All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend

By Ann Fulton

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Gluten-free products are all the rage these days, due to both the inability to tolerate gluten or the perceived health benefits. For several years, I have been experimenting with gluten-free baking for my dad, who cannot eat gluten. Many of my first attempts landed in the trash can. But after much trial and error, I have developed a flour blend that works in muffins, quick breads, cakes, etc. In a daring moment, I even made a batch of pizza dough and grilled it. In this case, there was a difference compared to the wheat flour version, but it really worked and was a treat to someone who typically has to pass on the pizza.

As someone who tries to limit her gluten intake but does eat some, I truly believe there are many delicious foods that are naturally gluten free.  But, sometimes, you just want your favorite cookie or birthday cake!  This blend makes it possible to enjoy old favorites, even if you are eating in a new way.

As a side note, a reader recently emailed me and said that her mother won a recipe contest using this gluten-free mix.  Interestingly, she won in the regular baking category, not the gluten-free category.  I thought that was pretty great!   Perhaps I will make and share the prize-winning recipe soon.  In the meantime, here is a link to my gluten-free father’s all-time favorite recipe using this mix…my grandmother’s apple cake!

All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend
While there are many worthy options, I use Bob’s Red Mill products for this mix. Importantly, I have heard that quality is lacking in some brands of xanthan gum, so I do highly recommend Bob’s Red Mill or another reputable brand for this product. Only a small amount is required, but it is integral to the recipe.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups rice flour (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients and store in a large zip-top bag.
  2. If you bake gluten free regularly, consider doubling the recipe. Use cup for cup as you would wheat flour. Most of the baked products I post are items that I have cooked both the traditional and gluten-free way with much success.
Notes
  • I started out making this mix with all white rice flour. Now, I often use half white and half brown rice flour for the added whole grains. My favorite combination, however, in order to balance the benefit of whole grains with quality of the baked good, is a mix of two cups white rice flour and one cup brown rice flour.
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Comments

  1. DebS

    Hello, this is great, thanks for sharing! I just was a bit confused by the picture. It has “Sweet White” on the bag in the photo. Are you using sweet white sorghum, sweet rice flour or plain white rice flour mixed with brown rice flour? Thanks for clarifying!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Deb, One word is, indeed, obscured by the bag in front! It says sweet rice flour. Over the years, I have used both of them in this mix. I have come to prefer regular rice flour (meaning, not sweet–regular is made from long or medium-grain rice, whereas sweet is made from short-grain rice). As mentioned in the recipe notes, I also prefer a mix of brown and white rice flour, as I think it reduces the tendency for some baked goods to taste gritty. Letting a batter sit for 10-15 minutes before baking, which gives the grains added time to absorb moisture, is also helpful.

      Reply
  2. Natalie

    I am supposed to avoid nightshades for the time being and I’m wondering if you think arrowroot starch might work in place of the potato starch? Thank you for any recommendations.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Natalie, Cornstarch and arrowroot are pretty much interchangeable when baking with them, and given that they are similarly starchy, I am fairly optimistic that either would provide a reliable substitute for you. I don’t want to steer you wrong since I haven’t tried myself in this blend, but I’ve made similar swaps in quick breads with good results.

      Reply
  3. Marilyn Jones

    I don’t want to use rice flour because of the glycemic factor. Can I use almond flour instead or what would be the quantity variations?

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Marilyn, If you’d like to avoid rice flour, I recommend starting with a different blend since rice flour is a primary component of this one. Reliable cup-for-cup flour substitutes are a careful balance of medium and hard flours and starches or soft flours, so while a substitution may work in a more forgiving recipe, it may lead to a poor outcome in others. The last thing I would want is to suggest a substitution that I haven’t tested and your recipe flops!

      Reply
  4. Dotti

    Hi Ann;
    I’ve used this blend many times and will be making a batch next week. My question is: do you ever use potato flour? I have it but rarely have I seen any recipes with the potato flour when they say not potato starch, which the opposite is stated many times when potato starch is called for. I also want to make your grandmother’s apple cake. I do have other recipes I’ve used, but it’s always fun to try another new recipe!
    Thanks for your response.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’m glad you like this blend, Dotti, and that’s a great question. Baking expert King Arthur Flour sums the difference up well: potato flour is made from whole peeled potatoes that are cooked, dried and ground into a fine, beige-y colored powder. Potato starch, on the other hand, is “washed” out of crushed potatoes and then dried to a fine, white powder. Starch helps keep baked goods tender, moist and fresh by absorbing and holding liquid. Because potato flour includes fiber, protein and has flavor (unlike the while flavorless starch), it’s plays a different role. It’s often used in breads like potato rolls. I had a hard time thinking how else to use it (as I don’t), so I did some investigating so you could make use of what you have. KAF further suggested that the flour can be used as a natural thickener for soups and stews and that adding a small amount to gluten-free recipes gives them a more tender crumb. They also like it in waffle and pancakes recipes for a softer, more delicate result. I hope that gives you some ideas!

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’ve used this for so many things, Betty, but not shoo-fly pie. Realistically, the two areas where I don’t think this blend truly shines is in yeasted breads and pie crusts. I’ve tried but prefer recipes that are specifically designed for them. It works well for thickening fillings and would work for the crumb topping in shoo-fly pie. For the actual crust, this recipe is the best I’ve come up with so far: https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/almond-flour-pie-crust-gluten-free/. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  5. RayK

    I just found this site and am very interested in your GF flour blend. You state that you use this for all your baking, but don’t mention yeast bread. Have you tried this for something like French baguettes or Sour Dough bread?

    Thanks for the recipes. I’ve recently been pushed towards a GF lifestyle and am doing my research.

    Ray

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Ray, I love this for most all baking applications – cakes, muffins, cookies, quick breads, etc. – but the one area it doesn’t match all-purpose flour is with yeasted breads. I’ve made pizza crusts with it and they are pretty good, but I actually prefer the the pizza crust recipe on this site that’s specifically designed to be gluten-free. I hope that helps!

      Reply
  6. Susan Ericson

    Thank you for the gluten free options. After 50 years of marriage my husband was diagnosed with celiac disease. A few months later, my daughter was as well. You can imagine how my cooking and baking has changed. Love your web site and newspaper recipes. Keep those gluten free options coming!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Susan, Nothing like a celiac diagnosis (or two) to shake things up in the kitchen after 50 years of marriage! Over the years, I have found really good substitutes for most things, so feel free to reach out if you ever have a specific question with which I may be able to help. In just a short time, I bet everyone will be eating well and feeling great…and the new approach will feel like second nature to you!

      Reply
  7. Lauryn

    Your blend is almost identical to mine! I as well use mine in place of regular all purpose flour in everything and it just bakes up perfect.
    If I want a hearty or wheat-y flavor in something, I add in some sweet sorghum flour to the blend.
    If for some reason the blend ends up too starchy I add in some garbanzo bean flour (which smells horrible, but man does it make for some awesome cookies). Its smell disappears when you bake with it and gives a rich flavor and creamy texture.

    Reply
    1. Ann

      It really is amazing how well this stands in for all-purpose flour. Thanks for your great comment, Lauryn. I have yet to add sorghum or garbanzo flour to my mix but have thought about it. Perhaps I should try!

      Reply
  8. Nicole

    So loving this site right about now! I am a low carb gal who has used Brown rice flour when frying chicken. It works great. Just season the BR flour with your favorite season and dip the chicken into the egg wash and coat in the BR flour. Fry on a med heat until done and golden brown. My family didn’t notice a difference. Cast iron skillet works best,,,yeah I am a Southern gal!

    Reply
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