I get asked for substitutions on my recipes by a lot of readers. I’ve decided to address some of these questions, and explain my thoughts on them. Today I’ll be discussing “all purpose gluten free flour”. Keep in mind, these are my thoughts only, and help explain why I write my recipes the way that I do.
“Can I replace all the individual flours with an all purpose mix?”
My thoughts? I wouldn’t, but if you want to, feel free to experiment with it.
There are a few reasons I don’t use the all purpose mixes that are available.
- Availability and use – 5 1/2 years ago, when I began baking gluten-free, there were very few gluten free flours readily available in the stores, much less any all purpose blends. I had to use what I could find. The first gluten-free cookbook I bought was Bette Hagman’s The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread. In her book, Hagman lists her own flour blends – each blend being used for a different kind of bread. This required me to have 3 separate blends on hand. Then I baked a recipe from another blogger – they had their own flour blend. Before I knew it, I had all my flours tied up in a variety of flour blends, each with a different intended use. Being a new gluten-free baker, and wanting to follow the recipes as-written, I didn’t feel I could use a different blend than the one called for in the recipe. This resulted in a drawer full of blended flours that could only be used in a handful of recipes. (My early recipes use a flour blend, but the recipes shared in the last 3 years use individual flours and starches.)
- To many combinations – To mimic the texture of wheat-based baked goods, we have to use a variety of gluten free flours and starches, plus a binder (xanthan gum, guar gum, pixie dust*, etc). Unlike wheat flour, where every all purpose flour is made up of ground wheat, an all purpose gluten free flour can be made up of any combination of flours & starches. Some include bean flours. Some have no binders. So when a recipe calls for “all purpose gluten free flour”, unless a brand is listed, the end results can vary greatly depending on the blend you are using.
- End result – All flours and starches have different nutritional values, different amounts of protein, different tastes, and different weights. The way that the flours and starches are combined changes the texture of the baked goods. A Cinnamon Bun, Bundt Cake, and Cookies will all require different textures and tastes. I don’t know if you could find an all purpose blend that would work well in all applications, and if you could, it doesn’t mean that someone in another state (or country) would have access to that same flour blend.
So, what do I stock?
The flours and starches that I keep on hand at all times are:
- Brown Rice Flour
- White Rice Flour
- Potato Starch (not flour, those two are very different)
- Tapioca Starch/Flour (in this case, starch & flour are the same thing)
- Sorghum Flour (also called Jowar)
- Millet Flour
- Gluten-Free Oats
- Gluten-Free Oat Flour
- Sweet Rice Flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
- Xanthan Gum
Of course, there are many other great gluten-free flours available. The only reason I’ve limited my pantry to the flours mentioned is because those are the ones that I use on a regular basis.
You are welcome to experiment on my recipes using an all purpose gluten free flour blend, however I can not advise you on it since I have not prepared the recipe that way. If you would like to use an all purpose flour blend, here are a few sites that use it in their recipes:
- My Gluten-Free Kitchen
- Gluten Free on a Shoestring
- Gluten Free Mom
- Jules Gluten Free
- King Arthur
- Authentic Foods
*NOTE: I have not tried using the Pixie Dust mixture, but have heard from many other bakers that it works well. If you have any questions about it, please ask the creator of the recipe, Dr. Jean Layton.
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