GOLD

Will a gluten free flour blend or rice flour create better cookies?

I baked cookies using different types of flour.
Nikko VandeBurgt
Grade 5

Hypothesis

I think that the gluten-free flour blend cookies will taste better than the cookies banked with plain rice flour. I've only baked with a gluten-free flour blend and I have had great success with it in the past. We have seven people in our family but only my sister and I must follow a gluten-free diet, yet all seven people in my family like my gluten-free baking.  I think the rice flour cookies won't taste as good because the flour is too plain. In Canada, we normally eat rice for dinner and usually eat it with salty foods.  Turning rice into a delicious cookie I think would take more ingredients than just rice flour. 

Research

Why is rice flour good for baking?

Rice flour has a neutral flavour and smooth texture. It also doesn’t go bad quickly. No gluten-free flour behaves like wheat flour. Rice flour doesn’t absorb liquid or fat like wheat flour. This allows cookies to spread out and cakes to be greasy.

 

Why are gluten-free flour blends good?

With gluten-free flour blends, your goal is to make baking as tasty as if you were using wheat flour. In order to get similar results, you would need to copy similar properties as wheat flour. Wheat flour is about 75% starch and 6%-13% protein. The high starch content in some gluten-free flours results in a gritty texture.

 

What ingredients did we use for the gluten-free blend?

For the gluten-free blend we bought "One-to-One Baking Flour Made Without Wheat Ingredients" from Bulk Barn.   The ingredients are: Sweet white rice flour, whole grain brown rice flour, potato starch, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum.

 

Does it impact what temperature the cookies are baked at?

When cookies are baked at a higher temperature like 400 degrees Fahrenheit they set faster and they are crunchier. When they are baked at a higher temperature they don’t take as long to bake as cookies baked at a lower temperature. When cookies are baked at a lower temperature like 300 degrees Fahrenheit they take a longer time to bake but are chewy rather than crunchy.

 

How do humans taste food?

Humans taste food with taste buds that are on your tongue. An average person has about 3 000 to 10 000 taste buds. Taste buds contain taste receptors. The bumps on your tongue are papillae. Taste buds are on top of the papillae. The taste buds tell whether something is salty, sour, bitter, or savoury.

 

Variables

Controlled Variables

The controlled variables are the temperature the cookies are baked at, how long they’re baked, ingredients measured precisely to make the dough, the recipe, the size of the cookie scoop, and where they’re baked.  

                                                                                                    Manipulated variable


                                                                   The manipulated variable is which flour the cookies are baked with.

 

Responding variable


                                                                                             The responding variable is taste.

 

Procedure

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix margarine, sugars, and egg in a mixer well. put vanilla, flour, baking soda, and salt in the mixer too. Mix for about a minute. Add chocolate chips. Get the baking sheets out and put parchment paper on them. Use a cookie scoop to form raw cookies on baking sheets. Bake cookies on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  After eleven minutes take the cookies out of the oven. Take cookies off the cookie sheet with a spatula and place wire cooling racks. Turn off the oven. After all the cookies are cooled place one of each type of cookie and mark A or B  secretly so I know which cookies are made with the gluten-free blend or plain rice flour.   Have each participant taste both types of cookies and vote based on which cookie they thought tasted best. Record the votes.  See which type of cookie was liked best.

Observations

 

While I was mixing the raw ingredients, I did not notice any difference between the two different flours used. The colour of the flours is very similar. The cookies stick to the top of your mouth.  When baked, the rice flour cookies were fluffier and the flour blend cookies were more spread out.  While I was baking them they smelled really good. In the third batch, people probably liked the rice flour cookies more because they were fresher.  

Analysis

In Batch #1, there were 4 people who liked the gluten-free blend and 3 people preferred the rice-flour cookies.

In Batch #2, 5 people liked the gluten-free flour blend and 3 people voted for the rice-flour cookies

In Batch #3, 1 person voted for the gluten-free blend cookie, while 6 people voted for the rice flour cookie.

 

The gluten-free flour blend was voted as best tasting in two out of the three batches. 

So the gluten-free flour blend cookies won!

 

This experiment would have been improved if I had more people to taste and vote for the cookies. Because of COVI19, I was not able to ask anyone outside of my family to be taste testers.  It would have been easier to determine which cookie tasted better if I had more participants voting.

To improve the experiment I should have baked the two different types on the same day every time.  Because of limited time, I was not always able to bake that many cookies on the same day, and that resulted in cookies being one day old and baked the same day.  The cookies that were one day old were not as popular possibly because they had dried out overnight even though I stored them in a sealed container 


If I had more time and resources I would make my project bigger and this is how. For starters, I would have another flour blend. Next, I would do different sugars like white sugar, icing sugar, and brown sugar. Last, I would do different recipes because not all recipes are the same. 

 

Conclusion

My hypothesis stated that the gluten-free flour blend would taste better than the plain rice flour cookies.  I was correct because in the first two batches of cookies the gluten-free blend was liked by more people. 

Application

 

Many people could use this research.  People who have Celiac Disease or those who must follow a gluten-free diet, a parent of those whose children must follow a gluten-free diet, commercial bakers, and chefs who wish to prepare gluten-free cookies could all use my research.

Based on the conclusion, people would know that a gluten-free flour blend tastes better in cookies instead of using plain rice flour.

 

Sources Of Error

There were two human errors during the experiment.

In one of the batches, I forgot to put all of the flour into the recipe.  I was ready to scoop the cookies onto the cookie sheet when I realized the error.  I added the remaining flour and mixed it and then continued.

One of the rice flour batches of cookies I baked in the evening and then ran out of time to bake the gluten-free blend that same evening.  I baked them almost 24 hours apart, and by then the rice flour batch cookies had dried out.  The freshly baked cookies were more popular possibly because they were so fresh.

I am not aware of any other errors that occurred.

 

Citations

I referenced the following websites:

The Cake Blog "Baking Temperature Comparisons"  https://thecakeblog.com/2015/04/baking-temperature-comparison.html

Science Kids Fun Science and Technology for Kids " Fun Tongue Facts for Kids" https://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/humanbody/tongue.html

Every Day Gluten Free Gourmet https://everydayglutenfreegourmet.ca/recipe/gluten-free-flour-mix/

Bulk Barn "Sugars, Flours and Mixes" https://www.bulkbarn.ca/en/products/all/1-1-baking-flour-gluten-free-2875

 

I referenced the following books:

 Hagman, Bette "More From the Gluten-Free Gourmet" 2003 Henry Holt and Company New York, New York

Canadian Reformed Church Chilliwack Ladies Circle "Recipes to Remember" 2010 Rasmussen Company Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Acknowledgement

I would like to thank my Dad for buying all of the ingredients.  
I would like to thank my Mom for allowing me to use the kitchen to bake the cookies, and for her help in researching gluten-free and her knowledge of baking gluten-free recipes for more than 6 years and for helping me upload information to the CYSF website.

I would like to thank my teacher, Mr. Tomlinson, for showing me some websites that might be helpful, setting up my trifold, and answering questions when I was not sure what to do.

I would also lastly like to thank my family for voting honestly on which cookie they preferred.