here’s the deal.

dinner rolls

Yesterday afternoon, I baked up one more batch of these pull-apart dinner rolls for our friends visiting for lunch (and for the photograph, of course. I took it quickly and apologized for making them wait). Marie tried one, then dipped it in the residue of maple syrup on her plate from our sourdough waffles. “These! These! These are so good!”

You might think a fluffy dinner roll is impossible without gluten. It’s not, of course. These are grain-free too, so feeding someone who cannot tolerate grains well at your Thanksgiving feast just grew easier.

The key here is the psyllium husk. This natural insoluble fiber absorbs water in a way you won’t believe the first time you use it. The dough here will be wet, thickly wet, and it will dribble off the whisk. After you have let the dough rise and the flours hydrate for 90 minutes, the dough will be still tacky but much closer to bread dough. Tuck those dough balls into each other in a pie plate and you have soft, fluffy dinner rolls for Thanksgiving.

And if someone you love can’t eat dairy, you could use melted coconut oil in place of the butter here.

Here’s the recipe on Food52.

(We’ve been doing a gluten-free baking column at Food52 all fall, and I just realized I haven’t told you about it yet! Doh! We’ve been doing mostly grain-free baking there, as well. This year, I’ve started playing with grain-free baking, since so many people I love have learned they really need to be grain-free, in addition to gluten-free. And it turns out that I love grain-free baking. Almond flour, always one of my favorites, is especially good with starches like arrowroot and my current flour crush, buckwheat. This is some of the best baking I’ve ever done. So try this poached quince tart, or this coconut-squash cake or this almond honey butter cake, which is like a warm almond butter and honey sandwich with crisp crusts. You can see all the recipes here.)

So, you’d think that a grain-free dinner roll, which can easily be made dairy-free and egg-free would be a hit, right?

I posted the recipe this morning, on Food52 and the Facebook page. Within an hour, I had a request from a different person asking how to substitute every single ingredient in the recipe.

I am not kidding.

Someone is allergic to tapioca. What can she eat instead? Another can’t do nightshades. How does she substitute for the potato starch? Of course there’s a nut allergy so how can I do it without the almond flour? There was a question about how to substitute the yeast, the psyllium, and the honey. That leaves only the arrowroot flour. Wait, I forgot. Someone asked on Twitter about that, since it’s not available at a store near her. That leaves only salt. That’s the only ingredient someone didn’t ask about changing.

Oh, and of course someone else wanted me to change the grams to cups.

So here’s the deal. I’m done. I’ve tried hard for years to figure out the substitutions because I don’t want anyone else to feel left out.

Our friend Greg Johnson, whose work we adore, wrote a post I  have been thinking about writing for months, a hugely exaggerated and very true-feeling piece about the impossibility of creating a recipe that works for everyone. Danny and I laughed so hard when we read it. And we sort of wanted to cry, too.

Do you know how much work it takes to create a grain-free, dairy-free, and egg-free dinner roll that is actually good? In the midst of the time when we are developing five recipes a day, six days a week, for an impending cookbook deadline? (I’ll leave off the rest of our lives, the exciting developments and the daily duties of being parents to a very active five-year-old.) I don’t throw recipes up there lightly. We work, and work again, to make sure these are as good as they can be.

I can’t make every substitution for you. I just won’t do it anymore.

So here’s the deal.

* Buy a scale if you want to make our recipes. We’re not going to convert the recipe to cups.

* Part of the reason we put all the flours and liquids in grams is so you can substitute what you can eat for what you can’t, easily and gracefully.

* We don’t know what will work best in place of psyllium or yeast or salt because we worked hard to make that particular recipe, not the one you need.

* If you are new to having a food allergy or intolerance, seek out the blogs or cookbooks written by other people who have those same allergies or intolerances. (Readers here wrote a huge number of valuable suggestions on how to bake and cook without dairy and how to bake without eggs. Please consult those first.)

* If all else fails, there’s always Google. I suggest you try that.

 

This is now our official standard policy. Sorry if you’re offended but this is how it’s going to be. We have lobster rolls to create, sweet potato pie to bake, sourdough bread and black and white cookies and johnnycakes with fresh cranberry sauce to make in our kitchen. And that’s just tomorrow.

Our recipes are offerings. There are no guarantees they will work for you. We are constantly, constantly playing in our kitchen. We suggest you do the same. Make the recipe your own.

 

 Update: Thank you to the many of you who have written comments about this. For those of you who are now so angry at me that you claim you will never read the site again? Go in good peace.

Our friend Laura Russell, who wrote a wonderful book called The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More, wrote a particularly apt comment: “A recipe developer can not guarantee the success of a recipe she has not tested personally. Sometimes even tiny changes in a single ingredient throw the whole thing off. It is completely reasonable to expect people to spend their own time and money on ingredients to experiment with changes they need in their own kitchens.”

If we offer substitution suggestions in a recipe (we offered two of them in the recipe above), it’s because we have tried those substitutions and know they work. We want recipes to work for you. So we cannot comment on substitutions we don’t know.

We have, of course, spent 8 years offering suggestions and trying to help with substitutions. Here are some of the many links that someone who has a substitution question could consult. Most of them are on the sidebar menu of this site.

A Guide to Gluten-Free Baking

Are You New to Gluten-Free? 

How to Make a Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix 

How to Make a Gluten-Free Whole-Grain Mix 

What is Psyllium Husk?

A Guide to Working With Gluten-Free Flours 

Why We Don’t Use Cups in Our Baking

How To Bake and Cook Without Dairy

Baking Without Eggs

 

If after reading all those, you have a question about substitution, you can check the comments section of any baked goods recipe I have put up for the past 8 years and learn from other people who have the same intolerances as you.

I realize that this all seems scary when you begin. I have been trying to guide and mollify readers for 8 years. However, there comes a time when boundaries have to be clear. There are plenty of ways to learn and begin to bake, joyfully. Find those ways.

 

 

 

 

155 comments on “here’s the deal.

  1. Nikki vane

    Well done Shauna and Danny! I don’t blame you at all, you conceive the most imaginative and delicious GF recipes for us coeliacs — and others — you just cannot bow to all the immense demands that are made upon you. You have your lives to live — especially with your daughter.
    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, humour, love of life and food! You enhance our lives
    Nikki

  2. Kerry

    I couldn’t agree more. Not every recipe needs to be failsafe for everyone. But I’m so glad you’ve posted some grain-free recipes — I’ve been needing to experiment with that too, and your recipes and suggestions on the site have made a great starting point. Reading your blog over the past year or so has made playing around in the kitchen much easier.

  3. Kayla

    I whole-heartedly support this. Especially if it means being closer to a fabulous sourdough bread recipe!

  4. Mel @ The cook's notebook

    EXCELLENT POLICY. It always makes me laugh (and often shake my head in wonder) when people ask for substitutions. I’ve been asked what to sub for red peppers in a spaghetti Bolognese sauce. Um, just leave them out!
    Your recipes and blog are fantastic. I love how much you share and how obviously hard you work to create beautiful food that is attractive to everyone, not just those with dietary challenges.
    Thank you.

    1. Carlin Breinig

      Well yes! These look good, buckwheat sounds good and would love to try Johnny cakes with cranberry.
      This post makes so much sense. Of course I was rear ended by a car this morning and she never apologized, just told me to move because she had somewhere to go. Of course I was the inconsiderate one for her hitting me.

  5. Jessica

    Good for you. I would never DREAM of expecting that something I get FOR FREE should be altered to MY likes/needs, etc. You make it your own. I think it’s just a fear on most people’s part. Fear of getting it wrong, of it being a disaster. But to me, that’s just part of the learning experience.

