For gluten-free baking, a combination of flour and starches is necessary to get the right texture. If you don’t want to bother mixing up your own gluten-free flour blends, there are plenty of ready made ones available but they can be quite expensive. Many contain leavening and xanthan gum (an ingredient that keeps gluten-free baked goods from crumbling). I like to be able to control how much xanthan gum and leavening is in whatever I’m baking and there’s no way of knowing when it’s already added in.
More Than Rice Flour
Most gluten-free flour blends are rice-based and people on a gluten-free diet eat a lot of rice! Variety is important, so I like to include other types of flours such as whole grain sorghum, millet and oat flours along with a smaller amount of brown rice flour. These different flours add nutrients and better flavor.
DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blends
Mixing up your own gluten-free flour blend is extremely simple and less than half the price of store-bought. I know it can be a bit of a hassle to have so many different flours and starches in your kitchen, but between the cost savings and flavor, I think it’s worth it.
To mix up your own all purpose blend, use 2 parts grain flours such as brown rice, white rice, sorghum, oat and millet to 1 part starches such as potato, tapioca, corn and arrowroot starch. Note that potato starch and potato flour are different while tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing.
This ratio works well for cakes, cookies, quick breads and muffins. For bread and pizza crust the ratio is a little heavier on the grain flours. In pie crust and delicate pastries go heavier on the starches.
- White rice flour is great for thickening sauces and as a component in flour blends to add lightness to baked goods.
- Brown rice flour has more nutrition than white and is pretty versatile. It will work in cakes, breads and cookies.
- Sorghum flour is wonderful in cakes, providing a nice neutral, slightly sweet flavor.
- Teff flour is a super-grain packed with nutrition. It has a slightly nutty flavor and is a great addition to breads. I even use a small amount in some of my cookie and muffin recipes.
- Millet flour is also nutrient-rich and high in fiber. I add small amounts to my cake and cookie blend and more to breads.
- Potato, Arrowroot and Tapioca Starches help provide lightness and some binding power.
- Xanthan Gum/Guar Gum is necessary for it’s binding power. Otherwise your baked goods will be crumbly. I use approximately 1/2 tsp per cup of flour. Cookies need less and breads can use a little more.
How to Mix up Your Own Gluten-Free Flour Blends
Here’s a simple, basic flour blend that works pretty well in gluten-free baking but feel free to change it up a little as long as you stick close to the grain to starch ratio.
- 1 cup brown rice flour (I like Authentic Foods Superfine Flours)
- 1 cup sweet white sorghum flour
- 2/3 cup potato starch
- 1/3 cup tapioca starch
Here is my special flour blend that I love for many of my gluten-free cake, cookie and quick bread recipes:
- 1 c sweet white sorghum flour
- 3/4 c millet flour
- 1/4 c brown rice flour
- 2/3 c potato starch
- 1/3 c tapioca starch
Sift it all together in a large container with a lid. Mix thoroughly by dunking a whisk to the bottom of the container and bringing the flour from the top to the bottom. I do this about 20 times moving around the container.
Then put the lid on and shake, rotate and spin vigorously to be sure it is well combined. Store in the refrigerator or freezer unless you plan to use it within a few months.