Flash in the Pan: All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix

[Sometimes, you just want a dish that’s quick and easy–no fuss.  I’ve decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here’s today’s “Flash in the Pan.” (For other FitP recipes, see “Categories” at right).] 

[Toasted Coconut Cupcakes using this recipe and subbing the gluten-free AP mix for the regular flour ( plus 1/2 tsp xanthan gum) and coconut sugar for the sugar; frosted with my allergen-free Chocolate Buttercream Frosting]

I know that every gluten free baker has her or his own favorite GF “mix.”  Some like a more starch-based mix; some like a more protein-based one.  My first approach (for these pancakes) was to combine a little of each type of gluten free flour (that is, the grains, the legumes and the starches), but of course there are also nut flours and coconut to contend with these days.  This is why I love gluten-free baking so much: the possibilities are endless! While I’m neither a chemist nor an official pastry chef (though I did take some courses in our local chef’s program–so much fun!), I’ve got more than 40 years’ experience baking in the kitchen, first with Mom, then on my own, now with The Girls  giving me their intense, blink-free “border collie stare” whenever I pull out the food processor. (“Well, duh, Mum! Remember Pavlov? We’ve figured out that the processor usually means there will be something for us when you’re through.“)  Using the final product as my gauge, I recently came up with a new gluten free all-purpose mix of my own that I replaced one-for-one instead of wheat all-purpose flour in existing recipes. I’ve now made cupcakes, pancakes, waffles and cookies, and they’ve all come out great! What’s the reasoning behind my mix? Well, first off, I knew the major grain would be millet.  I rarely eat wholegrain millet on its own, but I find that millet flour provides the same mild, neutral base as wheat flour–it holds up well with intense flavorings and is unassuming enough to serve as a perfect foil for delicate flavors like lemon or vanilla.  I also wanted to include a bean-based flour for its higher protein content, plus starch.  My favorite starch these days is potato starch since it’s grain-free and, I find, serves very much the same purpose that cornstarch did in my glutenous baking.  I combined it with arrowroot, which is a little lighter than the potato. To determine the flour ratios, I decided to check out the protein content in regular (wheat) flour and try to approximate the same in my mix. I knew that gluten-free flours don’t produce the same results as wheat unless combined, but also that gluten is, itself, a protein. According to Fine Cooking magazine, all-purpose wheat flour contains 9-12% protein.  Millet flour weighs in about the same. So, of my remaining flours, I wanted a similar protein content of about 10-15%, just like the wheat (and the millet).  Bean flour contains more like 20-25% protein, and starches have almost nil. So, I reasoned, the half of the mix that is millet already approximates the composition of wheat flour; and the bean flour should be measured out to about half the other two combined (to decrease its protein content by half, to about 12%). In other words, for each 1 part millet, I needed 1/3 garfava and 1/3  each of potato and arrowroot.  And–voila!–I had the ratio for a perfect gluten free all-purpose mix. My first thing I made was the  Toasted Coconut Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, pictured above.  The result: an incredibly moist, tender crumb and fabulous chocolate-coconut flavor. Next up: pancakes! I made my own Fluffy Fruited Pancakes from this blog using my all-purpose mix along with 1/2 tsp xanthan gum instead of the spelt.  The HH gobbled these up in record time:

[Fluffy Fruited Pancakes with pineapple coulis and Spiced Macadamia Butter] I also made another batch of my Carob Refrigerator Cookies with the new flour, as well as buckwheat waffles for breakfast this morning (though we gobbled them up before I could snap a pic, they looked just like the ones I made last time, below). I can’t wait to see how the flour works on my pizza crust or muffins!

[Buckwheat Waffles, gluten free]

As a rule, I still love using different blends of gluten-free flours for my current baking. After all, I don’t always want a totally neutral flavor–sometimes I’d like the quinoa, or amaranth, to shine through.  On the other hand, I’d love to be able to revamp all of the spelt-based recipes on this blog, one by one. . . and this is the all-purpose flour I’ll use to do it. Do you have a great all-purpose gluten free mix that you use? Which one is it? Feel free to share a link or the recipe in the comments!