  6. Karen

    As someone who plays in her kitchen quite often, way to go. I always try to make it the way the recipe reads, the first time and then play with it. Your passion for what you do comes out so much in your writing. I promise never to ask about a substitution (because we work around gluten, corn, dairy, and yeast.) I won your cook book from Bob’s Red Mill and have used it quite frequently. You’re dinner rolls aren’t for us, but the biscuits in your cookbook make the whole family happy — that’s what will be on our Thanksgiving table.

  7. Sari

    Yes! If you have allergies/intolerances, learn how to cook and substitute ingredients for yourself. (It’s also fun.)

  8. Pamela

    I know that was not an easy post to write, and you will get some complaints here and there, but it was a necessary one. When I read posts with recipes, I’m always dismayed by the requests for substitutions and the comments of ridicule over some of the ingredients or the dish itself.

    I don’t get it. I won’t ever get it, but that does not matter, anyway.

    I do have to tell you, though, when I saw the recipe written with gram weights, I cheered, loudly. When I baked with wheat flour, a lifetime ago, I could measure with cups no problem. That’s no the case for me, anymore, now that my kitchen is grain-free. I cannot get the same weight in a consecutive cups of from almond flour ever. And the same goes for the starches. Thank you so much for the gram weights. While I convert recipes with cups measurements, I always wonder how they measured it. It’s still a guess.

    Didn’t mean to be so long-winded. Thanks again. I will try this recipe, and yes, I’ll play with some of the ingredients a bit after the first batch. Heck, that’s the fun of baking.

  9. Melissa

    Go girl!! I wondered the same thing MANY times!! How do you put up with it all? I am so glad you made this post. It is not about pleasing everyone, HELLO– If you are on the internet, figure it out yourself!!! I SOO appreciate all of the hard work that goes into EVERY recipe. If it wouldn’t work for me for some reason, I search somewhere else, and come back to visit your next post to see what’s happening:) I have so VERY much enjoyed your Everyday cookbook, and I am still making my way through it! I never KNEW about using Psyllium husk until I found you! I run a Small business, raise & homeschool a little one, so I am there with you on the CRAZY busy time schedule! Keep it up, we all love you both so much and so very much appreciate all of your hard work and efforts!! Honesty IS the best policy.…..Those who REALLY truly care will still be here:)

  10. Mary

    Way to go!! I hardly ever follow a recipe exactly, but I know that’s MY job and not yours. Haha. Yes, getting a handle on this kind of baking is daunting, but there is gobs and gobs of information out there to study and learn and try and fail and try again. Happy baking to everyone!

  11. evilcakelady

    Good for you! There’s nothing more satisfying than figuring out how to successfully modify a recipe to fit your needs, at least I think so. Sometimes I wonder if the fear of failure is what keeps people from substituting/experimenting.

    (These dinner rolls look amazing, by the way. Since I’ve become pregnant my body will NOT tolerate gluten–I suspect I’ve always had a low-level gluten sensitivity–and these rolls look better than anything I can find in grocery stores. Thank you!)

  12. Elissa|PoorMansFeast

    Someone once wrote to me and asked if I could supply them with a recipe for my Brussels Sprouts and grapes that swapped out the Brussels sprouts and grapes. I was ready to stick my head in the oven. Good for you for putting your foot down!!

  13. Michel

    Thank you for teaching me to fish!!! Ratios, weights, principles, etc. I am very grateful. Those afraid to fail (in cooking) find those things terrifying and want hard and fast recipes. Those that never follow a recipe exactly (me) are thrilled to have enough info (why, why not) to wing it!
    You do good work.

  14. Winnie

    These look great AND GOOD FOR YOU! I ignore most requests for substitutions and I do not get anywhere near the volume that you do…I cannot imagine how frustrating/annoying that would be!

  15. Kristin

    haha! I’ve always wondered how you cooks/recipe writers stayed so patient with the litany of substitution requests! Seriously, people, figure it out yourself. This is a gluten free blog, if you need something else, go somewhere else! sheesh!

    1. Debbie

      I think it’s because for most professional recipe writers, it’s their jobs. I would respect this decision more if Shauna actually taught people how to bake by weight instead of saying to “just play with it, your hands will know what to do.” I certainly don’t have the time for that after working a 10 hour day!

      1. shauna

        Well, we give very specific instructions in every recipe and I don’t recall ever writing that line. But if how we write recipes doesn’t work for you, there are plenty of great gluten-free sites out there!

      2. Oconnee

        Ok. I’m sorry. I really am. Because this is going to sound snarky. And possibly I will be more zen after having coffee, and I generally really don’t do the internet comments thing, but seriously… nobody needs to be ‘taught’ how to bake by weight. You put things on the scales, you weigh them, you put them in the bowl. What part of that needs instruction? Yes, every scale is different, but I’m going to go ahead and suggest that every scale comes with, well, instructions. It’s not Shauna’s responsibilty to teach anyone how to use their own kitchen appliances! If you really don’t want to buy a scale the internet is full of conversion charts. If there really is any remaining doubt. Google is your friend.

  16. Ally

    Oh Shauna I ADORE your posts. Thank you, for being real. Oh yeah, and for the recipes that never fail me too :) And for doing it in grams, because you converted me to the scale method and I have no idea what took me so long :) Thank you, for everything you do for this community.

  17. Else

    Am i allowed to ask what brand of Psyllium husk you use? I want very much to use psyllium but haven’t come across any labelled GF so I haven’t yet been able to try any of your bread recipes!

  18. Cookie's Mom

    It’s a reasonable policy and good on you for recognizing the need to draw a line. Might maybe have sat on it for a day or two so the emotion could have been left out of it (if you need to apologize for potentially offending someone, you’re probably going to offend someone). The requests are unmanageable and sometimes ridiculous. I get it. But they’re coming from your supporters, yes? I’m not preaching… I’ve done it too. These days I wait to post anything emotional unless I don’t care what the backlash is. Maybe that’s just how frustrated you are, so okay! These rolls look fantastic! If only they didn’t have nuts… I’m teasing. (Seriously can’t eat nuts but I’ll go sort out that quandary on my own.) :-) Best of luck with your next ventures! Love the blog!

    1. shauna

      Oh, I’ve been sitting on this one for years. Besides, what’s wrong with urgent language and possibly offending people? That’s something I’ve noticed here. Because I’m an optimist and lover of light, people are shocked when I’m forceful or annoyed. What a boring life it would be if all we did was please.

      1. Vickie Martin

        Glad to see that you’ve joined me in at the point in your life where you finally feel that you can stop trying to please everyone and please yourself for a change. It is liberating isn’t it?

      2. Libby

        “What a boring life it would be if all we did was please.” «and that’s going up on my refrigerator because hell yes.

  19. Christy S in TX

    AMEN! I feel so sorry for all of you all when I have heard all these things in the past. Personally, I LOVE what you all can create and how you all do it! Brilliance!

    Maybe I’ve been making substitutions long enough that I know what I can sub for.

    Bravo for posting this policy!

  20. Katy

    Ha, well if it makes you feel better, for all the North American cup-lovers that you’ve pee’d off, the rest of the world that always used scales is happy ;o)

  21. Heather H

    I fully support this, great post! I think the crux of the problem is so many folks don’t know how to really cook so experimenting is scary. Experimenting though is the only true way to learn!

  22. diane harris

    BRAVO!!! You guys can only do so much!! by the way I have subscribed to food52 so I can get your articles from them!!

