I've come up with my best version of a homemade gluten free flour blend. This one is amazing and works exceptionally well as a cup-for-cup substitute for regular flour in all kinds of baking: cakes, cookies, bars, biscuits, scones, pancakes, muffins, pastry. With a canister of this flour in your pantry, you can reliably turn out wonderful gluten free baked goods every time. (Skip to recipe.)
(This post has been updated with an improved recipe from my original gluten free flour blend, posted in 2016).
Gluten free baking sucks.
Well, that's what I used to say. But in the 11 years since I first had to start baking without wheat flour, I've learned a lot and come a long way, baby! I'm slowly learning what makes gluten free baking work, and I'm quite enjoying the science of it - the fiddling with ratios and flours and liquids. I feel a bit like a mad scientist in my kitchen sometimes, complete with muttering and crazy hair and flour-streaked face as I tweak and adjust recipes over and over til they turn out right. There have been a lot of duds and failures (luckily the chickens have been happy to greedily gobble up the disasters!)
Finding the right gluten free flour mix to be able to substitute for regular wheat flour is like standing in front of the colour sample rack at the paint store - an overwhelming array of choices. If you search the internet, you'll find enough different recipes for GF flour mixes to make your head spin - and each one is touted as the best. Not to mention that store-bought gluten free flour blends are expensive!
I think I've tried them all. Many work quite well and some absolutely don't. Some blends produce lovely light baked goods, and some produce hockey pucks. It's a bit like playing Russian roulette. When I develop recipes for the blog, I often like to use combinations of flours that work for that particular recipe, so I can get consistent results, rather than asking for a gluten free flour mix and knowing that the recipe could turn out completely different for different readers depending on the gluten free flour mix they use.
However, it does make life easier to have a good, reliable gluten free all-purpose flour mix in your gluten free kitchen. For a fraction of the cost of premixed commercial flour blends, you can make a custom blend that produces superior results every time.
I've been using my homemade gluten free flour blend for years and it works well in most types of baking (yeast breads are a different type of beast, and need different types of flours). However, I couldn't help tweaking the recipe a bit more. A few years ago I added a small amount of potato flour (not potato starch) to increase the stickiness and I discovered that this new flour blend produced even more consistent and beautiful results in my baked goods. I decided it was time to share it with you.
This gluten free flour blend is a dream to work with. Yes, you do need a handful of different flours, but once you've stocked up on them, it's quick and easy to stir together a batch of this exceptional blend. I've tried using blends that only use two or three different flours and starches, but I'm never totally satisfied with how they perform in baking. Every gluten free flour or starch has a different property, and to get a mixture that most closely resembles regular wheat flour, you need to have a variety of these gluten free flours.
I like to use superfine white rice flour instead of regular white rice flour - it makes a much lighter texture, and avoids the grittiness that can come with regular white rice flour, although you'll need to use more by volume, since it's lighter and fluffier. You can order superfine rice flours online, or find them in Asian import stores or in the Asian section of some large supermarkets.
You can find sweet rice flour (different than white rice flour) at health food stores, Asian import stores, and sometimes in the gluten-free section of supermarkets. It is often labelled ‘mochiko’ sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour in Asian markets. Even though it is ground from glutinous, or sticky, rice, it has no gluten in it.
I've included amounts for making larger batches of the flours below. Once making up larger batches, it's more important to weigh the ingredients, as the margin of error becomes magnified. Having a digital scale is very useful. I like to make a batch that's 5 times the original so I'm not always mixing up small batches. I whisk it up in my HUGE bowl, but you could use a clean pail, stock pot, or plastic tub.
The weights of different flours can be very inconsistent each time you measure. Different measuring cups can vary quite a lot in size, also. And it makes a difference how you scoop, or shake, or level your cups of flours, too. So, if you do a lot of gluten-free baking, I recommend buying an inexpensive kitchen scale. You can reset the scale to zero between each addition of flour and weigh all the flours into one bowl without using any measuring cups. It's a worthwhile investment - usually under $20.
Note: If you use regular ground white rice flour and sweet rice flour, this gluten free flour blend can be substituted cup-for-cup with regular all-purpose flour. If using the superfinely ground white rice flour and sweet rice flour (like the Asian brand I use), the blend will be a bit lighter and fluffier, so you'll need to use a bit more flour (like a slightly heaped cup) to substitute for regular flour. That's why I like to use a scale and go by weight for my recipes. The volume and how you scoop the flour won't matter - the weight will always be consistent.
How Much Does a Cup of Flour Weigh?
Unfortunately there is no consensus among the baking world for how much a cup of flour weighs. The range can be anywhere from 120 grams (King Arthur Flour) to 150 grams (Anna Olson) per cup of all-purpose flour, even from official sites! Now this may not make much difference if you're only using one cup of flour in a recipe, but when you scale it up to larger proportions, the discrepancy can make a signifcant difference in the outcome of your baked goods. There are different ways to fill a measuring cup (scoop and shake, scoop and scrape level, fluff and spoon it into the cup), so human variation can make a huge difference. How much do you shake a cup to level it? How packed is your flour? Not to mention that different measuring cups can vary significantly in size and different brands of flours can be heavier or lighter depending on how finely they're ground or how compacted they are in their bags. Humidity can also affect the weight. This is why using a scale and weight measurements for flour (and other ingredients) in your recipes will help you get much more consistent results.
I find that using 135 grams or 140 grams as a weight measurement per cup of flour works best in all the recipes I use.
With a jar of this gluten free all-purpose flour mix ready to use in my cupboard, I don't think gluten free baking sucks anymore. It's actually a whole lotta fun! (And the chickens have to be satisfied with their own feed now.)
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Kitchen Frau Notes: Potato flour is not the same as potato starch. Potato flour is the whole potato, dehydrated and ground fine, whereas potato starch is just the starch of the potato, separated out and dried.
This flour blend will still work well if you omit the potato flour, but adding it in makes for an optimum gluten free flour blend.
My Updated Favourite Gluten Free Flour Blend
- 1¾ cups (205 grams) superfine white rice flour* or 1¼ cups (205 grams) regular white rice flour
- 1 cup (165 grams) sweet rice flour (also called 'glutinous' rice flour or 'mochiko')
- 1 cup (120 grams) tapioca flour/starch
- ¾ cup (100 grams) sorghum flour (also called sweet white sorghum flour)
- ½ cup (70 grams) brown rice flour
- 3 tablespoons (33 grams) potato flour (not potato starch)
- 2 teaspoons (7 grams) xanthan gum
Measure all the ingredients into a big bowl and whisk well to combine, or measure into a large tub with a tight seal and shake, shake, shake!
Store in a sealed container at room temperature. Will keep as long as the flours are recommended for freshness (until the shortest expiry date of one of the flours is reached), longer if refrigerated or frozen.
Use this gluten free flour mix cup-for-cup (if you’ve used the superfine Asian flour, use a slightly heaping cupful) or gram-for-gram, or measure 140 grams (5 oz.) per cup to substitute for each cup of regular flour in recipes. Weighing the flour is always your most consistent option.
Makes 4½ to 5 cups (680 grams).
TO MAKE LARGER QUANTITIES:
Times 2: Makes ~10 cups/1.3kg *Use weight measures for best results
- 410 grams (3½ cups) superfine white rice flour* or 410 grams (2½ cups) regular white rice flour
- 330 grams (2cups) sweet rice flour
- 240 grams (2cups) tapioca flour/starch
- 200 grams (1½ cups) sorghum flour (also called sweet white sorghum flour)
- 140 grams (1 cup) brown rice flour
- 66 grams (6 tablespooons) potato flour (not potato starch)
- 14 grams (4 teaspoons) xanthan gum
Times 4: Makes ~20 cups/2.7kg *Use weight measures for best results
- 820 grams (7 cups) superfine white rice flour* or 820 grams (5 cups) regular white rice flour
- 660 grams (4 cups) sweet rice flour
- 480 grams (4 cups) tapioca flour/starch
- 400 grams (3 cups) sorghum flour (also called sweet white sorghum flour)
- 280 grams (2 cups) brown rice flour
- 132 grams (¾ cup) potato flour (not potato starch)
- 28 grams (2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) xanthan gum
Times 5: Makes ~25 cups/3.4kg *Use weight measures for best results
- 1025 grams (8¾ cups) superfine white rice flour* or 6¼ cups (1025 grams) regular white rice flour
- 825 grams (5 cups) sweet rice flour
- 600 grams (5 cups) tapioca flour/starch
- 500 grams (3¾ cups) sorghum flour (also called sweet white sorghum flour)
- 350 grams (2½ cups) brown rice flour
- 165 grams (1 cup minus 1 tablespoon) potato flour (not potato starch)
- 35 grams (3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) xanthan gum
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Thank you for the recipe and wonderful explanation. Glad to hear that I am not the only one that has had disasters baking (attempting) to bake gluten free. Lately I have had better results. Being able to buy what I needed sure helps and fantastic people like you with recipes and explanations.
You are too kind! Thank you! Yes, the gluten free baking experience is sure an adventure. It feels so good when something turns out well, but for every success there are definitely a whole lot of disasters in the background! I'm learning slowly, and getting better at it, but I still have a lot of chicken-feeding failures. Yeasted doughs are still getting the best of me most of the time!
Happy baking to you, and wishing you much success!
I have been searching ALL over the internet and your blend is the only one that I’ve liked so far. As I’m researching more I wasn’t sure if you would maybe be better versed on this, but I’m allergic to xanthan gum and unwilling to try other artificial gums. Is there another binder or way to manipulate this blend to not need an additive to act as a binder? I’m very versed on gluten baking and understand how important gluten is.
Hello Stephanie, thanks for dropping by! 🙂 It's funny you should bring this up - I have been experimenting with using powdered psyllium husks as a xanthan gum substitute. Can you tolerate those? I've tried it in my blend using 1 teaspoon of powdered psyllium husks per cup of flour, and had good results with a few types of baking I've tried so far. I haven't tested it yet with all kinds of baked goods, so haven't posted it yet - I want to be sure how it performs in all kinds of baking before I do. Since 1 batch of my flour makes 4½ to 5 cups, I've been adding 4½ to 5 teaspoons of psyllium husk to 1 batch of flour. I really like how well psyllium husk works as a binder. You could also omit the xanthan gum from the blend, and then just add psyllium husk powder to the recipe in proportion to the amount of flour you're using - that way you'd have control of it, as some recipes do quite well without any binder (such as some muffins, cookies, or pancakes), as I'm sure you've probably already found yourself. Good luck. I'd love to hear your results if you do any experimenting. Happy baking!
I am wonder if you have any updates on you psyllium husk experiments. I am currently searching for a GF sandwich bread without xanthan gum as well. My last mix with guar gum came out a little crumbly. Maybe more oil next time?
Hi Mike, I'm sorry - I somehow missed your comment. I have not had as much luck with the psyllium husk as I'd hoped. I'm finding it's working better to use ground golden flax seeds instead of some of the flour - they need to be soaked for 5 or 10 minutes first in some of the liquid from the recipe. Then I usually need to add a bit more liquid and also some baking powder. It's not an exact science and works better in some recipes than others. Unfortunately I can't give any concrete consistent results yet that would work generically across the board, and find that I need to tweak it in different recipes. But still working on it! 😊
I dont have brown rice flour and its hard to get it here where I live. Is there any substitution for it? Can I replace it with something else?
Yes, you absolutely could replace it, especially as it's one of the smaller amounts of flours. If you've got a scale, you can replace it weight for weight with millet, oat, chickpea, cassava, or light buckwheat flour. That would be about 1/2 cup of the millet, chickpea, cassava or light buckwheat flour, or 3/4 cup of the oat flour (it's lighter) for a single recipe. (The chickpea flour might add a slight bean taste, but it's not bad. I've used it before.) These are all nice, relatively sticky, wholegrain flours that would mimic the brown rice flour well.
I love using this flour blend for almost all of my recipes, and I hope you like it, too. I've found it replaces regular flour beautifully in many recipes.
Oh thank you so much for the reply! I'm very grateful!
Hello, I was wondering if there is a substitute for the sorghum flour for those who can’t eat it like my son? Thank you
Hi, yes, you can definitely swap out the sorghum flour (or the brown rice flour) by replacing it with the same weight of millet, oat, chickpea, cassava, or light buckwheat flour. If you don't have a scale, the millet, chickpea, cassava, and light buckwheat flour have about the same volume as the sorghum flour so you could just replace them with 3/4 cup of any of these. The oat flour is lighter so you'd need about 1 cup + 2 tablespoons to equal the same weight. These flours would work similarly to the sorghum flour in the blend. Happy baking!