Our early post on gluten free flours has been one of gf and me’s most popular so we decided to update it. If you have been coming here for flour recipes, don’t panic. Below, you will still find all the same information that was here before. However, now along with that information you’ll find some of our tips on converting recipes from glutinous to gluten free.
Below, you will find a description of how we tailor gf flour mixes to recipes, tips on adding moist to dry ingredients in gf recipes, our suggestions for gf all-purpose ready-made flour blends, and links to other gf flour recipes.
GF AND ME’S CONVERSION TIPS:
When converting a recipe to gluten free, we like to tailor the gf flours we use. Unless you are using an all-purpose mix, you’ll likely need to use more than one type of gf flour to get closer to the taste, texture, and look of the gluten-laden version of whatever you are making. And we often find that adding a bit of the right gluten free flour can really enhance the taste and texture of recipes.
Our go-to flour mixes are:
If the recipe calls for 1 cup of wheat flour, we would replace that with 1/2 cup brown rice flour (it’s less expensive, readily available, and familiar), 1/4 cup corn or tapioca starch (to lighten the rice flour and smooth out the texture) and 1/4 cup of a tailored flour choice such as:
Almond Meal: Adds a creamy texture and sweet taste and keeps goods moist. One of our favorite flours! Can, however, make foods dense.
Coconut Flour: Adds amazing flavour. Coconut flour really absorbs moisture, though, so you may have to add more liquid to the recipe. On the other hand, instead of a full 1/4 cup you can add 2 tablespoons of coconut and 2 tablespoons of something else to the mix (almond, quinoa, gf oat (see below) – even more rice flour). This will give you some of the flavour and less of the “moisture sucking” quality.
Potato Flour: We like potato because it is a familiar taste and can add a surprisingly fluffy texture to baked goods. However, like coconut flour, it really absorbs moisture. We would likely use just 2 tablespoons of potato and then add 2 tablespoons of something else – but not coconut 😉
TIP: Potato flour is fantastic as a thickener for sauces and gravies. Nothing will make your white sauces creamier!
Quinoa: If you are going for a very ‘bland’ flour mix – say for plain scones – try 1/4 cup quinoa.
TIP: You can also use 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/4 cup corn starch, and 1/4 cup tapioca flour for a more ‘bland’ flour mix.
Teff: Teff is expensive but it is a nutritional powerhouse. We don’t use it often, but like to add it to breads for its whole grain qualities (adds fibre and texture). We also like its mild nutty taste.
Oat: Many people who can’t tolerate gluten also cannot tolerate oats and oat flour, but if you can, the flour adds a nutty flavour and light texture to baked goods. We love to use it in breakfast goods like muffins, waffles, and pancakes. However, oat flour is the opposite of coconut and potato flours. Batters with oat flour need less moisture and will have a ‘slimy’ texture. Again, we would start by using just 2 tablespoons and adding 2 tablespoons of something else to make up the full 1 cup of flour.
TIP: Because of the high likelihood of cross contamination during the milling process, always use certified gluten free oats and oat flour.
COMBINING DRY AND LIQUID INGREDIENTS:
Gluten free flours require different amounts of moisture. When first converting a recipe, we will add 3/4’s of the main wet ingredient, stir the batter and see where we are at. Then we will add more as needed.
PUTTING THE ‘GLUE’ BACK IN GLUTEN FREE FOODS!
Don’t forget to add a gumming agent like xanthan or guar gum or pixie dust. These keep your baked goods from crumbling.
We almost always use xanthan gum. A quick formula is 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour. For breads you can increase the amount to 3/4 teaspoon per cup of flour.
READY MADE ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR BLENDS:
There are many all-purpose flour blends on the market. Geoff and my newest favorite blend is Cup 4 Cup, available in our neck of the woods at Save-On Foods. It is expensive, but it does an amazing job of replacing wheat four in most recipes. If you have a recipe you’ve been having trouble converting to gf, this is the flour to try. We also really Cloud 9 available at Costco. It too works well for almost anything, although it is a bit more dense than Cup 4 Cup. Bob’s Red Mill is also a decent substitute and is readily available at most supermarkets. It works well in things like shortbread cookies and pie crusts.
TIP: Some all purpose gluten free flour mixes include a gumming agent to replace the gluten in wheat flour. If your blend does not, you will have to add something like xanthan gum to keep your cakes and cookies from crumbling. A quick formula for using xanthan gum is 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour. For breads you can increase the amount to 3/4 teaspoon per cup of flour.
GF FLOUR RECIPES
There are also many all-purpose gluten free flour mix recipes out there. Rural Route Lupiac has a copy cat recipe for cup 4 cup which you can find on her blog post “Flour Blend Friday.”
For a number of different recipes, see the Celiac and Sprue Association website. We have had really great luck with Bette Hagman’s Four Flour Blend, found in her book The Gluten Free Gourmet and on the Association’s webpage as Four Flour Bean. The mix uses garfava bean flour, sorghum flour, cornstarch and tapioca starch/flour. The garfava flour tends to lend batters a slight green pea taste, but once baked, the taste usually disappears. And because it uses bean flour, it adds fiber and protein to your recipes. Who knew a chocolate cake or shortbread cookies could be so healthy!
TIP: If you are making something with a delicate flavour, you may want to replace the garfava with potato and/or quinoa which have a lighter taste. Potato, however, often requires more liquid to be added to the recipe.
What gluten free flours or all purpose blends do you use in your kitchen?
Please share in the comments section below!