    I can’t wait for the black and white cookies…i grew up on them in the bronx and haven’t had one in about 15 yrs!!

  23. Shannon

    Thanks for this, because of this article you have a new follower. I never can understand why people just have to pester people for something that can be easily solved with a quick google search. You work hard enough posting a free recipe, how in earth are you supposed to have all the answers?! Thanks, for all the hard work and dedication to your craft.

  24. Sharon

    Learning to cook gf is a whole new language…at least to me. I am relatively new to it. Dozens of different flours, ingredients…I find it to be totally frustrating, time consuming and expensive. Bouncing a question off someone or other followers who seems to know what they are doing, to me, is totally acceptable. I enjoy sharing my cooking joys, failures and tips with my friends and family. You are entitled to your opinion for sure, but it seems a bit harsh. I enjoy reading the different sub. responses and ideas.

    1. shauna

      Sharon, there are many, many suggestions all through this website. Start first with the section called Are You New to Gluten-Free on the left sidebar. Then, read A Guide to Gluten-Free Baking. Read the piece I wrote on A Guide to Gluten-Free Flours. Then read the two links on Baking without Dairy and Baking Without Eggs. If you still have questions, you’re free to ask them. But there are plenty of answers on this site already, as well as many, many other places.

      1. Sharon

        Sounds good. I only saw this as a friend shared your post. I have never checked out your website, but have perused your Facebook site. Guess I am a minority with my opinion! Lol.

        1. shauna

          Wait, you called the post harsh but you have never been here before? And so you don’t know all the places I have offered suggestions and guided the way for folks?

        2. kelly

          You are NOT in the minority.

          I thought it was VERY harsh and actually rude to post. I have been to the web site, I’ve read her books and I was actually on food52 today. The world could use a bit more kindness from people who are known to be experts in a particular field. And, especially give towards people who are struggling with illness, food allergies etc. Going gluten free or any “free” is confusing.

          Today, i saw the link for the rolls and immediately thought maybe this is something i could try and then… grams? hmmmm… I usually would have sent along a message asking about that because I’m brand new to baking and wondered why grams? And, i don’t have the money to “experiment”.

          I think the rant is over the top, too.

        3. shauna

          And again, there’s absolutely no reason you have to stay here or make any of the recipes! It’s a free site. And a free country.

    2. Debbie

      I agree with Sharon upthread. I recently found this blog and enjoyed reading some of the older posts but with so many other blogs out there that provide adequate instructions, I’m confused why we’re all cheering for the rudeness in the last couple of posts. I love to cook and also enjoy seeing people’s ideas and suggestions — aren’t blogs supposed to be open forums for conversation?

      Finally, the suggestion that we should “go buy a scale” is offensive. I suppose we should buy it through your affiliate link, too? Not everyone has sponsors to provide them with free kitchen equipment. Some people have the budget for $2 measuring cups but not a $40 kitchen scale.

      1. shauna

        Every recipe we have written in the past three years has been written in grams. If you don’t want to make the switch — even though many people here will attest that baking by weight actually means fewer mistakes and better baked goods — then this isn’t the site for you!

        1. crickets_mommy

          Hmm, I can understand your frustration, but I agree with the recommendation to post when you have a cooler head because you may unintentionally alienate your readers. You have a fan base, and I count myself in that base, as I am a long time reader. (I’ve been reading since before you met the chef! and even before Lucy was born! I also have two of your books. Hoping to get the new one as a Christmas present. :) )

          I think this dilemma could have been solved with some organization. Not everyone who asks a question is being critical…they may be a newcomer. I get repetitive questions at work, so I keep a document on my desktop that has pre-typed responses to common questions.

          You could do this too: When someone asks why you can’t provide cup measurements, no need to tell him/her the entire back story and how tired you are of getting this question. Just have a simple statement typed out that that GF baking is different from regular baking and you have found a scale to be invaluable + insert link to your blog post there.

          Perhaps you could write ONE blog post with suggested substitutions for common ingredients, with the caveat that substitution may cause a drastically different product, and someone would do so at his/her own risk. Also, that you regret you don’t have time to make a variation for each and every allergy/condition, but if someone finds one that works for him/her they are welcome to post in the comments or provide feedback.

          If someone asks you about substitutions, you could have a cordial response typed up that you select ingredients based on a particular quality and that you regret you can’t accommodate every situation. Then direct them to the substitution blog entry, and perhaps ask them to let you know in the comments if a substitution worked for them.

          This way you would encourage dialog.

          As I wrote, I’m a long time fan of your work and I’ve bought both your books, but your post does sound a tad hostile. Telling people “this blog isn’t for you” seems unnecessarily combative and you sound tired and fed up.

          Please understand I’m saying this with compassion–it must be dreadfully stressful and the holidays are coming, which brings a lot of new readers, plus you have a book to write! I don’t know how you do all that you do and stay sane!

      2. Llysa

        For the budget minded — by going to a few thrift stores, I found a perfectly functional MAIL scale that measures in grams and goes to 3 lbs for only $3. And frankly, baking in grams has saved my baking — because these different flours have different densities, they have different volumes, and a cup of almond flour (for instance) may not be the same amt of flour you are subbing out…

  25. Janet

    Good for you. It’s like when I was a kid and I’d ask my mom how to spell something and she’d tell me to go find a dictionary. Yeah, it may take some experimenting to find the right combination that works, but then I learned how to be self sufficient. I substitute ingredients all the time with recipes, especially if there’s an ingredient I know I don’t like (like cilantro — it just doesn’t agree with me). I’ve learned the role that different ingredients have in a recipe so I can choose an alternative ingredient that works for me. Some of it is just logical thinking.

    Back when my grandmother cooked, she often worked without specific recipes. As foods became more processed and “convenient” we stopped cooking with raw ingredients and lost the ability to make things up as we went along. It’s a learning process and we each need to put in the time and effort to figure things out for ourselves.

    1. shauna

      I love that analogy, as I“m going to be doing that same thing with Lucy. And I agree. An entire generation is scared of making mistakes while cooking because they grew up on processed food. But banish fear! Cooking and making mistakes is more fun.

      1. Stella

        Making mistakes is a big part of cooking. However you bake with some really high end and difficult to find ingredients. Making a mistake could be a little costly as you put some things in your recipes in grams, others in the traditional US measurements. Some things you convert and some you don’t. That’s a lot of information for someone who may not have as much experience as you or I.

        I don’t have to eat gluten free luckily. Your recipes have a lot of hoops to jump through for me to want to accommodate a guest who is gluten free though.

        1. shauna

          Stella, you are not obligated to cook from this site! But ask anyone here who has switched to baking by weight. Baking in grams instead of cups means fewer mistakes and more successes.

        2. Stella

          I completely understand that I am free to not use your recipes. I’m just trying to gently point out that because you put yourself out there as a professional and an expert (something which companies sponsor you for and provide you with high end appliances to use)
          You might not want to alienate your readership by insisting the only right way, is your way. These are the people who buy your books and your sponsors products. Martha Stewart has plenty of Gluten Free recipes. And she uses cups.

        3. shauna

          If I put my recipes in cups, they would be much harder to adapt for the people who must substitute potato starch for tapioca flour. I’m not insisting that my way is the right way. If that was true, I would make every recipe with one flour mix I made up, preferably that you’d have to buy from me first. No substitutions. There is plenty of room in this world for all kinds of baking and recipes. All I said is that people would be better served by asking someone who knows more about baking without eggs (for which I provided a link) or baking with different flours (for which I have several guides on the site) than asking me. We make the recipes we make, the best way we can, and then people are free to adapt them for their kitchens.

