My search for good gluten free bread products is never ending. Since the packaged products taste similar to a cardboard box left in the rain and then toasted dry over charcoal, I decided to try making my own. Simple right? Far from it. The multitude of different GF flours all with different textures and uses is mind boggling. Then there is the use and expense of additional required products like xanthan gum, guar gum, and other ingredients I have never used. Every website and book I found had a different “blend” and each “blend” had a different use. If I wanted a breakfast style bread I needed one blend. If I wanted a dinner style bread I needed another. And the products needed for a regular loaf of bread were staggering, expensive, and the results none too positive. (That search continues). I wanted SIMPLE and as cheap and versatile as I could get!
So , here is a link to a Taste of Home post for an all purpose GF flour mix that is extremely versatile and all of the ingredients are reasonably priced and easily found GF items . The ingredients are as follows:
2 cups white rice flour (I personally use the brown though)
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
Mix together and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Several comments on the Taste of Home site stated that this blend, plus added xanthan gum, can replace regular flour in all of your regular recipes and that it worked well. The amount of xanthan gum varies, but I found this table at Living Without along with a similar flour blend recipe.
General Guidelines for Using Xanthan or Guar Gum
Gum (xanthan or guar) is the key to successful gluten-free baking. It provides the binding needed to give the baked product proper elasticity, keeping it from crumbling.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum per cup of flour blend to make cakes, cookies, bars, muffins and other quick breads.
- Add 1 teaspoon per cup of flour blend to make yeast bread, pizza dough or other baked items that call for yeast.
To test this recipe, instead of trying to make a loaf of regular bread or rolls, I decided to go the muffin route due to its versatility and ease. Based on other GF baking attempts, I feared being the “muffin man” would turn out more like Frank Zappa’s song than the nursery rhyme. Color me surprised.
I found a wonderful book by Camilla V. Saulsbury titled 150 best gluten free muffin recipes. There are recipes for breakfast muffins, coffeehouse muffins, lunch and dinner muffins. Since muffins are quick and easy, you can readily supply your own appropriate bread for family dinners, holiday gatherings, etc. without going to too much trouble or breaking the bank.
BINGO – Her basic blend is made up of brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch – the same same ingredients and measurements used in the Taste of Home blend listed above – similar ingredients to the Living Without blend. I think I have found a winner.
I loved the Pumpkin Muffins and found the flavor and texture comparable to many non GF muffins. The muffins stayed fresh 2 days without refrigeration and the extras froze well. They may have lasted longer without freezing, but I do not tempt fate. (GF baked goods have no preservatives, so shelf life is limited). I made the Cheddar Dill Muffins and Golden Olive Oil Muffins for Mother’s Day and everyone enjoyed them (for real). Again, great texture and taste. I did not experience any gummy, gritty or rubbery effect so often found in GF baked goods. Please note – GF breads dry out quicker than regular breads. It is not a fault of the recipe, but a norm in GF baking.
I have also used this blend in place of regular flour when coating/breading meats or thickening soups and stews. It worked great. I plan on trying this blend in some of my favorite family recipes soon – peach cobbler anyone??
P.S. – Camilla Saulsbury also has a new book of 500 Best Quinoa Recipes that I have not yet had the privilege of reviewing.