The gluten in wheat is what gives your bread that light, fluffy texture. GF yeast breads are very heavy and dense. First off, you need to be very careful about making GF yeast bread in your bread machine. You can easily break it in just a few uses if you don't buy just the right machine. The dough is just way too thick.
In fact, I've given up on making GF yeast bread. I just buy the bread at the store. Many of the everyday grocery stores are carrying gluten-free products now. The problem is that they're very expensive and so I keep my purchases to a minimum and buy only very few premade items. (With the economy slipping away under us I think I'll give baking our own GF yeast breads another try.) A bag of GF pretzels will run you around $8!
The good news is that other breads and treats can be made gluten free and still turn out way yummy! The sweet breads are great and don't taste any different.
First you need to find a good recipe. You can check out some gluten free cookbooks from the library or search the Internet for GF recipes. Or you can convert your own recipes.
First, I keep a jar with GF flour on my counter that is a mix of 2/3 rice flour and 1/3 tampioca flour. When converting recipes, I substitute one cup of the wheat flour with one cup of the GF flour.
I'll also add one teaspoon of xanthan gum or guar gum (both found at the health food store -- just buy the cheapest) for every cup of flour. You could also use arrowroot powder. These things act as a binding agent. However, if you don't happen to have any on hand and you are really craving some GF banana bread, you can skip it. It'll still come out good.
Sometimes I'll add an extra egg or baking powder to the recipe to give it some extra umpf (is that even a word?).
Making drop cookies isn't something I've mastered. The GF recipes tend to flatten out. You could roll up the cookies, put them into the freezer, and then bake them. Or, just do what I do, make cookie bars. They come out great and it's easier than drop cookies. Just spread your dough on a pizza pan or rectangular pan, bake, and slice.
I gave up on making GF cakes a long time ago, but that is another area I'd like to revisit. I recently had the most delicious cake and the chef told me that trick is to sift the flour seven times. Seven times is a lot! But it would be worth to provide my son with a cake on his birthday.
Here's a free GF cookbook at Google Books: You Won't Believe It's Gluten Free.
Coming up soon will be converting other recipes and naturally GF recipes.
Oh, one more thing, here is a list of alternative flours that are gluten free:
Rice (white, brown, or sweet)
Nuts (almond or hazelnut)
Stay away from: