Gluten-free flour recipe – use this simple blend to create gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour or gluten-free self-raising (self-rising) flour in less than 5 minutes. You can then use these blends to create the recipes on my blog, or in my book.
Gluten-free flour recipe – the ultimate, plain or self-raising blend! Using this simple blend of starches and flours, you can create a blend that works perfectly for all my gluten-free cakes, pastry, cookies, biscuits and bread recipes.
Custom vs Commercial Gluten-free Flour Blends
When it comes to creating gluten-free recipes, I’ve always been torn between two choices. Either I ask you guys to:
- Use a commercial blend of gluten-free flour blend from the supermarket.
- Or, create your own custom blend using individual measurements gluten-free starches and flours.
So which is better for gluten-free baking? Well, there’s ‘fors’ and ‘againsts’ for both…
Why opt for a commercial gluten-free flour blend?
Using a commercial blend of gluten-free flour is the ultimate in convenience. Just grab a bag of gluten-free flour from the shelves of your supermarket’s free from aisle and get baking – that’s exactly how easy baking should always be!
But what if you live somewhere where supermarket flour blends are vastly different to ours here in the UK? For example, in the UK, Doves Farm’s FREEE gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour contains rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, corn starch and buckwheat flour.
However, in the US, Bob’s Red Mill’s all-purpose gluten-free flour contains chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour, potato flour, tapioca flour, sorghum flour and fava bean flour. Both contain drastically different ingredients and will likely yield wildly different results, yet both are considered ‘all-purpose’.
And what about if you live somewhere where commercial gluten-free blends are basically non-existent? By using a commercial gluten-free flour blend in my recipes, things can quickly go from convenient to ‘headache’ for all the reasons above.
Why opt for a custom gluten-free flour blend?
So that’s why custom four blends exist. Instead of telling you guys to use ‘gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour’, I could instead tell you to use specific amount of rice flour, tapioca starch etc. for every single recipe in my book and on my blog.
And in a sense, this would be far more universally applicable, meaning everyone would achieve identical results no matter where you live in the world or what your supermarket’s gluten-free flour blends were like. Problem solved, right?
However, hopping online to source 5 different flours and mixing up your own custom flour blend seems like a lot of effort for a simple sponge cake, doesn’t it? Plus, it would make creating your own gluten-free flour blend a prerequisite for every single recipe I ever created.
The combination of these two things, in my opinion, makes gluten-free baking seem more time consuming and overly complicated than it really needs to be.
So what’s best for gluten-free baking: custom or commercial blends?
My answer is: a bit of both (not literally)! My solution to the above conundrum is the following:
If you live in the UK, you can happily use the gluten-free plain and self-raising flours that are easily found on supermarket free from aisle shelves and totally ignore this post. Because that’s exactly what I use in my recipes!
However, if you live outside of the UK, you’ve got a few options:
- Use a gluten-free flour blend that’s readily available in your country (if any), though results may vary and I can’t guarantee results as all flour blends are different. You may need to reduce or increase the amount of flour used based on differences that are unavoidable across different flour blends.
- Source the gluten-free plain and self-raising flour blends that I use from the UK, if possible. This would be the easiest option, though as they’re produced in the UK, they may more more expensive and/or harder to find.
- Create the gluten-free flour blend outlined in this blog post as it’s designed using individual flours/starches as it’s designed to be as close as possible to the commercial blend I use here in the UK.
So there you go – I’ve finally sorted out the conundrum that is custom vs commercial gluten-free flour blends in recipes. Hopefully the entire world can work towards having a more homogenised flour blend in the future so we’re all on the same page!
But until then, you’ve always got this recipe in your back pocket that you can use for all of the recipes on my blog and in my book.
What’s in a gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour blend?
As I said, gluten-free blends can vary wildly depending on who you talk to or where you buy them from – there’s no one, correct, definitive answer. But let’s take a look at the ingredients in my blend first of all (since that’s what this post will show you how to create) to let you what’s in there and why:
White Rice flour:
Made from finely milled rice, this is one of the most common flours you’ll find in any gluten-free flour blend – mainly because it has a more neutral flavour, unlike chickpea, millet or sorghum flours for example.
