Per the request of a friend, I have compiled some notes on very basic gf baking.
1) Pre-made blends
4) Notes and simple almond flour method
5) Delicious pancake recipes
If you’re just looking to make a batch of pancakes, a cake, or a batch of cookies, get a premade blend. There are a lot of quality blends – Pamela’s and Gluten-Free Mama are standouts, but look for anything **without bean flours** for a sweet, good, all-around base. Some general bases already contain xanthan gum. I recommend those without. Most cake, pancake, and cookie pre-made blends have xanthan or guar gum added — those are ok, because they’re in the appropriate quantity for the specific item you’re making. Highly recommend pre-made pie crusts. There’re also tons of gf *cookies out there now that you can use for crumb crust if you want.
*Annie’s graham crackers taste like ginger snaps and they’re fking delicious.
All-Purpose White Starter
This recipe is given in parts, so you can scale it, whether you’re using Tablespoons, pounds, or cups as your parts measurement. I make mine by the pound, and about 12 pounds of flour ends up costing about $8. You have to add protein to this base for structure.
1.5 parts tapioca starch
1.5 parts sweet/sticky/”glutinous” rice flour (there’s no gluten, it just means “sticky”)
2 parts fine brown rice (Bob’s Red Mill) is the best
2 parts fine ground white rice flour
— to this base, you will add a protein flour of your choice, like buckwheat, almond, coconut.
Buckwheat has an earthy, “whole wheat” taste. It’s very fine and very dense. I like to add a little almond to blends with buckwheat, to open up the crumb.
Coconut makes for amazing fluffiness, taste, and texture. Unless it’s a coconut flour-only recipe, use about 1/5 less coconut than the full amount you calculate. If you’re adding 1/4 cup to your wheat flour-converted recipe, add only 3 Tablespoons, instead of 4 Tablespoons. Coconut sucks up all the liquid and can make baked good dry. Use sparingly.
Almond makes a nice moist baked good, but it’s dense. You want to use it sparingly in cakes. Perfect for cookies, sweet breads, pancakes, etc.
By recipe, and based on how much flour is in your recipe, you’ll add the appropriate…
The general rule for all-around baking with these binders is 1tsp per 1.5c of flour blends. You can increase or decrease these amounts if your recipe has a ton of eggs or flax meal. Once you get used to gf baking, you can get pretty good at knowing what type of binder and how much to add for specific recipes.
Guar gum – turns into a gel
Xanthan gum – turns into a stringy slime
As such, guar gum is great for things that will be baked in forms or want a looser, crumbier texture – like cake, pancakes. Xanthan gum works best for bread and cookies — something that needs a little more holding power. Each will last you a long time. Guar gum is 1/4 the price of xanthan, but doesn’t work well for bread.
Xanthan gum can get tough really easily. Don’t overwork it.
All-purpose flour is about 10-12% protein – that’s how you know how much protein to add to your starchy base for a conversion recipe. If you’re making something that’s not super fluffy, like anything other than fluffy cake or bread, I just add it at 25%, so 1/4 cup of protein for every 3/4 cup base.
Pastry flour is 8-9%, so if you’re delving into, god forbid, pie crusts, profiteroles, and other legit pastry, this needs to be super accurate, measured by weight.
If I’m making something fluffy, I also measure the protein more accurately at 10% of the flour weight, or by measuring down to the Tablespoon level.
Protein gives the batters structure, starches give your batters: crispiness on the outside, a smooth texture, and binding power. For pancakes, waffles, and cookies, I’ve been using mostly almond flour and just adding a couple Tablespoons of starch for texture. Protein waffles made with ground up peptitas, coconut, almond flour, served with fresh fruit, are the best gd thing ever.
It can get pricey, but if you’re able to make your flour in bulk, especially if you plan on continuing to bake a lot, it’s 100% worth it to spend the money up front. I don’t know what you have access to in the way of ethnic markets, but I can get 1 lb bags of the sweet rice, white rice, and tapioca starch at Asian markets for $1/lb. I get my Bob’s RM fine brown rice flour online at Amazon, and my coconut, buckwheat and other specialty flours online at Vitacost.com. Vitacost is really good. You can get coconut flour for $15/4 lbs, and that’ll last you a long time. They also have cheap guar gum and awesome, delicious branded coconut oil for $20/3 lbs.
It sounds complicated, but once you do it a couple times, it’s really just like a step or two more than regular baking.