It’s seems so simple that I’ve overlooked it in my ‘What on Earth Is…’ series but I’ve realised that it isn’t simple at all.
For someone new to the gluten free diet knowing what gluten free flour is and what a gluten free flour blend is, is crucial.
And for those of you who struggle to get good results when you bake gluten free you’ll want to read on too. (Or if you prefer to watch and/or listen then I talked about this in a recent Facebook Live video here.)
Gluten free flour is your key to successful baking.
So lets start with what gluten free flour isn’t. Gluten free flour isn’t one thing.
When I was preparing to write this post I listed 15 gluten free flour’s off the top of my head. There are many more.
There is no such thing as ‘gluten free flour’.
Unlike wheat flour, which is just that. It may be ‘strong’ or ‘wholemeal’ but it is still made from wheat.
When you see ‘gluten free flour’ on the shelf at the supermarket what it actually is, is a blend of different gluten free flours.
Those flours will have been picked to work together to create a gluten free flour blend that can be used instead of wheat flour.
Each of the gluten free flours will not work well alone to replace wheat in a recipe. This is because each gluten free flour has a different property.
In order to replace wheat flour in a recipe you need a mix of different gluten free flours.
If you’re interested in understanding more about individual gluten free flours then I wrote about some of them here.
So you can see that when a recipe states ‘gluten free flour’ it is incredibly unhelpful. It most likely means a gluten free flour blend but that doesn’t help either. Especially as there are now numerous gluten free flour blends on the market.
Most supermarkets have their own gluten free flour blend along with myself and other small producers.
Each different blend of gluten free flours will produce a different result in your baking. This is because the flours contained within them will have different properties.
In addition to that many manufacturers add other ingredients too…
I’ve seen milk powder, dextrose, guar gum, xanthan gum, psyllium, bamboo fibre, hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose, apple fibre, pea bran, rice bran, mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, locust bean gum, wheat starch and sugar in a gluten free flour blend.
Now I don’t know about you, but when I bake I do it because I want to know what I’m putting into my food.
You may mistakenly be thinking that the gluten free ‘flour’ you are using is just that. However, it may well not be. Time to read the ingredients and understand food labelling (something I cover in my Gluten Free Diet: Basics course).
The reason I created my wholegrain gluten free flour blend was because I couldn’t find anything like it anywhere in the world.
It is made from 70% wholegrain flours (with all their added nutritional benefits) and has no rice in it (you can read why here and here). It contains only flours and no other odd ingredients, and it can be used to create anything you like.
When you do gluten free baking the one tip I give people is to be accurate with measurements. This is because small changes make big differences. I urge people to throw out the cup measures and buy a set of accurate scales.
However, if you use recipes that don’t specify the gluten free flour blend all of this is a waste of time.
Now at this point I have a confession to make, and an apology.
I am aware that some of my very old recipes don’t specify what gluten free flour blend I have used. That is because in those days there was really only one in the UK…Doves Farm. So if you see a recipe of mine that says ‘gluten free flour’ then assume I’ve used Doves.
The blend of flours you use in your recipe will have a direct impact on the quality of your baking.
It’s as simple as that.
And if you follow a recipe that calls for gluten free flour but doesn’t specify which, then you may as well not follow the recipe. The results you get are likely to be pretty poor.
If you want reliable gluten free bakes then I’ve done all the hard work for you.
I’ve created a pure gluten free flour blend that works every time, along with delicious recipes that the whole family will enjoy.
My blend comes in a plain and self-raising version. The latter contains double acting raising agents for a superior rise. This is unique to my blend and I guarantee you’ll notice the difference with lighter, fluffier bakes.
So next time you have a baking failure look at the recipes you are using and the flour blend too.
If you have any questions I’m always here and across social media as ‘freefromfairy’. I’ve also got a very friendly and supporting baking group on Facebook if you’d like to join. You’ll find it here.
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