Flour Blend Friday

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This post is long / wordy and probably won’t interest those of you who have no interest in making your own flour…but I’ve spent the better part of two months working on this flour blend and want to share.  🙂  I realize this isn’t anything special and that every single gluten-free person in the world has their own favorite blend.  But it’s special to me.  🙂

If you’ve read here before you know that I love Cup4Cup. Prior to working on my own blend it was the only gluten-free flour I’d used. I ordered a 25 pound bag and fell in gluten-free love.  It works amazingly in everything I’ve tried it in.  I didn’t have to tweak my recipes.  I just subbed it…cup for cup.  🙂

The problem with Cup4Cup?  It’s expensive and because of the heat where I live I can really only order it between Nov and April and I just don’t have the freezer space to store the amount I’d need to make it thru the rest of the year.

I know a lot of you have no problem with measuring out each flour depending on your recipe.  I’m the opposite.  The neat freak in me can’t stand the mess and I like to be able to just go in the kitchen and pull out one container of flour and get to work.

So it was time to try to make my own blend.  I wanted a blend as close to Cup4Cup as possible.

Prior to working on my own blend I had no idea how to go about actually making a blend so naturally I turned to the internet for help.  🙂

The ingredients in C4C are…cornstarch, white rice flour, brown rice flour, milk powder, tapioca flour, potato starch, xanthan gum.

First I searched for a copycat Cup4Cup recipe.  The one I found wasn’t even remotely like the real thing.  Having used C4C exclusively for months I was somewhat of a minor C4C ‘expert’.  I could tell just from the feel of the finished blend that it wasn’t what I was looking for.  For the next few tries I kept working with the basic percentages in the copycat recipe but try after try was a fail.

Then I found Shauna at glutenfreegirl.  She recommends using a basic 40 / 60 split for your mix.  40% grain / 60 % starch.  As soon as I started working with that formula I started seeing results…dare I say…even better than Cup4Cup.   The goal then became working C4C ingredients into that 40 / 60 formula.  I was dead set against a brown rice base and tried sorghum instead.  It was awful.   I gave in and went with brown rice and it’s been a dream.  If I had to name one complaint about Cup4Cup it would be the cooked rice smell of some recipes.  All of my research told me that smell was coming from the white rice flour.

Shauna considers white rice flour to be a starch so I decided to leave it out completely…start with 40% brown rice flour and adjust the other ingredients until it worked ‘flawlessly’ in various recipes.  It took 17 tries (I kept count and notes) but it’s finally there.  Yes…seriously…something as little as 1% in one or two flours was the difference between the blend working great in one recipe but not working in another.  I just kept tweaking until it worked across the board.

When I say ‘working’ I mean as a Cup4Cup replacement.  Every version of the flour ‘worked’ as flour but my goal was to get as close to my C4C results as possible.

Throughout the tweaking process I realized that the main key to Cup4Cup is the high content of cornstarch and the dry milk.  When I tried dropping the cornstarch below 35g / cup it changed the results more than tweaking any other flour in the mix.  For the rest of my testing I decided on 40% brown rice and 35g cornstarch and then tweaked everything else around those numbers.  Remember even though cornstarch is the first and largest single ingredient in the C4C mix…the combined total of white and brown rice would most likely make rice the actual largest component.

A major question I had to answer?  What is the weight of a cup of flour?  You would think this would be a simple question to answer but it’s not.  Some people use 125g.  Some use 128g.  Some use 130g.  Others use 140g.  I settled on 125g because that is what’s worked the best for me all along.

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Following test after test these are the numbers I settled on…in grams.  I’m sorry but I don’t know how the numbers would translate to cups / spoons.  I’ve been measuring even wheat flour by weight since long before my celiac diagnosis.

Brown Rice       40%     50     100      200

Cornstarch       28%     35      70        140

Tapioca             15%     18      36          72

Potato Starch    5%       7      14          28

Sweet Rice          5%      7      14          28

Dry Milk               7%      8      16         32

**There is no Sweet Rice in Cup4Cup but I’d been adding a tiny amount to recipes and wanted to incorporate it into my blend so I wouldn’t have to add it separately anymore.

The first column of numbers is the %.  I used 125 as my base but you can use any number that works for you.  You don’t have to recalculate at all if you don’t want to.  You can use my numbers and then just weigh out whatever amount YOU use to represent a cup.  If you use 140 you will run out quicker of course but it works…up or down.

The second column is the amount of each flour to make 1 cup.

The third column is for 2 cups and

The fourth column is for 4 cups.

You don’t have to add your xanthan gum to the mix.  You can do it with each recipe but since it’s all I’ve ever known I really like having some in the mix.

So here are the amounts I used for the xanthan gum.  I use a tsp for this because I wasn’t getting good results at all with weighing it.

1 cup    a little less than 1/2 tsp

2 cups   1/2 tsp plus 1/4 tsp

4 cups   1 tsp plus 1/2 tsp plus 1/4 tsp

8 cups   3 tsp plus 1/2 tsp

Is realize this probably looks silly and unnecessary but using a straight 1/2 tsp per cup of flour did not work for me with this blend.

