My son says the baguette reminds him of the Eiffel Tower, and he is right. Baguettes can be referred to as the Eiffel Tower of bread because of its length and width. There are endless ways of enjoying a baguette bread from numerous regional sandwiches, to toasting or stuffing it with cheese, eggs, or ham, but is baguette gluten free? Here is all you should know.
What is Baguette?
A baguette is a French bread derived from lean dough. It is characterized by its long, thin appearance and crisp crust. The most traditional baguette is white and made with 10% cracked whole wheat grains, or oatmeal, and refined wheat flour.
Baguette is eaten beyond France and is made with a slightly different process in each region. In France, water and yeast are mixed and left overnight to ferment the yeast, then the fermented yeast is added to the other ingredients the next day.
In Vietnam, the baguette is used for Banh Mi, and the ingredients for the Vietnamese baguette are slightly changed, as they include rice flour, adding a touch of Asian culinary culture.
Further, you could see numerous kinds of baguettes, such as the “baguette sesame,” made with sesame seeds, and the “baguette poids de king,” much like a king’s size—very long. You could also find baguettes made with chocolate chips, nuts, corn, and olives.
What is Guten?
Gluten is found in almost everything we consume, from pasta to bread to beer to nutritional supplements to cosmetics. For the average person, there’s lots of buzz and social pressure to avoid gluten, but is it really bad for you? But for individuals with celiac and nonceliac gluten sensitivity, gluten can spell hell sometimes.
Gluten is a storage protein naturally occurring in wheat, rye, barley, and some other grains. It acts as a binding agent for processed foods, and it is the secret behind the chewy texture of bread and other doughs.
The protease enzyme in our body cannot effectively break down gluten, and this undigested gluten finds its way to the small intestine. Most people can handle this undigested gluten, but celiacs will experience an unpleasant autoimmune response, and people with nonceliac gluten sensitivity may still experience symptoms like brain fog, diarrhea, vomiting, and so forth. This is why certain individuals must avoid gluten at all costs.
Texture and Taste Of Baguette
The French baguette has a chewy and smooth texture and large irregular holes in the crumbs. The taste of baguette can be described as yeasty and further enhanced with a nutty and buttery flavor. For baguettes made with sourdough, you should expect a more complex and tangy taste.
Is Baguette Gluten Free?
Unfortunately, traditional French baguette is not gluten-free as it is made with wheat flour, which gives the bread its much-loved chewy texture and structure, making it not safe for individuals with celiac or nonceliac gluten sensitivity to consume.
However, baguettes can still be made without wheat flour without losing much of their texture or flavor. I usually use sorghum flour in addition to rice flour and a little guar guar or potato starch to still achieve that chewy texture.
Among all the gluten-free flours, sorghum flour has the closest taste to wheat flour, which is why I love using it alongside other flours to prepare gluten-free meals like the breaded General Tso Chicken.
Unfortunately, the baguette is one of those products where you may not find a gluten-free version in stores or restaurants, so you have to make them yourself—it is not hard. I will be leaving a recipe in the later part of this article for you.
Is Baguette Healthy?
Baguettes, like other baked foods, are not too bad for you if eaten in controlled portions. They have lots of sodium, which is not good for you, and carbs, which could mess with your waistline.
A typical 324-gram French baguette has over 880 calories, 8 grams of fat, 35 grams of protein, and 168 grams of carbohydrates. While the fat is impressively low and the protein is high, baguettes have a high sugar content.
However, baguette can be incorporated into your diet goals as it is made with whole grains, which could keep you full for extended periods, eliminating the urge to indulge in junk food.
Baguettes made with sourdough are healthier than regular baguettes derived from yeast and refined flour. Sourdough bread makes use of wild yeast starter, which usually has a slower fermentation process that ensures nutrients and antioxidants are not lost. Also, sourdough bread contains probiotics, making it great for gut health.
Gluten-Free Baguette Flour Alternatives
Making a gluten-free baguette can be quite challenging at times, but it usually becomes pretty easy on the second attempt (speaking from experience). Here are the flours I have experimented with:
- Tapioca starch: These starches are extracted from cassava roots; they could fill in the boots of gluten. They contribute that chewy texture and can be used alongside other flours.
- Millet Four: The millet flour is a product of small-seeded grass and adds a nutty, mild flavor to your bread. It is rich in nutrients and can contribute to some structure and chewy texture.
- Sorghum Flour: This is my favorite gluten-free flour; I use it alongside other gluten-free flours, and that is for a good reason too. It has a sweet and earthy flavor and tastes the closest to wheat flour. It adds moisture and makes the bead soft. When used alongside tapioca starch, you may end up creating a stunner of a gluten-free baguette.
Baguettes are the lifeblood of numerous sandwiches, but they are not gluten-free, and that shouldn’t spoil the fun. Baguettes can be made with gluten-free flour with just a little tweak here and there, and similar awesome results can be achieved.
Do you have any suggestions? Let us know your thoughts!