Welcome to gluten-free baking!
I wish you all the success, chewy cookies, and light cakes possible. This is a great place to get started and learn more about gluten-free flours and baking.
Rice flour is a gluten-free flour staple! I use brown rice and white rice flours together because I like the color of the finished baked goods. The finished product is not as pale or white and browns very nicely.
Tapioca Starch or Flour
Tapioca starch and flour are the same product, starch and flour are used interchangeably. They lighten up the rice flour and help to bind and glue everything together.
Potato Starch (NOT FLOUR)
Potato starch is the starch from potato water that has been dried. Potato FLOUR is dried potatoes ground up. They are very different things and are not interchangeable.
Xanthan gum is ESSENTIAL! In traditional bread and baked goods gluten provides the structure that keeps things together and also give the finished product a nice bit. Without the structure, things are flat, crumbly messes. Or hockey pucks. Xanthan gum gives your baked goods the structure that they need, without any gluten. I don’t know how I’d live without it.
My Gluten-Free Rice Flour Blend:
Also referred to as gluten-free cake flour blend, gluten-free cookie flour blend. This is NOT an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. It works best in cakes, quick breads, muffins, and cookies.
I absolutely love my gluten-free cake flour blend! You will probably notice that it has different proportions of flours than most other gluten-free flour blends. It is a much lower protein and higher starch than a gluten-free all purpose flour, making it the perfect gluten-free substitute for cake flour. This flour blend gives your cakes, muffins, and quick breads a beautiful fine crumb. And you know those gorgeous soft-batch cookies that are all the rage on pinterest… this cake flour blend makes them perfectly without adding extra starch. I use my gluten free cake flour blend in most of my cookie recipes in The Essential Gluten-Free Cookie Guide.
Another reason my gluten free cake flour blend has such a high starch content is that I first made my gluten-free cake flour blend when many of the rice flours that were available were very grainy and gave baked goods a very sandy texture. The extra starch in my gluten free cake flour blend helped to prevent my gluten free baked goods from having a sandy texture.
One thing you’ll notice is that I don’t have any xanthan gum in my gluten free cake flour blend. I did this on purpose, it isn’t a mistake. I often get comments, emails, and messages asking about whether or not there is xanthan gum in my gluten free cake flour blend so I wanted to make sure that I address that here. I prefer to add xanthan gum to each recipe as an individual ingredient because each recipe has different binding and structure needs. I add anywhere from 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum for every cup of my gluten-free flour blend. Cakes need only about 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum, with other recipes needing more. When I’m experimenting I normally use 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum for every cup of my flour blend, and then adjust it later based on the results. If is crumbles and falls apart it needs a little more, if it is gummy it needs less.
Here is my gluten-free rice/cake/cookie flour blend:
- 2 parts rice flour (I often use 1 part each white rice flour and brown rice flour as a personal preference)
- 1 part tapioca starch
- 1 part potato starch (NOT flour)
The reason I use parts for my rice flour blend instead of exact measurements it that then you can easily make as much or as little of my rice flour blend as you want. For example: If you only wanted 2 cups of blend for a recipe then each part would be 1/2 cup. If you are like me and want to keep a huge canister in the pantry you can make a much larger batch.
When I use Bob’s Red Mill flours I’ll just dump 1 bag each of brown rice flour, white rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch into a bowl and whisk them together. The bags are all approximately the same size so I don’t even have to worry about measuring.
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I will also buy flour from Nuts.com. They all come in 1lb bags and I do the same thing, put them all in a bowl and whisk it up.