As rice is a much harder grain than wheat, that means it doesn’t absorb liquid nearly as well.
Due to factors like this, you’ll notice that gluten-free recipes (especially anything that ordinarily would involve dough) require considerably more hydration than a traditional, wheat flour recipe.
Both of these reasons are why rice flour must always be balanced out with starches, which are lighter and absorb liquid far easier – this stops your gluten-free bakes from becoming heavy and dense.
This white starch is extracted from the roots of the cassava plant and crucially adds a little stretch to your finished baking products. It is very similar to arrowroot powder, though not entirely identical, which is why I advise tapioca first and foremost.
Due to its ‘stretchy’, ‘stringy’ quality, that’s exactly why I tend to use it a lot in bread recipes as it’s not only incredibly light, but it also adds more of a ‘tearable’ texture.
Out of all the three starches in this blend, it probably has the strongest binding power, so definitely don’t skip including this one. Each flour must be respectable for its own unique properties that it brings to the table!
No points for guessing where potato starch comes from! Like cornflour, this starch is commonly used to thicken sauces, but for us gluten-free folks, it’s very common to find in flour blends.
Potato starch is highly absorbent and provides a little extra binding power, though once hydrated, it can be a little heavier than other starches.
There is such a thing as ‘potato flour’ which is different to potato starch, so ensure you’re getting the bright, white starch version.
Cornflour (corn starch):
Cornflour isn’t to be confused with maize flour or cornmeal – it’s a white, powdery starch made from milled corn. In other countries outside of the UK, cornflour is known as corn starch.
But best of all, it’s one of the easiest flours to source in supermarkets as it’s very commonly used to thicken sauce and gravy by muggles.
Unlike potato starch and tapioca starch, it doesn’t take so much water to fully hydrate it, meaning that it can stop your bakes from feeling heavier than gluten-containing equivalents.
Don’t panic! Despite literally containing the word ‘wheat’ in its name, buckwheat flour is actually derived from fruit seeds.
That makes it naturally gluten-free, though you’ll still need to watch out for ‘may contain’ warnings on the packaging as it can often be commonly cross-contaminated during manufacturing.
This flour has tons of wholegrain flavour that can be a real asset in baking, as more gluten-free flours and starches often have a neutral flavour.
In this blend, it’s used to add a little structure that sticky starches cannot provide alone.
What’s in a gluten-free self-raising (rising) flour blend?
The correct answer to this question is: all of the above, plus xanthan gum and gluten-free baking powder. That’s the only difference!
By adding gluten-free baking powder, it automatically gives your bakes a little extra rise so that in some cases, you don’t even need to add extra baking powder. However, it’s still pretty common to add a little extra, just in case.
In the UK, commercial gluten-free self-raising flour blends always have a little xanthan gum added to them as standard. I’m assuming this is to work harmoniously with the baking powder to ensure that, as the cake rises, it has a little extra binding power to stop things from becoming brittle and crumbly.
Self-raising flour isn’t as much of a ‘thing’ outside the UK as far as I know, but it’s basically used most commonly in our classic sponge cakes. It is essentially just plain flour with raising agents added to it, so it’s not hard to adapt a plain flour blend to be a self-raising blend at all.
Gluten-free Flour Recipe: Frequently Asked Questions
I’ll drop a few frequently asked questions here as I’m sure these will be helpful in throwing this blend together, as well helping you to understand as to why I’ve chosen these exact flours and starches.
Why these gluten-free flours and starches in particular?
That’s simple – because that’s what the commercial flour blend I use for my recipes contains. This blend is designed to be as close to the gluten-free flour blend I buy from supermarkets as possible.
That way, people who can’t source the blend I use for all my recipes can simply create their own at home to use with my recipes.
The commercial blend that inspired this recipe is incredibly versatile, ready to use with cakes, bread, pastry, cookies – you name it. So not surprisingly, so is mine!
Can I substitute certain flours and starches for other gluten-free flours and starches?
You can, but I can’t guarantee the results. There’s no end to the different types of gluten-free flour blends out there and if you swap out specific starches for other starches, it’s no longer the blend I intended.
For example, you’d think that swapping rice flour for brown rice flour would be a straightforward swap, right? But in reality, brown rice flour is heavier than regular rice flour and will definitely imbalance the results of my blend to an unknown extent.
It may still work just fine, but the more the blend is altered, the less I can guarantee your results. I’ve tested the blend in this post a million times, but if you swap things out, I have absolutely zero idea how that would affect things – that’s because I’ve never used it, so how would I know?
From that point on, you’re basically conducting the trial and error tribulations that comes with creating your own custom flour blend. If you want to save yourself the science experiment (and a lot of time and headaches) just use mine – I’ve already done all the testing for you!
I can’t tolerate cornflour (corn starch), can I use another starch instead?
Following on from the question above – the only time I’d understand the need to switch up the flour blend is if you were intolerant to one of the flours/starches in the blend.
As cornflour is one of the most common offenders that people can’t tolerate, I’ve used that as an example – in this case, if you can’t tolerate corn, simply use more tapioca starch or potato starch instead.
However, as I keep repeating, I cannot guarantee the results of your final bake if omitting the cornflour, as I have not tested a blend that omits cornflour for more tapioca/potato starch. Though in theory, it should achieve similar results.
If you wish to remove rice flour, I unfortunately cannot advise a simple swap as, not only is it half the flour blend, but it’s also a very unique flour that can’t be substituted so easily. In this case, you’d need to seek out a rice-free flour blend that would likely look very different to the one you see here in this post.
If anyone would be interested in different flour blends, just ask! If enough people ask, I’ll probably create it – that’s how my recipes go!
What can I use this gluten-free flour blend for?
By the very nature of this blend being plain or all-purpose, you can use it for anything! It’s a well-rounded flour blend that doesn’t have any distinctive taste (thanks to the neutral-flavoured flours used), so in that sense, it can be used for anything.
I’ve used it to make shortcrust pastry, sponge cakes, cupcakes, cookies, bread, choux pastry and tons more. You can also use it as a simple thickener in sauces or as a coating for fried chicken – just like you can with wheat flour.
However, no gluten-free flour blend can be a 1:1 substitution for wheat flour in all scenarios – this blend is simply for you to use in my recipes whenever I call for gluten-free plain flour or gluten-free self-raising flour.
Can I use your gluten-free flour recipe as a like-for-like replacement for wheat flour?
In some cases yes – when it comes to making choux pastry, cookies, sponge cakes, cookies or biscuits, pancakes or fried chicken batter, this blend is a 1:1 replacement. However, you will likely need to add a little xanthan gum for binding in most cases too.
But when it comes to gluten-free bread or shortcrust pastry, swapping wheat flour for gluten-free flour blend simply doesn’t cut it – it will not work. These recipes rely more on gluten to work, hence why gluten-free flour isn’t enough.
In these cases, to use this blend for gluten-free bread or pastry, you’ll need a special, 100% gluten-free-focussed recipe for these things, such as the ones in my book.
Where do I buy all of these gluten-free flours and starches?
It’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to find all of these different flours and starches in supermarkets. So naturally, your best bet is to buy them online and get them delivered straight to your door.
If you live in the UK ??, you can find them all on Amazon, though of course, you’re much better off just buying a gluten-free plain or self-raising flour blend from the supermarket. This blend is made to emulate those, so in reality, there’s no need to make your own!
If you live in the US ??, Bob’s Red Mill fortunately manufacture all the individual starches and flours on Amazon. Here’s links to them specifically so you know what you’re looking for, though you probably source them cheaper from the Bob’s Red Mill website:
- White rice flour
- Tapioca starch
- Potato starch
- Corn starch
- Buckwheat flour
- Xanthan gum (for self-rising flour)
- Gluten-free baking powder for self-rising flour)
If you live in Australia ??, please be careful to ensure all flours and starches used aren’t cross-contaminated by manufacturing methods. This seems to be more common in the products I’ve tried to link online and because if this, I’d prefer if a knowledgeable Aussie native could recommend somewhere safe to purchase truly gluten-free flours and starches. Please leave a comment below this post if you know where to safely source these as it would really help myself and others!
