Gluten-Free: The Secret’s In The (Gluten-Free) Flour

Back when I first heard of gluten-free, I thought that it was only for those who were celiac or had low tolerance to gluten.  But it seems that gluten-free is becoming more and more popular as a dietary lifestyle, for even those who don’t have to avoid gluten.  I myself am not eating a gluten-free diet, but I have had some experience in gluten-free baking.  Why?  I like the challenge.

I’ve done some reading on gluten-free baking and substitutes for all-purpose flour, and many of the articles I’ve read mention that flour substitutes consisting of bean flours often have an aftertaste that most people find unpalatable.  I myself have never tried baking with flour substitutes consisting of bean-based flours, so I wouldn’t know.  But I’ve read enough reviews and complaints to believe it’s probably true.

When baking gluten-free, I use my own blend of flours.  Before you credit me for creating this unique blend, I have to say that I came across this blend accidentally.  I was making gluten-free vanilla cupcakes for a friend using a gluten-free vanilla pound cake recipe from Land O Lakes, which included a recipe for a gluten-free flour blend.  The cupcakes turned out so amazing in texture and in taste that you wouldn’t even be able to tell it was gluten-free unless you were told!  And best of all, no funny aftertaste!

So what’s in this flour blend already?!

Here it is (for those who didn’t click on the link to the Land O Lakes pound cake recipe):

Gluten-Free Flour Blend

  • 2 cups rice flour (I used brown rice flour)
  • 2/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Mix it all together with a whisk for even blending of the ingredients, and voila!  You’ve got yourself your gluten-free flour blend.  It’s a bit more expensive to buy the separate components as opposed to just buying a bag of gluten-free flour (which is often made from a blend of bean flours), but well worth-it when you see and taste the results.  One recipe of this flour blend makes about 3 cups.

I decided to use this gluten-free flour blend when I made gluten-free red velvet cupcakes for another friend’s birthday.  I got very successful results.  Great texture, great taste, no aftertaste.  The recipe for the cupcakes is below:

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes (from Candace Nelson, owner of Sprinkles Cupcakes)

Ingredients
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour blend
  • 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder ( = 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Cream cheese frosting
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter, softened
  • 3 3/4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Cream cheese frosting
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter, softened
  • 3 3/4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
Preparation

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt).

Mix together wet ingredients (milk, vinegar, food coloring, vanilla).

Add creamed butter and sugar, mix in eggs.

Alternately mix in dry, wet, then dry ingredients.

Fill 1 dozen cupcake cups and bake for 18-22 minutes or until tops are just dry on top.

 

For the frosting:

Mix cream cheese and butter.

Add salt and vanilla.

Slowly add in powdered sugar.

 

I also used this in a gluten-free pumpkin cupcake recipe that called for Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour and it performed flawlessly.

I have not yet tried to substitute this flour blend in place of all-purpose flour in a regular recipe, so I couldn’t tell you if you could just do a 1-1 substitution or if you have to do some fancy math to figure out how much of this flour blend you should use to substitute for 1 cup of AP flour.  It would be interesting to see though, and I’m hoping it will be a simple 1-1 substitution.  I’m also planning on using this flour blend in place of almond flour in my gluten-free, vegan chocolate chip cookies.

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