The foundation of any baking recipe is flour, and in our case, gluten free flour. How do you know what gluten free flour or blend combination is best for which recipe? Should you blend your own or buy a pre-mixed gluten free flour blend? Read on for answers!
When I finally created (after two years of work!) a truly All Purposegluten-free flour that I could use just like I had my all purpose wheat flour before, I was back 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!
When you want to convert a favorite family recipe, or a gluten-free recipe calling for several different kinds of flour, all you need to do is to use a really good and truly all purpose gluten-free flour like mygfJules™ All Purpose Gluten Free Flour. Simply total up the amount of flour called for in the recipe and use that amount of the all purpose gluten-free flour instead.
Gluten free flours range from mild to flavorful, fine to gritty. Know which are best for general baking.
Things to look for in a great Gluten Free Flour blend:
Do yourself a favor and don’t use any bean flours! They smell funny, they leave an odd aftertaste, and using them in your recipes means you’ll often need to add more sugar to mask those unpleasant characteristics! Choose clean flours that don’t have any taste and the flavors of your recipes will shine through!
Steer clear of gluten free flours that have a funky aftertaste (bean flours). Some other whole grain flours like amaranth, quinoa, sorghum, millet and others have distinct flavors which may or may not appeal to you. They will taste different than the all purpose wheat flour you are used to, though. Decide whether you like the taste and performance of these flours through experimentation, if you’re the kind of baker who likes to try new things. If not, know that these flours will taste different, which may not be what you had in mind.
Blends that contain a lot of rice flour tend to be gritty. To combat that, make sure blends you buy or make have enough starches in it (corn starch, potato starch, tapioca starch, arrowroot powder …) to keep the end product light, instead of dense, heavy and gritty.
Many gluten free flour blends contain dairy or other food allergens which may not work for your family. Review ingredient labels closely, and know that there are alternatives if the blend you’re considering won’t work for you.
If the recipe you are using calls for xanthan gum or guar gum (binding agents used to replace the sticky qualities of gluten), the all purpose gluten free flour you are using should already include the gum, so don’t rush out and buy or add more. (Using too much of these gums in your baking will make your baked goods rubbery – read more about how to use these gums in your baking in my article on gluten free baking with gums!) However, if the all-purpose flour for some reason doesnotalready include gums, you will need to add that ingredient on your own.
If you have other food allergies or sensitivities, a good starting place to make your own homemade blend for cookies, cakes and quick breads is to use this ratio of whole grains to starches plus gum (keep in mind that the blend performs better when you use a mix of starches and whole grains, rather than just two flours in total – experiment and keep good notes!):
2 1/2 cups gluten free starch (choose at least one: cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca starch, arrowroot, sweet rice …)
1 1/2 cups gluten free whole grain flour (choose at least one: sorghum, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, white rice, sweet potato, almond, amaranth, teff, quinoa, coconut, oat …)
4 teaspoons xanthan (some are made with corn) OR guar gum
For yeast breads and pizza dough, you’ll want to change the ratio given above to equal parts starch and whole grain plus 1 teaspoon gum per cup of flour blend.
If you prefer to purchase a pre-made blend which suits your food allergies, I totally understand (it’s very handy!). You may have to tweak some recipes, as all blends are different — some require more liquid than others, for example — but the corn-free blend I recommend is Better Batter Flour.
Voted #1 Gluten Free All Purpose Flour 2 years in a row in the nationwide Gluten Free Awards.
At the end of the day, don’t be daunted by all these recipes and ratios, though. I don’t make a new blend for every recipe anymore. What I use EVERY day in ALL recipes is my gfJules™ Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. It takes the guess-work out of all of it; I know I can rely on it to work and it keeps my baked goods fresher longer. It truly makes gluten free life a lot easier!