        4. Stella

          I thoroughly agree that you should not be responsible for substitutions and that a little common sense and internet research can go a long way in life. I think the reason people are feeling put off by the new policy is because many of them are inexperienced cooks. My friend and I were joking the other day and saying that people are probably looking at all that awesome food pRon on Pintrest while eating take out pizza.

  26. Mattheworbit

    Good for you. I fully understand the frustration — people have become so ludicrously ungrateful. And if they start learning on their own and experimenting, who knows, maybe they’ll come up with an even better recipe that’ll suit more people? Google it up, people.

  27. Melanie

    Not offended at all! You can’t please everyone! One of the best things about gluten-free or grain-free cooking is the experimentation. Get out there and try to fit it to your needs, people!

  28. Sue

    Well, I have to say “Good on you!” for drawing that line in the sand. Now I can stop rolling my eyes every time someone comments, “I’m allergic to XYZ–can you give me a substitution?” REALLY? Listen, if you are indeed allergic, you’d better get hustlin’ and learn the damn substitutions yourself so you don’t end up in the emergency room due to your own ignorance. Or laziness. Or, mostly likely, both.

  29. Ginny

    Some people will never be satisfied; you’ll stress yourself out trying to please them all. As for your pictures and worrying about how they’ll compare to those on Pinterest, great minds have said for centuries, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”

  30. Victoria Smtih

    Well said, Shauna, from any and all angles. Some people demand too damn much, without giving any thought to how ungrateful and self-centered their requests and remarks can be. The assumption that you have unlimited time — and a burning desire to accommodate the needs and wishes of anyone and everyone who wants a personalized version of what you and Danny bust your asses to create and then freely share — shows a lack of understanding and appreciation of the work you do. And when people not only complain about what you say, but how you say it, I shake my head and roll my eyes, all the while hoping you won’t feel the need to shut down the comments section as you did at this time last year.

    This is your blog, your space, your home, your turf, where you come to make the world a better place. Your words are your life and your personal truth. Readers who do not like your choice of language, tone, or topic are free to go elsewhere and take their opinions with them. You’ve effectively said so twice in the past week. As our mothers and grandmothers said, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. You’ve said it just right, loud and clear. I applaud you and appreciate the time, energy, and passion that you and Danny put into everything that you do.

  31. Patty

    So a question, as the comments section can be a place where some of that rich resource on the internet is found. Is it ok to ask — hey, has anyone tried this recipe this way? Is that ok? I feel like those of us who follow the blog don’t have any other place to share resources but here and Facebook, but do those same rules apply?

  32. Ruth Barker

    Thank you, Shauna and Danny, for all your efforts. I have worked with the public — I know Joe Blow find it difficult to think for himself.

    I have had great success looking for substitutes at The Cook’s Thesaurus http://www.foodsubs.com/ . I note they have recently included how to make your own flour etc from the whole ingredient. Well done them.

    I hope this may make it easier for those who read this after me.

    Yours sincerely

    Ruth

  33. Kristine

    These are gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous and I only hope that I am up to the task!

    I appreciate your laying down your boundaries, too. I think cooking and baking with “real foods” can be even trickier than conventional cooking because you have greater opportunity for variation in ingredients when you use less processed food, so people do need to be patient and adventurous!

    I will say though, sometimes people don’t expect the original blog author to reply to questions about allergies — they look at online recipes as a “crowd sourced” recipe and want others to weigh in. I personally love seeing how other folks reply to questions about variations posted on recipes.

    Now, this was the kick in the pants I need to buy that kitchen scale …

    1. shauna

      Go! Buy that scale. I certainly don’t mind conversations within the comments. But I do have to tell you — oh, they do expect the blog author to do it. The emails I get outpace the comments!

  34. Abby

    I completely honor and respect your stand on this. I read a TON of food blogs, mostly about gluten– and grain-free cooking and the vast majority of the comments sections are people pleading for substitutions (or nutritional analysis, or WW points…oy) and I can only imagine how tiresome it must be for the writers to try and respond. One well-known blogger I follow has a similar policy to your newly-instated one.
    When I find a recipe that I am excited about I make it, and then I will often experiment with it, subbing things as needed or desired, sometimes with hilarious results but always educational. I understand how hard it is to have diet restrictions and allergies. Having been diagnosed with Celiac and Dermatitis herpetiformis just this year, I am not only gluten free for life but low-iodine until my symptoms clear (which could be 6 months-2 years). Low-iodine makes gluten-free seems like a cake walk (nyuk nyuk). But, goodness! I do not expect you or any of the other bloggers I follow to hold my hand in the kitchen. You provide beautiful, exciting recipes and that is a gift that I am grateful for. It is my task to figure out how to make it work for me. There is a sense of ownership and adventure whenever I step into the kitchen.

    1. shauna

      Oh, the nutritional analysis! I get one of those requests every day. Thank you for this comment. And good luck with the low iodine. I wouldn’t even know where to start! But I’m sure you’ve done your research. Sounds like you’re on your way.

  35. Liz

    Good for you! And may I refer everyone else to the comments…generally, someone has already done the substitution you need and dropped the hint here for others to use. Because people are nice like that. So go ahead, sit down with a nice cup of tea and read those comments. :)

  36. Dee

    Bravo. IMHO, you should be able to create with creativity. If we need to figure out something different to suit tastes/needs, we can do it ourselves.

  37. Abby

    (And P.S. — this is quite possibly the first bread recipe that I do not need to make any substitutions for my absurdly restrictive diet! And because it’s from you, I KNOW it’ll be a winner. Very excited to try this out tomorrow!)

  38. Michelle

    I totally get why you implemented this policy, and it’s frustrating that people come across as so ungrateful. In defense of people who ask, for me, it’s borne out of wondering if the recipe author has insight since they spent so much time with the process. Maybe you tried it with tapioca starch and it didn’t work, so you tried arrowroot and it was perfect. I’ve gotten good recommendations, whether from the recipe writer or the other readers, when I’ve asked for ideas on how to substitute. I always appreciate that extra inside information, but I never expect it.

      1. Michelle

        That’s awesome to know! Thanks for sharing all of your expertise. I’m really excited to try those dinner rolls :)

  39. Netty

    good for you! Elana from Elana’s Pantry has the same policy and it’s included ON her comment form so you have to click a box saying that you’ve read that she won’t provide substitutions before commenting. You might want to check it out to see if you want/need to do something similar. Thanks for all you do!

  40. Julie

    Oh, Shauna. I’ve read your blog for a long time. This is so disappointing. The foundation of your blog is making food accessible to people with allergies and intolerance. To read “figure it out yourself, buy a scale, not my problem if you can’t do tapioca” is so incredibly disappointing (and frankly, ironic) from someone who is making a living providing recipes to others with similar food issues.
    You write so often about your passion for food and for sharing it with others. And then you post something like this. This shows no passion for food — it shows disdain for your readers and for anyone who can’t convert your weight measurements to cups. Not everyone with a gluten allergy can afford a kitchen scale. Not every celiac lives near a store that carries arrowroot flour. These are the people you wanted to help, and they are asking you for help. I am so sad that this is how you’ve chosen to respond to them.

