Question for those experienced with French cooking

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 16, 2010 at 5:45 PM

I know that gluten-free flours have been discussed a lot, but couldn't find the answer to my specific question:

I picked up Julia Child's cook book from the library, on the advice of a bunch of paleos, and I'm excited to learn some really good French cooking. The book really stresses that you shouldn't skip any steps or omit/replace ingredients, or the dish will only be "okay." For the purposes of this question, I'm generally not interested in making "okay" food. So, for recipes that call for only a little flour, are there any good gluten-free substitutes, or should I just not bother with them at all? I can't exactly do side-by-side taste tests, so I want the opinion of someone who knew a thing or two about French cooking before going paleo. Also, tell me if the replacement flour is okay, good enough, or identical to the wheat flour version.



on December 17, 2010
at 12:24 AM

Forgot an important one: gelatine



on December 16, 2010
at 07:18 PM

Thanks for the arrowroot tip, guys!

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5 Answers



on December 17, 2010
at 12:07 AM

If you need to thicken a sauce, try the following substitutes:

  • Butter (better if added cold)

  • Cream

  • Egg yolk (temper it before adding to the sauce)

  • Ground nuts and seeds

  • Extra time for reduction

Choose the one(s) that suit your recipe. Voila`!



on December 17, 2010
at 12:24 AM

Forgot an important one: gelatine



on December 16, 2010
at 06:43 PM

I've been cooking with Julia Child's book, and it is great. For the flour, I either use xanthan gum or arrowroot, and they've always turned out great. Sometimes, you can skip it. The best thing you can get from these books is the cooking techniques. Once you know how to make a frittata, for example, you can make 8000 different combinations. Sauces are delicious too, and fairly simple.


on December 16, 2010
at 06:31 PM

If the recipe calls for flour as a thickening agent, you can use arrowroot powder.

If the recipe calls for flour as a dredge, skip the flour and make the recipe without it, unless it calls for dredging in egg/milk and flour, then you should probably skip the recipe.



on March 23, 2011
at 05:07 AM

Ok I have a suggestion but I have to be honest that I have never tried it as Paleo is still early days for me. Considering that I have chosen to go down the non dairy path and my husband and child have egg allergy, plus my husband for religious reasons does not eat pork hence no gelatin, that leaves me with a similar quandary. I like the idea of using ground nuts and seeds but which ones I don,t know what is best. Reduction works if you cook a long time. Now arrowroot sounds like an interesting solution. However, I have an idea that springs to mind from my jam making days. Do you know where PECTIN comes from? Not a jar labeled pectin, it comes from citrus fruit seeds. Yes, those seeds that are being genetically removed for our consumer convenience. I discovered this after using old fashioned varieties of grapefruits which are extremely filled with seeds. Now, just suppose I was in a french cooking experimental mood, I would make a "bouquet garni" you know one of those little muslin cooking bags you throw into your stock pot, and I would fill it with fresh grapefruit seeds. Now I know for a fact that grapefruit is Paleo ok and that is not debatable so the purists may have some feedback for me if they get to trying this out before I do. Hey, I apologise in advance if I am leading you up the wrong track but it may just work.


on April 10, 2013
at 07:00 PM

Mashed potato can thicken up certain dishes without changing the basic favor too much.

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