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Thursday, August 28, 2014

How To Make Your Own All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix- With No Xanthan Gum- Including Whole Grain Mix

Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free, high protein,
zucchini chocolate breakfast muffins- recipe coming soon-
made with my own all purpose gluten free flour mix
When new to gluten free cooking, one of the biggest adjustments you have to make is the mindset of thinking that you can just replace wheat flour with some other gluten free flour. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way- wheat and gluten have special properties that allow stuff made with them to stick together, rise nicely, have a mild taste, etc... which you can't get if you just substitute a 1:1 gluten free flour for regular flour.
However, there are some gluten free all purpose flour mixes that I do find useful in replacing wheat flour, and have successfully used them in many, many recipes.
The thing about those recipes is that they're with xanthan gum, which, aside for being pretty expensive and ups the cost of the baked goods tremendously, it also gives many people stomach issues. On top of that, they're not the most nutritionally packed.
So, I was excited to read about how to make your own all purpose gluten free flour mix that doesn't require xanthan gum on GlutenFreeGirl.com. There's her regular all purpose flour mix, and there's her whole grain all purpose flour mix. She says they work with all gluten free flours, as long as you follow her specific instructions, however... I don't use eggs in my baking, and eggs stop things from falling apart/crumbling, so... I've been nervous about trying all the variations she mentions- since I'm afraid that they will crumble.
However, here's the rule:
You need a scale.


For regular all purpose flour mix, you need a 40/60 ratio of whole grain flours to starchy flours. That means for every 1000 grams of flour you're making, you need 400 grams of whole grain flours and 600 grams starchy flours. For whole grain flour mix, you use a 70/30 ratio of whole grain flours to starchy flours, meaning for every 1000 grams of flour mix, you need 700 grams whole grain flour and 300 grams starchy flour.
Ok.
Now let me get this clear.
I was a math whiz. I was taking Calc 2 in college at the age of 15. Yet trying to figure out how to figure out 30/70 ratios of 6-7 different flours when my recipe called for 2 cups of flour total was a nightmare. Trust me on this one- you don't want to be needing to take out your calculator, a pen and paper, googling weights per cup of different flours, and do advanced algebra before you want to bake each time...
What you want to do is mix up a batch of flour, 1000 grams or 2000 grams, and just mix it together and store it in a large container, scooping out as many cups as needed...

Oh, I should backtrack a second...
Why was I trying to mix 6-7 different types of flour? Why not just keep it simple and use one whole grain flour and one starchy flour?
The reason is this. Gluten free flours aren't bland. They have stronger flavors than wheat. I even started noticing an aftertaste from rice flour that I use in some recipes, and that's funny, since I love rice and never noticed an aftertaste before now...
Also, each gluten free flour has a different property. Untoasted buckwheat flour (read my post on the difference between toasted and untoasted buckwheat- very important if you want my recipes to work right) is very sticky, holds things together beautifully, almost as if it were wheat flour. Except it has a somewhat strong flavor- not super strong, but enough that you taste buckwheat if using straight buckwheat. Short grain rice flour also sticks things together nicely, but, like all rice flours, has a slight grittiness to it, and a slight aftertaste. Millet flour, while very healthy, has an aftertaste that I or my kids simply don't like... Chickpea flour is sticky enough, but for stomach purposes, I don't want to make pure chickpea based desserts unless it was soaked in advance... though I do like adding chickpeas because together with the other grains, it makes a whole protein. And potato and tapioca starches, among other starches, hold things together amazingly but can make the final dish be slimy if you use too much of it in a recipe.
However...
While these flours all have flaws on their own, mix them together and you have a masterpiece, to which each item adds its benefits, but its drawbacks are unnoticed and are outweighed by everything else. And they work perfectly in all the recipes I've tried so far. However- note that this all purpose gluten free flour mix will NOT work as a replacement for gluten flour in bread recipes, since in order for yeast to actually make bread rise, you need xanthan gum and the proper texture of dough (not the same as regular gluten full bread dough) for the carbon dioxide bubbles to hold.

I'll be honest, I don't always do exactly a 30/70 ratio or a 40/60 ratio. Sometimes I do somewhere in between the two and it also works...

For the purpose of this mix, what's a whole grain and what's a starchy flour? (Ones with * are ones I never used, but are on the Gluten Free Girl's list)

Whole Grain Flours:
brown rice flour
buckwheat flour
millet flour
bean flours, like chickpea flour or soy flour*
teff flour
amaranth flour*
short grain brown rice flour*
corn flour*
mesquite flour*
oat flour*
quinoa flour*
sorghum flour*
sweet potato flour*

Starchy Flours:
Potato starch
Corn starch
Tapioca starch
Sticky/sweet/short grain rice flour (all names for the same thing)
White rice flour
Arrowroot powder*

I always include short grain rice flour mixed with one of the starchy flours for the starch part of my mix, and as I said, always include buckwheat among the other grains I use for my mix.

Here's two combinations I used successfully (including the 2 cup total algebra needing/brain hurting way of figuring out just enough flour for one batch), but you definitely aren't limited to these exact combinations...

1/3 cup chickpea flour- 28.3 grams
1/3 cups buckwheat flour- 42.4 grams
1/3 cup millet- 40 grams
2 tablespoons brown rice flour- 15.6 grams
1/2 cup short grain rice flour- 102 grams
1/2 cup potato starch- 96 grams

3/4 cup sticky rice flour
1 packed up potato starch- total 300 grams of starches
2 1/2 cups buckwheat- 352
1 1/4 cup millet flour- 181
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour- 154

Just note that while I have included measurements in both grams and cups, remember that depending on how packed your cups are, they may not exactly weigh the same amounts as mine, which is why many gluten free bakers recommend baking with a kitchen scale always. But I don't bother with mine, other than in baking mixes.

So again, I've used this successfully for cookies, muffins, cakes, pancakes, etc... I haven't tried every single recipe with them, but I've been happy with it thus far and wanted to share it with you.

If you're gluten free, what flours do you tend to use? Do you use a set, prepackaged flour mix or do you use your own? If you use your own, do you follow a hard and fast recipe, rules like this for making your own mix out of whatever, or just a general idea? What do you keep in mind when you throw together your own mix of flours? What has been your favorite combination of flours so far?

Linking up to Real Food Wednesday and Allergy Free Wednesday.

3 comments:

  1. I do a lot of gluten free baking for friends, and usually start with the Culinary Institute blend recipe (different proportions of starch, rice flour, and other grain flours depending on what you're making). Those recipes include xanthan gum, but in small amounts.

    I keep meaning to try your untoasted buckwheat flour, though! It's a great idea, and I bet it would be good with maple syrup or agave. Yum.

    Recently I'm having some luck with sprouted grains, in terms of taste not stickiness. Somehow -- to my taste anyway -- using sprouted grain flour cuts down on the funny taste you can get from bean flours. Sprouting adds a complexity that I really like, but it also adds to the work. You could make it in advance, but I'd freeze the flours.

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  2. I always use the Namaste flour blend. It's my go-to.

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  3. I am allergic to most of the GF stuff Xanthan gum, sorghum, millet, buckwheat, nuts, beans but can tolerate corn and rice so I make a cornbread with Corn meal, Gluten free rice flour, GF free baking powder eggs, olive or corn oil, milk and throw in some blueberries or dried cranberries (have to use Sun Maid as I am allergic to sunflower seed oil in Ocean Spray). No sugar added but tastes sweet.

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