    1. shauna

      Oh heavens, really? You are more than welcome to your own opinion. But you really can’t claim I don’t care about people. What would you do when you receive at least 25 emails a day from people kindly asking or more likely demanding that you “fix” a recipe for them so they can make it. When this website is free to read? When there are hundreds and hundreds of other gluten-free blogs and recipes out there? If I suggest a small difference, but don’t test out the recipe with that difference, I have no guarantee that the recipe will work. As my friend Laura Russell, who is also a professional recipe developer, wrote today: “A recipe developer can not guarantee the success of a recipe she has not tested personally. Sometimes even tiny changes in a single ingredient throw the whole thing off. It is completely reasonable to expect people to spend their own time and money on ingredients to experiment with changes they need in their own kitchens.” So, should I make every recipe on this site 14 different ways to make sure that it works for every person? How much is a recipe developer supposed to do? I make gluten-free food. I don’t make allergen-free food. I provide the recipes in grams to help people, not to hurt them. And I have written guides about how to substitute flours, work with other allergens, and try to make the recipes accessible in at least 14 places on this site. There is a point at which I have to say I cannot do it all for people. And this is that point.

    2. kelly libby

      I completely agree with your reply. I am glad you wrote your thoughts. I don’t have a scale. I barely have a kitchen in my tiny city apartment. I have no idea where to buy arrow root. I don’t have money to “experiment”. I don’t think most people are actually expecting the owner and author to reply to them. A simple stock email/auto reply might do the trick. Or have an assistent/intern/volunteer/ help answer emails. I’m just super disappointed with this post in general. Regardless if I agree or disagree, the tone made me sad.

  41. jaymee

    BIll Cosby once said “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” And ya know, he’s just a genius and such. : )

  42. Leigh

    Sometimes I ask for substitution ideas not really expecting that the blog owner will have one at the ready, but that someone else out there in Internetland may have a suggestion. I think this policy is totally reasonable, but I hope it will not have the effect of making it seem as if these inquiries are all rude and obnoxious. Asking for ideas from the Internet is a way of life now. If you don’t have an answer, you could just leave it lie, for someone else (or no one ever) to answer. Not every question is a demand for information from a particular individual.

    1. shauna

      It’s all in the tone of the question, of course. What I find is that often people will ask a “I can’t have yeast, how do I make this bread yeast-free?” within 5 minutes of the post going up. If it’s a bread I’ve been working on for months, it’s a little deflating. But it also shows me the question is asked out of panic, not thoughtfulness or wanting to start a conversation. People are more than welcome to start that conversation on the Facebook page when I post the recipe. But honestly, take the time to go to a blog that caters more specifically to your intolerances or allergens, rather than expecting this one to be everything.

  43. Nancie McDermott

    This is the very very best. I love this post. Yes yes yes. I love the Greg Johnson post. Embarassed myself laughing and snorting out loud in coffeeshop/office, where I feel VERY annoyed when nearby human beings, aka fellow customers, distract me from my reading, writing, surfing web and laughing out loud with their personal conversations, business meetings, and volunteer organization committee work. I mean, Hello, people! Oh, sorry, I just remembered that my baristas said I have to be nice to all these other people or go home to my actual office. Those rolls? Oh my goodness. Splendid beautiful glowing bread. So many people will be extra Thankful on Thanksgiving and every other day thanks to you two. You do such good work. Keep on and take good care, what a creative dynamic duo you are, always!

  44. Kimberley

    Can I get a witness? You’ve said it as gracefully as it can be said. :) I really appreciate hearing this, vacillating as I do between trying to please everyone and being fed up with the frequent requests for substitutions. Thank you.

  45. StaceyP

    Good for you. People can google “tapioca starch substitute” and find an answer more quickly than by submitting a comment and waiting for an answer. It’s not your responsibility to do it for them.

  46. Daphne

    Great post! There is so much information available online about substitutions and it’s just one Google search away. Glad you drew the line.

  47. Tonie

    This was so disappointing to me. I have been a follower of yours for three years and own both of your cookbooks. Two weeks ago I found out I have to go completely grain free. Imagine my happiness when I saw that you were posting a grain free recipe! I was excited to read this post and as I read on I became so sad. Here was someone I trusted posting a recipe I could possibly use addressing my current needs and in the next sentence I read that you don’t want any questions. If you don’t want people to ask questions you can’t provide answers to don’t post a grain free recipe. Stick to gluten free, a subject that you have plenty of resources about on your website to (gracefully) refer people with questions to. Now I know I need to unsubscribe from your blog and stick to blogs that will actually provide the guidance I need.

    By the way if you want to be a professional recipe developer you should just write cookbooks. You are a blogger and you make money blogging. With blogging comes readers (customers) and with readers comes questions. Although you now have once less reader, and cookbook buyer.

  48. Tiffany

    How sad it is that now loyal readers of this blog are afraid to ask questions; wondering if they’ll get a rude response. Shauna, you have been a pioneer in the gluten-free community, and your blog has helped so many people embrace dietary limitations with open arms. I am all for liberating yourself from having to please everyone, but this post is harsh and alienating, and Patty’s comment — as well as Else’s comment above — are examples of questions being posed timidly now in what used to be an open share.

    I’m with Sharon, Kelly, Debbie, and Julie. I’ve been reading your site since before you met Danny. When I found out you were going to be on CT I emailed you with a location suggestion because I live in CT, and I was so disappointed when I was out of town for the pot luck. I’ve always loved your writing and how welcoming your site has seemed to me. But the last few posts have really been off-putting. They have come across haughty, rude, and ungrateful. Your readers are why you are where you are now; you are treating them as inconvenient and burdensome.

    I know it doesn’t make a huge difference to you now, since you’re so successful and losing one person won’t mean a thing to you where it might have six or seven years ago, but for what it’s worth I’m unsubscribing tonight and I won’t be back.

    1. shauna

      Wow, this post really hit a nerve for you. I’m sorry that the tone of this post struck you as so harsh that you will stop reading after seven years. But that’s your choice. I never said I would no longer answer people’s questions. I answer at least 50 emails a day, with people’s questions, including when they send me eight-page medical histories and ask me to diagnose them. (I always tell them to see a doctor.) But I cannot answer substitution questions anymore when I have written extensively on the site, including in the Are You New to Gluten-Free and the A Guide to Gluten-Free Baking links on the side, as well as the piece I wrote about why we bake by weight, as well as the questions about substitutions on nearly every baked good recipe. Why would drawing clear boundaries and asking people to find out the best substitute for tapioca starch from someone who knows a better answer than I do strike you as me being ungrateful? Do you really feel that it is my job to make every recipe with 14 different substitutions to make sure it works for every possible allergy or intolerance out there? As a friend of mine who is a recipe developer wrote today: “A recipe developer can not guarantee the success of a recipe she has not tested personally. Sometimes even tiny changes in a single ingredient throw the whole thing off. It is completely reasonable to expect people to spend their own time and money on ingredients to experiment with changes they need in their own kitchens.” I agree.

      So, if you found this post so repugnant that you will not come back after seven years of reading, that is your choice. But from my end, this has nothing to do with a lack of gratitude and everything to do with clear boundaries and doing my work the best I can.

      1. Lori

        I don’t think it’s “drawing clear boundaries” so much as the self-righteous tone of the whole post.

        1. shauna

          It’s your right to read the piece the way you want. It’s not how I intended it nor how I read it.

        2. Meaghan

          Agreed with everyone who found this post, and recent ones, completely unpleasant. Shauna, I’ve followed you and purchased your cookbooks since I was diagnosed, what 7/8 years ago?

          I COMPLETELY agree with your sentiments. You have no obligation to answer these annoying, repetitive questions. I’ve never asked one and all I can say is thank god for Google because none of this will ever be instinct or natural for me. Personally, I haven’t purchased a food scale and haven’t gotten around to learning how to bake like that; however, thanks to you, I understand why it is a much better way to bake. Because of this, I’ve stuck by your blog for the writing content alone and the intelligence and wit you have to offer. I’ve enjoyed your writing, as well as the interaction with readers, and sought recipes elsewhere in the meantime.

