This is a recipe every gluten free household should have. Rather than measuring your flours every time you bake, make your own all purpose flour mix to keep on hand.
This is the first post that I wrote for this blog and it was time for an update. I’ve added the weights of the flours and changed a few of the alternative ingredients to reflect the flours I use now. Even six years later, this flour mix is still my first choice when I’m converting a recipe to gluten-free status.
My homemade gluten free all-purpose flour mix is the gluten free item for which I most often reach. After almost ten years of cooking gluten free, I am amazed at how well this mix works in so many different recipes.
When I make gluten free biscuits with this mix, they taste like biscuits. When I make gluten free pancakes, they taste like pancakes. I’ve even made onion rings with this! I know I’m a geek, but this really is exciting!
When I first started cooking gluten free foods, I bought a basic gluten free cookbook and rushed home to bake some goodies for my husband. I eagerly flipped to the section on flour blends and was incredibly disappointed to find that I did not have any of the ingredients on hand, and had no idea where to buy them.
You’ve probably had the same experience!
Eventually I developed my own gluten free flour mixthat uses gluten free flours that are relatively inexpensive and widely available in grocery stores. That’s the recipe that you’ll find below. Many of the baking recipes on the blog (and in my cooking classes) utilize this gluten free flour mix.
I’ve added links to the recipe so that you can see what options are available and purchase the ingredients online if you cannot find them locally.
The brands that I use are Bob’s Red Mill brown rice flour, sorghum flour, garfava flour; Argo cornstarch; Maseca masa harina, and Bob’s Red Mill or EnerG tapioca starch.
Tips for Measuring Gluten Free Flour
This recipe has been on the blog for years, and it was originally given as a volumetric ratio of 3:3:2:1. That is, I would use 3 cups brown rice flour, 3 cups corn starch, 2 cups sorghum flour and 1 cup masa harina. Or if I wanted a small batch of flour, then I would grab a 1/4 cup measure and use 3/4 cup each of brown rice flour and corn starch, 1/2 cup sorghum flour, and 1/4 c. masa harina.
While you’re still welcome to follow that ratio, I have since begun measuring by weight instead of volume. Weight measurments are much more accurate for flours, and if I measure by weight and you measure by weight, then we’re much more likely to get the same results with my recipes. That’s a good thing!
The only disadvantage to weighing this flour mix is that the weights are not easy to remember. Make life easy on yourself and jot down the weights on a piece of paper and tape it to the inside of a drawer or cabinet in the part of the kitchen where you do your baking.
Instructions for Mixing and Storing Gluten Free Flour Mixes
Combine all the flours in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. If you’re new to mixing flours, the goal here is to not see any clumps or streaks of indiviual flours. By the time you’re done it should be one homogeneous bowl of flour. Transfer the flour to a canister or other air-tight storage container and you’re done!
Since I use this mix so often, I usually make up a very large batch and store it in a large canister so that it’s ready whenever I decide to bake. I do keep my flour canister on the counter, but I go through it pretty quickly. If you don’t bake often, then you may have better luck storing the flour in a freezer bag in the freezer, so that the flours do not become rancid.
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.
For the corn starch: tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour), potato starch, arrowroot flour
For the masa harina: almond flour
Question 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.
Question 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.
Question 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.
Question 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.
Question 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.
Question 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.
Question 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 =)
Question 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.
I get a lot of questions from readers who are concerned about the nutritional value and glycemic load of gluten free flour mixes. If there is one item of nutritional data that most Americans know, its that you should eat whole grain bread. Eating whole grain bread may seem to be nearly impossible on a gluten free diet since most gluten free flour mixes and gluten free bread mixes rely heavily on cornstarch, tapioca starch, and potato starch. These starch flours contain little if any nutritional value.
Many of you know that I created my own gluten free flour mix years ago because I wanted to make sure that my family was getting as much fiber and protein from the bread that I baked. But how does my flour mp mix stack up s against the wheat flours that you were accustomed to using? Today I found out.
You can analyze the nutritional content of recipes at www.nutritiondata.com. I used their analysis tool on my Gluten Free All Purpose flour mix recipe (I’ve been having trouble finding gluten free soy flour recently, so I used the garfava flour version), and was very pleased with the results. Here is how the recipe stacks up against King Arthur Plain Flour and King Arthur White Wheat flour. (Bold emphasis is mine)
Mary’s GF All-Purpose Flour Mix
King Arthur Sir Galahad Flour
King Arthur White Wheat Flour
|Unit Size:||102 g||100 g||100 g|
|Total Fat g.||2.5||1.18||1.62|
|Total Carbohydrates g.||79.2||72.73||61.4|
|Dietary Fiber g.||7.2||2.38||10.49|