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.)
* * * * *
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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