Q&A from Shiloh Farms Live Chat with Silvana Nardone

This past Wednesday we hosted a live chat on our Facebook page with author and popular gluten-free blogger, Silvana Nardone.  The response was overwhelming and we were happy to help many of our fans out with their gluten-free questions.  Today, we would like to share a full recap of the live chat and share all of the great questions asked by our fans.  If you have any additional questions, please add them to our comment section below, and we would be more than happy to answer them!

Thanks again for participating and don’t forget that you can get free shipping on all our gluten-free products until May 10th with the coupon code: SILVANACHAT!

Live chat screenshot

Shiloh Farms Live Chat with Silvana Nardone

Q: I have tried making a gluten-free and dairy-free biscuit many times and they all turn out flat and horrible tasting. Do you have any suggestions for making biscuits?
A: I love biscuits and scones, too!  Yes, my suggestion is to use the right gluten-free flour mix! Otherwise, biscuits can be dense. Also, handle the dough as little as possible or whatever fat you’re using (butter, shortening, coconut oil) will start to melt. Here are two great recipes to start with—one sweet and one savory!


Q: I would like to know how to convert a recipe to gluten-free. I never have any luck. Is there a conversion chart available?
A: No need for a conversion chart… It’s all up to the flour blend that you use. You want to choose one with great flavor and performance. So, if you’re making a blend from scratch, consider the ingredients: Shiloh Farms Tapioca Flour is the only one I’ve ever had that didn’t leave an odd aftertaste in anything I cook or bake.

Okay, now I’m going to get technical for a minute…When making your own, in my experience, the classic ratio that mimics gluten-full unbleached all-purpose flour is 60% grain flour (brown rice, white rice) and 40% starch (tapioca flour, potato starch or cornstarch). For a healthier blend, the classic ratio is 50% grain flour, 25% protein flour (bean, oat, quinoa and nut flours) and 25% starch. If you decide to use a gum, which can help with overall texture, add ½ teaspoon of xanthan or guar gum per 1 cup flour blend.

Q: Could you use the flour mix in a bread maker?
A: Yes! I don’t own one (full disclosure), but some of my readers do and they’ve made my sandwich bread in the bread machine with success. Take a look here: http://www.silvanaskitchen.com/gluten-free-sandwich-bread/

Q:  Unfortunately, I can’t eat the whey in the sandwich bread. Are there any alternatives?
A:  Swap in rice milk powder or soy milk powder in place of the whey powder.

Q:  How do you go Gluten free for the whole family without breaking the bank?
A:  Great question! The answer is true for gluten-free or gluten-full cooking: Make your own food. Yes, gluten-free flours can be expensive. I buy in bulk, make my flour blends and I’m good for awhile. If you have the room, you can store flour in a freezer or fridge for long-term storage/use. Hope that helps!

Q:  I know that most of the conversation here is about gluten free cooking, but I am looking for a good dairy-free substitute for cheese – mainly for making a gluten free pizza for my son. Do you have any suggestions?
A:  I often leave cheese off our pizza, but sometimes use Daiya. Have you tried it?  http://www.daiyafoods.com/ 

Q:  Any suggestions on what to make with Quinoa Flour?
A:  You can swap in quinoa flour for up to half of the flour called for in a recipe. Also, it can be a great thickener. It does have flavor so just keep that in mind in terms of what you’re using it in…

Q:  Is Corn Gluten free?
A:  Yup!

Q:  Is it possible to make gluten-free baked desserts that are lower in fat. I have used pumpkin puree, fruit butters, apple sauce when baking with wheat, but wasn’t sure that gluten free baking would work the same way. Thanks!
A:  I’m definitely not a low-fat baking expert, but have seen fruit and veggie purees used to replace part of the fat in recipes. It should definitely behave the same way in a gluten-free recipe.

Q:  Do you have any recommendations for grain-free, low in carbohydrate breads?
A:  I know other cookbook authors and bloggers who make great grain-free breads. Please check out my friend Brittany over at http://realsustenance.com/ or my friend Elana at www.elanaspantry.com for great, grain-free recipes!

Q:  What are some ideas for gluten-free lunches?
A:  This was the toughest challenge when Isaiah was first diagnosed. Turns out he just wanted a bunch of naturally gluten-free snacks so he could be more like his friends. His faves: tortilla chips, ham roll-ups, grape tomatoes, fruit roll-ups, anything portable really! Also, back then, gluten-free bread didn’t hold up well until lunchtime. These days if you prefer to purchase bread (rather than bake it yourself), there are great options. Hope this helps!

Here are some more tips in an interview I did on SheKnows.com:

Q:  Should people on gluten-free diets be worried that the mixes that they use are not enriched?
A:  I prefer to make sure that my family eats a well balanced diet. I prefer to cook meals full of nutrients that come from whole foods. When I bake, I don’t expect my cookies to enrich my kids!

Q:  Have you ever tried to make Filo dough for Spanikopita or Baklava?
A:  No, it is a very technical dough and since I mostly make dairy-free baked goods, I think it would be the ultimate challenge…

Q:  I am just finding out about gluten-free cooking. It’s an adjustment. I have to fix two separate meals. The others won’t eat gluten-free. How can I fix things they will eat as well? It’s hard with school.
I know from personal experience that you can do it! One meal for the whole family is in your immediate future…

If your goal is to recreate your family’s favorite baked goods recipes, then you need to pick the right ingredients for the job, then let them do all the work for you. Take a leap of faith. Just when you think you’ll never eat something ever again, think again, it can all be yours again!

My cookbook or blog could be a good starting place: http://www.silvanaskitchen.com/

Q:  My daughter is gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free! Any suggestions for some good recipes?
A:  Eggs are the trickiest! I’m definitely not an egg-free expert, but my friend Brittany is: http://realsustenance.com/

Q:  I would like to make gluten-free crackers. Do you have any suggestions?
A:  It’s funny that I’ve never made any to date. I have to get working on this! I’m pretty sure my friend Nicole Hunn over at http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ has a couple, though!

Q:  Could you give me some tips for cooking quinoa? I would like to have more in my diet and have not yet mastered cooking it well.
A:  Treat it like pasta…I like to make a cold quinoa “macaroni” salad or quinoa pilaf. Use a little less liquid than the standard 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa. I use more like 1 1/2 cups. Also, you can use homemade or store-bought chicken or veggie broth instead of water for more flavor. Here’s a recipe:

Q:  What can be used for crunchy breading?
A:  I used finely crushed gluten-free rice cereal—it’s the best!

Q:  I found that discovering a few new items that I enjoy and are nutritious works out better than trying to duplicate everything I used to eat.
A:  Going gluten-free and dairy-free sure did open my son’s eyes to a whole world of food he never touched before his diagnosis! It was amazing! That said, he also wanted everything he used to eat, so that became my mission—to recreate all of his favorite foods. Fun!

Q:  Our 11 year old said the same thing. We never would have eaten Teff or Amaranth and Sorghum had it not been for his celiac disease. We are seeing it as an adventure rather than a restriction.
A:  Exactly, an adventure—I love that!

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