What’s With The Flour Blends?

Okay this post today is gonna be a big one. Since no single gluten free flour will ever stand in for all purpose wheat flour, we need to make blends. And we all know that I have a number of all purpose gluten free flour blends here on the site (right?). Two of them are just mock versions of each of my favorite commercially available all purpose gluten free flour blends: Cup4Cup and Better Batter. No links. No affiliates. No sponsorship. Just the facts. The other 2 main blends are what I call my Better Than Cup4Cup blend (since I tweaked my mock Cup4Cup blend and made it lower in starch and just … better and more of an all purpose gluten free flour, since Cup4Cup is really mostly a pastry flour) and my Basic Gum-Free Gluten Free Flour. I even included a downloadable Excel document which was generously provided by a reader that does all the math for you if you don’t want to bust out a calculator to scale the recipes up or down. And the other day I (finally) learned how to (sort of) use Excel myself and I included a calculator for the Gluten Free Bread Flour in my new cookbook, GFOAS Bakes Bread, so no math needed there anymore either.

So, What Is This Post About?

But, still, one of the most common emails I get is a request for guidance about how to use the blends—which blend to use in which of my recipes. Up until I now, I have just linked to the flour blend page when I indicated “all purpose gluten free flour” in the ingredients list of a recipe. And unless I specify otherwise in a particular recipe, any of my favorite all-purpose blends (Mock Cup4Cup, Mock Better Batter, or Better Than Cup4Cup – or Better Batter or Cup4Cup themselves) would do just fine. That’s part of how I do things. You don’t like Better Batter? Use Cup4Cup. You don’t want to buy a ready-made blend? Make your own of one or the other. But you want more, and I want to give it to you.

So What’s With All The Photo Collages?

Below you will find 4, count ’em 4, clickable collages (a lot of amateur HTML coding going on here folks!), each with photos and links to recipes of the type that work best with each of the 4 flour blends I recommend. Below each photo collage, I explain why those types of recipes work best with that particular blend. We’re having a teach-a-man-to-fish moment, in case you missed it. ;) But the general rule still stands for my past blog recipes, and all my recipes going forward: Unless I specify a particular blend (which is always the case with the Basic Gum-Free Blend – that is not an all purpose blend and it will only be appropriate where I specify), you can use Cup4Cup (mock or real), Better Batter (mock or real), or my Better Than Cup4Cup blend (my personal favorite) in any of my recipes that call for an “all purpose gluten free flour.”

When To Use Better Than Cup4Cup All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend

[If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know the drill with the clickable collage, but just in case—hover over each photo for the recipe title, then click the picture to open a new window with that post and the entire recipe]Better Than Cup4Cup Flour Blend Recipes

I chose to put this blend first because it’s generally my favorite all purpose gluten free blend. It’s just light enough without being too starchy, never tough, and it’s particularly good for doughs that you have to roll out since it rolls out really smooth (like the pierogi above). It’s not my favorite for pastry, since my mock Cup4Cup (below) is just the perfect pastry flour—low in protein, high in starch. It is great for recipes that are a little bit more delicate, but not fragile (like churros above), and recipes that I want to lighten up a little (like the chocolate pound cake and the cinnamon coffee cake above). I also really like it for lighter cookies, like the snickerdoodles, chewy sugar cookies and drop sugar cookies above. It’s just a great all-around blend. Love it!

