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Gluten-Free Flour Blends: what you need to know

Gluten-Free Flour Blends: what you need to know

Choosing a Gluten-Free Flour Blend

Choosing an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend can be pretty intimidating. Don’t worry! Any of the flour recipes below can be used in any of my gluten-free recipes here on my blog and in My Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Cookbooks. They’re easy to make. All you need is a simple digital food scale and the simplest calculator you can find. The recipes are expressed in percentages, and you cannot make these blends accurately with volume (cups, tablespoons, teaspoons) measurements, as measuring by volume is incredibly imprecise and each flour has a different weight/volume.

How To Use the Infographics Below

To prepare each D.I.Y. gluten-free flour blend below in whatever quantity you’d like, simply apply the various percentages listed for each flour to the total quantity, one by one. For example, if you wanted to put together 140 grams of flour (which is the proper measurement for “1 cup” of an all-purpose flour blend by volume in my recipes), using the Mock Better Batter Blend, here’s the math:

30% BRF = 30% (or 0.30) x 140 grams = 42 grams superfine Brown Rice Flour
30% WRF = 30% (or 0.30) x 140 grams = 42 grams superfine White Rice Flour
15% TS/F = 15% (or 0.15) x 140 grams = 21 grams Tapioca Starch/Flour
15% PS = 15% (or 0.15) x 140 grams = 21 grams Potato Starch
5% PF = 5% (or 0.05) x 140 grams = 7 grams Potato Flour
3% XG = 3% (or 0.03) x 140 grams = 4 grams Xanthan Gum
2% PPP =  2% (or 0.02) x 140 grams = 3 grams Pure Powdered Pectin

If you add up all of the numbers, it will equal 140 grams (go ahead and check!). So make as much or as little as you like. I generally make 10 cups at a time of my favorite blend (which at this point is the “Better Than Cup4Cup Flour Blend”).

Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend Recipe

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour: Mock Cup4Cup

All Purpose Gluten Free Flour: Better Than Cup4Cup Blend Recipe

The Myth of a Cup-For-Cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend

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 gluten-free flour replacement for all-purpose wheat flour is a myth.

Now a commercially available high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour blend? That’s an entirely different story. I thoroughly tested 4 commercial blends in 4 different types of gluten-free recipes. In the Gluten-Free Flour Blend Test, I tested Better Batter, Cup4Cup, Jules Gluten Free, and Tom Sawyer gluten-free flour blends in recipes for cake, pastry, yeast bread and cookies and scored them in each of 10 categories. Better Batter and Cup4Cup came out on top in every category, but the others still had something to teach.

Better Batter as Cup4Cup Hack

Nothing compares to the light and flaky gluten-free puff pastry that Cup4Cup makes. Since it’s such a spendy blend, I found a way to hack Better Batter gluten-free flour into a pastry flour, as another Cup4Cup alternative. Since Cup4Cup is a dairy-containing flour, I also created a dairy-free way to hack Better Batter into pastry flour.

Cake Flour

Gluten-free cake flour is easy, and really makes for a nice light cake.

A Gum Free Flour Blend

This is a great blend for gluten-free pancakes, where xanthan gum really gets in the way. It’s also a nice change of pace for gluten-free crepes, for the very same reason.

P.S. If you haven’t already, please pick up a copy of  both of My Cookbooks! Your support makes the work I do on the blog possible, so thank you!


Comments are closed.

  • Lilyblooms
    September 10, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    No your advertising keeps your blog online. Please be honest with people, they are not stupid

    • gfshoestring
      September 10, 2012 at 7:14 PM

      I’m so glad you brought that up, blooms. People are not stupid at all. I couldn’t agree more. But I do ask that blog readers buy my books to help support the blog since readers might be under the misconception that advertising actually covers the cost of operating a blog. Paying for things like website design and maintenance, and associated fees along with all the baking materials for developing and testing recipes, along with literally hundreds of dollars in hosting fees every single month, to keep the blog live – and loading fast. Not only does advertising fail to cover those expenses, but nowhere in there is the cost of labor. Books helps support the work I do way more than advertising, yet it doesn’t cover the entire cost (not an unusual circumstance). But both the blog and my books are a labor of love because I believe that there is a tremendous amount of work to be done in the gluten-free community, and I am trying to do my part. But they are also my vocation. Thanks for your support.

  • GypsyMama
    September 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Yes, all of these gluten free flours cause quite a raucous in our house too! It seem I try one that works for one thing, then another for something else…the batters are mixed and baked, dumped and retried time and time again. It is beyond frustrating….but I happened to read a quote today that said, “Challenges are the only thing in life that teach you just how capable you are of doing amazing things.” I think i will be pasting this onto my fridge…bathroom sink…hell maybe even a tattoo across the back of my hand so I will see it every day. You are doing AMAZING things…and encouraging the rest of us to follow in the path less taken. Blessings! 

  • sandra Anker
    September 10, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    You are amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the hard work you put into making it easy for us! Btw, my 14yo son (the family baker) is over the moon that you have written cookbooks. I have your first one and am going to treat myself to the second next time I’m in the States (shipping costs to our little hamlet in Northern BC are nuts!) Again, much gratitude from this gf bread head!

    • gfshoestring
      September 10, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      Hi, Sandra,
      It’s truly my pleasure. Thank you so much for your support of my cookbooks! Does your son have a blog? It’s a must for any aspiring cookbook-author. Actually, these days, it’s a must for any sort of aspiring, well, anything! Never too young to start. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Beth
    September 8, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    I love your cookbook. Actually loved your cookbook. My sister borrowed it and I think I will need to buy a new one. I have be gluten free for 6 years, but my sister was just now diagnosis with Acute Celiac so I am trying to help her through the transition. My question is there any good flour blends out there that do not have Potato flour or Potato starch in them? My son is allergic to potatoes and I am struggling to find a good flour blend without potato.

