Frequently Asked Questions

Baking and cooking with alternative ingredients can present some challenges so I’ve answered some common questions to help you achieve success in your kitchen. Please feel free to send me any further questions you’d like to have answered.

Isn’t Wheat free the same as Gluten free?

Wheat free isn’t gluten free but includes grains such as barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. For some people gluten is not an issue, but rather wheat is the issue. These grains may be a good and more economical wheat substitute.

Can I substitute Gluten free flour mix for the flours called for in your recipes ?

Yes for the most part, however for many of my recipes I suggest using the flours called for in my recipe, as the combinations have been tested to produce the desired taste, texture and composition of the final product. Certain GF flour blends are specific to certain recipes such as pie crust, biscuits etc… so these can be a good choice.

Can’t I just use 1 flour?? Like almond flour ?

You can but if you don’t want it to have a weird sandy heavy texture you need to use a blend and often a very specific blend to get a great end result. A starch such as tapioca or arrowroot is also required in the blend to create a lighter texture.

What are some dairy free alternatives?

Here is what I have found to work best so as to get the desired consistency and flavour.

Cows Milk

Hemp (my preferred is homemade), Macadamia nut, Soy, Coconut, Cashew milk, Oat, Flax, Almond and Rice

Heavy Cream/Half and Half Full fat coconut milk (in can/tin)

More and more there are many “Vegan” cheeses available and they are getting better and better both in taste and texture

Sour Cream Follow Your Heart Brand is the best in my opinion

Coconut oil including butter flavored coconut oil, Palm Shortening, Ghee, Avocado oil


Forager Project Cashew yogurt and SoDelicious Coconut milk yogurt,coconut cream from can of tinned coconut milk

Cream or Cottage
Cashew Cream (Soak Cashews overnight; drain and then whir in a blender until smooth

If there’s no gluten what holds baked goods together?

Binders that can be used in gluten and grain free baking include: xanthan gum, guar gum, eggs, psyllium seed powder, ground chia and flax seeds.

What is the difference between Grain Free and Gluten free flours?

Gluten Free can include grains such as Rice, Millet, Teff, Corn, Amaranth, Quinoa, Sorghum and Wild Rice. It is the Gluten found in other grains such as rye and wheat that people with gluten intolerances and allergies, as well as celiac disease which must be avoided for health reasons. In the case of celiac disease (an autoimmune disease), it’s especially essential. In fact, it’s not a choice whether they avoid gluten it is a matter of health.

Grain free flours are naturally gluten free and can include almond flour, sunflower meal, cashew meal, buckwheat( it’s a seed related to rhubarb), sweet potato flour, potato flour, tapioca starch, cassava flour, green banana flour, quinoa and chickpea flour.

If there’s no gluten what holds baked goods together?

Binders that can be used in Gluten and Grain free baking include: xanthan gum, guar gum, eggs, psyllium seed powder, ground chia and flax seeds

Are store bought packaged chocolate(i.e chocolate chips) Gluten and Dairy Free?

Not necessarily. Look for brands such as Enjoy Life which are certified Dairy and Gluten Free

Are spices gluten free?

Yes, however spice mixes are not necessarily Gluten free, so it’s best to mix your own spice blends from individual spices. Bulk is a good option.

Is Gluten free eating healthier?

Not necessarily. A lot of gluten free foods contain very refined flours, starches and sugars. A lot of GF mixes also contain almonds which for those with with nut allergies, this is a problem.

Why are you called “the Rocks and Dirt Bakery”?

Growing up on Vancouver Island with its more health conscious Pacific Northwest culture, along with my upbringing, I was exposed to a healthier way of eating what some might call as hippie-ish or granola-ish. While other kids were eating white bread sandwiches made with sugar and hydrogenated oil filled peanut butter, I was eating homemade heavy as a brick whole-wheat bread with natural peanut butter.
Throughout my life I’ve dealt with health issues and multiple food intolerances and allergies. As I got older, I started to become aware of my reaction to sugars, dairy and gluten, but my love of baked goods never went away. Therefore, my baking had to change. Out went the processed and refined and they were replaced with unrefined alternatives. So began my journey to find a way to satisfy cravings for my childhood favorites. My sisters were also baking using healthier ingredients and searching for ways to provide healthier treats for their families. At least 20 years ago my brother-in-law Mark coined the term “Rocks and Dirt” to describe our baking. We used to get questions like “Are those Rocks and Dirt shortbread or regular shortbread”. Now my family requests “Kimmi, can you rocks n dirt this recipe please?’ The only questions I get now from family and friends is “What are you making us and Can you make us…..”