Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Calling gluten-free cake lovers

One of the things I like to make for cake stalls is gluten-free brownies. Simple and tasty, and a favourite at these events. These week I've also made GF courgette muffins ("Health by stealth", someone told me today).

This morning I talked to a food buyer from a small chain of coffee shops and we discussed gluten-free baking. He cannot by law accept any GF products made in a kitchen that uses regular flours and call them gluten-free.

There are three levels of gluten content in law:

1. Gluten-free - is covered by the law and applies only to food which has 20 parts per million (ppm) or less of gluten

2. Very low gluten - is covered by the law and is for foods which have between 21 and 100 ppm, but we are not yet aware of anyone using this term and because of the rules around its use, you won't see this in restaurants

3. No gluten-containing ingredients - this is not covered by the law and is for foods that are made with ingredients that don’t contain gluten and where cross contamination controls are in place. These foods will have very low levels of gluten but have not been tested to the same extent as those labelled gluten-free or very low gluten

(Taken from http://www.coeliac.org.uk)

I of course clean thoroughly before baking GF cakes but that I use regular flour in my kitchen would mean my food would be in category 3: No gluten-containing ingredients.

In this respect, it is the same as nuts. I use nuts in lots of baking, and always scrub well afterwards but the well-known packaging phrase "Cannot guarantee nut-free" always applies.

I know there are many levels of gluten-free, from coeliac to intolerance. Coeliacs have to be very careful about what they buy, those who have given up gluten for nutritional benefits less so. I only know one person who is gluten free, which is a small representative sample, so I need you!

How careful are you about buying GF products? Are you happy to buy GF baking that has been made in a non GF kitchen? Do you buy from bakers an cake stalls, and do you question the baker about what you are buying?

I will never be a gluten-free kitchen but don't feel anyone should miss out on cake. I would appreciate your input.

Now if you don't mind, I have a no-gluten-containing courgette muffin to eat.

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