Going Gluten-FreeJanuary 29, 2014

Baking Without Corn

Do you have an allergy or intolerance to corn? Corn hides in some surprising places. It can show up in products like meat, condiments, sauces, yogurt, beverages, medications, body powder, paper plates, crayons and toothpaste. It’s hidden in some key baking ingredients, too. That’s why baking corn-free can be as challenging as baking gluten-free—unless you know how to substitute safely.

Here’s help. Try these corn-free alternatives to common baking ingredients:

Replace cornstarch with an equal amount of tapioca starch/flour or potato starch (not potato flour).

Replace corn flour with an equal amount of sorghum flour.

Replace corn syrup with an equal amount of honey, agave nectar, tapioca syrup or rice syrup.

Replace xanthan gum with an equal amount of guar gum.

Make your own baking powder by blending together ⅓ cup baking soda, ⅔ cup cream of tartar and ⅓ cup arrowroot starch. For corn-free commercial baking powder, try Hain’s Featherweight Baking Powder (hainpurefoods.com), made with potato starch.

Make your own confectioners’ sugar by combining 1½ tablespoons tapioca starch/flour or potato starch with enough granulated sugar to make 1 cup. Process this mixture in a blender on high speed for 45 seconds or until powdered. Store in an airtight container until used.

Comments (4)

Our daughter is not as sensitive as some, but reacted very badly to the Cream of Rice. It is an enriched product which 99 percent of the time means corn contaminated.

Our daughter also reacts to all xanthan gums. She does much better with guar gum's which bake just as well and are readily available for gluten free cooking. We also use psyllium husk powder or ground chia in place of xanthan depending on the recipe. Since the vast majority of xanthan gums will be corn tainted, the recommendation is to avoid them all, safer and just as easy to use another product.

Yes, I agree with Dee S, lightly ground millet makes a terrific replacement for cornmeal. We use it on homemade english muffins, under a pizza crust. We also blend some chickpea flour with millet to elevate the flavor and texture when replacing cornmeal based baked goods like cornbread. We have found to our surprise, we like it better.

Our Ninja makes great powdered sugar. We have the Ninja that also has a single serve cup. The granulated sugar powdered very well in that.

Sadly, since corn is not a top 8 allergen it can contaminate your food in a million different ways from derived products(vitamins grown on corn, etc) to corn tainted defoamers used in processing 100 percent maple syrup. To the waxes sprayed on your fruit and veggies. None of which is ever disclosed on a label. We have learned not to trust a label.

When I found out that sandwich bags were corn tainted? (ziplock brand is safe they use potato starch not corn to keep the baggies from sticking) I knew it was going to be a major journey to remove the corn just from our food, let alone our home.

There are support groups- Delphi, and facebook. The blog; Corn Allergy Girl blog has protocol letters to print for medical care. If you google for "hidden corn" there are a number of sites that offer great lists of where the corn is hidden. Don't forget that the majority of over the counter medications and vitamins are all corn contaminated. Medications are often heavily corn contaminated. You will need to find a great compound pharmacy that is familiar with how to avoid corn.

Posted by: dinydeek | February 4, 2014 11:57 AM    Report this comment

I usually use Arrowroot instead of Cornstarch. It makes a good thickener for gravy and sauces. For Corn meal, I use millet. Take whole millet and just slightly grind it in my "bullet" for course corn meal for most any recipe. I've even made "Polenta" using millet flour instead of fine corn meal.

Posted by: Dee S | January 30, 2014 4:29 PM    Report this comment

I am very sensitive to corn. A couple other substitutions - use Cream of Rice cereal instead of cornmeal. Makes a great "non-cornbread". Authentic Foods have a xanathan gum that is corn free. I use the extra fine Bakers Sugar (by C&H I think) for frostings and glazes. I have tried the mix above but could not get it ground fine enough.

Posted by: Peg | January 30, 2014 1:51 PM    Report this comment

Yes, When I first started reading all labels, I found out that corn and soy are in almost everything! Even when products are 'gluten free,' they have corn in the ingredient list. You have to be really careful if you have corn as a cross-reactive food. Thanks for the info.

Posted by: Laura G | January 30, 2014 1:35 PM    Report this comment

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