Last Year at this Time: Flash in the Pan: Freshly Dressed and Saucy

Two Years Ago: Dog Day: Where’s Mum?

Three Years Ago: Radish and Grapefruit Salad

© 2007-2011 RickiHeller.com

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  1. One day, I’ll too come up with an all-purpose flour blend that I can stick with. Right now I’m still too fickle, always wanting to play with all of the flours! 🙂

  2. I love the approach you took to creating this flour mix! I also love that it’s mostly millet flour, which is super cheap in bulk at the Coop. Thanks for sharing =)

  3. Wow, this mix looks great! Usually most flour mixes don’t work for me, because there are always some ingredients in them that I don’t have access too. Thank you, Ricki!

  4. I think it’s great that there are only four (five if you count the xanthan gum) ingredients in the mix. What happens if you don’t include xanthan gum when you bake?

  5. I’ve always just used a store-bought GF mix before, but I kinda want to make this just so I can say the word “garfava” over and over and over… 😛

  6. Those fruited pancakes look divine!

  7. I love doing ratios like this – brilliant Ricki!

    So I noticed that garfava is the new it flour. Any insight as to how it differs from chickpea flour in terms of texture and performance?

    • How did I miss this until now? So sorry! Yes, garfava has a higher starch content than chickpea, so it creates a milder flavor and lighter crumb. But it’s still mostly protein, so not like a grain flour at all!

  8. This looks great Ricki. How exciting! Do you think you could sub soy flour instead of garfava? I can’t do garbanzo’s 🙁 and also no potatoes for me either- so I’m thinking it would be easily replaced with corn/tapioca/arrowroot? Of course, I won’t be able to use this for a while (ACD), but I’d like to know so when I’m ready I can give it a whirl! 🙂

    • One of the beautiful things about GF baking is that many of the bean flours and starches are interchangeable, so I would guess that soy would work instead of garfava, and another starch instead of potato, though the final product may need some adjustment to work one-for-one instead of wheat all-purpose. 🙂

  9. the time seems right to make that sweet potato kale pizza 🙂

  10. I agree that GF flours can seem to be a tyranny of choice – so much to play with – but I think that a mix of flours is usually wise – I have used millet flour and not been overly impressed yet I think I have combined it with other flours and really enjoyed it so I will have to try your mix. Am now off to check out the chocolate coconut cupcakes – sound delish

  11. Ok, So how do you measure it? Do you just scoop it with a spoon into a measuring cup? Everyone seems to measure their gluten-free flour differently—some pour the flour into the cup, some scoop flour from the bag, and some use a spoon and spoon or scoop it in. And I’ve learned that it makes a difference in the weight and amount you get so I just want to make sure I make this right. I am actually going to try garbanzo/fava again to see how I do. 🙂

  12. One question about this recipe: the ingredients, when measured in cups, total 4 cups (6/3 or 2 + 2), but the comments at the bottom of the recipe say the yield is 6 cups of mix. We’re going to prepare the mix by weight, but I’m still curious about this discrepancy. Have my math skills deserted me?

    Love your blog!

    • Hi Robin,
      And to think, I used to get “A” in math!! No, your skills haven’t deserted you, but it looks like mine have! Sorry about that. I just made the change. Thanks for pointing out the error! (And thanks, too, for the kind comment about the blog!). 😀

  13. We’ll try this at Yogi Kitchen. Usually, we use rice flour – at least 2 tbs with any other flour (even regular) as it seems to give a really good texture. I recently went to a Vietnamese place doing Bahn Mi Baguettes (the newest craze here in London) and they use a high proportion in their baguettes which makes for quite a different bread – in a good way… Anyway, thanks for this combo!

