Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour Mixes

I’ve gotten several questions about flour mixes lately, so I threw together this post that summarizes a lot of information that’s currently spread around my blog in various places. If you have any additional questions, just ask them in the comments and I’ll answer them and somehow incorporate the answers into this post.

If you’d like to learn more about why you have to use so many different flours together, what the flours do, and which gluten free flour mix is best for you, make sure to read my ebook, The Gluten Free Survival Guide. Chapter 7 is devoted to gluten free cooking, and you’ll get all of your questions answered there.

First, here are the recipes for my flour mixes:

My all-purpose gluten free flour mix, which I use for pretty much everything.
3 parts brown rice flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
3 parts corn starch
2 parts soy flour or garfava flour
1 part masa harina

Gluten Free, Soy Free, All-Purpose Flour Mix
3 parts brown rice flour
3 parts corn starch
2 parts sorghum flour
1 part masa harina

Gluten Free Cake Flour Mix
1 part brown rice flour
1 part sorghum flour
1 part tapioca starch

Instructions:

1. Depending on how much flour mix you want to make, choose a measuring cup. If you want 9 cups of mix, use a 1 c. measure. If you just need a tad, you can use a 1/8 tsp. measure =)

2. Whichever measure you choose is now a “part”. Scoop out the appropriate amounts of each flour and pour into a large mixing bowl.

3. Sift/whisk/stir the flours until they are extremely well combined. No streaks of corn starch allowed.

4. Store in an air-tight container in your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer depending on how long you think it will take you to use all of the mix. The colder the storage area, the longer the shelf life of the flours.

Common Substitutions:

For the corn starch: tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour), potato starch, arrowroot flour

For the masa harina: almond flour

My Recipes That Use the Flour Mixes:

Banana Bread

Fresh Blueberry Scones

Pancakes

Spiced Apple Pancakes

Drop Biscuits

Pizza Crust

Flour Tortillas

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

Yummy Sandwich Bread

Finally, Really Good Sandwich Bread

Sugar Cookies

Red Velvet Cake

Double chocolate gluten free brownies

How to Use Gluten Free Flour Mix in Your Own Recipes:

1. If you have a gluten free recipe that lists several types of flour, sum the amounts of each flours and substitute an equal amount of flour mix.

2. Check the recipe that you’re altering and make sure the ratio of flour:starch is about the same as in your flour mix. For instance the flour to starch ratio in my mixes is somewhere between 5:4 and 6:3. (The masa harina acts somewhat similarly to a starch – it absorbs a lot of water). If the recipe that you’re converting has a 3:4 flour to starch ratio, then the recipe author has added additional starch to “lighten” the recipe. If you are confident in your math abilities, then you can probably figure out how much additional starch to add. Otherwise, find another recipe for this type of experiment.

3. If you’re converting a recipe that uses regular wheat flour, start with a 1:1 substitution of one of the gluten free all purpose flours and add 1/2  – 1 tsp. xanthan gum. If the recipe is not as tender as you would want, then replace some of the flour with additional corn starch next time. If the baked good is too tender, then replace some of the flour with brown rice flour, soy flour, garfava flour or sorghum flour. It may take some experimentation, but most gluten free baking does.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can I use the all purpose flour mix for everything? (cakes, pie crust, etc…?)

I don’t use it for cakes, and I still haven’t tried to make a gluten free pie crust. However, the mix has worked well in the few batches of cookies that I’ve made. I generally stick to savory baking, and for that it works wonderfully.

2. Do I have to store the flour mix in the refrigerator once I make up a large batch?

It all depends on how much you make and how quickly you will use it. I usually go through a batch within two weeks and I keep my flour in a canister on the counter  without any problems. These flours do contain oils that can become rancid, so refrigerator or freezer storage will extend the shelf lif.

3. I’ve read that when using non-wheat flour mixtures you have to increase the leavening agents. Is this correct with your flour mixture?

I usually use the given amounts of leavening agents when I’m converting recipes. If it doesn’t rise enough, then I increase on the next try. I figure that swapping the flours around is enough of an experiment for the first batch.

