Have you ever had company that was gluten intolerant and you found yourself wondering how to bake something they could actually eat?
For a traditional baker, the idea of suddenly going gluten free can be a little intimidating. Especially with the confusing variety of gluten free flours and products on the market!
Linnie, from Cupcake Linnie, has dropped by to share the skinny on gluten free flours and to share a recipe for Gluten Free Flour Mix that can be substituted into your regular baked goods recipes.
If you have been marked with the big X of not being able to tolerate gluten, you should have some kind of appreciation for this post. Sadly, I have also been labeled with an X about eight years ago. When I was first told I was gluten intolerant, I thought life was going to end, there was NOTHING in this world that didn’t have gluten and alternatives were nowhere to be found. Sweets were out and so was anything that tasted good. Then, finally, a few years ago gluten intolerance was everywhere. Bummer for everyone else getting diagnosed, but it was very encouraging for me. Now gluten free products are popping up everywhere!!
But, what does one do when you want to do home baking? Do you go buy the super expensive pre-mixed flour that you don’t even know will be good or not or do you make your very own gluten free flour mix for a fraction of the price? I think the latter of the two wins.
Now, the trouble with finding a really good Gluten Free flour mix is making sure it doesn’t taste too grainy, gummy, or dense. And believe you me, this is pretty tough to find, but once you do you are in heaven. Before I get into the recipe and explanations, I should first give you some vocabulary to study. Don’t worry, there will be no test at the end. There are probably a lot of words that are foreign to you, seeing as they were to me when I first started this hunt.
Gluten Free Vocabulary
Below are some key definitions of ingredients you will be seeing a lot when baking gluten free.
• Brown Rice Flour: Essentially it is brown rice milled very finely from the whole kernel.
• Potato Starch: Not the same as potato flour. It is a thickening agent made from skinned potatoes and creates a tender crumb you normally would get with traditional baking.
• Tapioca Flour: Also called Tapioca Starch. A mild starchy flour that can be widely used in almost any kind of gluten free baking recipe. Can also be used to substitute for cornstarch in regular cooking.
• Xanthan Gum: This is a plant gum that mimics gluten in every way except for actually being gluten! It provides structure and elasticity in any baking recipe. Too much makes the final product too dense; not enough produces a crumbling baked good. Xanthan Gum is very important.
What to look for when shopping:
When you are looking for brown rice flour, buy superfine brown rice flour. Authentic Foods has a very good brown rice flour. Try to avoid Arrowhead Mills – it might be inexpensive but the cost reflects in the quality. Ener-G and Bob’s Red Mill work well too, I just advise to run them through a food processor for a few seconds to get it super superfine. The brands of the potato starch, tapioca flour and Xanthan Gum really do not matter too much; they all seem to work pretty well.
Now, on to the recipe!
All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix
Adapted from Cybele Rascal
Makes about 9 cups of flour and can be stored for up to 6 months
6 cups superfine brown rice flour
2 cups potato starch (not potato flour)
1 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed and there are no clumps. Store in an airtight container or zip-lock bag. You can put it in the refrigerator to ensure freshness, but if you are like me and you have no room at all, keeping it in a cool dark cupboard works just as well!
*You are probably wondering why I gave you the definition for xanthan gum if it is not in the gluten free flour recipe – well, I advise you to put that in separately each time instead. The amount you need for each recipe depends on the amount of flour mix being used, what liquids and flavorings are being added, number of eggs, and of course, the desired texture of the baked goods you are creating. Confusing, I know, but it is good to know what xanthan gum is and how not “one size fits all” it is. Keep it around for all of your gluten free baking.
Now, if you are not wanting to make your own gluten free mix, there are some really good pre-made mixes.
• Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour
• Arrowhead Mills All Purpose GF Flour
• And, my all time favorite (and sadly, most expensive) King Arthur Multi Purpose GF Flour
Good luck with all of your gluten free baking!
And remember, a cupcake WILL always help!
How cool is that!? Armed with this helpful information, it makes not only deciphering the gluten free recipe ingredient list easier, but the trip to the store for supplies as well! I’m so grateful to Linnie for pointing me in right direction.
Have you ever tried baking gluten free? I’d love to hear about your experiments…