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The Best Gluten Free Flour Mix

Everyone says they have it, the best flour mix!  I have been using this one since 1997 and hundreds of our Farmers Market customers absolutely love our lemon bread, cookies, apple pie etc.

The flour mix you choose will dramatically affect your results.  Anything with the primary base of WHITE rice flour is not worth your time.  I don’t buy anything that uses white rice flour.  Sweet rice flour helps smooth out the mix, without it you will experience some grit.

It’s always best to combine a basic mix like this with healthier flours.  For cookies, breakfast quick breads, pancakes, waffles, carrot cakes, pie crust, scones, and biscuits use a 50/50 spilit of the Multi Blend mix (shown below) with one of the following:  Sorghum, Millet, Teff, Amaranth, or pure Buckwheat.

Pizza Crust, Sandwich Bread, and Pasta don’t use the Multi Blend Mix, instead they require a specific combination found in the recipe.

 

The Multi Blend Mix produces a tender, moist end product that I have not found with any other formula.  If you don’t bake often, it should be refrigerated in an airtight container to keep the brown rice flour fresh.  Previously we included cornstarch in this mix but have removed it due to sensitivities to corn.

Multi Blend Wheat- and Gluten-Free Flour

4 1/2 cups brown rice flour

1/2 + 1/3 cup potato starch flour

1  2/3 cups tapioca starch flour

1  1/2  cup sweet rice flour

combine flours together and stir well until they become one complete flour.

see note below regarding usages of gums etc. as binding agent (needed with all GF flour)

 

Notes:

> When converting recipes for heavy cakes and sweet bread, I have found it beneficial to add in an additional teaspoon of aluminum free baking powder.

 

Guar Gum or Xanthan Gum

You always need to add guar gum or xanthan gum to gluten-free flour, it is an essential ingredient that binds our baked goods.  My husband once made a cake without it and the batter ran out of the tube pan to cover the bottom of the oven!!Over the past few years, I have used guar gum exclusively and prefer the results:

Sandwich Bread/Pizza Crust                1 teaspoon per cup of flour mix

Cakes/Muffins/Quick Bread             1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour mix

Cookies                                                  1/4 teaspoon per cup of flour mix

FLAX SEED or CHIA SEED  as binder
I have noticed some experimentation of late using flax seed or chia seed instead of guar or xanthan gum as a binding agent.  I just made some muffins and added 1 teaspoon of finely ground chia seed, it probably wasn’t enough as the muffin had some crumbling, you need to experiment to see what works for you. Some people find that the gums cause some digestive issues and like this alternative.

Psyllium Husk Powder
Said to be a good alternative binding agent for those who can’t tolerate the gums.  see my post testing psyllium husk

Alternative Celiac Flours

There are a variety of healthy gluten free flours such as amaranth, millet, sorghum, teff etc. that you may use.  Be certain they are free of cross contamination from the field to the package by contacting the company and asking detailed questions.  Each of these flours offer the vitamins and nutrients many celiacs lack in their diet and they provide much better tasting bread, pancakes, waffles, pizza crust, and sweet breads.  Avoid purchasing flour from bulk bins in stores as cross contamination can be a problem.

Bob’s Red Mill is a great source of gluten free flours.

Other Substitutions

One can generally find non-dairy substitutions for milk, sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, or butter (Earth Balance margarine) in a natural foods market made from soy or rice. For buttermilk, use either a cup of soy or rice milk and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or cider vinegar.

Substitutions for eggs and dry milk powder can be tricky but the following ideas work very well for many gluten free baked goods:

Egg-Free

I use flax seed as an egg substitute: grind 1 tablespoon flaxseed and add 3 tablespoons boiling water, let set for 15 minutes then whisk with a fork– this mixture will replace 1 egg in a recipe. A clean coffee grinder works well to grind the small flaxseed.

Flax seed has many health benefits such as high-quality protein, fiber, B and C vitamins, iron, and zinc, anti-cancer properties, omega-3 fatty acids, and many other benefits.

Dairy-Free

Whenever a recipe calls for dry milk powder, I substitute with finely ground almonds (almond meal) or finely ground GF oats, it is a cup for cup substitution.

20 Comments
  1. TwigaMeg permalink

    OK- I’ll be very busy for a while, trying all of this great info. and recipes out. But in the meantime, THANKS, Thanks, and thanks again!!!

    Its been quite a challenge, but you lessened the burden with these helpful hints.

  2. janis rittenhouse permalink

    what can be used to substitute evaporated milk for pumpkin pie?
    what can be used to substitute sour cream and any other dairy products, i have crohns and am lactose intolerant. having trouble finding gluten free, dairy free recipes, thanks

  3. Karen permalink

    Janis,
    here is a link to a dairy free, gluten free, egg free pumpkin pie recipe

    for sour cream try IMO or other non-dairy versions

    There are also now a variety of non-dairy items made with rice, potato, tofu, coconut milk, or soy. If you have a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s near you spend some time wandering the aisles and you will find some alternatives.

  4. Farzana permalink

    Regarding substituting for milk powder. . . you can also use soy milk powder.

  5. gail mattulina permalink

    Has anyone tried to make gnocchi gluten free? I’ve tried the Red Mill Gluten free flour, but the consistency is very grainy and they can’t be rolled to form the pockets for the sauce.. I’ve tried them with chick pea flour with the same results.