4. The recipe that I want to convert calls for self-rising flour. Are you flour mixes self-rising?

Self-rising flour is simply flour that has already been mixed with baking powder and salt. You can make your own self-rising flour mix by adding 1.5 tsp of baking powder and 0.5 tsp. salt to 1 c. flour mix.

5. Can I substitute corn flour of corn meal for the masa harina? What is masa harina:

Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia: To make masa harina, field corn (or maize) is dried and then treated in a solution of lime or ash and water, also called slaked lime. This loosens the hulls from the kernels and softens the corn. In addition, the lime reacts with the corn so that the nutrient niacin can be assimilated by the digestive tract. The soaked maize is then washed, and the wet corn is ground into a dough, called masa. It is this fresh masa, when dried and powdered, that becomes masa harina. (Add water once again to make dough for tortillas or tamales.)

Fresh masa is available in Mexican markets, refrigerated and sold by the kilo. But masa harina is a fine substitute. Availability and your personal taste determine whether you start with fresh or dried masa.

Do not substitute corn meal or regular corn flour, however; they’re produced from different types of corn and are processed differently. They will not produce the same results. Regular wheat flour also cannot be substituted.

6. I can’t find masa harina or corn flour that states that it is gluten free. Am I missing something? Bob’s Red Mill doesn’t offer either of these products as “gluten free”.

I use the Maseca brand. It’s with the Hispanic foods in almost all of the grocery stores in our area. If you can’t find masa harina, try almond flour as a substitute.

7. I made “x” changes to your flour mix recipe and tried to make your “y” recipe and it was a complete flop. What went wrong?

I’m not sure. I’ve never made the recipe with that combination of flours either =)

8. Why do your flour mixes not contain xanthan gum?

Baked goods that are meant to be soft and tender use less xanthan gum than pizza crusts and bread. Pancakes don’t need xanthan gum at all.  If I added the xanthan gum (or guar gum) to the flour mix, I wouldn’t be able to use my mix for so many different recipes.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I have recently gone GF, so these recipes are so helpful. I was wondering if there is a soy-free substitute for the sorghum flour? Thanks again.

    • @CTJen: I’m a little confused by your question, because I thought sorghum flour is soy free. But either way, you can substitute garfava flour for the sorghum, if you like.

  2. Nicole says:

    Hey there! I love that you composed a list of flour mixes. Here’s one for you to try…

    3 parts White Rice Flour
    2 parts Cornstarch
    3 parts Soy Flour
    2 parts Potato Starch

    I am not a huge fan of Brown Rice flour or Masa Harina. They are just too crunchy and gritty for my mouth. This flour recipe has a nice smooth texture. I use this for tortillas and they are so pliable and yummy! This also makes perfect drop biscuits and bread that doesn’t fall apart!!
    I love your website! I too just had a baby on April 1st and let me tell ya…it’s nice to get back to cooking! I was on bed rest for 5 weeks! AAAAAAAAHHHH!! Thanks for all of your hard work!

    -Nicole in Oregon

    • @Nicole: Thanks for the flour mix recipe. You make a great point that we all have different tastes and a mix that tastes great to one person, may not be wonderful for the next.

  3. The other night I made some biscuits from your GF drop biscuits recipe. But I changed the flours and just used the equivalent measurement in the basic flour mix I posted. They were really good…as usual…but the recipe like that is amazing as pizza dough! I woke up the other night and it came to me! So exciting!

  4. I dont like Masa Harina so I have been using this mix for Bannana Blueberry muffins with great succes:

    3 parts brown rice flour
    3 parts corn starch or potato starch
    2 parts soy flour
    1 part sorghum flour

    I am not much of a baker but I plan on trying other recipes with this mix soon.

    AJ

    • AJ: thanks for leaving your mix in the comments. Let us know how your baking experiments go. A lot of my readers have corn issues so this will be a great mix for them.

  5. What do you suggest for the Masa Harina other than corn flour or almond flour? We are avoiding corn and almond flour is prohibitively expensive. Any other suggestions?

  6. Just an idea for a masa harina replacement, is Coconut flour. I have been wanting to try out coconut flour lately. Hearing all the craze about it sparks my curiousity. Also my substitute for the corn starch is to increase potato starch by one part and sub tapioca starch for the corn starch but reduce it by one part…i think i will try this out too this week!

