Converting recipes to gluten free can sometimes be challenging, but not when you have help! Scroll down to find the gluten free baking topic where you need advice, and maybe some where you didn’t know you could be baking better!
Converting recipes to gluten free with gluten free flour isn’t hard, but your success will depend almost entirely on which gluten free flours you choose. Unlike your wheat flour baking days, not all gluten free flours are created (even remotely) equally, and the right mixture of several gluten free flours is the best way to ensure the best results.
Although you cannot simply take one gluten free flour and use it in place of wheat flour and expect successful results, you came to the right place because the art and a science to replacing wheat flour has already been done for you!
One of the questions I get most is “How do I convert my grandma’s (fill-in-the-blank) recipe to gluten free?” The second most popular question: “How do I convert a gluten free recipe calling for (fill-in-the-blank) number of different gluten free flours so that I can use just one all-purpose gluten free flour?”
While the questions seem quite different, their answers are really the same. There are several crucial facts about gluten free baking you must understand in order to have success, and most revolve around the gluten free flours you use.
The world of gluten free baking can seem quite mysterious and certainly frustrating. It’s the reason that I didn’t bake at all for a year after my diagnosis with celiac disease. Everything was too hard, to cumbersome and too terrible-tasting to share.
When I finally created (after two years of work!) a truly All Purpose gluten free flour that I could use just like I had my all purpose wheat flour before, I was back to baking delicious foods again, for everyone!
I was so excited to share delicious treats with friends and family — and to lick the bowl — that I ultimately started sharing my “Jules Flour” with tens of thousands of others living gluten free because it was too good to keep just for myself!
Using my flour blend is the easiest way to convert recipes to gluten free, but there are some other tips you should know.
Recipes for all purpose flours are easy to find, and there are several pre-mixed blends available as well (my gfJules™ Flour is the one I recommend for my recipes on this site and for converting any of your favorite family recipes to gluten free). If you try one that doesn’t work for you, try another — they are all created differently! Here’s my homemade flour ratio recipe if you can’t use my pre-made blend for some reason.
Don’t get discouraged or feel too overwhelmed to bake now that you’ve gone gluten free. It can be quite easy and delicious when you have the right ingredients to take the guess-work out of it for you!
Pre-made blends make it even easier, so skip right to “Pre-Made All Purpose Gluten Free Flour” below, if you just want to know how to get the best gluten free results every time without making your own blend.
Did you know that there are more gluten free flours than there are flours which contain gluten? While that opens up so many more possibilities for us gluten free eaters, it also means that recipes calling for certain gluten-free flours may not be successful if other gluten free flours are used in their place.
If you really want to know more about gluten free flours, I’ve given you the nitty gritty (emphasis on gritty, for many of these flours!). If you’d rather just start baking, scroll down to “Pre-Made All Purpose Gluten Free Flour”.
Some gluten free flours fall into the category we call “whole grain” and pseudo-grain flours that tend to be rather heavy and dense, both in resulting texture and in nutrition (good and bad, right?).
These include gluten free flours like brown rice, teff, amaranth, quinoa, corn, buckwheat (yes, buckwheat is gluten free; it’s actually a cousin to rhubarb, not wheat) as well as non-grains which can include seeds, beans and nuts. Almond flour, chickpea flour, garbanzo bean flour, gar-fava bean flour, navy bean flour, hazelnut flour, soy flour, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, salba, coconut flour, chestnut flour and more, are generally counted in this group.
Another category includes lighter gluten free starches, like potato starch, corn starch, tapioca starch, arrowroot, sweet rice flour, and even white rice flour.
Still another category is a mid-range type of gluten free flour that is neither particularly heavy nor light, and offers some nutritional benefits; sorghum, millet, and certified gluten free oat flour are part of this mix.
In addition, flours like cabernet, merlot and chardonnay are by-products of wine-making, and mesquite flour is made from the dried pods of the mesquite tree.
When a recipe calls for one or more of these individual flours, you need to either use the exact flours contemplated, or choose substitutes from the same group: whole grain to whole grain; starch to starch. When a recipe calls for an all purpose wheat flour or even an all purpose gluten free flour, the best bet is to use an all purpose gluten free flour containing a gum like xanthan gum or guar gum, so that a good balance is achieved in the blend, and structure is also maintained.
