I remember when I first started to bake gluten-free how overwhelmed I was. I would sit there at the table with my laptop and want to cry because I was confused over what flours to buy–this site says she uses these gluten-free flours only; this site changes the list of gluten-free flours she uses in her recipes. If I were to follow all of these sites I would have to buy every flour out there, leaving a huge dent in my wallet. Then I began using store-bought mixes and I wasn’t happy with those either. I hated the smell and flavor a blend heavy with garbanzo bean flour created or the other mixes I tried left my baked goods gritty or a pale white color that was gross to me.
So I started to play around with my own mix. I remember one day I was in the kitchen and I made 5 different batches of cookies each made with a different mix until I found something that worked perfectly for me. Now, you don’t have to follow the blend that I use (you can find that blend recipe on the bottom of the post)–you are welcome to experiment with whatever your tastes prefer. If so, here is a guide for you to make it an easier process to decide which gluten-free flours you can place into a mix of your own.
Unlike baking with regular gluten-filled flour where all you need is just an All-Purpose Flour, gluten-free baking requires a fun science mixture blend of at least 2 flours. Each flour is separated into 3 categories based off of how dense and nutritious they are: 1). Light (which are all of your starches), 2). Medium (though nutritious in their own right, these flours are a bit lighter when used in a recipe), and 3). Heavy (which are your most dense flours that should never be used alone–they will always need to be accompanied by a medium-based flour).
Now is the time to experiment and to see what flavors/textures each mix blend produces that fit your personal preferences. Let’s start off with your light-based flours. You will need a blend of 1 or 2 starches:
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 product:
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, 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 very own gluten-free flour blend. I personally prefer having a mix on-hand because it is just easier for me to use it as an all-purpose mix and I love the results I have seen with it. 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.
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.
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!