          All that said, this post was completely rude and alienating to anyone who looks up to you as a the gluten free resource you are/you’ve become. I won’t say yet you’ve lost a reader, but it’s very obvious that celebrity-dom has changed you (as it does any person who enjoys the spotlight) but I’d pay a little more attention to some of your reader’s reactions to this side of you. Argue all you want about the way it was phrased, but you could have handled this better.

  49. Mrs. C

    I’ve only been gluten free for 6 months now, so have not followed you for long. Nonetheless, this post has been my favorite thus far. As a college instructor I have learned that you cannot make everyone happy, ever. You can turn yourself inside out and there will still be someone who wants more. You have to do the best you can and let the chips (or biscuits) fall as they may. I have yet to branch out into mixing my own flour, but when I do, your recipes from your cookbooks (which are on my Christmas list!) will be the first ones I try. I think you are amazing and appreciate all you do to improve the food possibilities for the likes of me. Thank you.

  50. Will Burgess

    Shauna & my man Dan-o
    Shake off the haters and whiners. Stick to the truth you have finally found in your hearts and let it set you free. You do what you do, and better than 99% of the folks out there foisting their crap, half-assed ” recipes” and such to the ever growing crowd of true Celiacs as well as those who have picked up on the ” trend” of living a gluten-free life. Setting aside everything else, a few hard facts stand out to prove that you are absolutely correct, and frankly, I’m surprised you were so tolerant for so long. 1) Baking is science — chemistry, mostly. 2) The only way to recreate a scientific formula (once upon a time, before everyone with a cable subscription and too much $$$ decided they were a “chef”, every pastry chef referred to their recipes as formulas — I’m sure Dan remembers this from NECI. It is not a recipe. A recipe can be interpreted, juggled, improvised, changed on a whim or the availability of ingredients, personal taste, etc. 3) As in any other scientific formula, each “ingredient” must be carefully, precisely measured BY WEIGHT. 4) The most accurate measurement available to us at this time is metrics. The Imperial (pounds, ounces) is ridiculously imprecise. Imagine asking a chemist to use mom’s measuring cups to make a batch of heart medicine, or flu vaccine, or a tasty batch of LSD. Chaos, failure, plague and maddness. If someone needs to replicate a scientific formula, they must have the correct measurement-by-weight. Period.
    Stand your ground. Be proud of your hard work, and continue sharing it as you have; with expertise, humility, joy, and in the spirit of sharing & love that you always have. You guys rock.

  51. Julie

    Oh hooray! I have been a sometimes reader. Until today. Today I become a regular follower. Because I love cooking. And I’m gluten and dairy free and I continue to learn what works and what doesn’t and what I can do to figure it out and I find it fun and challenging. It can be expensive but it is so rewarding to care for my health and enjoy making food.
    I just ended a relationship where I felt I had to meet others needs at the expense of myself. Hard to walk away but so liberating and what you just did here made me smile. Good for you and I’m glad you have a supportive partner.
    And I will be buying that scale this weekend because those rolls look like heaven.

  52. Amy

    I love your writing and your spirit, I love that you share a piece of your life with all of us out here in blogland, thank you for your honesty and way to stand up for what you believe in! Keep the stories and formulas coming.

  53. Beth

    I adore you Shauna and your wonderful way with words. I agree with everything you said. The occassional simple request for our opinions on possible substitutions is one thing and somewhat expected no matter what kind of food blog you have, but asking to change literally EVERY important ingredient in a recipe is uncalled for. I understand not everyone understands the fundamentals of cooking/baking and that we have opted, by having blogs, to share our knowledge (to a point) with our readers, but the opinion that we owe it to folks or that we should somehow be obligated to do this extra work just by having chosen to create said blog and share our recipes, is ludicrous. I also think if you have that many restrictions in your diet, when you see a recipe with that many things you can’t have, than maybe it is best to move on down the road to another recipe. Problem solved.

  54. dezreen

    BRAVO! Well done. Do what you can and be proud of what you do. I love your information and use my scale (found in our town’s free box) all the time after reading your advice.

  55. TB

    Good post! I’m a little shocked by how entitled some people can be. It’s not like Shauna said ‘NO QUESTIONS EVAAAR@!@#%’ — she made a point and explained her point thoroughly and effectively. Be gracious, folks. Blogs like this are hard to come by — she isn’t a corporation and clearly does this out of love. Also, if your attitude is this poor when it comes to a blog post — especially from a blog that you claim you cared so much about– you might wanna take a moment and examine your behavior in your real life.

    Shauna, ya’ll are wonderful. Thank you for what you do.

  56. Jen

    So I guess when you come into a restaurant and you go to your friend’s parties and you desire a gluten free something or the other and the chef/host tells you “well, it just won’t be the same” you will not throw a tantrum.

    Ok, point taken, we get you don’t want to take questions about your recipes, then why write anyways if you’re so frustrated? Also, sounds like you’ll be pretty amicable if you go to a restaurant or party and the chef/host refuses to accommodate you.

    You sound like an amazing person. NOT.

  57. Colleen

    I am sickened by this post and comments. You are doing the same to individuals with other restrictions that others who will not accomodate do to the GF community. You could have posted a table of useful links for people with multiple restrictions. Instead of making them feel small and unworthy. And your comment about not caring if you offend. That is the same crap that gets celiac kids bullied. I get you can’t test everything but you could respond with grace.

    1. shauna

      So saying I will no longer offer substitutions, when I have done so for 8 years, and there are many links on the site that show folks how to do so, is akin to being someone who bullies kids with celiac? You might want to look at your thought process here.

  58. Julie

    Bless you, Shauna. Reading the comments by the entitled and “sad” readers makes me wonder why you don’t just shut down your comments. But then, we wouldn’t get to see how kind and generous you are to the dregs of the blog world.

    How about this for your new disclaimer?
    “Thank you for reading our recipe! We’ve spent hours in our lab( kitchen) developing this for you, our reader. Did you know that baking is science? The cool think about chemistry is if you change one thing, it changes everything. Therefore, we don’t want to change anything in this recipe because it’ll ruin what we worked so hard to achieve. If you have any questions about thisspecific recipe , we’d love to help you! If you don’t own a scale or are unable to eat any of the recipe ingredients, we hope you find a recipe that will suit your needs.”

    I think what illustrates the level of nonsense you deal with every day are your Instagram comments. Practically every time you post a food pic, someone asks if it’s GF!!! Too bad there isn’t a “Read it again, sweetheart ” button:) Keep on, keep on!

