Baking Gluten Free
I am looking for a good flour mixture for baking cookies, cakes and for pizza. I love the Pamela's mix for cookies and muffins, but it is so expensive. Anyone out there know a good recipe for a flour mixture for any of these items?
We make our own gf flour using our VitaMix or a small coffee/spice grinder: brown rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, garbanzo, red lentil, etc. We usually buy only sorghum flour. The mix is probably so expensive because of the xanthan gum which is $11.99 for a small bag. Bob's Red Mill has some mixes which may be less expensive than Pamela's.
We baked at a relative's house over Thanksgiving and bought the above product so we didn't have to deal with leftover ingredients which wouldn't have been convenient to bring home on the plane. It's available at most health food stores and in the health aisles of some mainstream grocery stores.
There are a lot of Gluten Free flour mixes, some work better than others for different purposes, such as when you want a lighter mix for cake, a crispier one for frying, or a heavier one for making cookes or pie dough that won't crack. I'd suggest reading Bette Hagman's Gluten Free Gourmet books, the Comfort Foods Book is one of the most recent, she has several recipes where she explains which ones she uses for different reasons. Basically, it depends on how much protein content the individual flours have, which ingredients to substitute if you have other food allergies, etc.
If you want to just purchase one, I'd suggest the best all-purpose one is the Authentic Foods gluten free multi blend mix, it's a packaged version of Wendy Wark's recipe, which you can mix yourself, too.
Wendy Wark's All Purpose GF Flour Mix
1 c. brown rice flour
1 1/4 c. white rice flour
1/4 c. potato starch
2/3 c. tapioca starch
3/4 c. sweet rice flour
1/3 c. cornstarch
2 t. xanthan or guar gum
Sift all ingredients together so as to mix completely. May be stored in an airtight container for future use.
From "Living Healthy With Celiac Disease", by Wendy Wark
If you want lots of information, I'd suggest looking at this site, which is for celiacs. There is a free registration, and there are always lots of lurkers. You can find a lot of good gluten free recipes and get advice from others who have made them before. It's a very helpful community:
Oops, forgot to mention, when I mix my own, I usually go to the asian stores for the rice and tapioca flours, they're much cheaper and more finely ground, so not so gritty. Also, be careful using brown rice flour, you can always substitute to use more white rice flour. Brown rice flour is great when it's fresh, but it can turn rancid rather quickly, and then it gives your baked goods a strong flavor. Refrigerate or freeze it if you have to keep it awhile. Hope this helps!
The Wendy Wark's blend is sold pre-mixed by Authentic Foods:
I mostly make up my own, and keep a lot of different flours on hand, about 20 of them, but keeping so many is a problem to keep them all fresh and bug free unless you refrigerate. I also use a lot of GF oats ground into flour, and nowadays, I use Manini's mixes, which have teff and amaranth flours. It's easier to get "real bread" type consistency if you use higher protein flours, since potato, corn, arrowroot, and rice flours are higher in starch and lower in protein relative to wheat. So that's why folks use xanthan or guar gum, to simulate the viscosity. The same effect can be gotten by using extra egg, gelatin , "egg replacer" mixes, applesauce or something else with pectin as part of your recipe.
If you haven't already, check out the blog Gluten-Free Girl. TONS of good baking information. Shauna uses tons of different flours. She's really quite inspiring-- it sounds cheesy, but it's true.
I'm surprised that all the 'whites' in Wendy's mix are not 'no nos' for diabetics? The whites in regular flours, starches, sugars, raise the insulin levels, so they would be much the same in GF 'whites'. I use sorghum a LOT, and am trying to use buckwheat, but cannot yet stand the taste of the latter :)
I bake gluten-free but my flour mix varies depending on what I use it for. For cookies, a standard one like the one above is great. I tend to use less sweet rice and tapioca for cakes, because I like a more tender crumb. For pizza, I like to use heavier flours, and even besan (Indian chickpea flour). For pizza I do a very long rise, as I like the flavor it develops, and I use a higher proportion of xanthan gum. For muffins I often like an earthier healthier flavor, so I use millet, sorghum and teff instead of brown rice flour. In pie crusts, I use almost all millet and sorghum, with cornstarch - no xanthan. I mix on the fly, depending on the recipe, and measure by weight. I also use a lot of almond flour.
My favorite is just plain, but I am horrible about recipes sorry. 3 cups of flour to 1 1/2-2/3 cups liquid - I usually eye it.
I use usually mixture of teff, sorghum, millet, bean, and brown rice flour to make up 2 cups (9 oz. by weight). 1/2-3/4 cup of starch (corn or potato) and 1/4-1/2 cup tapioca starch. I add about 1 - 1 TB xanthan gum. Sometimes a dash of oil and/or egg. beaters. 2 spoonfuls of sugar and 1-2 t fresh yeast (depends on how warm it is). Mix dry and add in liquid and beat thoroughly - consistency should be like a very thick and sticky cake batter . I leave at room temp for at least 5 hours or more. I like a yeasty flavor.
To bake I spread into a circle on silpat and par bake until set, but not yet brown at about 300, then I crank the oven up to 500, top the dough bake on a pizza stone as you would regular pizza. I will warn you, that sometimes I find the dough a bit dry because I don't add a lot of oil, but I eat my pizza with a lot of sauce.
I'm allergic to xanthan gum. Causes me instantaneous digestive troubles. Look on the web and see all the negative effects people are having from its consumption.
It's hard to avoid xanthan gum in gluten free products especially at Whole Foods where xanthan gum's presence is ubiquitous.
Great peanut butter cookies:
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
(chocolate chips optional, but recommended!)
mix, bake at 350* for 8-9 minutes, remove from oven when edges are golden brown.
delicious, and enjoyed even by gluten eaters!
Substituting flour for regular recipes:
1 part rice flour (or coconut flour)
1 part tapioca flour
1 tsp Xanthan gum per cup of flour mix
(optional- 1 tsp ground flax per cup of flour mix.)
Good luck and happy baking!
Works a charm
I suggest you check out "The Gluten Free Gourmet" by Bette Hageman. It has an excellent flour mix that has easy to find ingredients and the recipes are fabulous!
I actually am using Pamela's Artisan Flour blend for bread and such. So far I like it, but it's a little soft for bread, I have to add psyllium.