If you have been on the gluten-free diet for any amount of time, you are well aware that baking can be a bit of a challenge. Baking gluten-free these days is certainly easier than it was in the past, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be intimidating or confusing. Many recipes call for a “gluten-free flour mix/blend”. The recipe doesn’t always state what kind of a blend has been tested and sometimes that really does matter. Additionally, some pre-packaged flours already contain xanthan or guar gums and may contain leavening agents as well. Confused yet?
I hope that by breaking down some of the most popular flour mixes and baking mixes, I can simplify things a bit for you. When I hear “baking mix” I assume that this will contain leavening agents & any necessary gums. When I hear “flour mix”, I am just expecting a blend of flours and possibly xanthan or guar gum.
Flour Mixes (pre-packaged)
Jules Gluten-Free Flour – Expandex tapioca starch, potato starch, corn starch, corn flour, white rice flour, xanthan gum
Better Batter – Rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, potato four, xanthan gum, pectin
Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour – garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour, fava bean flour
King Arthur – white & brown rice flour along with tapioca & potato starches
Gluten-Free Pantry All Purpose Flour – White rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, guar gum, salt.
Tom Sawyer Gluten-Free Flour – contains white rice, sweet rice & tapioca flours & xanthan gum
Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix – Brown Rice Flour, White Rice Flour, Cultured Buttermilk, Natural Almond Meal (may appear as brown flecks), Tapioca Starch, Sweet Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Grainless & Aluminum Free Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Potato Starch), Baking Soda, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum.
Gluten-Free Bisquick – Rice flour, sugar, leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), modified potato starch, salt, xanthan gum
Arrowhead Mills Gluten-Free Baking Mix – organic whole grain brown rice flour, organic potato starch, rice starch, organic potato starch, rice starch, organic whole grain sorghum flour, baking powder (monocalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch), sea salt. ***Note, this mix contains leavening but no xanthan gum
Gluten-Free Flour Mixes (made at home)
Carol Fenster’s Sorghum Flour Blend – sorghum flour, potato starch & tapioca starch
Gluten-Free Brown Rice Flour Blend – brown rice flour, potato starch & tapioca starch
Gluten-Free Cooking School All Purpose Blend – brown rice flour, corn starch, soy, sorghum or garfava & masa harina
When I first started baking gluten-free I mixed a lot of my own gluten-free flour mixes. This is probably the least expensive way to bake gluten-free, as the flours can be purchased in bulk online and then mixed at home. I did learn the hard way a couple of years back that sometimes the type of flour blend you are using makes all of the difference in the end product. Cookies, for example, didn’t turn out well for me using a sorghum blend. I had much better luck with a rice flour, potato & tapioca starch blend. If you have the time to experiment, do so. Getting creative with your food is not only the best way to learn, but it is fun to sample the end result, too! Now I tend to stick with pre-packaged flours mainly due to being in a hurry and knowing that I can trust how a certain product will turn out. There is a lot to be said for the “tried & true” products & recipes.
I realize that there are other products out there than what I have listed here; It doesn’t mean that they aren’t good. I tried to put together a good representation of the most popular products on the market. If you feel I missed one or you would like to share what you use to bake with, please do so in the comments.