  59. Lorraine

    I only found you last week,and since I’m new to this game (only having found out 2 months ago) i have a very long list of things my body doesn’t want me to eat! which means that i have to change every reciepe to suit me. I think you doing a wonderfull job and i am very greatfull for all the work you put into this. I have always enjoyed cooking and backing but I am finding gluten free backing a great challange. So thank you for the help :)

  60. booka

    I love your recipes Shauna, and although I’ve only made a few, they’ve each turned out perfectly. As someone who teaches kids how to grow (and cook!) their own food, the provocative thread here strikes me as a learning opportunity. To bake means to take on the role of a kitchen chemist. Cooking is less about chemistry, and more technique. We have actual chemical reactions happening between agents, reagents and reactors. I want to know that the recipe will be as close to how you intended it, I want to remove as much guesswork and assumptions as possible. Grams represent accuracy. Cups represent a lot of gray areas and confusion. This is not cm vs inches, folks. Its volume vs weight — 2 completely different formats. You don’t go and yell at Bill Gates because his MS Word software cannot understand your Adobe PDF file, now right? Conversions are only part of the solution.
    I learned this over the weekend when I decided to swap all my ziplocks containing gluten-free products into sealed jars. Although one Bob’s Red Mill bag looked just as “full” as another, when I emptied them into their new jars, the space they required was radically different. Due to the increased surface area and density of some flours, I came to understand how they differ. Mills use different settings when they grind almond flour, fava flour, and such. More dense flours sink! Like sand sinks, and silt rises.
    Shauna, I feel like you are kind of like the “Alton Brown” of gluten-free! For geeks like me, this is comforting. If all we gluten-free fanatics wanted was standard Rice Krispy treats, then accuracy may be secondary. Marshmallow and butter would make it all stick together. But when you crave a more titillating recipe, more research, gadgets, time and patience make the payoff oh-so-worth it.
    When you’re a baker, you’re also signing on to be somewhat of a chemist. Embrace your inner chemist, I say! And don’t be afraid to make a delicious mistake! Recipes don’t always need to be blueprints, sometimes they are better viewed as a pattern. When you become the architect of your own nutrition goals and your family’s, its possible to achieve a whole new set of tools for empowering yourself to better health.

  61. Marine

    Shauna, this post is wonderful. Your blog has helped me so much since being diagnosed and it’s inspired me to play with ingredients and flours. Yes, it’s more difficult but always worth it. All these people who criticise aren’t worth having in this community then. I could respond back to the negative comments, but they aren’t worth it. You work incredibly hard to make FREE recipes for us and I appreciate that you answer comments and emails, so many people don’t. Keep doing what you do. I am a follower for life!

  62. Joan

    It is amazing to me that some of the posters have taken your statement regarding substitutions and taken it way beyond what you intended such as not going to answer any questions about you recipes. Hey people pay attentionthat’s not what was said.

    Just keep on writing and posting and I will be there to read and experiment.

  63. Nicola

    Shauna, like many commenters above me, I have been reading your blog for a loooooong time! I’m sure I’ll continue to check in, because when you’re good you’re really good. I did not read this latest post as a statement that you will no longer answer questions, and I applaud your decision to no longer deal with the many substitution requests that come your way.

    Whilst applauding that decision, though, as a reader I am disappointed with the way you’ve chosen to articulate it. Writing as you truly feel is great. But for me this is an issue of tone over content; the tone of this piece, and the one before it, doesn’t sit well for me. As a writer I think you are way better than this post and I think you could make exactly the same points in your usual graceful way, making it a gentle learning point as you have done so many times in the past and as many of your readers appreciate.

    This is your blog, you can write as you please, you can show a side/style many of us have not seen before, and your readers can then choose how to react. As an avid reader yourself I am certain you’ve had times where a writer you love has disappointed you. I’ll still read, I’ll still learn, but my honest opinion as a reader is that you have not done your writer self, and therein the subject, justice here.

    1. shauna

      We’re able to disagree here. For me, doing justice to my best writer self is writing clearly what I need to say, urgently. Every piece can’t have the same tone or I start to sound monotonous. It ceases to be my voice and starts to be a schtick. Look again at what I wrote, in the context of why I wrote it. What here was so offensive? And if I chose not to write it all in the spirit of apology or a soft, kind voice? Well, the piece made its point, didn’t it?

  64. Pat Machin

    Just to say “Well done!” You started out with gluten free recipes and you’ve already gone beyond that. It would be impossible to provide different recipes for all the various allergies out there and, as you say, you have to test them all which sounds impossible.

    So maybe, go back to your roots? With scales of course! :-)

  65. Ann Beechey

    Halle — bloody — lieu !! I’ve torn my hair out at some of the amazing comments/requests you’ve allowed/tolerated to recipes that you’ve sweated blood over. Plus, ALL the explanations you’ve given everywhere about cups and measuring, about how to substitute to suit for individual needs… Words fail me … only to say — about time you stood up for yourself. Love you! Got my scales … got all my flours, still working out what suits me — but that’s MY responsibility. Go Shauna — clear and caring about yourself !

  66. Ann Beechey

    Oh — also: I am loving buckwheat flour too. After avoiding bread for years, then failing at making anything good, even with your recipes for flours/bread, I have gone back to a commercial bread made by a Jewish bakery that I tried and discarded early in the gluten free day. What can I say — it’s really really delicious. It’s Matisse brand Sour Dough Buckwheat Bread, with buckwheat flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sourdough culture, purified water, sunflower oil, sugar, xanthan gum, vinegar, yeast, salt. All adding up to yum deliciousness, finally. Toasted though, cos still doesn’t taste like bread when not toasted :( Made by Matisse Bread in Moorabbin.

  67. Eunoia

    For those of you who are a little bit cross or upset at Shauna’s recent refusal to cater to your every request or do your thinking for you, here are some great links that you may not have come across before:
    http://glutenfreegirl.com/a-guide-to-gluten-free-baking/
    http://glutenfreegirl.com/new-to-gluten-free/
    http://glutenfreegirl.com/2012/07/how-to-make-a-gluten-free-all-purpose-flour-mix/
    For any other questions, just remember someone will be there to help you, someone might have tried something you want to ask about already, there will nearly always be the answer you are looking for somewhere. There are other gluten/dairy/sugar free or name your allergen or medical needs blogs and forums that may have covered A question you want answered or a substitution you want to request. It’s also wise to check the comments sections of such places, as many people will write about what they’ve tried or what worked or didn’t work for them. For anything else there is always google. I’m 99% sure you’ll find the answer you’re after if you try hard enough. I find that searching for answers yourself leads you to such handy information you never even knew to look for. Best of luck! : )

  68. Wendy

    You go! You’re breaking out of the perfectionism model on all sides this week! As a former “good girl” turned 50 year old, I think that’s what I’d tell my younger self: don’t worry so much about doing what everyone else wants and whether they like you and your work. Life’s too short to stress over the haters (unless they’re inside your family in which case sometimes you do have to listen to them:) )

  69. Kim

    I kind of equate this to the feeling I get when I work really long and hard on a dish for my husband or daughter and they hate it. It breaks my heart and makes me feel sad, knowing that what I worked hard for isn’t well-received. Testing out gluten-free recipes isn’t a walk in the park (it’s fun, sure. But also hard work) and so if you suggest something, it’s because you know it works. If I can’t find an ingredient, I’ll skip that particular and move on to the next recipe that has more attainable ingredients for me (i.e. your warm brown rice with veggies).

    Also, isn’t baking by weight and not measurements (grams vs. cups) the standard? I always assumed I was wrong and taking the lazy baker’s way out using cups and tablespoons.

    1. shauna

      Thank you, Kim. Yes, baking by weight is the standard for people who are serious about baking. Also, in every other country besides ours! When we teach elsewhere, people from Canada and Italy and the UK are always astounded at the guff we get for putting recipes in grams.

  70. Laura

    Oh how I love your blog– first I loved it because I was new to GF, scared i was gonna screw up and be sick again, and did not know where to start. Finding This blog, well, it helped a LOT … Second, your writing is something I look forward to with my coffee in the morning, you have a gift… Third, you and Danny have taught me to lose my fear in the kitchen. For all of this and so much more, I thank you. You provide a true service. It is impossible to make everybody happy all the time. The purpose of this blog for me is to be inspired to create! And you do that quite effectively.

