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Gluten Free Bread Flour

Gluten Free Bread Flour

This gluten free bread flour is the blend that works best to make bread dough that behaves the most like you remember. Make shaped breads with a taste you’ll love.

How to make this gluten free bread flour blend

My gluten free bread flour is made by combining 3 ingredients. They are whey protein isolate, Expandex or Ultratex 3 modified tapioca starch, and a strong all purpose gluten free flour.

The right all purpose gluten free flour

I began using Better Batter all purpose gluten free flour many years ago. It has superfine rice flour so it’s never gritty and always combines properly with other ingredients. It’s properly balanced to create baked goods that brown, rise, and taste like they should.

I know that not everyone can or is willing to buy Better Batter. That’s why I created a “mock” Better Batter recipe, for you to make your own approximation that will work in every recipe I create that calls for an all purpose gluten free flour. I’ve repeated that recipe below, for convenience.

Since that mock Better Batter blend calls for quite a number of ingredients, I have also tested my bread flour using my “Make It Simpler All Purpose Gluten Free Flour” blend. That blend contains only 4 ingredients.

Although I do urge you to use Better Batter or create the mock blend, the bread flour will work with the Make It Simpler blend. Suddenly, I find myself really wishing I had come up with a better name for that simpler blend.

Whey protein isolate

Whey protein isolate is an unflavored protein powder that is nearly 100% protein. It is distinct from whey protein concentrate, which has more fillers, less protein.

To make bread flour, you’ll need whey protein isolate. Each 28 grams (1 ounce) of whey protein isolate should have about 25 grams of protein. Just check the label.

Be sure you are using an unflavored protein. Whey protein isolate is most often used by bodybuilders who need tons of protein in their diets.

Since they often blend theirs into shakes, there are plenty of flavored varieties. You do not want any of those flavors. Just the protein, please.

I like Opportuniteas brand grass-fed whey protein isolate (that’s an affiliate link but please shop around). NOW Foods brand also makes an unflavored whey protein isolate, but not everyone is comfortable that it is strictly gluten free.

Modified tapioca starch

Expandex is a chemically modified tapioca starch that helps create amazing stretch and chew to gluten free breads. Since it is chemically (not genetically) modified, it is not the same as and cannot be replaced with regular tapioca starch/flour.

When I first started publishing recipes using it in 2013, Expandex became very difficult to find very quickly. Since then, it’s become more widely used in gluten free baking. With that, it’s become more widely available.

I keep an active list of sources for purchasing modified tapioca starch that I will link to below. Since Expandex tends to be more difficult to find outside the U.S., I’ve learned how to use a similar product called Ultratex 3.

Ultratex 3 appears to me to be about 3 times as strong as Expandex. To use Ultratex 3 in this blend instead of Expandex, I’ve modified the quantities of all 3 ingredients. I provide all of the numbers below.

Why bake recipes with gluten free bread flour?

Baking recipes that call for this gluten free bread flour is an experience much more like what you might expect when you’re baking conventional yeast bread. The dough isn’t overly wet like the batter-style of bread.

The batter-style sort of gluten free bread dough doesn’t look or behave anything like conventional yeast bread when it’s raw or even when it’s baking. It has very often been described as “cookie dough.”

If you’ve ever made a batter-style gluten free bread, which absolutely still has its place in my heart, the moment you make this bread dough you’ll see how different it is. You can manipulate it with your hands without moistening them first.

Better texture, better taste, more possibilities

The breads you’ll make with this gluten free bread flour appear different when raw, and taste different when baked. They can be made without enrichments like eggs and butter, because they have internal structure more like conventional bread.

If you’re egg-free, this can be particularly useful. Only the breads that are naturally enriched, like brioche, will still need to be made with eggs and butter.

If you have previous experience shaping conventional yeast bread dough, all of that will come in quite handy here. With this blend, working with gluten free yeast bread dough does not have to mean weepy mounds of wet dough.

And unlike gluten free yeast bread of the past, most of these rolls have two rises. That means that the dough is easier to handle still, and there is even some flavor development in the yeast.

What breads can I make with this flour?

Below are some of the many bread recipes on the blog that are designed to be made using this recipe for gluten free bread flour. There are others, too, and of course a whole book of gluten free bread you can buy.

