The Great Gluten-Free Flour Test. It’s back, baby!
In case you missed what came before, here’s the 411.
Once more time, though, in a nutshell: 4 all-purpose gluten-free flour blends (Better Batter, C4C, Jules, Tom Sawyer), 4 recipe categories (cake, pastry, yeast bread, cookies), 10 ratings categories.* No excuses!
Okay, maybe a few excuses.
Can we pause for a moment and talk about what a nail-biter this is for me? I’m all jumpy and nervous. I’m a wreck! I’m not a purveyor of flour, but I’m an author. And I know all too well that, when you put something out there (like a book; like a flour), people are going to have something to say about it. The thing is—I’m not usually the one having the say. I’ve never even written an Amazon review in my life. On anything. I believe strongly in living by The Golden Rule. And the Hippocratic Oath (what? whoever said it was only for doctors?). And that time heals all wounds. It all evens out in the end.
But this is different. You want to know. You deserve to know! Heck, I want to know.
I deliberately chose 4 flour blends that I fully expect to work – some better in cakes, some better in breads. Some will taste better raw, some will bake more evenly. “All-purpose” means it’s good for all purposes. Not necessarily great for each and every purpose (by the way, it’s the same with conventional gluten-containing all-purpose flour – that’s why they sell bread flour and cake flour and self-rising flour).
But I’m rooting for each and every one of the 4 blends! And I am calling it like I see it.* Even though I’d rather just keep my mouth shut.
To help keep track of things, I am using a different frosting on each of the cakes. But the cake inside is prepared in precisely the same way—except for the flour blend being used.
The recipe for the Gluten-free Devil’s Food Cake being used can be found in the first Devil’s Food Layer Cake post, using Better Batter.
Without further blah blah blah from me, here are the results using Jules Gluten Free:
*Scroll all the way down for today’s results.
Jules has such cute illustrations. That’s not part of the scoring, but even though I’ve never met Jules, I picture her very jaunty and happy. And baking bread! And not for nothing, but I think this flour is going to make some great bread.
On the left is the plain flour itself, just as I poured it from the package.
Here’s the batter. It looks nice and smooth to me. The few bumps you see are air bubbles. Don’t mind those.
See? Smooth as silk. And the raw batter tastes good, too (once again, if you don’t hear from me for a few days, do me a solid and pick up the phone, then dial 9-1-1).
The cakes baked a wee bit faster on the outside than they did on the inside, so they cracked a bit. And I am certain of my oven temperature (I used 2 separate oven thermometers in different parts of the oven), and I made two completely separate batches just to be sure.
Here’s what they look like from the side.
And here’s the center, after I leveled off the tops for the mini layer cakes.
These cakes were chewier than the others, and I presume that is because Jules flour contains both Expandex (a modified tapioca starch) and xanthan gum (which is also in Cup4Cup and Tom Sawyer). That’s not my favorite texture for cakes, but I think it’s going to make a killer gluten-free bread. We’ll just have to wait and see!
To assemble the mini layer cakes, I frosted the center with a simple chocolate buttercream. I also did a crumb coat after placing the second cake on top, just like I did with the other cakes. It helps fill i the gaps between the cakes (and to seal in the crumbs).
And this time around, I frosted with a chocolate ganache. Ganache is super easy. Just simmer some cream over a low flame, and then pour the hot cream over chopped semi-sweet chocolate and stir (figure 1/4 cup cream to each 3 ounces of chocolate).
As the ganache cools, it becomes more spreadable (what you see just above). But what you see at the top of the post was a warmer ganache that I just poured over top for a smoother finish. Or you could wait for it to cool even more, and then whip it and use it for piping like traditional frosting.
Jules GF Flour
|Cup for cup replacement claim||10|
|Cup for cup replacement result||8|
|Ease of use||10|
P.S. Next up in the Great Gluten-free All-Purpose Flour Test, Tom Sawyer gluten-free flour bakes devil’s food cake. Last one! Good thing, because I had to find out the hard way that one can, indeed, have too much chocolate cake. After cakes, we go to Round 2: Pastry. *yikes*
P.P.S. If you have questions about how I’m conducting the test (and some of you have had questions already), please leave a comment and I will do my best to explain my method and the reasons for it. But be polite! I’m really trying my best to be very even-handed.