Gluten-free baking calls for gluten-free recipes. Plain and simple. There is no such thing as a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend that mimics conventional flour enough to be used in all of your conventional recipes.
Even though some commercial blends may call themselves a cup-for-cup replacement for all-purpose wheat flour, a cup for cup replacement for all purpose flour is a myth. I’ve tested so many gluten free flour blends. I took note of each flour blend’s cup for cup claim – and then ignored it.
That’s why I have been using my gluten-free recipes for the each test, rather than using conventional recipes. You see, they’re different.
Gluten-free recipes and conventional recipes are different from one another. Gluten-free food should taste so great it makes your toes curl.
It shouldn’t be “good, for gluten-free.” And I will not rest until not a single soul ever again tells us to “c’mon,” since “no gluten-free pizza is going to be any good.” The heck with that!
But that doesn’t mean that our path to excellent is exactly the same. We have to get there another way. We have to make our own way. Gluten-free baking is still relatively new. No one can claim to know everything about it.
Most gluten-free flour companies that make an all-purpose gluten-free flour tell you that all you have to do is just replace an equal amount of their flour in your favorite recipes, and that’s that. Some of those companies sell amazing gluten-free flour blends, and I’m a fan of from way back. But that claim? It’s not even interesting to me.
We took out gluten! When we did that, we removed the essential protein in wheat-based flours that gives baked goods their texture and mouth feel.
No matter what we replace it with, it’s just not going to behave exactly the same in the process of baking. Same result, different route.
What I’m expecting is an all purpose gluten free flour. One that performs well for all purposes. But that doesn’t mean it performs the same as gluten-containing flour. And it doesn’t have to.
For some recipes, like any dough that must be rolled out, the ingredients in a recipe are going to be different (more moisture, more and varied protein sources, sometimes more fat). Even more importantly, the process is going to be different.
To make Gluten Free Puff Pastry, both the ingredient proportions and the instructions in a conventional recipe just aren’t going to cut it. To make Gluten Free Rainbow Cookies, a conventional recipe would probably get you a cookie that looks just about right, in many ways.
But it would probably be a bit dry, maybe not hold together like it should. I don’t know about you, but for me? That’s not good enough. That’s how we end up hearing “it’s good—for gluten-free.”
My most basic advice? Go into gluten free baking with your eyes wide open. It takes experience to know how to modify a conventional recipe to make it a gluten free one.
Start with good gluten-free recipes, and move on from there. Don’t expect magic from an all purpose gluten free flour blend. Expect great food, made just a bit differently. But don’t worry. I’ll be there with you, every single step of the way.