But you don’t have to buy the book. I’m not even linking to it here. You can simply use the gluten free bread recipes here on the blog that use that blend.

Below are some of my favorite gluten free bread flour recipes. Two of them are reprinted recipes from GFOAS Bakes Bread. The rest I created after the book was already published, to share here on the blog. I love them all equally. ❤️

This gluten free chocolate pull-apart bread was created when the Internet was full of pull-apart bread recipes. I hate it when we can’t bake along, so I shared a way for us to do it, too. Make it chocolate, or a cinnamon-sugar version.

These gluten free Texas Roadhouse-style rolls are as tender, light and fluffy as you remember. But they're safely gluten free!

These gluten free Texas Roadhouse-style rolls are tender, light and fluffy, but they’re safely gluten free. Let that bread basket pass you by and try these instead!

Warm and gooey gluten free Nutella bread, filled with everyone’s favorite hazelnut spread. Braided for a gorgeous presentation, it’s dressed to impress!

These soft gluten free breadsticks are a homemade version of the famous Olive Garden breadsticks. Fluffy and soft inside, with a thin, almost crispy layer outside, and covered in garlic butter.

These soft gluten free breadsticks are a homemade version of the famous Olive Garden breadsticks. Fluffy and soft inside, with a thin, almost crispy layer outside, and covered in garlic butter.

This recipe for soft and tender gluten free Hawaiian rolls makes the perfect gluten free bread for any occasion—for everything from dinner rolls to burger buns!

This recipe for soft and tender gluten free Hawaiian rolls makes the perfect gluten free bread for any occasion—for everything from dinner rolls to burger buns. This recipe also has some videos of me handling the bread dough, which many find useful in getting used to baking with gluten free bread flour.

You know those super squishy, soft-crusted rolls from Subway? Well, I made soft gluten free sandwich rolls in just that style.

I think Subway actually carries packaged gluten free bread now, but you know it’s not the same. And I’m afraid of all the cross-contamination worries.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy

Whey protein isolate is the only protein powder that truly works to make my gluten free bread flour. Only casein (the protein in milk) behaves this much like gluten does in baking.

I have had limited success with rice protein isolate and pea protein isolate in place of whey protein isolate, but it just isn’t quite the same at all. If you do use one of those protein powders to make the blend dairy-free, you will need to add 50% more water to the bread recipe.

That will create more of a batter-style gluten free bread recipe that just isn’t as easy to shape. I think you’re better off using our older style of gluten free bread recipe, like our gluten free white sandwich bread.

Those old school recipes didn’t just stop working because I created a recipe for gluten free bread flour that calls for different recipes. In fact, our gluten free naan bread is made in that style, and it’s one of the most popular recipes on the blog.

Potatoes

Avoiding nightshades in gluten free baking can be difficult. Better Batter uses two kinds of potato products: potato starch, and potato flour.

Although there is no substitute for potato flour, you can usually substitute potato starch. I find that arrowroot works well. So does cornstarch.

If you need to make this bread flour nightshade-free, try using the Make It Simpler all purpose gluten free flour (there’s that name again!). It doesn’t call for potato flour, only potato starch which you should be able to replace.

Expandex

You must use modified tapioca starch in this bread flour blend for it to work at all. You can use either Expandex and Ultratex 3 in the amounts and in the way described in the recipe below.

I keep a current list of online sources for Expandex and Ultratex 3 in the United States, Australia, the U.K., and Canada. Ultratex 3 seems to be more widely available outside the U.S. than does Expandex.

How to make gluten free bread flour, with a bowl of the flour and two breads you can make with it.
 

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Yield: 1 cup (140 g) flour

Ingredients

For bread flour with Expandex
100 grams (about 11 1/2 tablespoons) all purpose gluten free flour (71%)*

25 grams (about 5 tablespoons) unflavored whey protein isolate (18%)

15 grams (about 5 teaspoons) Expandex modified tapioca starch (11%)

For bread flour with Ultratex 3
105 grams (about 12 tablespoons) all purpose gluten free flour (75%)*

30 grams (about 6 tablespoons) unflavored whey protein isolate (21%)

5 grams (about 2 teaspoons) Ultratex 3 (4%)

*For the all-purpose gluten-free flour in Gluten-Free Bread Flour, you can use Better Batter itself, our Mock Better Batter (below), or the Make-It-Simpler All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour (below that).

For 1 cup (140 g) mock Better Batter
42 grams (about 1/4 cup) superfine brown rice flour (30%)

42 grams (about 1/4 cup) superfine white rice flour (30%)

21 grams (about 2 1/3 tablespoons) tapioca starch (15%)

21 grams (about 2 1/3 tablespoons) potato starch (15%)

7 grams (about 1 3/4 teaspoons) potato flour (5%)

4 grams (about 2 teaspoons) xanthan gum (3%)

3 grams (about 1 1/2 teaspoons) pure powdered pectin (2%)

For 1 cup (140 g) Make It Simpler all purpose gluten free flour
90 grams (about 9 tablespoons) superfine white rice flour (64%)

31 grams (about 3 1/2 tablespoons) potato starch (22%)

15 grams (about 5 teaspoons) tapioca starch (11%)

4 grams (about 2 teaspoons) xanthan gum (3%)

Directions

  • How to use a kitchen scale. To make a gluten free flour blend of any kind, you will need a simple digital kitchen scale. Activate the scale by pressing the power button and allowing it to fully turn on. With nothing weighing it down, it will read “0”. You will be weighing in grams, which may not be the default unit of measurement. Switch to grams if necessary by pressing the appropriate button on your scale.

  • Place a container large enough to hold however much flour you intend to create on the scale. Press “tare” again to zero out the weight of the container. Add your flour(s) one at a time to the bowl until the display reads the right number of grams of that flour. You may add the first ingredient somewhat carelessly since you can remove some flour if you add too much. Press the “tare” button to zero out the weight of that flour. Add the rest of the ingredients, pressing “tare” in between. Whisk and store.

  • To make bread flour, if you are using Better Batter as purchased or you have already created my mock Better Batter blend using the method described above, your task is quite simple. Follow the instructions above to add the appropriate amount of Better Batter, tare, appropriate amount of whey protein isolate, tare, and the appropriate amount of Expandex or Ultratex 3. Place the blend in a container with a tight-fitting lid, whisk to combine well, and place in a well-sealed container in a dark, dry location. If you have to first create mock Better Batter or my Make It Simpler blend described above, first do that, making as many cups as you would like by multiplying every ingredient in the list by as many cups as you would like to create and store.

  • To make multiple cups of bread flour, simply multiply each ingredient by the number of cups. Follow the method above, and store as directed. Use the bread flour in any of the “new” gluten free bread recipes on the blog or in GFOAS Bakes Bread.

Love,
Nicole

  • Martica C Hernandez
    October 23, 2020 at 2:52 PM

    Hello Nicole, where can I purchase potato flour. Can not find it locallay. Thanks

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 23, 2020 at 6:44 PM

      Order it online, Martica! You can find it at amazon.com, vitacost.com, etc. Just google it!

  • Jan
    October 16, 2020 at 1:58 PM

    Have you ever tried using vanilla whey protein isolate in your bread/buns? (I have some of that, but no unflavored powder and I thought rather than buying more???….) I am thinking that the quantity is so little that the vanilla flavour may not come through???
    thanks
    Jan

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 16, 2020 at 3:03 PM

      I haven’t, no, Jan. I would caution against it, I’m afraid, because of the flavor. Also, frequently the flavored protein powders frequently are not whey protein isolate, which is nearly 100% protein (25 of 28 grams is protein). They are often lower in protein, which won’t work in the recipe. Sorry!

  • Caitlin Nolan
    October 12, 2020 at 5:36 PM

    Have you ever used pea protein flour in place of the whey?

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 12, 2020 at 6:44 PM

      Not pea protein flour (not sure if you meant isolate), but yes to pea protein isolate, and it works better than some. But it is simply not capable of mimicking the function of whey protein isolate. Nothing is, other than gluten itself. If you use pea protein isolate, you will still need to use way more liquid (at least 150% of the liquid in the recipe as written) and the dough will be wet, etc. More like batter.

