Learning how to bake gluten-free is overwhelming when starting out. To a newbie, the selection of flour varieties and how to create a flour blend that mimics regular wheat flour can be so confusing! This was just my story when I started to bake gluten free over three years ago. I spent the first six months frustrated over the information that was out there so I took matters into my own hands. I locked myself into my kitchen until I understood exactly the world of gluten free flours and had created a trusted blend of my own that I could sub into every recipe I make. I have been using my own mix now for the past two years and have excellent results but my desire is to educate and encourage others to do their own experimenting to create a blend that fits their preferences. This guide is to help you understand what role each flour plays and how to create your own gluten free flour blend.
Unlike baking with regular wheat flour where all you need is just an all-purpose flour, gluten-free baking requires a fun science mixture blend of at least two flours. Starches help rebuild the binding, texture, and structure that gluten typically provides, which is why you will notice that starch is a huge component to creating your own blend (in addition to one or more whole grain gluten free flours). Each flour is separated into three categories based off of how dense and nutritious they are and how easy they are to be used alone in a blend of its own:
- Light: These are all of the starches—a must when creating a blend of gluten free flours.
- Medium: Though nutritious in their own right, these flours are a bit lighter when used in a recipe and are more stable to be used alone paired with a starch.
- Heavy—These are the more dense and nutritious flours that are rarely used alone and will need to be used in tandem with another medium-based flour.
Let’s start off with the first category of gluten free flours: The Light-Based Flours, also known as all of your starch options. You will need at least one starch as a part of your blend but are free to use a mix of any:
Next are your medium-based flours. Read each description below and choose which one best suits your taste and texture preferences:
Lastly are your heavy-based flours. You will want to use a mix of heavy and medium flours because it will balance out the texture in your baked goods. Otherwise you will get the result of a dense and well, heavy products:
Are you ready to create your own blend? Here is a break-down for understanding how to go about it:
The more variety of flours in your blend, the different the results–how exciting! It’s like a controlled science experiment right there in your very own kitchen. You never know what tastes the best unless you start testing it out for yourself so use this as a base guide and branch out on your own to see what you like.
Here is my gluten-free flour blend. As you can see, I prefer to use a ratio of 2:1 whole grain flour per starch. That means for every 1 cup of medium or heavy based flour, I use ½ c. of a starch. This particular blend is a great substitute in recipes that require regular flour, giving it a very nice texture, flavor, and color to all baked goods.
Now if you are new to the world of baking gluten free, let me say that you will make mistakes. A LOT OF THEM. It is inevitable and you need to accept it now, and accept that this is a learning curve. Be open to it. The work is hard but the rewards are great. Now put your apron and sense of humor on, possibly grab a tissue (for many tears of joy and sorrow) and let’s get baking!
Is this the end to the conversation? Absolutely not. The entire point of these Baking Series Guides is to help each other out. You might have a new nugget of knowledge I haven’t mentioned and I would love for you to share it with all of us.