Start by designing your gluten-free flour mix along a 60-40 ratio: 60 percent of the flour mix should be starch, leaving 40 percent for whole-grain protein-rich flours. Within that ratio, you can mix and match grain and nut flours to suit your tastes and dietary considerations. Depending on your recipe, you may also want to include additional ingredients to increase the protein content and elasticity of your flour mix. Once you’ve mastered this basic formula, you can change the percentages of flours by as much as 10 percent to suit your tastes and favorite recipes.
White Rice Flour
Use 30 percent white rice flour as the base of your mix. Starchy and fine, white rice flour adds fluffiness and some structure to gluten-free flour mixes, while maintaining the bright white color you’d expect from all-purpose flour. It has more protein than a simple starch, but less than brown rice flour.
Add 30 percent tapioca flour, or tapioca starch. It has very little protein, and the entire purpose for including it in a gluten-free flour mix is to lighten baked goods, keeping them from becoming too dense.
Good substitutions for tapioca flour are potato starch -- not to be confused with potato flour -- and cornstarch.
Brown Rice Flour
Add 20 percent brown rice flour, which is made from whole-grain rice that has been ground very finely. It is high in fiber and protein, and is the backbone of most gluten-free flour mixes. It lends structure to your flour mix without adding noticeable flavor.
Gluten-Free Oat Flour
Finish the mix with 20 percent oat flour. Oat flour gives baked goods a subtle nutty flavor that complements cookies, muffins and even pancakes.
Oats are naturally gluten-free; however, most mass-produced oats come in contact with wheat during processing and are considered contaminated. Look for certified gluten-free oat flour for use in your flour mix. If you’d rather avoid oats, almond flour is a good substitute. You can also substitute brown rice flour for the entire 40 percent portion of protein-rich flours.
You may want to add 2 to 3 percent nonfat dry milk powder to your mix. This will increase the overall protein ratio, and will aid in browning.
Xanthan gum used to be available only to commercial food producers, but home cooks can now buy it in most grocery stores. Xanthan gum mimics some of the elastic properties of gluten, allowing baked goods to rise. A very little goes a long way -- 1 teaspoon per cup of gluten-free flour mix is all you need.
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