– Dust baking pan with rice flour, not oils or sprays. Liquids will collect in the corners of the baking pans.

Joel Schaefer, Walt Disney World Resorts Product Development, a guest speaker at the summit, had the following tips;

– If real milk is not an option, vanilla soy milk gives food a better flavor than plain soy milk.

– Sweet Potato cooking directions- Brush with olive oil and Kosher salt, wrap in tin-foil, cook directly on rack at 450 degrees for about 35 minutes.

– Redbridge beer should be at Walt Disney world beginning October, 2007.

– In the culinary world, the term “cross-contamination” refers to germs. That term is bacteria-specific. That is why many Celiacs have encountered chefs or cooks who say “don’t worry, our grill gets REALLY hot,” because they are thinking about germs. The correct term to use in the culinary world is “cross-contact” because “contact” infers something that can not be cooked off. It is a “touch” problem, not a germ problem. Perhaps use both terms with eating out, just to be sure you are making your point to the chef or cook.

Mary Schaefer, Pastry Chef for the Contemporary at Walt Disney World ® Resort, had these tips;

– Use Rolled Fondant for cake decorating. It holds up better in warmer weather, and is more forgiving if you accidentally touch it than regular icing. “Crumb Coat” the cake with a thin layer of regular butter-cream icing so the fondant will stick to the cake better.

– Don’t over mix when using Xanthum gum. Mix until all ingredients are combined, not too long though.

Lee Tobin, Gluten-free Bakehouse Team Leader, Whole Foods Market, shared these tips and new bread news;

– The Whole Foods Brand pie crust can be rolled out and use for a pie topper or for a top for chicken pot pie. The Whole Foods Brand sells the pie crusts in the frozen section in packs of two, which is convenient if you need a crust, and a topper, for your recipe!

– The Gluten-Free Bakehouse has several new products coming to the store soon. We got to taste these new breads at the Gluten-Free Summit, and they were good! The new breads include a Sourdough bread, Honey Oat bread, and dinner rolls.

Bob’s Red Mill introduced their new Gluten-Free Rolled Oats at the Gluten-Free Summit. The spokeswoman said that they were looking for just the right supplier before offering them to customers. They are gluten-free from the source, and packaged in their gluten-free facility. According to the website, they should be in stores as of 9/1/07.

There was so much good information, and lots of recipes, that it is hard to know what to share! I hope I have selected information that will be helpful to you. I encourage you to consider attending the Gluten-Free Summit next year!


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