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Tuesday Tips – Gluten-Free, Gum-Free Flour Mix

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So if you’ve read the Tuesday Tip about mixing your own gluten-free flour, you’ll already know that in order to make gluten-free baking work, you need to have a mixture of flours. Most gluten-free bread products also contain xanthan or guar gums to help replace the gluten found in wheat flour, so I usually throw that in the mix as I’m baking, especially as I can’t use eggs. It was all going fine until one day when I ran out of guar gum.

The health food store in our rural community is the only place to buy a specialty item like guar gum. Naturally, it’s actually over in the next town, and a 30 minute drive. Each way. No way am I dragging my two little guys out and doing an hour’s worth of driving just to pick up one thing at a store where everything costs too much to begin with. Nope. I Googled instead to see if anyone out there on the internet could help me bake without the guar gum, as I’d heard a rumor of a blogger doing just such a thing.

I found her. Shauna over at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef can’t tolerate the gums, and has figured out a way around them. The biggest innovation she’s made is to measure her flours by weight rather than volume. Turns out that a cup of tapioca starch weighs a lot less than a cup of garfava flour, so substituting flours using volume measures doesn’t really work. I’ve started experimenting with her ideas, and I’m thrilled to say that I can now make gluten-free, egg-free bread products without that pricey gum. Hooray! One less ingredient to have to stock in my kitchen, one less ingredient to measure and add to my batter.

Here is my current all-purpose gluten-free flour mix: 300 grams tapioca starch plus 700 grams high-protein flours such as yellow pea flour, green pea flour, buckwheat flour, garfava flour, sorghum flour, or amaranth flour. I’ve been splitting it between several bean and grain flours, just to keep it from tasting too much like any one flour. I just noticed that Gluten-Free Girl’s latest recommendation is to do 40% whole grain flours and 60% starches. I haven’t tried that yet, but I’m guessing that my mix is close to that since I typically include some bean flours which are more starchy than a whole grain flour.

(You’ll notice that there isn’t any rice flour in my mix, despite Gluten-Free Girl’s recommendations. Rice does bad things to my insides, so I have to avoid it. If you can tolerate rice flour, it’s a far cheaper ingredient for your mix.)

Please note, when using your own flour mix, you’ll have to adjust the liquid in your recipe. Certain flours such as garfava bean or coconut flour are dryer and need extra liquid to come out right. Try adding half the liquid, stirring and adding more liquid as needed to reach the right consistency for your batter. The weather affects how much liquid you need as well, so pay attention as you mix.

If you’ve got a successful all-purpose, gluten-free flour mix, please let us know in the comments section!

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Tuesday Tips – All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix

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quinoa flourWhen I begin adapting a standard recipe for bread, muffins, pancakes or cookies to a gluten-free recipe, I use the following formula to replace the all-purpose flour:

– 1 part high protein flour, such as almond, coconut, bean (any kind), corn, quinoa or amaranth flours
– 1 part high starch flour, such as tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, potato starch, sweet white (or “glutinous”) rice flour or cornstarch
– 1 part “other” flour, such as brown rice flour, sorghum, millet, potato or buckwheat flours

Then add ¾ teaspoon of xanthan gum or guar gum per cup of gluten-free flour mix and an extra egg (see the Cheat! page for egg replacement options). This won’t be a perfect recipe, of course, but it will generally yield a product that holds together reasonably well.

After you make the recipe once, you can start to tweak it to your personal preference. For example, if the bread or other baked good is too heavy, increase the starch. Too gritty? Reduce or eliminate the rice flour.

Do you need help adapting a recipe for gluten-free baking? Feel free to email us, and we’ll do our best to troubleshoot the recipe for you!

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