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Baking—the only chemistry most of us do in our daily lives—is hard enough on its own. Take away the gluten, the wheat protein that binds baked goods together and gives them stretch and crumb and chew, and baking begins to feel more scientific and particular and, occasionally, finicky than ever before.
Luckily, there are a lot of great flour substitutes—but they can be expensive. And since many gluten-free flours contain dairy in the form of powdered milk (it makes up for protein that non-wheat flours largely lack), if you follow a vegan diet as well as a gluten-free one, you might be out of luck.
Unless you make your own flour mix. If you've hesitated to do so before, we hear you: It takes a lot of effort (and a few baking flops) to hit the combination of light, medium, and heavy-weight flours that result in bread or muffins or pancakes that look, taste, and feel like bread or muffins or pancakes.
Luckily, Gena Hamshaw has cracked the code for us.
Here's her guide for making gluten-free flour at home:
- 2 parts heavy flour (like brown rice, almond, buckwheat, or teff flours)
- 2 parts medium flour (like chickpea, oat, millet, or sorghum flours; you can also do 4 parts medium flour and omit a heavy flour)
- 1 part potato starch
- 1 part tapioca flour (also sold as tapioca starch)
A word of encouragement from Gena, who first featured this mix in her recipe for vegan, gluten-free chocolate muffins:
There are lots of ways to create a go-to, homemade gluten-free, all-purpose flour mix, and nearly all will save you money in the long run (in comparison to store-bought mixes): Don’t panic when you first invest in a bunch of different types of flours and find yourself with a crowded pantry.
And then you can sub in this flour mix in nearly any recipe you come across—whether or not you're avoiding gluten. (Because the other great thing about non-wheat flours: They're flavorful.)
- 2 cups brown rice flour (superfine brown rice flour will give the best results)
- 2 cups sorghum or millet flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch)
- 1 cup potato starch
Do you have a go-to gluten-free flour mix? What's in yours? Share your successes in the comments.