    • Hi Adam,

      Thanks so much for your comment, and for reading my blog! I like rice flour, too, but found it sometimes heavy or gritty in some baked goods. Then again, I don’t do many breads, so except for my one quick bread, I’m not sure how this would work out. It’s been great in all kinds of cookies, cakes and crusts, though. 🙂

  14. I’m so glad i found your website. My baby has multiple food allergy (Wheat, egg, milk, peanut, almond, soy, rice, corn shellfish). My breast milk pass all the allergens to him which make his eczema so bad that he can’t sleep. It’s so sad that he can’t even eat any teething biscuit because they’ll all wheat based. 🙁 He got hives and eczema followed. I myself is a sweet tooth and love baking and felt so sad and deprive. I’ve tried some store bought gluten free flour mix, and some gluten free recipe. However, without eggs, milk or butter it just taste awful and i was about to quit. Thank God I stumbled upon your blog. All your creation looks so yummy and I enjoy your writing. I hope to try something here and hopefully baby won’t be allergic to it, and hope that when he grow up I can bake a nice cake for his first birthday that he can eat, or even just some everyday bread.

  15. The GF flour mix looks great, just wondering if you can use something else instead of the Millet flour all the other we can use except the Millet. Could you use another bean flour or maybe potato flour just guessing. Please let me know since it would be so easy to use if we could find a mix that we could use for regular flour.

  16. Hi there just wondering what the best gluten free flour to use to thicken sauces.


    • Hi Ruth,
      I use either straight rice flour or my all-purpose mix. Both seem to work for me! 🙂

      • hi ricki.was really relieved to see ur site.my ome year daughter suffers from dairy,soy,gluten allergy.we avoid nuts too.can u tel me what is garfava and what millet did u use.is it ok to use xanthum gum for her.any alternative.do chocolates or cocoa too will produce allergy.waiting eagerly for ur reply

        • Hi Vinolia,
          Thanks so much for your comment! Garfava is a mix of garbanzo (chickpea) flour (both legumes). I used millet flour from Bob’s Red Mill. You can find links to all the ingredients here on my Shopping List page. As for xanthan, most of it is grown on corn, but you’d need to contact the company that makes the xanthan you buy to ensure it’s safe for your daughter. I’d opt for carob instead of cocoa or chocolate, but do keep in mind that it doesn’t taste exactly the same as chocolate, though! 😉

          • hi ricki.can u post me a gluten free nut free dairy free cookie and cake recipe.

          • Vino, there are way too many to post here! Just use the categories at right and search under “nut-free”. Almost all the recipes are already gluten-free, and they are all dairy-free on this site. 🙂

  17. Dear Ricki

    Can you recommend an alternative flour to millet that has similar properties as I react to millet?

    Secondly in your experimentation have you found a flour mix that works well that doesn’t contain starches?

    I look forward to hearing from you.


    • Hi Kay,
      I’d say sorghum is the closest you can get to millet, though no two gluten-free flours are exactly alike. I haven’t experimented too much with grain-bsed all-purpose gluten-free flours. I know that a lot of the Paleo bloggers use almond flour or almond/coconut flour for their baking (they will also use eggs–not sure if that’s an issue for you or not). You could try Googling “Paleo all purpose flour” and see what comes up. I haven’t used those myself, however. Hope that helps! 🙂

  18. Hi Ricki,
    I love your recipes so much, thank you for all your hard work putting them out there!

    Do you think it’s possible to make millet flour out of whole millet in a coffee grinder or will it still be too grainy? Thanks.

    • Thank you so much, Anna! I really appreciate it. 🙂 You can make a version of “flour” in a coffee grinder or blender, but it’s not identical to the flour you buy (it’s actually healthier, but the texture is a bit more grainy in the final product). I do use it all the time, though, especially when I run out of millet flour! 🙂

  19. Thanks Ricki, that’s great, I have lots of millet so saves me having to buy another product, my food cupboard is bulging already! 😊

  20. I bought your book and am very pleased with it.
    I can’t get garfava flour, but I can get garbanzo and fava bean flour separately. Can I make my own garfava flour, by mixing both in a 1:1 ratio? I can’t find any recipe to make garfava bean flour.

    • Hi Sonia–thanks so much for getting the book! 🙂 Yes, I’d say that’s a good way to go about it. I’ve never tried mixing it myself, but I imagine that would work well! If you try it, come back and let us know how it turned out. 🙂


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