  6. Karen permalink

    Gail,
    I have a gnocchi recipe in the book which we adapted with Ludger Szmania at Szmania’s restaurant in Seattle.
    In much the same way as croissants are impossible to match their wheat-based counterparts, gnocchi remains a challenge.
    If you develop an excellent recipe please let me know.
    Karen

  7. Deb Bruno permalink

    I have recently found out that I have Celiac Disease. This information has been so helpful. Thank you.

  8. Thank you for this information. I’m new to baking gluten free, so wonder, is your Celiac Flour Mix a one-to-one substitution for all purpose flour in other recipes? Or if not, if a recipe calls for a specific amount of “gluten free flour,” and then states to add xanthan gum to the flour for the recipe <– would we skip the gum addition using your flour recipe above (as xanthan gum or guar gum is already included in the mix?) Or is additional xanthan/guar gum required to use this flour, IN ADDITION to that already included in the flour mix? I plan to use your mix but am not sure how, and when, to use it in recipes. Thanks again!

  9. Karen permalink

    PC,
    yes the flour mix is a one for one substitution. I just removed the gum from the ingredient list. I now make it without the gum in it at all and add a little while baking as the guide on the flour page suggests or as shown in the recipes posted. Also many people who can’t tolerate guar gum or xanthan gum use psyllium husk powder–a quick search on that term will give you advice on how to incorporate it into your baking if you want to go that route.

    Karen

  10. Karen permalink

    I have just gone gluten free as well, and some of you who still have IBS or other bowel issues might not tolerate Pysillium, it absolutely is a no no for me. FYI

  11. Karen permalink

    Karen,
    I agree, it isn’t for me either but some swear by it.
    Karen

  12. Marie permalink

    I’m a little confused. The mix you have above, is that what I can use to make muffins, bread, etc.? Do I have to add anything else w/that? like guar gum or xanthan gum? I just became gluten free and lactose intolerant, so I am very new to these products, as I love to bake and cook.

  13. Karen permalink

    Marie,
    if you scroll down further you will see the discussion regarding gums, psyllium, flax/chia seed as binding agents. based on your question though I did add a little note just under the flour mix recipe to direct folks to read further.

    the multi blend mix is a cup for cup replacement for wheat based flour for cakes, pie crust, cookies, muffins (along with the binding agent discussed). Aside from cakes, most baked goods are best when a 50/50 split of multi blend mix and an alternative flour such as millet, sorghum, teff, amaranth, oat flour etc. For breads and pizza crust I use a specific combination of flours, see recipes in the book or on the blog for these items.
    Karen

  14. Deb permalink

    Hi Karen!

    Thank you so much for all of the wonderful information!

    In the recipe in this post for the Multi Blend flour, do you have the metric equivalents for the measurements?

  15. Karen permalink

    I have always made the multi blend mix using conventional dry measures leveled with a knife.
    I am not in my kitchen at the moment to make the conversion for you.

  16. Deb permalink

    Thanks for your reply Karen! Do you spoon the flour into the cups and then level?

    If at some point you are able to make the conversion, I would be ever so grateful to you!!!

  17. Michele Brooks permalink

    I can’t use corn or tapioca, so for the multi blend would I replace both with the sweet rice flour? I have never baked much from scratch but since learning of all my intolerances, I’m forced to learn!

  18. Karen permalink

    Michele,
    About 1/3 of your base flour mix should be starch, here is what I recommend that you try first: 2 1/2 cups brown rice flour, 3/4 cup potato starch, 1 cup sweet rice flour. Use this to make a fairly simple recipe such as pancakes and see what you think. Are you able to use arrowroot? If so I would use this combo: 2 1/4 cups brown rice flour, 3/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup arrowroot, 1 cup sweet rice flour. Arrowroot Starch can be expensive but if you buy it from Bob’s Red Mill pricing is a bit better than buying a small jar from a regular grocer. You may need to experiment a bit to get the right proportions. Pancakes, waffles, breakfast quick breads, and cookies all benefit from using high protein flours as well. If your pancake recipe calls for 2 cups of flour try this: use one cup of the mix suggested above and one cup of millet flour, be sure to add in 1/4 teaspoon guar gum too. Bob’s is pretty quick to fulfill orders so you could order what you need from bobsredmill.com to get started. (they don’t provide me any compensation, and I buy their flours in 25 lb bags!!) email me at Karen(at)cookingglutenfree(dot)com if you have further questions

  19. Sheila Williams permalink

    I am now on a modified paleo diet and avoiding potato flour and potato starch. I am using arrowroot without any problem. What flour can I use to substitute for potato flour? I have celiac sprue and microscopic colitis which severely limits my food choices. I enjoy your recipes, I have your 3rd revised edition, but need to make substitutions. Thank you so much.
    Sheila Williams

  20. Karen permalink

    Hi Sheila,
    you may substitute potato starch with equal parts tapioca starch flour and/or cornstarch.
    Though I have not used much arrowroot I believe you can use that as an equal substitute for the potato starch flour as well–though it is expensive.
    Thank you, I am glad you are enjoying the recipes!
    Karen

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