March 12, 2012

Substitution: Gluten-Free Flour Blend

Here is one of many possible ways to substitute gluten-free, wheat-free flour in place of wheat-based flour for your baking needs.  Cybele Pascal has this blend in her Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook and I have seen the blend in other GF cookbooks and other online sites.  I have tried this blend in quick breads, muffins, cakes, biscuits, scones, and cookies so far with pretty good results.  I tried this mix to make cinnamon rolls and the results weren't so good so I need to do a little more R & D to figure out what a good GF flour blend is for yeast-dependent baking.  When I made cupcakes with this blend, they did come out pretty dense and got even more heavy after a couple days of refrigeration.  Best to consume or freeze these within a day or two, I think!

Xantham gum or guar gum is absolutely critical when you are using gluten-free flour so do not skip this ingredient.  Xanthan gum (which contains corn derivatives) and guar gum replace the binding power that a gluten-full wheat flour source would provide.  Xantham gum and guar gum are not cheap but a 1-pound bag of the stuff lasts quite a while since recipes typically call for 1 teaspoon or less per batch. 

Gluten-Free Flour Blend 

3 cups brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1/2 cup tapioca starch (this can also be labeled as tapioca flour)
  1. Thoroughly mix flour and starches together using a whisk or sifter.  Make sure you scrape the sides repeatedly so that all the ingredients are combined well.
  2. You may want to double the recipe so that you have a good-sized stash of GF flour blend for your future baking needs.  Store in an airtight container in a cool place (you can even store in the refrigerator) for optimum shelf life.

Use the following rule of thumb for adding xanthan gum or guar gum:

  • 1 tsp per 1 cup of flour mix = sandwich bread/pizza crust
  • 1/2 tsp per 1 cup of flour mix = cakes/muffins/quick breads
  • 1/4 tsp per 1 cup of flour mix = cookies

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