  7. Have any GF, dairy & egg free bagel recipes? I’ve tried the one in “Living Without” and I’m not happy with the taste.

  8. Jeeviebaby says:

    Do you have any experience with buckwheat flour in a mix? I cannot get brown rice flour easily, and I was wondering if I could substitute buckwheat flour for the brown rice flour in your all purpose mix.

  9. I have only recently started eating and baking gluten free. I love your recipes and flour mixes but have a problem in that I’m allergic to nuts and am finding it difficult to find a flour mix that is nut free. Any suggestions?

  10. I was wondering what you can substitute soy flour with (instead of sorghum flour..don’t like the taste.) I have thyroid issues and soy is a thyroid inhibitor. Would tapioca flour work just as well? I have been using your all purpose mix in normal/standard recipes with xanthum gum and it has been a life savor. Most everything I make turns out beautifully and now my family and I can be gluten free affordably and happily!!

    I have tried to make your yummy sandwich bread several times without much luck. I have followed the recipe to a tee and the middle of the bread never seem quite done. It also doesn’t rise very well, and I have made sure that every step I follow is exact. Any suggestions?
    Thanks for your amazing website!

    Mary Beth Frank

  11. Nicole:

    My son is allergic to corn. So I was wondering if you can substitute tapioca flour in place of cornstarch in your flour recipe.

  12. I am interested in the properties (water absorption, lightness, etc.) of different types of starches. A lot of gluten free recipes that I have found use a combination potato, tapioca, and cornstarch. I have looked through a lot of books without success, most just give a general description of each starch but nothing explains why a recipe functions best with a combination or how to create the right combination in a new recipe. Do you know?

  13. King Arthur now has a gluten free flour mix and their ancient grains flour is gluten free. You can only get them thru their website for now. They are expecting to roll it out to the stores sometime in June.

  14. For those who want to substitute corn starch, use arrowroot in equal parts. Arrow root is also medicinal and healing to your intestines.
    My question is: what can you substitute for sorghum flour? Sorghum tears up my stomach. I tried it wit family members who do not have problems with gluten, they get the same side effects. It creates a LOT of gas, bloating and diarrhea. That does not mean any of you will have this issue. I just don’t know if there is a standard substitute like the arrow root is for cornstarch or if you have to change to a different flour per recipe type that includes sorghum. I appreciate any help. Thank you.

  15. Megan D says:

    In place of sorghum I’d recommend a bean flour. Garbanzo/chickpea is widely available. White bean flour is milder but more difficult to find.

  16. Thank you Megan and thank you Gluten Free Cooking School. :) I used Teff flour in place of Sorghum a few times. It worked out nicely. That depends on what your making though.
    I have a new question to post as well. How do you determine when to use corn starch, tapioca, potato etc? Or maybe I should ask what makes each different in a recipe?

  17. My daughter cannot have coconut flour, soy or nuts. What could I use as a substitute?

  18. @ Bron, the primary flour I know of for GF baking are white, sweet, and brown rice; sorghum, teff, potato, bean flours, amaranth, quinoa…those are off the top of my head

  19. Cloudyjewel says:

    I’m new to the GF scene and am really busy with two small children, plus chronic health issues, so I don’t have time or energy to experiment much. I’m looking for a flour blend that is high fiber, and high protein as I also have some blood sugar issues.

    Plus,after blood tests, my ND told me I am severely intolerant of potato, corn and moderately, to soy. So basically that means I shouldn’t use potato, corn, soy or rice flour(due to the high GI levels it creates). HELP! :o)

  20. CloudyJewel,

    I’d probably go for a quinoa blend. You will need to blend with some starch to get the right consistency so perhaps tapioca will work. You can’t really get away without using some starch so just like wheat bread you will need to limit your consumption.

    Quinoa cooked and used like rice is a delicious and high in protein as well as diabetic friendly.

  21. To CloudyJewel, I suggest you stay away from Sorghum flour. It is a version/relative of corn.

  22. Hi i’m shafak and i’m new to this gf diet
    my question is why my baked bread always gets very very gummy and not have that smooth texture of the real bread
    i use the rice blend ( 6 cups rice , 3 cups potato starch, and 1 cup tapioca flour ) with 3 tsp xzanthan gum
    please any help

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