If you are experimenting and find that your baked goods are too heavy or dense, re-examine what flours you are using. Perhaps you need more starches to lighten the end result. If your breads are collapsing, you might not have enough whole grain or pseudo-grains to give the cell structure the support it needs (there could be other reasons for the problem, but this is one to consider — for more on this issue, see my article 18 Tips for Gluten Free Bread Baking).
Also, certain flours like whole grain potato flour (not potato starch) and coconut flour suck the moisture right out of a recipe, so additional liquids are needed to make those recipes work. When rice flours are the predominant ingredient, often a dry and gritty result is inevitable. If bean flours are used, there may be a strange aroma and aftertaste that could be eliminated just by changing the gluten-free flours you are using.
Don’t want to mess with making your own gluten free flour blend for every recipe? I don’t blame you! (And neither do I, by the way!) That’s why I made my award-winning gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour! With this trusted blend, all things are possible, and it’s so much faster to get down to baking without having to gather all the individual flour ingredients.
One more note on my gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour: it’s not the same as any other flour blend on the market, and you can’t make it at home. That’s right. You may see people say they make my gfJules Flour, but they’re making a recipe for the next best thing: I give lots of ratios and suggested recipes to make your own blend at home if you need, but you can’t buy the specialized ingredients I use in my flour and baking mixes on any store shelf.
I have chosen each individual ingredient in my gfJules Flour for specific baking properties and advantages, and though the names may sound ordinary, they are anything but! Did you know that I don’t use tapioca starch? I use TWO different modified tapioca starches! I also don’t use ordinary potato starch — I use a special potato starch that’s been dried to a rate that works best for all purpose baking.
These are just a couple examples of why my pre-made gfJules Flour is so different, and why it helps keep your baked goods fresh longer, and keep even the gluten lovers coming back for seconds!
Did you know that you could throw off an otherwise wonderful recipe just by measuring your gluten free flour the wrong way? Especially if you’re not baking with an all purpose flour that’s already mixed for you, this can be a tricky business.
If you scoop your gluten free flour using the measuring cup, it will compact the flour and can add up to 25% more flour than you intended. Talk about a dry recipe!
Spoon the gluten free flour into the measuring cup and level off with a knife, or better yet, WEIGH your flour. Seems silly for the home baker, but makes a huge difference. Kitchen scales don’t have to be pricey, but they will become your new best friend (along with your all purpose gluten free flour)!
Not all gluten free flours have the same weight, to consult your brand if you’re not using my gfJules Flour.
If a recipe calls for self rising flour, you can easily make your own gluten free version. Simply whisk together my gfJules Gluten Free Flour plus a leavening agent (baking powder) and a touch of salt. Here are the proportions to use:
Cookie recipes can be persnickety when you’re baking gluten free. If you find that your gluten free cookies aren’t turning out just how you like them, be sure to follow these tips:
For my Top 11 Gluten Free Cookie Baking Tips, hop to my everything-you-need-to-know-about-gluten-free-cookies article!
Baking gluten free cakes and quick breads is sometimes super easy, and sometimes super disappointing. There are lots of places you could go wrong in these baking applications. Rubbery bottoms? Undercooked centers? Take a look at these tips to help get you to better gluten free cakes and quick breads:
If you have other dietary restrictions (corn allergy? can’t tolerate potato? …) check out my article on gluten free flours. I give recipes and ratios to make your own gluten free flour blend so you can still use all my yummy recipes!
If you’re avoiding dairy, take heart! All of my recipes can be made without dairy with substitutions given. Here are some of my favorite dairy-free ingredients I bake with myself. If you need to be egg-free, check my recommendations for baking without eggs.
If you have other dietary restrictions or food allergies, and are looking for more ingredients, products and recipe substitutions for nearly every other conceivable food allergen,I highly recommend you take a look at my cookbook, Free for All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes the Whole Family Can Enjoy.
Don’t give up on a recipe if it doesn’t work the first time, either. Some of the most creative results I’ve had come from what seemed to be a mistake. Check out what became a lava cupcake recipe (although it wasn’t intended!).
See more ways to retrofit baking rejects in my article, Making the Yummy Best of Gluten Free Mistakes! The next time you try the recipe, change up the gluten free flours and see if that doesn’t make a huge difference. Remember, you have so many gluten free flours to choose from!
So, dust off that recipe box and find your apron! Your family favorites are back on the menu!
For even more FAQs, hop to this page