Prepping the Gluten-Free Pantry

My boyfriend, Luke, was staring at the store counter on which I had a slew of glass canisters of various sizes. He looked at me with an air of both acceptance and fascination and said, "Such is the life of the gluten free."

I've already mentioned (maybe more than once...) that I'm quite unwilling to just give up every gluten-filled thing I previously ate simply because I'm now a gluten-free gal. Nor will I accept the notion that I must be relegated to whatever options are on the grocery store shelves. There are a ton of great options out there, but there is also a ton of room for improvement, and not as many reliable guides to steer you in the right direction (in particular, I've enjoyed America's Test Kitchen: The How It Can Be Gluten Free Cookbook). I still love baking (and actually being able to eat what I make), so the most surefire way to ingest those little goodies safely is by crafting them myself. Queue the necessity for a pantry full of staples I once wouldn't have given a second glance.

I threw out the five pound bag of all-purpose flour and replaced it with not one, but about a dozen alternatives and additives. I'll still use regular staples like baking soda and powder - making sure they're GF - but needed replacements for the old all-purpose flour. (See the bottom of the post for a basic list of flours and starches to get started on GF baking. There are so many others, but these are great start to making legitimately good versions of your tried-and-true baked goods.) While I'll still go through all of them relatively quickly simply by maintaining a supply of everyday essentials like bread, they're much more expensive and need to be stored properly. The notion of letting any of these precious commodities go to waste is not something I'm keen on. 

Enter air- and moisture-tight canisters of varying sizes (that I wish to last a lifetime). Specifically and literally, Le Parfait French-made canisters are the perfect tool to provide a decent shelf-life for my new baking necessities. 

As far as pantries and ground-up grains go, they're actually pretty chic (and a little old-fashioned — always a bonus in my book)...

These solid, odor-, stain-, and scratch-resistant glass canisters (though more fragile, of course) are the best option for my gluten-free pantry. (They'd work for everything from flours and starches to cereal and nuts, too.) A replaceable rubber gasket in traditional orange provides both a pop of color and great seal when paired with the super-strong clamp lid.

I filled the jars with all my flours, cut out, and taped the label from the packages onto the glass. (It would be just as easy to add an expiration date!)

But... Since that's not quite my style, I removed the packaging cut-outs...

And hand wrote the names on labels.

I hate not having something on hand when I need it, nonetheless having to get a new package from the freezer and wait for it to get to room temperature, so when I finish something, I just keep a fresh and sealed package inside the canister ready for the next use.

And they're stackable — ideal for saving space in my now hefty pantry.

Gluten Free Pantry Baking Staples:

Note: with few exceptions I prefer Bob’s Red Mill, as you’ll notice in most links below

Flours & Meals
Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour
Brown Rice Flour
White Rice Flour
Oat Flour
Tapioca Flour/Starch
Sorghum Flour
Corn Meal
Almond Meal*

*Almond Meal is a staple for me, but won't necessarily be for everyone. If you like to bake cookies, it adds a richer flavor (and fat) to the cookie. This past Christmas, I substituted almond meal for all-purpose flour when I made lace cookies (it's really just a binder here) and it adds a subtle nutty, yet rich flavor to the cookie while perfectly complementing it. If you like nut cookies in general, there are a variety of nut flours on the market to complement others, too.


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