Well-known in the gluten-free community as the pioneers of superfine brown rice flour (avid bakers swear by it!), Authentic Foods has forged ahead with a broad product line of gluten-free essentials and conveniences. The Authentic Foods Baking Mixes alone, include about a dozen gluten free AND dairy free options.
We’ve sampled just a couple of the Authentic Foods Baking Mixes to get a taste for their results …
It was a lazy Sunday morning, and I opened the cupboard hoping to find anything more exciting than cereal. As if delivered straight from the breakfast gods themselves, what should I lay my eyes upon, but a golden package of blueberry muffin mix.
I quickly prepared my working space with muffin bake ware (I highly recommend a silicone muffin pan for gluten-free baking – they pop out much easier), a large bowl, a spoon, two eggs, some oil, and rice milk (I recommend using an unsweetened milk beverage as this mix is plenty sweet). Unexpectedly, I was stopped in my tracks when I opened the package of mix. The scent of sweet blueberries and warm vanilla literally enveloped my senses. After a minute or two, I finally pulled myself away from the insanely delicious aroma and got to work. Of course, the term work is used rather loosely, this is a pre-made mix after all!
I resisted the temptation to over mix (my ultimate weakness in muffin baking), and for my restraint I was greatly rewarded. The muffins puffed up and baked to a perfect golden color in exactly the time stated on the package (even though we did bake up 10 rather than 12 as suggested). Luckily, for both my hunger and my impatience, they were easily popped out of the muffin pan straight from the oven, and required just a few minutes to cool.
Eagerly, I broke open my first muffin sample. All images of gluten-free baking were thrown out the window when I feasted my eyes upon the incredibly light and flaky texture. The outside formed a delicately thin-crisp crust that was delightfully sweet and protected the tender muffin middle. The center was decidedly cake-like, and held together perfectly with nary a crumb escaping. The flavor and texture were reminiscent of the freshly baked blueberry muffins they served at my high school (back when ‘from scratch’ was still a concept in the educational system). They were insanely popular, selling out every day.
Not to be mistaken with a hearty muffin, Authentic Foods has perfected the Sunday morning indulgence. For myself, they are a bit too sweet for an everyday morning treat, but I wouldn’t hesitate to grab one when my afternoon tea and treat cravings strike. Especially after discovering each muffin only contains one gram of fat! I was floored, seriously.
As an added bonus, blueberries are actually included in the mix. They didn’t soak up the moisture and plump up while baking as much as I had hoped. Though the blueberries were quite sizable, and offer a very nice burst of flavor. Fresh blueberries certainly can’t be beat, but the convenience of having them in the mix (particularly when blueberries are out of season and inflating beyond my budget) is worth its weight in gold.
Thick and cake-like, these pancakes were tall, but not fluffy. They retained a density I might expect in heartier muffins. That said, my husband LOVED them. He could have easily inhaled the entire batch himself, but was kind enough to save a few for me.
Each pancake was so thick that I was able to slather one with a Tablespoon of peanut butter and eat it like a thin slice of bread. They worked equally well as a sweet breakfast treat topped with pure maple syrup. However, for these morning cakes, my favorite dressing was simply a pat of dairy-free buttery spread.
When prepared as directed these pancakes have a mild sweetness all their own. I used vanilla hemp milk in the preparation, which doubled the vanilla and the sweetness. I would likely go for plain milk alternative on the next batch, though my husband certainly didn’t complain of vanilla overload.
In addition to the standard wet ingredients, the mix called for 2 tablespoons of sugar. While mixes that do not include all of the dry ingredients are a huge pet peeve of mine, this does make for a more versatile baking mix overall.
Sarah, our trusty milk allergy mom and Associate Editor, tested out a this mix – This made-from-almonds crust has a shortbread-y feel and taste that our whole family enjoyed. It is definitely made for sweet, not savory fillings. Scott and I think it works best with a creamy/custard filling. We filled ours with dairy-free pumpkin pie filling and it was lovely. (Yes, I should have covered the crust edges with foil. I forgot. Oops.)
As with so many gluten-free products, you can’t expect this crust to bake up like a wheat one would. But we really enjoyed the almond flavor and texture, especially with a smooth filling. To note, one package of Authentic Foods Pie Crust Mix makes one crust.
Authentic Foods Flour Blends
Beyond the Authentic Foods Baking Mixes, I also trialed a couple of their flour blends. We don’t typically review flour blends since they can be very recipe dependent, but I’m happy to share a few notes.
I did think that the superfine rice flours in Authentic Foods flour blends produced results that were a touch lighter and less grainy than typical rice flour baked goods.
We used what I believe is now Bette’s Featherlight Flour Blend (Updated for their 2016 names!) to make the chocolate chip banana muffins shown here. This blend is free of binders, such as xanthan gum (but they do have directions on the package for how much xanthan gum to add if needed for a recipe).
Each bite was perfectly tender, light and flaky with a very thin, crispy bakery-like exterior and no funny grit or aftertaste – just pure banana goodness that my husband devoured.
We also sampled the Multi-Blend Gluten-Free Flour Blend, which is a mix of superfine rice flours and starches along with xanthan gum for binding.
I decided to test this blend in traditional chocolate chip cookies. Truthfully, I loaded the cookies up with so many chocolate chips that it was hard for me to taste-test the cookie part alone. Nonetheless, the cookies were very cohesive, just like a regular wheat-based cookie. I did notice a slightly different texture, likely from the brown rice flour, along with a hint of uniqueness in flavor, but nothing overpowering. Overall, I loved the convenience, and my husband and I loved the cookies, but they didn’t quite rival my original wheat-based recipe.
Certifications: Authentic Foods Baking Mixes are Certified Kosher Pareve and Certified Gluten Free.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Authentic Foods Baking Mixes are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free*, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan* / plant-based, and vegetarian. Select varieties are made without nuts. Nonetheless, always read the ingredient statement and check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
*These Authentic Foods Baking Mixes are egg-free / vegan, but eggs are called for in the preparation, and that is how we tested them.
For More Product Information: Visit the Authentic Foods website at www.authenticfoods.com.