Emma's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
Flour is so versatile. It is just as it’s name suggests: all-purpose. Nothing else acts like all-purpose flour. That’s why making one gluten-free flour mix is so difficult. If you’re looking for info on how to make something gluten-free for your friend or family member, and you’re probably only going to do this once, just go to the store and buy a mix. For a single recipe, it’s much cheaper. But keep reading to be selective about the ingredients in your store-bought mixes. I have opinions (Mostly about bean flour. Friends don’t let friends buy bean flour.). Buying flours is an investment. There’s a startup cost.
I really like my flour mix. There are so many different kinds of flour to choose from. I was already familiar with these ingredients from other gluten-free flour mix recipes I had used before (Gluten-free on a Shotestring has a great one), and these were the flours that were readily available to me. I can find all of these at my local grocery store, and they are all available on Amazon. These are some of the least expensive flours available. I buy almost exclusively Bob’s Red Mill brand. (But their packaging isn't great for storing. So buy some containers. See what I mean about the investment?) If you plan to bake regularly, I recommend buying in large quantities to pay a lower price per ounce. For that strategy, I chose shelf-stable ingredients that do not expire quickly. I wanted to create a mix that was similar in weight and volume to wheat flour. I also wanted to keep my number of different flours low, while still including a good variety. So I ended up with white and brown rice flours, tapioca starch, corn starch, and potato flour.
I used several sources to help me find my blend. There are so many wonderful gluten-free blogs out there that have so much information! Gluten Free Girl has a wonderfully helpful post on making your own gluten-free flour mix. That’s where I started. I had no idea that there were whole grain flours and white flours/starches. That was so helpful in creating a balance of ingredients. I thought Minimalist Baker had a pretty good flour recipe. As with any recipe, I experimented, and adjusted it as I went. I found that tapioca flour and brown rice flour were my favorite ingredients. But I didn’t want so much brown rice flour that my flour was a dark color. White rice flour is really good for having very little taste. And cornstarch gives the mix the starch-y structure it needs. I used to use xantham gum in my gluten-free recipes. It really does it’s job of creating a stickier dough, but I’ve found that it doesn’t sit well with me. I was searching for a substitute and found that potato flour acts similarly without the side effects. That’s not an original revelation. I know I read about it somewhere before I tried it. If I ever figure out where that was, I’ll credit that person. Anyways, the first time I baked with this mix, I couldn’t believe the results. I’m so happy with it.
So you ask: Why didn’t you include that other flour? My answer: You can’t win them all. Some of them I just left out because I left them out. Here’s what I did not include on purpose. I do not use nut flours, because they expire easily and they are more expensive (but they do have their place… see macarons). I did not include any gums, because I’ve found that they really don’t digest well. I did not include bean flours, because they have a taste that is undeniably bean-y. Yuck!
Now, it’s not perfect. You still have to weigh these flours. It’s a thing. Scales are not prohibitively expensive. My scale was, like, $30 before my coupon. Weighing ingredients is not that bad. You get used to it. If you measure flours by volume (in cups), there is an enormous margin for error. If you measure by weight, it doesn’t matter how you scoop it, or what brand of measuring cups you use, or if you level it off or pack it down. It weighs what it weighs. I found that I can’t substitute this mix one-for-one in just any recipe. It works in a lot of them! But it’s not a perfect substitute. That’s why I started creating my own recipes. If you use my mix, use my recipes. Then, you will be happy.
Emma’s Gluten-free Flour Mix
1 cup of flour:
42g brown rice flour
42g tapioca starch
21g white rice flour
21g corn starch
4g potato flour