If you live elsewhere in the world ?, your best bet is usually Amazon or a quick Google search. Just ensure that your flours and starches aren’t cross-contaminated by manufacturing methods as this can be more common depending where you live.
The recipe for your gluten-free flour recipe is in grams. What are the cup measurements?
Though I’ve used cups in the photos, I use these purely for scooping! I would always, always, always advise that you measure out your gluten-free flour using digital weighing scales instead of cup measurements.
Yes, cups are convenient, but we’re creating the foundation of an endless amount of different gluten-free bakes here and that foundation must be correct at all costs!!
In gluten-free baking, there is little margin for error and removing gluten is already a huge challenge. So please take literally 2 minutes extra and take the time to measure out your flours and starches – even just for me if you really don’t want to do it!
When it comes to literally baking, you can feel free to measure out the pre-made flour blend in cups. But for this part, precision is everything – trust me!
Gluten-free Flour Recipe: Storage
Of course, this gluten-free flour blend is intended to be used just how you’d use a commercial blend of gluten-free flour, so mixing it up ahead of time and storing it ready to use is definitely advised. Here’s a few tips on storage options:
How to store your gluten-free flour blend:
- Once created, store your gluten-free flour blend in any airtight container. I use large clip top glass jars as these are the easiest to store on a shelf as well as to decant from. But in reality, even plastic tupperware is fine – as long as it’s airtight, it’s a-ok.
- I highly advise labelling your gluten-free flour blend in some way so that you can tell it apart from other flours. This especially applies if you’re creating gluten-free plain and self-raising blends, which you’ll be storing together – they look identical, so label them first!
- Store at room temperature in a dry, cool place.
- Both my gluten-free plain and self-raising flour blends will last for around 6-8 months, if stored correctly.
Gluten-free flour recipe: A quick warning ⚠️
Lastly, please make sure that any flours used in this blend are gluten-free. In the UK, Amazon is fortunately an easy place to source them and in the US, Bob’s Red Mill produces safe, gluten-free flours/starches too.
However, not all of these flours are always 100% gluten-free due to manufacturing methods. For example, in my local Chinese supermarket, they stock almost all of these flours – however, when produced in Asia, these flours are commonly labelled with a ‘manufactured where traces of gluten may be present’ warning more often than not.
This makes those unsuitable for a gluten-free diet and unsuitable for this recipe. I’ve tried to link safe sources in the FAQ section above, but your own local knowledge and resources will likely be a better fountain to draw from than little ol’ me searching online!
So yes, gluten-free flours only – no ‘may contain gluten’ warnings, please!
Gluten-free flour recipe: How to make it…
Ok, so here’s a printable version of my gluten-free flour blend recipe. Please remember to give it 5 stars if you tried it and enjoyed it as it helps people know it’s worth trying too! ⭐️ Feel free to leave your written reviews in the comments below this post.
Gluten-free Flour Recipe - BEST EVER! Plain (All-purpose) + Self-raising (rising) Flour Blends
For gluten-free plain flour:
- 500 g white rice flour
- 150 g tapioca starch
- 150 g potato starch
- 150 g cornflour corn starch
- 50 g buckwheat flour
To optionally make it gluten-free self-raising flour, add:
- 70 g gluten-free baking powder
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients and starches. Mix thoroughly until well combined, being careful not to lose any over the sides of the bowl in the process.
- If making gluten-free self-raising flour, add the baking powder and xanthan gum, then thoroughly mix in.
- Store in an airtight container (a funnel helps to ensure it all goes in easily if using a large jar) and ideally label it so you can tell it apart from other flour!
- Store in a dry, cool place for up to 6-8 months.
Thanks for reading all about my gluten-free flour blend recipe! If you make it, I’d love to see how it turned out so don’t forget to take a snap of your creations and tag me on Instagram!
Any questions about the recipe? Please do let me know by following me on Instagram and leaving me a comment on a recent photo!
Thanks for reading,
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