  • Tammy
    September 24, 2020 at 7:58 AM

    Would you say your recipe mixed with the Better Batter, you can then use this as the base flour for any bread recipe or just yours specifically?

    • Nicole Hunn
      September 24, 2020 at 8:51 AM

      I can’t recommend using this, or any other gluten free flour blend, with conventional recipes as a 1:1 replacement for wheat-based flours, Tammy. I discuss that on my gluten free flour blends page here.

  • Holly
    August 27, 2020 at 7:59 PM

    Hello, can I use cup4cup or your cup4cup recipe in place of the all purpose flour?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 28, 2020 at 9:38 AM

      Not for gluten free bread flour, Holly. I explain everything in this post.

  • Bora
    August 20, 2020 at 4:40 PM

    Hi Nicole,
    Thank you very much for the recipes. I haven’t tried it yet but before I do I wanted to make sure that in the first option – bread flour with Expandex – I shouldn’t add xanthan gum, correct? If that’s the case I was just curious as to what ingredient in the recipe acts as the gum?
    Thank you!

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 20, 2020 at 6:21 PM

      Hi, Bora, you can’t create the bread flour with just any base flour. You need to use Better Batter or my mock Better Batter, both of which contain xanthan gum.

  • Verna
    August 6, 2020 at 1:47 PM

    Long comment with questions:
    Thank you for letting us know the importance of tapioca. But I am confused about the one you are referring to in the above info about tapioca. You state, “For some reason, tapioca starch/flour tends to vary in quality pretty significantly. Luckily, even good quality tapioca starch is relatively inexpensive, so I buy it in large quantities from Nuts.com.” Is this regular tapioca flour, or is it the modified version?

    This statement is another that confuses me on the tapioca ( I never heard of modified tapioca flour before reading your info on the web).
    “Expandex is a chemically modified tapioca starch that helps create amazing stretch and chew to gluten free breads. Since it is chemically (not genetically) modified, it is not the same as and cannot be replaced with regular tapioca starch/flour.”

    Two questions: When you are giving tapioca as an ingredient in a recipe, am I to assume you mean ‘modified’? If so, is the one from Nuts.com mofified?
    And what is the difference in chemically vs genetically modified?

    Here is another confusion statement for me. “If you’ve ever made a batter-style gluten free bread, which absolutely still has its place in my heart, the moment you make this bread dough you’ll see how different it is. You can manipulate it with your hands without moistening them first.”
    I have not made Any gluten free recipes with dough where I did not have to ‘wet my hands’ to handle it, or use extra flour on the counter where I am working with it. Is that because of the modified tapioca, or something else I don’t know?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 6, 2020 at 6:28 PM

      That is because of the recipe you are using, Verna. I’m afraid I can’t really explain it any other way. When I mean modified tapioca starch, which is Expandex, I specify that. When I mean tapioca starch/flour, I specify that. They aren’t the same thing at all. Just follow the recipes to the letter.

  • Lily
    August 4, 2020 at 8:37 PM

    Hi Nicole! I was wondering if you had a link for where you got the unflavored whey protein isolate. I’ve found a few but i’m not sure if they are the right kind. Thanks, I love your recipes and I use them all the time!!

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 5, 2020 at 2:30 PM

      Hi, Lily! Sure, I actually have a “shop” link at the bottom of the page that contains links to a lot of the ingredients, tools, and equipment I use in my recipes. Here’s a link to the flours section of that ‘shop’, with a link to the whey protein isolate I most frequently use. Hope that helps!

  • Kara
    August 2, 2020 at 1:13 PM

    Hi Nicole. It seems like whenever I try to make any breads with your bread recipes, the bread is almost always hard when it comes out of the oven. I make sure that I’m following every single step, but it is almost always hard. One time it might be soft, and the next it might be hard. Do you have any ideas why? I do use your “make-it-simpler” flour blend. Might that be the case?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 2, 2020 at 5:21 PM

      Hi, Kara, whenever you get inconsistent results, it’s usually due to imprecise measuring. Human error is unavoidable in measuring anything other than by weight, and it produces unpredictable results. Beyond the flour ingredients, everything (including water) should be measured by weight. The make it simpler blend is not ideal for all bread flour recipes, though, which I state in the book. That could definitely contribute to your results.

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