On a gluten-free diet, reaching for the brass ring is really a matter of finding a decent flour blend. In fact, a lot of cooks who experiment with gluten-free baking find they prefer it over the use of wheat flour simply because the gluten-free blends have so much more character and flavor. That makes for cookies and cakes that taste at least as wonderful as their gluten-flour counterparts. Well, sometimes.
I was away from home when I found myself in a pinch for an all purpose, gluten-free flour. My standby brand was nowhere on the grocery store shelf, so I picked the one that most closely matches my own preferred mix. I am not a big fan of bean flours for general baking, although, bean flour does make a killer brownie: my preference is a rice blend. The flour blend I chose was predominantly white rice flour and a couple of starches with a little of brown rice at the end. No leavening: no salt: no gum. Hardly all-purpose flour if you ask me. Nonetheless, I figured that I had enough of what was missing to make due.
I threw together a batch of pancake batter by adding the baking powder, baking soda, some xanthan gum, and salt. I mixed a standard pancake recipe with rice milk, olive oil, an egg, some honey, some rolled oats, and a little vinegar. They puffed up and browned quite nice, but had all the flavor of a Styrofoam peanut.
Flour is an art. When we remove the glutens, it becomes a challenge to find a compatible mix of
different grains, beans, seeds, and nuts that make a good baked product. Additionally, the granularity of each flour plays a role in the overall baking consistency. Rice flour can be grainy, but starches cabe rather pasty. Mix the two and you get a fairly decent baking mix for cakes, pancakes, muffins, and cookies. Pasty = pasta, so you are going to depend on those starches to make a pasta flour. Beans flour will make you fart if eating beans has that effect on you. So it is also true that you need different blend for different applications. The bottom line is that you cannot forget flavor.
Each of these flours has its own flavor and personality. Corn starch tastes different than potato starch. Quinoa flour tastes different than chickpea flour. Brown rice tastes different than white.
InSite has its own flour blend, “InSiteful Baking Mix”, masterfully formulated by our own chef. It is 70% whole food and leavened. Without any dairy, this blend is better suited for persons with gluten intolerance or other mal-absorption issues. We used xanthan gum over guar, as guar can have a tendency to irritate the stomach. We use almond meal to keep baked goods moist. Most importantly, it tastes wonderful.
Purchase InSiteful Baking Mix through our online store http://www.insitewellnessllc.com/online-store/ and shipping is only $1.00 through the end of February – regardless of where you live in the continental US. If you have any questions, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
I love this flour, and you will too.