Gluten Free Baking    by Michael Tighe (December 2013)
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Jump forward on this page to the most recent addendum about soy-free and dairy-free baking.

Here's the quick-and-dirty 2-minute version for Gluten Free. See (below for notes on Soy-Free)

  Mix a box of corn starch with a box of tapioca (1 lb each) with a 22-ounce bag of soy flour to make about three and half pounds of general purpose gluten-free flour.

Use about 1+1/3 of a cup of this GF flour for every cup requested in your wheat-based recipe.

Mix in about a half teaspoon of xanthum gum per "cup" of the GF flour before you add any liquids.

When you do add liquids, add more water or honey than the recipe calls for (incrementally).

Bake at 350 degrees for a longer time (i.e., don't bake at 400).

Make sure when you make bread or other yeast-based products that you shape it, let it rise and then bake without handling it.

-- Michael

Here's the longer - more detailed version of the same thing:

Essentially, I got most of my information from a website which I highly recommend. When she started she was the "Gluten-Free-Girl" - now she's married a Chef, so it's "The Gluten-Free-Girl and the Chef". It's so cool she's found her way in this world!

The main site is here: (

You'll want to wander her site, but the key page for me was her explanation of how to make a gluten-free flour with all the options clearly explained. You can find that page here: (

She explains how a good flour-mix requires 40% protein and 60% starch (by weight) and she supplies a list of protien flours and a list of starches. You then get to pick which ones you want - depending on your dietary limitations and taste preferences. Read her page, watch her video and you'll be all set.

I tried a couple and have found one fairly good solution for my family, but it includes corn and soy - which may not meet your needs. I found corn flour adds a stronger taste than the soy flour and I found that the potato starch/flour can leave a slightly bitter tang to the baked goods. You need to experiment - but feel free to use my proportions and ingredients as a starting point.

I've made bread, rolls, brownies, muffins, banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, blueberry bread, strawberry bread and more with this GF flour mix described here. And the report from gluten-free and gluten-consumer alike is that the result tastes good and has a really nice texture. So - universal success!

For me, I've found after some experimentation that there are a number of important things that will improve your process and success ratio.

  1. Measuring Scale  -  Buy a scale that allows you to weigh your flour mix - I have an inexpensive one that allows you to weigh up to 11 pounds (more than I need at any point in time). It has one cool feature (other than the "show me grams/ounces/pounds" option): it has a "reset". This means I can put the bowl on the scale, hit reset and the scale "subtracts" the weight of the bowl. So when I want to weigh 400 grams of flour, I can just put the bowl on the scale, hit "reset" and then start dumping flour - when it gets to 400 - I stop... so cool.

  2. The Mix  -  As it happens, the mix I ended up with almost exactly matches common packaging weights. For me, I use soy flour, tapioca and corn starch. To make a couple of cups of flour, I mix them as follows:

    • 400 grams of soy flour,
    • 300 grams of tapioca and
    • 300 grams of corn starch.

    If you buy tapioca and corn starch in 1-pound containers you discover that the weight is 454 grams per pound. If you buy the Arrowhead Mills Organic Soy Flour, you discover that the package is 623 grams (22 ounces). Voila. That almost exactly matches my original mix. Recently, what I've been doing is just mixing the three packages as I get them from the store. If I've got my scale and feel like a perfectionist, I remove about two tablespoons of the soy flour to get it back down to 605 grams (from 623) which makes it perfect! (So far, I've not been able to tell the difference between 605 grams and 623 grams...)

    Put them all into a larger sealable (airtight) container and mix them up thoroughly by shaking it a lot. Use like flour (as a thickener in gravy, like a surface for rolling out dough, etc).

  3. Weigh, Don't Measure  -  Each cup of this Gluten-Free (GF) flour weighs a lot less than wheat-based flour. So if you want to match an existing recipe (which is what I've been doing), you must use 140 grams of this flour per "cup" of wheat flour in the recipe. I've found on average this is about 1 and 1/3 cups of the GF flour, but I weigh each and every time unless I don't have a scale handy (e.g., while camping). If you want 1+1/2 cups - use 210 grams. It's easy. I actually made a table and consult it to make sure I get the number right.

  4. Use Xanthum Gum  -  The "sticky-ness" of glutin in wheat is one of the things that holds the dough "together". Without it, much gluten-free baking becomes crumbly. I use Xanthum Gum as a replacement. If you've ever chewed on a piece of bubble gum or chewing gum - you have been exposed to Xanthum Gum! I use between a half and a full teaspoon of xanthum gum per 140 grams (i.e., "one cup") of GF flour. I've not experimented much since I found something that worked for me. I have noticed that when xanthum gum gets wet - it gets slippery. I don't don't know why. I don't think it's necessary when making pie crusts and things you want to be crumbly, but I have the feeling it's essential when making bread. If I have time I'll experiment and write up more about what I've learned.

  5. Use More Water  -  I've found that this GF flour absorbs water a lot faster and makes a lot thicker dough that's almost too hard to mix. So I add another 10 to 20 percent water - sometimes just adding the water a bit at a time till I get a consisitancy that is similar to the one for normal wheat-based baking. That's my definition of "feels right".... yours may be different. Overall, I find the dough stickier and thicker. Adding water makes it less thick, but still sticky. For most of my baking, I look for something like sticky mashed potatoes. Can't describe it better!

