• the long promised gluten-free flour blend – or how I learned to bake by weight

    by  • December 12, 2011 • community, six burners • 2 Comments

    Years ago, my dear friend Heidi suggested that my symptoms might be celiac. I briefly considered that she wasn’t much of a friend at all.

    Who would say such a thing?

    Of course, she wasn’t wishing that on me.* She simply didn’t want want me doing further damage to my body, eating something that had become toxic for me. And it was toxic.

    *If I’m being honest, she was a little bit glad to not be the only one. It was lonely back then, pre-mainstream GF product lines.

    I grew up in the kitchen, cooking and baking with my mother and Nana. I was confident and inventive with food, and loved to share the results of my efforts with friends and family.

    My first attempt to feed my GF friends was… not glowing.

    Okay, it was sad. And pathetic.

    I made brunch for six, crépe stacks with crab/mushroom or spinach/cheese fillings. Sounds yummy, yes?

    One stack used my long tried-and-true recipe, the other – rice flour.

    Just rice flour.

    Those of you who regularly bake gluten-free are likely wincing right now. You know what this means. Baking with rice flour is like baking with sand. Without the wind in your hair and the smell of kelp and salt.

    Rice flour has nothing to hold it together – that is gluten’s job. Rice flour is too coarse and doesn’t taste like much. In short, crappy crépes.

    But I learned.

    I experimented. I played around. I was daunted by my flops, and intimidated by the variety of grains. Some combinations worked. Others didn’t.

    I had no idea why.

    I tried pre-packaged baking mixes; most were either garbanzo-heavy – lots of protein, but too beany for me, or starch-dominant – offering very little in taste or nutrition.

    In time for Christmas baking last year, Shauna posted a flour mix they had success with, along with education on baking by weight.

    This basically changed my life.

    I bought a scale, bags and bags of flours, and haven’t looked back. (I love the pull-out display for when I am using a big bowl. Now they have a black model for $20 less.)

    Baking by weight just makes so much sense. Now I seek out recipes and cookbooks with dry goods measured by weight. This is far more common in Europe than it is here. My wish list includes this book by Delia Smith.

    My blend (and Shauna’s, too) has evolved several times in the last year. The one I share below is the flour-mix I use almost exclusively now – this works for all of the baking I do, as well as for thickening sauces, coating meat to brown, etc. I mix up a batch and then just dip into the canister the way I used to do with AP flour.

    There are some things I will likely never make with GF flours: fillo dough, croissants, lattice pie crusts. (Okay, that last is just because I don’t really care for pie.)

    But for all the things I can make – this mix.

    Six Burners GF Baking Mix

    • 200 gm millet
    • 200 gm sorghum
    • 150 gm sweet brown rice
    • 100 gm quinoa
    • 150 gm teff (I use brown, rather than ivory)
    • 100 gm amaranth
    • 75 gm potato flour (not starch – that is something else)
    • 150 gm potato starch (now the starch)
    • 100 gm rice flour
    • 100 gm arrowroot
    • 100 gm cornstarch

    Notes

    • I keep all my grains in the freezer until I mix a batch for the cupboard.
    • I do not use tapioca starch because I find it leaves a sharp, metallic after-taste. It is prevalent in prepared GF goods, and when we find one that has “the taste” we never buy it again. Tapioca starch is dead to me.
    • When converting family recipes or other favourites, I exchange at 125 gm to 1 cup of AP flour with the mix above – a measurement the internet gave me. I see recipes with different exchange rates – this one works for me.
    • I use almond and/or hazlenut meal (flour) in specific recipes; these I keep in the freezer until needed. Let them come to room temperature before combining – they clump when cold.
    • I grind flax seeds or chia seeds as a recipe calls for them; again, keep in the freezer until use.

    Now that I have finally put up this post, I am more likely to post cookie and treat recipes. Yay!

    #flailingkermithands

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    2 Responses to the long promised gluten-free flour blend – or how I learned to bake by weight

    1. Pingback: a promise of pears (updated) | scatterbeams

    2. cmtrask
      December 13, 2011 at 8:20 am

      Wow! What a list of ingredients! Glad it works.
      I have had some pretty awesome teff crepes, bubbly and light. Sometimes constraints can be inspiring. :)

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