What makes a good all purpose gluten-free flour blend? You can choose from a number of pre-made blends on the market. Bob’s, King Arthur, Cup for Cup, Carol’s, Julia’s, Authentic Foods, and so many others. Each one has its own ratio of rice flours to starches. You might think that all gluten-free flour blends are pretty much the same. I promise you, after so much recipe testing, they are not. It’s one reason why I prefer to make my own. Because I know how it will work in any recipe. Plus, it’s much more cost effective.
What Makes All Purpose Gluten-free Flour Blends Different?
Superfine Rice Flours
I only use superfine brown and white rice flours (made my Authentic Foods) in my All Purpose Gluten-free Flour Blend. This is incredibly important because it has a huge impact on the texture of your final product. Superfine rice flours avoid that classic gritty texture that rice flours often deliver.
Most pre-made blends do not use superfine rice flours, and often compensate by using more starches. Starches do not have as much structure as rice or sorghum flour. They also do not have as much nutritive value. Why is this a big deal?
Flours vs. Starches
You need strong flours, like rice or sorghum, with fiber and protein to provide structure when baking. But if you have too much flour to starch in your ratio, your baked goods can be dense, even with the right recipe.
The starches, like potato or tapioca, will help to provide a lighter texture, allowing more air into your baked good. But, with too much starch to flour in your ratio you won’t have enough structure and your baked goods will collapse. For example, your cookies will spread and burn on your cookie sheet even if you follow the recipe.
What’s the Best Ratio for an All Purpose Gluten-free Flour Blend?
That’s the great debate. King Arthur uses a 2:1 superfine brown rice to starch ratio. While I appreciate the use of superfine brown rice flour in this blend, and find it very successful in breads, I find this blend too high in starch for cookies or brownies.
Some blends use a 1:1 ratio of flour to starches, and others use more starch than flour! I find these very difficult to evenly swap for wheat flour in recipes because the more starch you have in the blend, the less structure you have. They make work great for a particular recipe, but IMO, they don’t work well as a general all purpose blend.
I prefer a 3:1 superfine rice (and/or sorghum) flour to starch ratio for an all-purpose blend. I find this to have more structure, working across the board for cookies, brownies, cakes, and breads. If I want to make a recipe lighter, I adjust my recipes by adding more starch or blending with a different flour, like almond flour, when needed. I find it easier to make this adjustment as a preference for certain recipes, not as a necessity, rather than throw out melted, burned cookies. I’ve worked too hard to miss out on my cookie reward!
Why Add Dried Milk in a Gluten-free Flour Blend?
Dried milk can aid in the browning of your baked goods, so some pre-made blends add dried milk powder. This doesn’t work for me because I keep my baking dairy-free.
But sometimes I add dried coconut milk to help with browning. You can choose to put it in your entire batch or add a small amount for each recipe. It’s roughly 1 1/8 tsp of dried milk per cup of gluten-free flour blend. So, it’s easy enough to add for an individual recipe if you prefer to leave it out of your big batch.
Should You Add Xanthan Gum to Your Gluten-free Flour Blend?
Some pre-made blends add xanthan gum (an emulsifier to help replace the missing gluten) into the blend. You can put it right into yours, adding 1/2 tsp per cup of gluten-free flour blend.
The pro to this is that it guards against forgetting to add xanthan gum to the recipe of whatever your making. This mistake will cause an epic fail, no doubt. Maybe even tears.
The con to this is that I find that the right amount of xanthan gum varies by recipe and is not so cut and dry as 1/2 – 1 tsp per cup of gluten-free flour blend. I wish it were that simple, and sometimes it is. But sometimes it isn’t. And once the xanthan gum is in there, I can’t take it out. And maybe it’s just me, and I am not smarter than a 5th grader, but trying to do all that math to figure out how much xanthan gum is already in however much flour I added to the recipe, and trying to subtract the difference to figure out how much more I need to add pretty much breaks my brain. Short story long, I leave it out of my blend and add it for each recipe.
All Purpose Gluten-free Flour Blend
This All Purpose Gluten-free Flour Blend never fails me. I hope you try it. It won’t fail you either! It’s what I use in all the recipes I post, unless I make a note to use a special flour blend. Get baking!
- 2 cups superfine brown rice flour
- 2 cups superfine white rice flour
- 2 cups superfine sweet rice flour (or sorghum flour or brown rice flour)
- 1¼ cup superfine potato starch
- ¾ cup superfine tapioca flour
- Optional: 3 TBS dried coconut milk (or any dried milk)
- Mix together until blended.
- Store in an airtight container for up to one month or freeze for up to 6 months.