  6. Don't Handle It  -  When I try to make something that rises (like muffins, rolls, bread), I've found that handling it after the rise really deflates it and I get something with no loft. Normal wheat-based baking has so much air trapped in the dough that when you handle it - it still has lots of loft when you bake. This hasn't worked too well for me with the GF flour. So I've taken the approach of mixing up all the stuff I want, shaping it and then I don't touch it again. Because the dough is so much thicker, I don't use a cup-cake tin when making blueberry muffins - I just dump the dough into cupcake liners on an open cookie pan. They're thick enough to just sit and bake in their original shape (no flowing). Sometimes when I make "rolls", I smooth the outside of each roll by wetting a spoon with water and rubbing and shaping the "roll" into something more like a rounded lump rather than a "scoop of mashed potatoes". I like to think that the wetting of the surface and smoothing it produces a better culinary experience (looks nicer - less lumpy).

  7. Bake At A Lower Temperature  -  I've found that when I make muffins and rolls and bread that the wheat-based recipe calls for baking at 400 degrees. I have found that with my GF mix, this causes the outside to be brown or almost burned in spots when the inside is barely done. I think this is because of the soy-flour (not really sure, justa gut feel). I've taken to reducing my baking temp for this GF flour to 350 degrees and adding five minutes or more to the baking time. I specifically test with toothpicks each and every time because nothing puts you off more than a goopy or glue-like interior when you bite into a roll or muffin, and GF baking already has challenges enough! You want the toothpick to slide in smoothly and come back out without anything on it or only dry "fluffy" bits of the dough. I test every time I bake, and if I'm "not sure" - I give it another three to five minutes since that won't hurt - it'll just make the outside a little browner and let me be SURE that the interior is cooked. In some cases, I put it back for yet another five minutes, especially when the thing is big (e.g., a loaf of bread rather than rolls) - since it takes longer for the heat to get to the center of the baked goodie.

Here's one quick recipe - it can be used to make rolls or two small loaves of bread:

  4 cups of flour (560 grams of GF flour)
2 or 3 teaspoons of xanthum gum
four tablespoons of sugar
two teaspoons of salt

12 oz hot water
1 package yeast (make sure it's GF)
a big squirt of honey

vegetable oil (e.g., olive oil)
coarse salt (e.g., kosher salt)

For me, I add a touch (sprinkle) of garlic powder and rosemary powder to bring some aromatic flavors to the dough. But that's all personal preference.

  • Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, xanthum gum, aromatics)
  • Mix the wet ingredients (hot water, honey)
  • Pour yeast into the hot water/honey mixture
  • Mix the yeast up really well.
  • Add liquid to the dry ingredients and mix.
  • You will have to add water (about 4 oz) to the mix to make it pliable.
  • Shape it.
        (Rolls: makes about sixteen "lumps" each of which is two inches across.)
    (Loaves are long and narrow like a loaf of french bread - make two.)
  • Cover with waxed paper and let it rise at least an hour.
  • Wet the top surface of the rolls/loaves with the oil and sprinkle course salt on it.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes for rolls, 20-25 minutes for bread.
  • Test with a clean toothpick. If it is not perfectly clean, bake for another three-to-five minutes and test again. Repeat till you are convinced it's done.
  • Take it out. Best if served warm, but it's great a day later.
  • Refrigerate it if you intend to keep it more than a day or two - it molds quickly.

Last modified: 16-Feb-2015
I was issued a challenge: make brownies without soy - we have a guest coming that can't eat soy.

So I went digging and found the PERFECT flour mix that made FABULOUS brownies:

  • 40% gluten-free oat flour
  • 30% potato starch
  • 30% corn starch
(Don't forget to add about 1/2 to 1 tsp of Xanthum Gum per cup/140 grams of the mix when you use it.)

See this page for my brownies recipe. It uses the GF flour (but works just as well with normal flour).

  • You Can Bake At A Higher Temperature.  -  I found that the preferred temperature for some of my baking (e.g. muffins at 400 degrees Farenheit) works with this flour. YAY! When I found that the soy flour can't take the higher heat - I'd taken to baking at 350 degrees. When I used this new oat/potato flour for Corn Bread, it was kinda "meh" at 350 - but wonderful at 400.
  • Pay Attention To Liquids  -  I found I didn't need quite as much water to make the bread dough "feel right". Apparently soy-flour is very thirsty ad. So ... add water above and beyond the recipe when using soy flour, and use the normal amount when using the OAT flour. Use your experience to help you - don't add water unless your really feel it needs it. And when you do add - add slowly.
  • Potato Adds Bitterness  -  I had tried Potato Flour earlier in my experiments and put it away. I found that it added too much specific "potato" and "bitter" flavor. For brownies and corn-bread - it works better than the Soy Flour.
  • Don't Forget The Honey  -  Many of the recipes don't brown as nice as the picture books suggest. This is because milk ingredients (which I replace with water) browns nicely and gives a nice "feel". My solution is to replace some of the water with honey. That is - when the recipe calls for butter and you replace it with Margarine or Canola Oil, add a tablespoon or two of honey. Normally, when I've substituted large amounts of milk I use a mixture of 3/4 water and 1/4 honey. The honey gives a nice browning and gives a slightly non-sugar sweetness that rounds out the flavor.
PS: I've yet to try the oat-flour for making bread. When I do - I'll update this...
Comments welcome: send mail to me at:
Last updated: February 2015.