Frequently Asked Questions About the Flour Mixes

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Can you replace the brown rice flour in my mix with white rice flour?
Yes, but your baked goods will dry out faster and won’t stay fresh as long, they won’t be as nutritious, and they will have that notorious gluten-free “empty” taste.

Is there a good replacement for brown rice flour in your recipes?
No, not really. In truth, my recipes are finely calibrated to work with extra finely ground brown rice flour, and it is a full two-thirds of the flour mix. However, if you need to leave out the rice flour, the best replacement to use in my recipes is the most finely ground sorghum you can buy. Authentic Foods makes extra finely ground sorghum flour. Bob’s Red Mill sorghum has a much larger grind that is perfect for bread, but it makes a slightly grittier cupcake. The grind of King Arthur’s sorghum flour falls between these two. You will have to reduce the amount of liquid and/or fat in the recipe (or increase the flour), but there is no across-the-board reduction amount because it depends on what you are trying to make and what is in it. You may have to increase the amount of xanthan gum just a bit to improve the structure, but this will depend on the other ingredients in the recipe.

Why do you use potato starch, tapioca flour, and corn starch in the mixes?
Potato starch (not potato flour) contributes to a delicate crumb and rich mouth feel. Tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch) helps lighten baked goods and give them a fine texture. Corn starch helps add a bit of added structure and tenderness to the breads.

Is there a good substitute for potato starch?
Option 1: replace all the potato starch with more tapioca flour. This will give you a light baked good but without that “certain something” in the way of richer mouth- feel that the potato starch gives. It will also be a little softer, and much mushier in texture. Ultimately, it will be less likely to hold as much of its rise.

Option 2: replace 1 cup potato starch with 1⁄2 cup more tapioca flour and 1⁄2 cup corn starch first in a simple recipe. Then replace that 1 cup of potato starch with 1⁄2 cup tapioca starch, 1⁄4 corn starch, and 1⁄4 cup sweet rice four, make the same recipe, and see which version you like best.

Option 3: one enterprising baker on the west coast created his own concoction for his son with my mix: he divides the total amount of potato starch in half and uses half arrowroot and half extra finely ground sweet rice flour. So when the mix calls for 1 cup potato starch, use 1⁄2 cup arrowroot and 1⁄2 sweet rice flour. But arrowroot is expensive (at least where I live). So if you want to try a less expensive version of this arrowroot/sweet rice flour option, replace 1 cup potato starch with 3⁄4 cup tapioca (which is much like arrowroot) and 1⁄4 sweet rice, and adjust from there (or 1⁄2 cup tapioca and 1⁄2 cup sweet rice and see which you like best).

Is there a good substitute for tapioca flour?
Option 1: replace all the tapioca flour with 1 cup arrowroot starch (which is usually more expensive). This will give you a slightly denser (and slightly wetter, depend- ing on the recipe) baked good.

Option 2: replace 1 cup tapioca flour with 1⁄2 cup potato starch and 1⁄2 cup corn starch. This will give you a slightly denser, firmer baked good.

Option 3: replace 1 cup tapioca flour with 1⁄3 potato starch and 2⁄3 corn; then try 2/3 potato and 1/3 corn, and see which version you prefer in terms of texture.

Is there a good substitute for corn starch?
What I usually recommend is that you first try option 1 (below) in an easy recipe, like the rustic flat bread, to see if you like it. Then try option 2 to see which you like better.

Option 1: replace 1 cup corn starch with 1⁄2 cup potato starch and 1⁄2 cup tapioca flour.

Option 2: replace 1 cup corn starch with 1⁄3 potato starch and 2⁄3 tapioca flour.

Is there a good replacement for millet flour in your recipes?
I have tested many variations to replace millet flour and the best tasting, most wheat-looking replacement uses 1 cup sorghum flour, 1 cup gluten-free oat flour, 1 cup potato starch, and 1 cup tapioca starch. If you use this mix you will have to increase the liquid in each recipe by 1 tablespoon (the oat flour absorbs a lot of liquid). The breads do not freeze quite as well because the oat flour tends to dry out more quickly and gets a bit more crumbly, but the loaves are delicious. If you use this combination and you plan to make one of my multigrain bread recipes, consider using teff flour as the additional whole grain flour, because the combination works really well.

Is there a good replacement for sorghum flour in your recipes?
Substitute 1 cup gluten-free oat flour for 1 cup sorghum flour in the bread flour mix. It may be necessary to add up to 1 tablespoon more liquid to each recipe, depending on the brand of millet you use. How will you know? If the bread has very small, tight air holes and seems very firm, try adding that extra tablespoon of liquid.

Can I grind my own flour?
Many people who use grain mills will swear by them, and in fact, they can work well for the millet and sorghum flours in my bread flour mix. But it is more difficult to grind your own extra finely ground brown rice flour, especially since you won’t be able to stabilize it or put it through the very fine industrial sieves used by Authentic Foods (many brands of brown rice flour are not stabilized, so they can be more sold more inexpensively). My understanding from several made-for-home grain mill owners and from people who, for convenience and/or price reasons, buy brown rice flour with a large grind, is that you may need to give the grain a further whirl in a blender to get rid of the grit. To make doubly sure after that, you can also sift it through a fine sieve to get really powdery flour like the one from Authentic Foods.

If you attempt to grind your own brown rice flour, try to do a side-by-side comparison with either Authentic Foods extra finely ground brown rice flour or one with the finest grind you can find, so that you can get a good understanding of what your end product is really like. It is best to know as much as possible about the flour you are making and using in the brown rice flour mix; a very large grind may require a different amount of liquid in a recipe.

What do you think about the argument that you need a different flour mix depending on what you are trying to make?
I don’t agree. Once you have a flour mix that you know and understand, it is easier to know what you have to do to tweak a recipe if it doesn’t work. You can work your way up your learning curve in a more manageable way.


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4 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions About the Flour Mixes”

  1. Is there a rule of thumb amount of xanthan gum to add per cup in a gluten free flour? Or will it vary with different flours and blends?

    1. hi Georgia,
      Specifically, I don’t have a rule of thumb for my flour mixes because I’ve found that the amount of xanthan gum depends on the what other ingredients are in the recipe (like eggs, etc) and the relative proportion the ingredients- liquid to fats to dry.

      In general, it also depends on what kind of flours you are using in your flour mix, the proportion of whole grain to starch, the relative grind of the flours, and whether you use a different combination of flours each time you make something.

      The best thing you can do is look for high quality recipes using the flour mix you want to use. Then look for a recipe (or better yet, recipes) that is similar to the recipe you want to make, and then, try to match the proportion of flour to xanthan gum in your own recipe. This is what I do when I’m creating a new recipe with my own flour blends! It work well as a starting point and I highly recommend it.

      Please let me know if you have another questions.

      Very best,

    1. Hi Renee,

      It’s not like a store bought cup-for cup flour because you have to add xanthan gum to most recipes. And, as I discuss in Gluten-Free Baking Classics and Gluten-Free Baking- The Heirloom Collection, I often have to adjust the liquid (typically less, but not always), butter or oil (typically less), the leavening (baking powder/baking soda; typically a little more), the salt (typically a little less), and the flavoring (typically a little more). But in reality, fine-tuning recipes after you convert them can become second nature after you’ve done it a bunch of times. In The Heirloom Collection, I have an eight page chapter on how to convert recipes; it explains it all in great detail. But short of that, use the quick-guide insights here in this paragraph above. And let me know if you have any other questions.

      Very best,

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