    • September 8, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      Hi, Beth,
      You’re a good egg, taking care of your sister like that. She’s lucky to have you. :)
      The only commercially available potato-free blend that I know of is Tom Sawyer (glutenfreeflour.com), but if you look at my flour test results for Tom Sawyer, you’ll see that it doesn’t work at all in yeast breads. So you’ll need to come up with an alternative for yeast breads. But for cakes, cookies, quickbreads, Tom Sawyer should work just fine. Potato-free is tough, I know. :(
      xoxo Nicole

    • Beth
      September 8, 2012 at 2:13 PM

      Thank you. I have not seen Tom Sawyer around our area, but I will look online at their web site. Luckily he is not a big bread person, but this will help with the special treats.

  • September 8, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    This post is such a great resource for GF flour info! I’m so grateful for all your experimentation and hard work. The GF flour test was awesome, too! Thanks for going the distance for us :)

    • September 8, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      My pleasure, Dana. Thanks for always showing up. I couldn’t do it without you (no joke)!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jenny
    September 7, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Hi Nicole, wondering if you have tried the King Arthur Gluten Free Multipurpose Flour and know if it would be similar to Cup4Cup or Better Batter?

    • September 7, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      Hi, Jenny,
      I have tried King Arthur GF flour, and I do not recommend it. It is often relatively easy to find as it is stocked in so many markets nationwide, and is serviceable for muffins and other quickbreads, and for cookies, but it will not work at all in yeast breads. I don’t consider it an all-purpose flour, I’m afraid. That is why I didn’t include it in my Gluten-Free Flour Test.
      xoxo Nicole

    • Jenny
      September 7, 2012 at 12:55 PM

      thank you so much! I guess I am off to order online after all!

  • Sarah
    September 6, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Im new to being GF and have fallen in love with your website and cookbook. That being said I make GF bread for my kids using prepackaged mixes. Which one of these blends would you reccomened for making bread?

    • September 7, 2012 at 8:09 AM

      Hi, Sarah,
      There isn’t one flour blend that I recommend for breads. It depends heavily upon the recipe. Since you have my cookbook (thank you!), I would suggest you start with the recipe for White Sandwich Bread on page 104, and use Better Batter, if you have it. I have also made that recipe with Cup4Cup, and it makes a fluffier loaf, which is nice, too. A bread mix is not necessary at all! Neither is a bread machine. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Sandy W.
    September 6, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    We only have Doves Farm GF All purpose flour here, so otherwise I have to make my own combinations based on the recipe. Also finding GF Tapioca is at a premium here in The Netherlands.

    • September 6, 2012 at 8:10 PM

      I have heard good things about Doves Farm, Sandy, although unfortunately it isn’t available in the States for me to give it a try. It’s a shame that GF tapioca is hard to come by.
      xoxo Nicole

  • kelly grace
    September 6, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    BRAVO and WELL DONE!!!

    • September 6, 2012 at 8:09 PM

      Aw, shucks, Kelly Grace. Thanks. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Helen
    September 6, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    What a great blog today! So helpful!

    • September 6, 2012 at 8:08 PM

      So glad it was helpful, Helen.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kristi
    September 6, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    This is timely. I was trying to explain to a friend about the different blends. I will forward this link to her. It’s great.

    • September 6, 2012 at 8:08 PM

      That’s awesome, Kristi. In synch. :)
      xoxo Nikki

  • Suzanne
    September 6, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Oh my goodness! Where can I find the recipe for those BEAUTIFUL rolls? The photo makes my mouth water! :)

    I must tell you that I love your cookbook, used it just this weekend to make Brioche. Super Tasty.



    • September 6, 2012 at 8:07 PM

      Hi, Suzanne,
      I will definitely cough up the recipe for those rolls, but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a while until I perfect it! I’m working on a book-to-be on gluten-free breads, and experimenting like a mad scientist! So glad you enjoyed the brioche. My kids were just asking for that the other day! Thank you so much for your support in picking up a copy of the cookbook. It means a lot to me.
      xoxo Nicole

  • September 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Thanks for sharing these blends. I can’t do gums at all, so I’m at the stage of experimenting, all over again. I thought I had things sorted, and then it all changed again!


    • September 6, 2012 at 8:06 PM

      Try the blend I used for pancakes, Kelley. It’s a pretty nice one for some recipes that can stand up without gums. Just don’t use it for bread!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Angel R.
    September 6, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    Thanks for all you do to help make our gluten-free lives easier. You rock, Nicole!

    • September 6, 2012 at 8:04 PM

      Thank you, Angel, for your support!
      xoxo Nicole

  • TF
    September 6, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    I just wanted to write and say I love your blog. I really love your writing style and it is so obvious that you really and truly care about what you are doing. Thanks for making my GF life a little easier.

    • September 6, 2012 at 8:04 PM

      Thank you so much for the really kind note, TF. I’m so glad that you can feel my sincerity. I’m in this for the long haul, and it’s personal! Thanks again for your kindness.
      xoxo Nicole

  • September 6, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    As someone new to GF, I’ve just recently moved away from box mixes for GF stuff, and so I have much to learn. I did use Better Batter cup-for-cup in Joy of Cooking’s Oatmeal Cookie recipe and the results were almost perfect… a little crumbly but definitely would pass for a gluten containing cookie. Anyway, I really appreciate you going through all this trouble so I don’t have to. Gluten free flours are so expensive compared to wheat flour and I feel overly stressed out when I bake now for fear that I’m going to ruin the relatively expensive ingredients.

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