Anyone who has ever told you that gluten-free baking is hard hasn’t tried an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend!
It’s a versatile flour blend made from a combination of gluten-free flours and starches, carefully selected to mimic the properties of traditional wheat flour.
But what exactly goes into these blends, and are they really an “all-purpose flour”? Let’s find out!
What is a gluten-free flour blend?
Gluten-free flour blends are made by combining several different gluten-free flours and starches in specific proportions to mimic the properties of wheat flour. These flours and starches typically include rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, cornstarch, and sorghum flour.
The proportions of these ingredients can vary depending on the specific brand and the intended use. For example, a blend designed for baking bread may have a higher proportion of sorghum flour, while a blend designed for making cookies may have a higher proportion of potato starch. Many different varieties exist; e.g., some are meant for baking, and some are considered all-purpose – which we’ll focus on today.
In addition to the flours and starches, commercial blends may also include other ingredients such as xanthan gum or guar gum, which help to bind the flour together and give it a more elastic texture.
The ingredients are mixed together and packaged up for a ready-to-use all-purpose gluten-free flour blend.
What’s the difference between a gluten-free flour blend and regular flour?
The main difference between a gluten-free flour blend and regular flour is that regular flour contains gluten – a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye – that gives dough its elasticity and helps it rise. It is typically is a blend of hard and soft wheat varieties.
Gluten-free flour blends, on the other hand, are made from a combination of many different flours and starches that do not contain gluten, such as rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, and cornstarch.
Gluten-free flours typically produce baked goods that are denser and have a different texture than those made with regular flour. Additionally, gluten-free flours may require additional ingredients, such as xanthan gum or other binders, to help give the final product a similar texture to traditional baked goods.
Benefits of a gluten-free flour blend
I’ve tried a LOT of different gluten-free flours, but using an all-purpose gluten-free blend is the best alternative I’ve found to all-purpose flour in terms of baking properties and versatility! It ensures you are using the right mix of gluten-free flours and ingredients, which takes the guessing out of things, so it’s super easy and convenient for most recipes.
Because gluten-free flours are typically made from more nutrient-dense ingredients like brown rice flour and almond flour, baked goods made with these flours tend to be higher in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Besides being safe for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, gluten-free flour blends are also a great option for people with other food allergies or intolerances, as they are often free from other common allergens like soy, nuts, and dairy. Just be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure you aren’t allergic to anything, and that it is certified gluten-free.
Gluten-free flour blend nutrition facts
In the table below, we use Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose blend which contains garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, whole grain sorghum flour, and fava bean flour.
|Flour (¼ cup)||Calories||Carbs||Fiber||Sugar||Fat||Protein||Glycemic Index|
|Gluten-free flour blend (all-purpose)||120||25 g||4 g||0 g||0.5 g||3 g||N/A|
|All-purpose flour||120||24 g||1 g||0 g||0.5 g||4 g||85|
How to bake and cook with a gluten-free flour blend
Using a gluten-free flour blend is an absolute game-changer for gluten-free baking! I recommend using a blend that’s specific for baking like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour, which is a direct 1:1 replacement for regular all-purpose flour. This mix is ideal for cakes, cookies, brownies, and more!
Most gluten-free (all-purpose) flour blends are best in recipes that call for baking powder or yeast, such as bread, pie crust, and pizza. Gluten-free flours do not have the same binding properties as wheat flour, so it’s often helpful to add a binder like xanthan gum or guar gum, if your blend doesn’t already have it.
Because gluten-free flours can be more dense and absorb moisture differently than wheat flour, it’s also important to measure the flour carefully, follow the directions on the bag, and use gluten-free recipes for the best results.
Popular gluten-free flour blend baked goods and dishes
Gluten-free flour blends are generally meant to be good for all purposes, so the possibilities are really endless.
Here are some popular ideas to get you started:
- Gluten-free bread
- Banana bread
- Pie crusts
- Pizza crust
How to make a gluten-free flour blend at home
If you don’t have a pre-made gluten-free flour blend, you can make your own! And the good news is that there are so many different types of gluten-free flours and starches available, which means that you can create a blend that is tailored to your specific baking needs.
Here’s how to make your own gluten-free flour blend in a few simple steps:
- In a large mixing bowl, add white rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch (2:1:1).
- Whisk the ingredients together until they are fully combined.
- Sift the mixture to get a fine texture.
Note: If you don’t have one or more of the above ingredients, you can substitute them with a similar gluten-free flour, such as sorghum flour, almond flour, or coconut flour.
How to store a gluten-free flour blend
When it comes to storing gluten-free flour, the key is to keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. This applies whether you bought the flour blend pre-made or made it yourself at home.
If you made your own, transfer it to an airtight container in a cool, dry place until ready to use. Just be sure to label the container with the type of flour blend and the date you made it, so you don’t forget what it is or how long it’s been sitting around!
Typically, gluten-free flour blends last around 3-6 months, depending on the ingredients and expiration date.
What are the best substitutes for a gluten-free flour blend?
As I mentioned earlier, a blend of white rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch (2:1:1) is the best easy DIY substitute for gluten-free flour blends.
Of course, you can just use 100% rice flour or another gluten-free flour like coconut flour…but the texture won’t be as good without tapioca and potato starch.
And if gluten doesn’t bother you, feel free to use regular all-purpose flour!
For more essential gluten-free ingredients, see our top 7 gluten-free flours!
A gluten-free flour blend is a mixture of different flours and starches that do not contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and is used as a substitute for regular wheat flour in gluten-free baking.
Yes, in fact, that’s exactly what it’s made for! However, keep in mind that gluten-free flours absorb moisture differently than wheat flour, so you may need to adjust the amount of liquid in your recipe accordingly.
Yes, you can use gluten-free flour instead of a gluten-free flour blend in recipes, but the results may vary depending on the recipe and the specific type of gluten-free flour used. A gluten-free flour blend is typically better as it provides a better texture and taste in baked goods.