The way I’ve been mixing mine to make sure it’s evenly distributed is…say I’m making 8 cups…which is what I’m doing with each batch right now…I weigh out my brown rice then add the total amount of xanthan and mix well.  Then I add the corn starch and mix well.  Followed by the rest of the flours mixing well after each.  When I get to the potato / sweet rice / dry milk I add those all together since it’s a smaller amount.

Once I moved up to making 4 cups at a time I started using the mixer with the whip attachment to do the work and to make sure everything is evenly combined.

I’ve now tested it with all my ‘mainstays’ and this is the blend that gave me all of the following results…

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Banana muffins.  Same recipe.  C4C on the left.  My blend on the right.  Notice the rise with my blend?

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Mini bread loaves.  C4C on the left.  My blend on the right.  Notice the rise with my blend?  Note – the pan to the far left of my blend is bigger than the other pans so the rise wasn’t as high.

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Dr. Pepper Cake.  C4C on left.  My blend on right (before icing).  I’m showing the un-iced cake with my blend so you can see the rise.  No sinking at all with my blend…in any recipe I’ve tested so far.  Knocking on wood now. 😉

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English Muffins with some pretty nice ‘nooks and crannies’ plus the cut mini bread loaf.  I’m going to do a dedicated English Muffin post soon. 

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Rustic Raisin Bread and Tortilla that stayed rolled without breaking.

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Red Velvet cake and Pizza.

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Super moist Dr. Pepper cake and of course the donuts.  🙂

I’m very happy with this blend and while I didn’t recreate Cup4Cup…flour for flour…for me what I did create is even better.  It has all the lightness and ease of use as C4C but with better rise and just overall structure.  I’m sure 17 tries probably sound excessive…maybe even obsessive…to some but I’m so glad I took the time to get it exactly where I wanted it to be.  Knowing that I can just mix this up, throw it in the freezer, pull it out and go makes me excited to get in the kitchen and try some new recipes.  🙂

If you read all of this…thank you for reading 🙂 and I hope you found it helpful.  🙂

Hope y’all have a good weekend.  🙂  Happy Thanksgiving weekend to our friends in Canada.  🙂

**If you have any comments / questions about the flour…I’ll always answer but I’ve had a tiring week with lots of lost sleep and a trip to an out of town doctor.  I have a massage today and I might not get back to the blog until later in the weekend or Monday.

24 responses to “Flour Blend Friday

  1. Wow! This sounds great – all my favorite flours, but I would have never thought of the milk powder. Your results look fantastic. I am going to make a batch of your flour soon. I just need to dust off my scale 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks, gfandme. 🙂 Please let me know how it goes if you try it.

      You may already know this but I was going to tell you that when I was researching for this blend I found a suggestion (and I really wish I would have saved a link) for going from cups to scale.

      I know you bake with cups and this person was saying the first time you use a new blend that’s based on weight to first measure out a cup of your regular blend and weigh that. It will give you an idea how close your usual cup measurement is to the weight the new blend is suggesting.

  2. I am so impressed with your determination and skill to do what you did with this flour. Of course you know me so you know I have no clue what all the measurements mean, but I am thrilled you found the formula that works!! I can’t wait for more of that red velvet cake! 😉 Love you! Happy Friday!

  3. Nice job! I’ve still barely gotten my feet wet when it comes to gluten-free baking; I’m much more of a cook and so have stuck primarily with purchased or from-a-mix baked goods. But every time I read a post like yours I feel a little closer to taking the plunge and really relearning to bake. Sometime soon, maybe!

    • Thanks so much, Molly. 🙂

      I’ve been baking all my life and was really intimidated when I found out I had to start baking gluten free. It truly isn’t as scary as it seems. When you’re ready…pick something simple and jump in. 🙂

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  10. Wow so much work you put into this! I usually hate mixes with all the added ingredients and weird tastes. This may be doable. I will have to try the weigh vs measurement thing. I haven’t tried the cup4cup but that’s sounds great. I hate it when I have to measure out tons of different ingredients, or hope I have them. I may have to look for some of these when I get to the city! Lol Thanks for your work!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kathy. 🙂 Switching to weight vs cups has been one of the best things I’ve done. The results are so much more consistent. This blend really is great but now that it’s cooler and I can safely order Cup4Cup I’m using it right now. You really can’t beat the convenience of a preblend. 🙂 I’ll always fall back to this blend though if I run out or just can’t get C4C because of $ or heat.

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  15. I’m curious if you can substitute a non-dairy milk powder (i.e. daritime) for the milk powder in your flour blend? We are GF and DF here. Thanks so much.

    • Hi, Pam. First, I’m sorry for not replying sooner. I’ve been having to take a little break from the blog.

      I honestly don’t know if dairy free would work because I’ve never tried it. The main reason for adding it to the blend is to make the finished product softer and to add moisture. If you’ve used your dairy free brand in other recipes and it behaved similarly to regular dairy powder and your recipe turned out well then I’d definitely give it a try in the flour. 🙂

      Thanks again for stopping by and I apologize for the delay in responding. 🙂

  16. I left the post above regarding non-dairy milk powder. The name of the non-dairy powder is actually darifree, not daritime. Thanks again! Pam

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