Recipes, Techniques

The Science of Blending Flour

November 22, 2015

The most frequently asked question I get is to recommend a gluten free flour. Most people try out the blends at the grocery store at least once, substituting them into regular recipes and expecting a good outcome. Unfortunately, the one thing I have learned about gluten free cooking is that it is all basic chemistry and the grocery store blends fall short.

I have learned through research and experimentation to trust one blend above others. Keep in mind that I am feeding two kids, who have not been gluten free their entire lives. They know the pleasure of a pastry and the warm, soft feel of fresh baked bread full of gluten. I often go for a convincing mouthfeel over a higher protein source, although I will try to health-ify recipes if I can get away with it.

So here is my favourite flour blend (taken once again from America’s Test Kitchen:

24 ounces of white rice flour

7 1/2 ounces of brown rice flour

7 ounces of potato starch

3 ounces of tapioca starch

3/4 ounce of nonfat milk powder

Blend all the ingredients in a large bowl and keep in an airtight container (refrigerated) for up to 3 months.

Why it works:

The white and brown rice create the most convincing all purpose flour taste. Too much white rice flour and your recipe will taste too starchy. Too much brown rice flour gives your baked goods a gritty mouthfeel. Tapioca and potato starch create the elasticity and binding you need for a good crumb, while the milk powder provides a much needed boost of protein. The milk also helps your baking to brown and provides a bit of richness.

You will notice that I might use xanthan gum or psyllium husks in other recipes to help create structure, but this is not necessary in a general flour blend.

Lastly, you may have noticed that I have used weights rather than cups measurements. This recipe is very specific to ratios and using cup measurements results in a wide variance, so please use a kitchen scale.

 

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