Ask the ChefsFeb/Mar 2009 Issue

Questions About Allergy-Friendly Baking

Our special diet chefs answer your questions about allergy-friendly baking.

[Updated May 27, 2015]


Q: What’s the best substitute for eggs in a recipe? Is there a limit to how many eggs I can substitute before my recipe doesn’t turn out?

Beth Hillson: Replacing more than two eggs will change the integrity of a recipe. For recipes like quiche that call for a lot of eggs, try replacing each egg with 4 tablespoons pureed silken tofu plus 1 teaspoon baking powder. You may have to increase baking time slightly. For more egg alternatives, see our "Substitution Solutions" page.


Q: My friend is on a gluten-free diet and she is allergic to corn. She can’t eat cornmeal or cornstarch. What baking substitutions work for these items?

Hillson: Replace cornstarch with an equal amount of potato starch, tapioca starch/flour or arrowroot. If your recipe calls for cornmeal, use brown rice flour but reduce the amount by 2 tablespoons. Or you can use an equal amount of almond meal if your friend can eat almonds.


Q: I have celiac disease. In addition, I have severe reactions to dairy, nuts, eggs, yeast, sugar, honey and apples. I’ve been struggling to find a gluten, nut, and dairy-free bread recipe that doesn’t call for yeast or apples. Can anything be substituted for yeast, applesauce and apple cider vinegar with a fair amount of success?

Hillson: Baking powder can be used in place of yeast in certain recipes but not all. Banana or prune puree can replace applesauce in equal amounts. Lemon juice can directly replace cider vinegar. Try these substitutions in Rebecca Reilly’s yeast-free Vegan Quinoa Bread or Quick Dinner Rolls.


Q: My little girl is autistic and has celiac disease. She’s a very picky eater who rejects all meat. Any suggestions on how to sneak some protein into her diet?

Sueson Vess: One way to slip in some meat protein is to cook with homemade chicken stock, a good source of minerals, quality fats and protein. Use chicken stock to steam veggies, make rice or cook gluten-free pasta.

Another way to introduce meat is to prepare chicken pancakes: Combine 1 cup pureed cooked chicken and 3 large raw eggs together, stirring well to make a batter. Cook the batter like pancakes. These are surprisingly good with a texture that many children tolerate.

A third idea is to add rice protein powder or pureed raw walnuts (if tolerated) to fruit smoothies. Puree in the blender with juice and your daughter’s favorite fruit to create a nutritious snack drink.


Q: I’m trying to make a Chex-mix type of snack that’s gluten free. Is Rice Chex okay to use?

Beth Hillson: General Mills recently reformulated its Rice Chex to make it gluten-free. The company removed the barley malt syrup in the cereal and replaced it with molasses. Make sure the Rice Chex you buy says “gluten free” on the box.

Food editor Beth Hillson is a chef, cooking instructor and founder of the Gluten-Free Pantry. Food writer Sueson Vess is a chef, food coach and author of Special Eats: Delicious Solutions for Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Cooking (Special Eats).

Send your questions to: Ask the Chef, Gluten Free & More, 535 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk, CT 06854-1713 or Include your full name, address and daytime phone number. Letters become the property of Belvoir Media Group, LLC and may be published in other media. Submissions chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and length.

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