Usually, I shop at Food Lion because I'm broke and a college student. However, this week I made the trip to Walmart since I had to restock on a few things.
Yes, we can all talk about the evils of Walmart, but that's not what this post is about.
I have NEVER seen so many options for gluten-free flour in my life and apparently, this is happening everywhere.
With so many different gluten-free flours to choose from, here's some general info for you guys so you can better understand what's going on.
The Gluten Free Flour Overview
Gluten free flours are not all equal. The basic flour mix you might get in a store is made of rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, xanthan gum and salt. Some will have sorghum flour and the most expensive ones will have modified tapioca starch.
If these flour mixes work, why the hell do recipes call for all sorts of other flours like garbanzo bean flour, coconut flour, or cassava flour?
Well, there's a couple of reasons.
1. If you’re following a paleo recipe, they won't use any domestic grains as they weren't available in paleolithic times. Instead, their recipes will usually call for coconut or nut flours. Unfortunately, they are also the most expensive flours on the market and so I don't do too much paleo baking.
2. If you are baking a gluten-free recipe, usually any GF flour mix can be substituted for the flour suggested in the recipe with, for the most part, minimal changes in the resulting cake.
When baking with yeast, however, it may get a little tricky.
Gluten free flour mix as described above is very low in protein as well as nutrients, but it's the protein that causes issues with yeast recipes.
Yeast needs the flour protein to rise and stay risen. Therefore yeast recipes need flours with a higher protein content. These are the bean flours, sorghum, gluten-free (GF) oat, etc.
These flours however often have a stronger flavor, so we mix them with the rice flours and tapioca flours to mellow them out.
My usual ratio for yeast recipes is 3:1 GF flour mix to high protein flour and this works well for me.
(note: The above flours tend to go rancid more quickly and should be kept in a fridge or freezer to help extend their shelf life)
Now, just because you can go out and make any delicious treat you want doesn't mean you should.
Remember, even GF bread and cakes are cookies should not be your go-to foods on a daily basis. They are generally high in calories and low in nutrients. Keep them for treats and accompaniments to your unprocessed, fresh food diets for optimum health.
So in summary, buy a bag of GF all purpose flour from the grocery store and use it for most of your recipes and if you want to try to bake with yeast, get yourself a bag of high protein flour and mix it in. Even in a dorm with a microwave, you can make your own chocolate cake!
This is the cheapest way to start baking and check out these recipes for some delicious and simple GF cookies and cakes.
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup plus 2 Tblsp GFX flour mix ½ cup butter or vegetable shortening
1 tsp baking powder ½ cup light brown sugar
½ tsp baking soda ¼ cup white sugar
½ tsp salt 1 large egg
¾ cup chocolate chips 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl and using a fork, beat together the shortening, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour mixture, stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a scoop or a rounded tablespoon, drop the dough 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.
At this point you can take those dough balls and freeze them until you want a cookie.
Place them in freezer bag and take one out some evening when you feeling like a treat.
Or Bake until golden at the edges. 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Basic Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes
½ cup GFX flour mix ⅓ cup sunflower oil (or any oil)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 3 Tablespoon water
¾ teaspoon gf baking powder 3 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt 1 ½ cups miniature chocolate chips
¾ cup sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, ½ cup chocolate chips and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, microwave cocoa, oil, water and remaining 1 cup chocolate chips on High for 1 minute.
Stir with a whisk until smooth. Let the mix cool to room temperature. Stir in eggs and flour mixture until batter is smooth and shiny. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
Bake 25 minutes or until set. Cool and then frost or eat as is.
Microwave Chocolate Cake in a Bowl
3 Tablespoons butter or dairy free 4 Tablespoons gf flour
substitute, melted ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 Tablespoons milk or dairy free milk ¼ to ½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
4 Tablespoons sugar
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter with the milk, vanilla, and egg. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, flour, cinnamon, chili powder and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
Divide the mixture between 2 microwavable mugs.
Microwave on full powder for 90 seconds or until cake are risen and set. Let cool slightly and enjoy. Great with vanilla yogurt or icecream.