Essentials of Low-Carb Baking

baking_essentials

Switching to low-carb baking is very intimidating and let’s be honest it will never taste the same as wheat based goods with their soft and delicious gluten. I’m not going to lie to you about that. However, low-carb baking will satisfy your cravings while helping you maintain a new lifestyle. These new baked goods will give you the same comfort and make you feel better overall than eating sugar and wheat.

Obviously if you are reading this, you either flirting with going low-carb or you are already a convert. I’m not going to espouse all the virtues of eating low-carb (at least not in this post), but I am going to help you with your pantry essentials. I will always recommend baking for yourself or really paying attention to ingredients, if you are buying pre-made baked goods.

I recommend avoiding most pre-made commercially available breads and treats. Most gluten-free products are not low-carb and have very little to no fiber, unless you’re allergic you’re better off eating a sprouted wheat bread. As for “keto” breads, tortillas, and flours (aka Carb Quick), they are usually made with wheat flour and then a ton of fiber is added. These can often times kick you out of ketosis and if you are doing low-carb for blood sugar management, they will SPIKE your blood sugar. In addition, only certain sweeteners are low glycemic. I recommend sticking to stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol. While they taste good, aspartame and sucralose (aka Splenda) are not low glycemic and might even spike your blood sugar. I love Diet Coke, but I try to drink only 1 or 2 a week.

The Essentials:

  • Almond Flour. Almost any low-carb baking recipe uses almond flour as a flour substitute. It has a good fat to carb ratio and has little to no flavor. I recommend trying to find the finest ground possible. Costco carries large bags for a great price.
  • Coconut Flour. Coconut flour is also a common ingredient in low-carb baking. It does have a higher fat content and it does make your dish taste like coconut, and for those reasons I recommend it as a mix-in to be paired with almond flour. This helps make recipes lighter, because almond flour can make baked goods dense.
  • Xantham Gum. This little powder gives low-carb cookies and breads their chewy texture.
  • Cacao Powder. This is your chocolate substitute. It is high in fiber and sugar free. It does taste similar to dark baking chocolate,  so in other words a little bit goes a long way.
  • Psyllium Husk. This is your fiber. I prefer a fine ground and typical buy it on Amazon. Flax meal is also a common fiber additive, but it does have a stronger taste and I usually only use it in bread.
  • Sugar substitutes. When baking, I prefer erythritol. It tastes the most similar to sugar, it’s easy to find (most grocery stored now carry Swerve), and it’s zero carb and low-glycemic. Since the FDA does count sugar alcohols, the nutrition label will say there are carbs but as long as it’s not mixed with anything you don’t need to count them. The main downside of erythritol is that it can upset some people’s stomachs and bowels. It never has for me, but I feel like you should be aware. Monk fruit is also a good baking option, but it’s harder to find and usually more expensive per once. Stevia is great, but I don’t recommend it for baking except to make something sweeter. It has a strong flavor and it definitely take getting used to the taste.

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