  71. dixie

    Shauna, I’m sorry you were put in this position. I have found you so very (very very!) helpful over the years and honestly don’t know how I could have helped my family go gluten free without you. I have said more than once that I’m terribly thankful that you do all the hard work and I just have to tweak in the end, to suit our needs. Thanks, lady….for the ratio flour recipe, for the food scale suggestion, for introducing us to psyllium husk, and for all you do. Seriously. Those things alone made our gluten free conversion so much easier. Xoxo!

  72. EmmyGee

    I applaud you!! for being a real human being with real feelings. I feel you have been generous with our blog and recipes for free. Some people do not realize or want to realize the hard work done on blogs for recipes. If they are not satisifed they need to take responsibility for their own health. It is a small investment to buy a gram scale and experiment with different ingredients themselves for their health is priceless. LOVE YOU and your books. I don’t post but I am one who supports you and your decision. Anything worthwhile takes effort! EMMY

  73. Mardee

    I understand why you have to do this — and how you can’t vouch for substitutions, but I also know the feelings behind the requests you are getting. I own your cookbooks and enjoy them but most of the recipes are just something to look at because the list of foods I can’t eat is so long. I’m an experienced cook who has been baking, cooking and canning for over 20 years but this GF thing still has me flummoxed. I have thrown away so many disasters that I’ve essentially given up. So, I don’t judge you for having to set limits — in fact, they are good — but I also know the pain of feeling like there’s nothing in the world that tastes good and which you can eat. On pretty much daily basis.

  74. Marcia

    It’s entirely reasonable to decline to adjust a published recipe for substitutions. Here’s how another gluten-free blogger does it: she says something like, “Good question, but I don’t know because I haven’t tried any substitutions. I hope you give a substitute a try and let me know how it turns out!” It’s a firm boundary, set kindly and consistently, sans drama.

    The fact is, you’ve accommodated people’s substitution requests for a long, long time, and now you’re changing policy. It’s an absolutely understandable, reasonable, fine thing to do. You’re overwhelmed by the questions, and you can’t continue to take on the extra work. No problem. I recently had to make a similar change in policy at my work. I used to accommodate the requests of my co-workers in a weekly project, and it made me tear my hair out. When I decided to no longer do that, I could have exploded with frustration and made a litany of all the unreasonable requests I’d been asked to entertain. I could have talked about how hard I work and how disrespectful these requests were to my qualifications and effort. Had I done that, my colleagues would have bristled at my tone–as many of your readers are doing now. Instead, I calmly said, “Ok, this is how we’re doing things now. Thanks for understanding.” Follow-up requests get the corporate equivalent of “Good question, but I don’t know because I haven’t tried any substitutions. I hope you give a substitute a try and let me know how it turns out!” No one feels shamed or defensive, and I haven’t heard word one of protest.

  75. Denise

    Ooo, a controversy! :) I would appear that you are trying to slow down the immediate gratification nature of the internet and I wish you luck! I read a response above about people asking for substitutions within 5 minutes of the post going up and I wonder if, as readers, not necessarily as bloggers, we aren’t so used to a “type and you shall receive your answer” from the format of internet that we forget to pause and realize that bloggers aren’t search engines. It takes your thought and effort to find those answers and of course boundaries are a good idea when you’re dealing with the masses. I also think those asking questions aren’t doing so with any intent to belittle the work you’ve already done or to intentionally overtax you, it’s just that the computer has become the ‘Enter’ key at the end of a stream of consciousness. As in, “Ooo, those rolls look delicious! I wonder if they can be made without dairy? Enter!” And of course, you’re the source, so the entry goes to you. It would be fantastic if readers could slow down, myself included, and think it out ourselves for a minute or two. We usually learn more by trying things ourselves anyway, than by being told. Happy Tuesday Shauna, I hope you have time today to enjoy the glorious rainy Fall day here on the West Coast!

  76. Kae

    There’s a lot of this going on in the comment section, but I still feel compelled to write something supportive. Shauna, I adore this space — your space — and have long been an admirer of your hard work, your tenacity, and your generous spirit. A writer myself, I have to say that what keeps me coming back to your blog — more than the adorable pictures of Lu, more even than the (delicious!) recipes themselves — is your writing, your voice, full of spirit and wonder and empathy. I wonder if those offended by your tone just aren’t empathizing hard enough. Your work is lovely work, difficult work, and it is yours. Good for you for knowing when to say when.

  77. Patti

    “Do you know how much work it takes to create a grain-free, dairy-free, and egg-free dinner roll that is actually good? ” … no shit Shauna. I was laughing so hard at what you wrote. It is so true!!!!

  78. Adrienne

    I am loving the November Shauna, tell it like it is lady! You are inspiring the crap out of me right now. You are adored.

  79. Stephanie

    I love the discussions in the comments about substitutions, but figure it’s the job of those of us reading and testing and trying and substituting by accident or necessity to discuss it. NOT yours. To further that, when I make one of your recipes with different ingredients I like to include the information in a comment so that people see it if they are wondering. We’re the testers! The more perfect your recipe is for what you made, the more tolerant it will be of user error, so I want you to get to focus on that. We’ll take care of the rest.

    In that vein, I recently learned that sunflower seeds can be ground into an almond-flour substitute. I’m going to try that out for a neighbor whose child cannot have gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn or nuts!

    1. shauna

      I love the sunflower seed idea! I’m going to play with that now too. See? When these comments are civil, we’re all more open to change!

  80. Jessica

    Good for you. I am not a recipe tester/cookbook author/food blogger, but I can’t tell you how irritated I get reading comments on recipes that others have posted. This is a FREE resource. Use google, use common sense, use your time to experiment for what your personal needs are. Cooking/baking is an experiment. We all have different needs & restrictions. It’s ridiculous for someone to expect that you will have all the answers to any possible questions they might have. Especially when it’s a question that they might be able to answer themselves if they A) paid more attention when reading a post, or B) took the time to search out the answer. Or if 90% of the recipe has ingredients you can’t eat, don’t make it! Look for something else. I don’t go to the pioneer woman’s blog & ask her how I can make her famous cinnamon rolls gluten, dairy & grain free-I know that’s offensive & stupid. As you said, there are hundreds, if not thousands of gluten free/grain free blogs. Those of you bloggers who have spent time, money & energy developing recipes, then sharing for FREE, should not be vilified for expecting your readers to do some work too. People are entitled & lazy. Then when they don’t do things they way you tested, they blame you for their failures. This is part of the reason I will never have a food blog, I think I’d lose my mind with all the ridiculous comments & questions. I will keep reading & thank you for all the time, energy, & money you spend.

  81. shauna

    Okay, folks. I’m going to close comments on this now. It’s not because people are disagreeing with me. That’s fine. It’s not just because I have been called a bully, a big-headed celebrity, a rude bitch, and much worse in the comments I didn’t publish. It’s actually because this comment section has now become a sandbox and some of you are throwing sand in each other’s eyes and mine. Stop it.

    I don’t believe it’s appropriate to tell me how I should have written this piece or how I should have taken another tone. I don’t do that to other writers. You shouldn’t either. If you don’t like the post, you don’t like the post. (May I remind you that this site is absolutely free to read?)

    But it’s very interesting to me that there’s some perception that I should always be gracious, willing to bend over backwards to everyone who leaves a comment, and mostly write every time in a kind, soft voice. And that it’s all other women who are writing those comments. Most of us women have been raised in a culture that tells us to be polite first and hold our tongue. Interesting the backlash here.

    What’s done is done. No more comments. And I’m not going to edit the post. So let’s just move along now, you hear?