Most of us eat too much gluten. Before I was diagnosed with a mild gluten sensitivity a few years ago, I ate wheat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And snack time. Convenience foods such as cereal, bread, snack bars, and pasta tend to be full of gluten ingredients. There is a debate about whether wheat should be avoided even by people without gluten sensitivity, but I’m not going to get into that. There are a lot of nutritious grains out there, and if we eat too much of one of them, we aren’t getting enough of the others. (See here for my thoughts about eating too much of the same foods.)
When I first began avoiding gluten, I got a cookbook called Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Mealsby Silvana Nardone. This book was a lifesaver for me in my transition, as it provided recipes for things like cornbread, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies. These were essentials to my diet, and I was relieved to find a gluten-free approach to these foods. I stocked up on Silvana’s gluten-free flour mix, which is a combination of white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, and salt. It carried me beautifully through the transition.
When I made the commitment to real food, I knew this combination of ingredients wouldn’t fit the bill. I did some research, but I couldn’t find a good resource for real food gluten-free flour. I know these ingredients aren’t as close to the source as a batch of freshly ground whole wheat flour, but I didn’t have a great alternative. I can’t eat almonds, so almond flour was out of the picture for me. To this day, I don’t have a perfect solution.
For lack of a better option, this is the gluten-free flour recipe I use. I fill a big container with this mixture so I can easily grab a cup or two when I’m baking. I switched Silvana’s white rice flour to brown rice flour, which is a whole grain product. I also dropped the salt because I didn’t think it was necessary. Otherwise, I’ve generally maintained her proportions. Some people use corn starch in their gluten-free flour mix, but I stay away from that because so much of the corn grown in the US is genetically modified.
5 cups brown rice flour (preferably Bob’s Red Mill)
2½ cups tapioca flour
1¼ cups potato starch
1½ tbs. xanthan gum
You can use this flour mixture as a substitute for regular flour in just about any recipe. And for the record, a cup of this gluten-free flour mixture costs $.75, while a cup of white whole wheat flour costs $.15. I actually prefer the gluten-free version to whole wheat flour in many recipes because it is lighter in texture. If I didn’t have a gluten sensitivity, I would never have started baking with these ingredients. But I’m glad I did because it has added a variety to what my family is eating, and that’s a good thing.
If you have suggestions for other real food gluten-free flour combinations, I’m all ears.
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