Back in the day, gluten-free baking was complicated: you had to create your own blend of tapioca and potato starch and rice flour, adjust the amount of eggs or liquid in a recipe… and hope for the best. But as more and more people turned to gluten-free baking, the process became simpler. You bought some gluten-free flour and xanthan gum, found yourself a gluten-free recipe, and followed it.
Several years ago, with the advent of all-in-one replacement gluten-free flours, baking gluten-free became easier still. Simply substitute this new GF flour for the all-purpose flour in your recipe: end of story. No hand-blending flours; no xanthan gum; no seeking out gluten-free recipes.
However, for those just starting down the GF trail — or who don’t bake gluten-free frequently — which flour to choose can be confusing.
There are many gluten-free flours out there, but only two main types of packaged gluten-free flour blends.
Gluten-free flour: all-purpose blend
The original blend — we’ll call it gluten-free all-purpose flour — is one that’s formulated specifically for gluten-free recipes. Our Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour is a good example.
When should you use gluten-free all-purpose flour in your recipe?
- The recipe lists “gluten-free” in its title, e.g., Gluten-Free Almond Bundt Cake.
- The recipe includes xanthan gum, which helps add structure to your baked goods in the absence of gluten.
- The recipe calls for “gluten-free flour blend,” or similar wording.
Gluten-free flour: replacement blend
The newest type of gluten-free flour — we’ll call it gluten-free replacement flour — includes xanthan gum along with the typical blend of gluten-free flours. This means you can simply replace the all-purpose flour in many of your favorite traditional recipes with this new gluten-free flour. Our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour is a good example.
When should you use gluten-free replacement flour in your recipe?
- The recipe wasn’t formulated to be gluten-free, and typically doesn’t call itself gluten-free.
- The recipe doesn’t include xanthan gum in its list of ingredients.
- The recipe calls for standard unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour, not gluten-free flour.
What about gluten-free flour and yeast?
Baking bread and rolls without gluten is a challenge. But it’s possible to make decent yeasted baked goods without gluten — so long as you choose the right recipe and follow it carefully.
- The recipe will usually say “gluten-free” in its title, e.g., Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread.
- It will include xanthan gum.
- It will call for gluten-free all-purpose flour.
Can you bake your mom’s favorite dinner rolls simply by substituting a gluten-free replacement flour for the all-purpose flour in her recipe?
No. Our Measure for Measure Flour is ideal for almost all of your favorite classic recipes — brownies, cookies, cake, biscuits, pancakes, muffins, etc.
But its particular formulation, one that makes it perfect for other recipes, means it's not appropriate for yeast recipes. For bread, rolls, and pizza crust use a gluten-free recipe and gluten-free all-purpose flour.
What's your biggest gluten-free baking challenge? Our Baker's Hotline is ready for your questions!