When To Use (Mock) Better Batter All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend

[Remember—hover over each photo for the recipe title, then click the picture to open a new window with that post and the entire recipe]

Mock Better Batter Gluten Free Flour Blend Recipes

Better Batter is what I use when I need a bit more structure (like the soft frosted cut-out sugar cookies and the crunchy crosshatch peanut butter cookies, since they’re very simple doughs and I don’t want them to fall apart at all) and/or a bit more chew (like the pumpkin chocolate chip squares, gingerbread cake and the morning glory muffins). Although I prefer the Better Than Cup4Cup blend for something like the chocolate pound cake in the first collage, I like Better Batter in the classic pound cake here because that is a simple batter that is already a bit lighter than a pound cake with melted chocolate in it. Mock Better Batter is also good for recipes like the glazed devil’s food cake cupcakes since I want them to rise evenly, and a lower starch blend is very helpful in that endeavor. Higher starch blends don’t usually hold together as well or rise as evenly. Finally, with sturdy cookie recipes like the soft batch chocolate chip cookies and the white chocolate macadamia nut cookies here, the butter in the blends tenderizes the heavier Better Batter flour perfectly. This is my go-to blend for standard drop cookies.

One more important thing about (Mock) Better Batter: It is the flour that I use to build my High Quality Gluten Free Bread Flour for alllll the amazing breads in Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread. I’ll be honest: when I make that bread flour, I use Better Batter itself. I don’t build a mock Better Batter for that. It’s actually more economical to buy Better Batter than to blend it yourself, and way easier. It cuts the bread flour down to 3 components: Better Batter, whey protein isolate, and Expandex.

When To Use (Mock) Cup4Cup All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend

[Remember—hover over each photo for the recipe title, then click the picture to open a new window with that post and the entire recipe]Mock Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour Blend Recipes

This one’s easy. Cup4Cup is really a pastry flour. High in starch, lower in protein, it’s just a dream for pastry. Light and airy, it does just what pastry flour is meant to do: surround the cold butter in a recipe smoothly, and then puff effortlessly when the cold butter hits the heat of the oven and gives off steam. And Cup4Cup does have enough protein and structure to trap the steam given off in the oven, which is important. If you just use a high-starch blend that doesn’t have the other attributes of Cup4Cup (notably, dry milk powder and xanthan gum), it won’t trap steam and you won’t get the flaky goodness of the beautiful danish, biscuits, scones, pies and puff pastry you see above. It’s also great for delicate recipes like Pop Tarts (it really helps make them light and pastry-like) and popovers (so fluffy!).

When To Use The Basic Gum-Free Gluten Free Flour Blend

[Remember—hover over each photo for the recipe title, then click the picture to open a new window with that post and the entire recipe]
Basic Gum-Free Gluten Free Flour Blend Recipes

Finally, the basic gum-free gluten free flour blend. With just three ingredients (superfine white rice flour (66%), potato starch (22%) and tapioca starch (12%)) and no xanthan gum, this blend serves two really, really important purposes: (1) allows us to make the lightest most delicate recipes like crepes, pancakes, puddings (without resorting to using cornstarch as a thickener, since that ‘leaks’ liquid as it cools *yuck*), super crispy cookies and even cakes you ‘bake’ in the microwave that don’t end up all gummy and gross), and (2) equally important, it allows us to really control the amount of xanthan gum in a more delicate cake recipe, like sponge cake or champagne cake. You do need some xanthan gum even in cakes, though. They will rise and hold together reasonably well without xanthan gum, but they will crumble too easily (do we really want to perpetuate the myth that gluten free baked goods are crumbly?!) and they will get stale really fast. One more thing a gum-free blend is necessary for that isn’t pictured here is gravies and sauces. You cannot make a good roux or gluten free gravy with xanthan gum, so don’t even try. Trust me, you want to stock these 3 component flours to have this blend for when you need it. It isn’t needed all the time, but it’s important to a complete gluten free pantry.

What If I Only Want To Use One Blend?

If you only want to use one all purpose blend for everything but bread, I’d make it my Better Than Cup4Cup. You’ll still need a Gum-Free Gluten Free Flour Blend, though. So … two blends? Oh, and to make bread flour, I suggest you buy Better Batter. So … just 3. That’s all. :)

Love,
Me

 

P.S. Don’t forget your copy of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread! Thank you for all your support! It means so, so much to me. I can’t do this without you!!

Share on FacebookShare on YummlyTweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest