Recipe: Gluten-Free Flour Mixes (including self-raising)

I don’t know if this really counts as a recipe, exactly, but since I’ve been doing a fair bit of gluten-free and fructose-free baking recently, I thought I’d post a couple of my preferred gluten-free flour mixes.  In all honesty, my favourite gluten-free things are often the ones where one uses a lot of nut meal to replace the flour.  I tend to think of these as ‘naturally’ gluten-free, because one isn’t trying to make some arcane chemical mix to replicate what one isn’t using.

Given that a lot of these mixes involve multiple types of flour, many of which need to be sourced from health-food shops, I find the best approach is to mix up a batch of about 12 cups when I am first doing some gluten-free baking, and store whatever I don’t use (ie, most of it) in a large airtight container for any gluten-free cooking I will be doing in future.  These mixtures are thus all very large.  (You can, of course, mix the leftovers from one mixture into a new mixture without any difficulties – just don’t forget that if one mixture has nuts or cornflour in it, this will render the whole lot unusable for anyone with an allergy to one of these ingredients.)

Most of these mixtures also convert rather well into self-raising flour – the trick to self-raising flour, incidentally, is that you need 2 teaspoons of baking powder for every cup of plain flour.  This may possibly be the most useful culinary fact I ever impart on this blog, so do take note of it, especially if you are like me and tend to forget to check that you actually have self-raising flour in the house before starting a recipe that calls for it.   

And if you don’t have any baking powder in the first place, just mix 2 parts cream of tartar with one part of bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda), and you are sorted.

If you don’t have cream of tartar, of course, you really do have a problem.  I mean, quite apart from anything else, how will you make playdough without it?

One final caveat – these flour mixes are designed for cakes, biscuits, cookies, and similar.  I haven’t tried them in pastry, so I can’t make any promises about that, and I definitely would not expect any of these mixtures to work for bread – too low protein, and I have no idea how you usefully replace the gluten, this being an aspect of gluten-free baking that has not yet come my way.  Though now I’m getting curious…

All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour

This is the one I would use by preference.  It is nut-free, and fairly flavourless, much like plain white flour, with no strong ricey or wholemeal flavour, so you can use it in fairly plain cakes like vanilla.  It also holds together nicely and has a good springy, cakey texture, excellent for butter cakes and similar.

4 cups white rice flour (supermarket-friendly)
4 cups brown rice flour (supermarket or health-food shop)
2 cups potato starch (definitely health-food shop, but cornflour would work in a pinch)
1 cup tapioca flour (also in supermarket, frequently disguised as arrowroot)
1 cup cornflour (supermarket friendly)
1/8 cup (6 tsp, 1 1/2 tablespoons) xanthum gum (health-food shop, no two ways about it)

Self-Raising Gluten-Free Flour

This is just my gluten-free flour mix with baking powder stirred in.  And yes, I really do mean half a cup of baking powder.  I know that seems like a really insane amount, but I’ve checked it three different ways – it’s 10ml baking powder per cup, and if you multiply that by 12 and a bit cups, you really do get half a cup in total.  This mixture should work for anything you’d use self-raising flour in.

4 cups white rice flour
4 cups brown rice flour
2 cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour
1 cup cornflour
1/2 cup baking powder
1/8 cup (30 ml) xanthum gum

Low Fructose Gluten-Free Flour

Many people with fructose intolerance cannot tolerate cornflour (and wheat flour is always a problem), so this mixture is a good, all-purpose mix if you are cooking for people who can’t manage fructose.  It is slightly more wholemeal in flavour than my standard gluten-free flour, but still works in plain cakes, and provides a good, cakey texture.  This flour converts well to a self-raising flour – just add a generous half cup (135ml) baking powder and stir it through.

6 cups brown rice flour
3 cups rice flour
3 cups potato starch
1 1/2 cups tapioca
7 tsp xanthum gum

‘Wholemeal’ Gluten-Free Flour

This gluten-free flour has a definite personality and flavour, being quite nutty and wholemealy and brown tasting.  I’d use it in banana breads, spicy, fruity or chocolatey cakes – anything with a flavour robust enough to stand up to the quinoa and chestnut flour.  It’s good, but definitely a bit of an acquired taste, and a bit heavier in texture than the white flours above.

2 cups rice flour
2 cups quinoa flour
2 cups chestnut flour, almond meal or hazelnut meal, or a combination of any of these, or chickpea flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 cup cornflour (the squeaky stuff, not polenta – and do check that it is actually made from corn, as a lot of cornflour is made from wheat)

Quick Gluten-Free Flour

This one is supermarket-friendly, and only contains two ingredients.  I’m not going to give you quantities, because it really is something you use ad-hoc because it’s what you have in the pantry.  The catch is, it won’t work in everything.  I’d use it in denser cakes – banana bread, heavy chocolate cakes, carrot cakes – not in anything that needs to be light and fluffy and cakey.  This mixture will do the job of helping hold the cake together, and it will taste good, but it will not give you a light cakey texture.

1 part almond meal (coarsley or finely ground)
1 part cornflour

Your Favourite Gluten-Free Flour Mix

I’m really not an expert on gluten-free baking, so these mixtures are just ones I have tried and like.  If you have a favourite, please feel free to comment below – I would love this page to become a really good resource.


This time last year…

Recipe: Sunshine Yellow Lemon Cake
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