It can be a daunting process to figure out a new way of life after you receive a celiac disease diagnosis. Believe me, it turned everything upside down in our house for a few weeks while we started our steep learning curve! No doubt you know what I am talking about if you are reading this. In this blog post I'm going to walk you through the essentials you need to know as you start to create a gluten-free environment in your kitchen.
#1 - You don't need to throw everything out and start again. Look carefully at your kitchen tools and see if any of them have many scratches; shallow or deep. The most heavily used pieces always have a few, which didn't matter too much before you needed to create a gluten-free space. But, now it does and here's why. Gluten is very hard to clean out of scratches, and can remain there. So, if you want to make sure that you are starting from a clean slate, it's best to start from new and toss or donate the old. I rounded up a few of my favorite items that I reach for the most (below) that you can click and find on Amazon. But, those things that might not be so scratched up you can definitely keep just be sure to do a really thorough clean of those items.
One note: Wooden tools; spoons, bowls, rolling pins are all made out of porous material and because of that they can "hold" gluten. If you want to continue using these items, it would be best to bui all new.
#2 - You DO need to make some adjustments if you have both gluten-free cooks and non-gluten-free cooks in the same house.
The obvious reason being that gluten has a habit of getting everywhere and as it is too small to see with our eyes it's important to be aware of wiping down surfaces regularly with a cleaner. When it comes to bakeware, you can be extra safe by using a barrier between your food and the muffin pan, cake pan or loaf pan, etc. Using a parchment paper or cupcake liners will help so much to make sure that your recipe remains gluten-free.
#3 Those things that are hard to clean need to be separate.
I'm looking at you, Mr. Toaster and Mrs. Waffle iron! No matter how hard you try, these items are just not going to be cleaned sufficiently to ensure they are gluten-free if you have used gluten products in them before. When it comes to these sorts of appliances we recommend that you buy an additional appliance and designate it for GLUTEN-FREE use only. (Side note: consider using foil on the rack of a toaster oven in case there are crumbs from gluten-products).
#4 Be mindful of where and how you store flours and other gluten-containing good.
It's of course important to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen. A good rule of thumb is to just store the gluten-containing flours on a different shelf from the gluten-free flours and to clearly label them to avoid any mix up. Consider using a sealable container like these:
We hope this quick guide gets you started on your journey of learning with baking with celiac disease and has been helpful to you.