3…2…1…Gluten Free Flour Mix Recipe
I tend to cook and bake a lot. They are among my favorite creative outlets, I think perhaps because the gratification of the end result is relatively quick, and because I like to eat. Once we became aware of Eva’s (and subsequently our other children’s and our own) food allergies and sensitivities it was all the more helpful to know how to make food that we could all enjoy and that tastes delish so that we didn’t feel like we were missing out.
One of the first things that I looked for was a good, solid, reliable flour substitute because it’s a complete staple in gluten free baking. There weren’t as many commercially-produced, gluten free, flour mixes available at that time, eight or so years ago, and prepared mixes tend to be costly. Store-bought GF mixes are great in a pinch or for those who don’t do much gluten free baking, but for our everyday baking needs I wanted something that I could whip up myself to have on hand, and I didn’t want too many hard-to-find ingredients. I trialed a lot of different flour combinations and settled on one based on rice flours and basic starches. I personally did not care for blends that used bean flours, as I didn’t like the flavor that they lent to my baked goods. I initially found this recipe on Food.com and have made some minor changes and notes to save cost and yield the best end result for your needs.
The proportions in this have always reminded me of a recipe shared by Dolly Parton’s character, Truvy, in Steel Magnolias, which is one of those movies that I can sit down and watch any and every time that it is on. At one point in the film Truvy is sharing her simple recipe for a dessert she calls, Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa (“It’s just a cup of flour, a cup of sugar and a cup of fruit cocktail with the syrup, stir and bake in a hot oven ‘til golden brown and bubbly. I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness.”).
We use this flour mix absolutely all of the time and I’ll reference it a lot in my recipes, so it seemed important to share. Drumroll please……….
3 Cups brown rice flour
3 Cups white rice flour
2 Cups potato starch
1 Cup tapioca starch
3 Tablespoons guar gum or xanthan gum
Stir it all together and store in an airtight container. Use in equal amounts as a substitute for all-purpose flour in any recipe.
And now for the important notes and tips and such….sometimes brown rice flour can be gritty and this will not yield the best results. Look for a brand whose flour you can see before buying to ensure that it is ground into a fine, uniform powder. I have had good luck with both Arrowhead Mills and Bob’s Red Mill, but I am sure that there are other good brands.
As for the white rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch, I have found that these can be purchased relatively inexpensively at most Asian markets or grocery stores with good-sized international foods sections. These same products can be found at the health food grocery or specialty store catering to individuals with food allergies, but they will be far more expensive if you go this way. Of course, you are unlikely to find organic versions when going the international route, so it is up to you to determine what is the best choice for you.
For the thickening agent, I use either xanthan gum or guar gum interchangeably depending on what I have around. If you are baking for someone who is especially sensitive to corn, soy, or wheat, you may wish to avoid xanthan gum because it is grown on a host substance that is usually either corn, soy, or wheat. Sometimes the package will specify on what it was grown, but often it will not. Guar gum is derived from the guar bean and may be tolerated more easily by those who find that they are sensitive to xanthan gum. As with the flour and starches, it will be more expensive to source these through brands targeting food allergy markets. You can generally find xanthan gum and guar gum more affordably if you purchase them as supplements from brands such as NOW.
Enjoy, and if you have a flour mix (store bought or homemade) that you swear by, please share in the comments.by