Posts Tagged ‘tapioca flour’

Updated Gluten-free Flour Recipe(s).

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

amaranth... naturally gluten-free, essential to our flour blends

I don’t believe there has been one moment in the last several years, that our gluten-free flour blend recipe has not been in a transition. Trying to create a blend of flours to be an all-purpose substitute for the one thing you aren’t using… gluten. It get’s tricky. But, if only….

My conclusion is that one flour blend is not enough! Little by little, we abandoned the idea of one working blend to achieve a wide variety of results and textures. We currently use three  distinct formulas for different final results.

We are also conscious of that almost omnipresent gritty texture, commonly found in gluten-free baked goods, which we believe we successfully avoid or exploit in some cases. For example, brown rice flour is uniquely well suited to making gluten-free shortbread!

I encourage people to be very skeptical when they encounter recipes that suggest you substitute a gluten-free flour blend 1 for 1 for gluten containing flours to make a gluten-free version of the same item.  For one thing, the amount of liquid absorbed by various gluten-free flours is going to effect recipes differently. Perhaps your results will be edible, but will they be exceptional? If your going to take the time to gather ingredients and bake, shouldn’t you feel like what you make is good, not just good enough. Or, worser, good for gluten-free!!!


This a dense blend we use in our brownie recipes. The blend itself has flours that absorb moisture and make a nice fudgy brownie. The brownies also use buckwheat flour to reinforce that fudgy  texture. This blend is perfect for brownies, but little else.

  • 7.5 ounces garfava flour
  • 6 ounces brown rice flour
  • 6 ounces potato flour
  • 4.5 ounces tapioca flour
  • 4 ounces amaranth flour


This is an ultra light whole grain flour blend we use for more cakey muffins, layer cakes, cookies and tarts. This blend is super light and fluffy. It has the most neutral character of all our flour blends. In changing to this flour, I find I need to use a little more xanthan gum and a little extra flour. I am using maybe an extra 1/2 ounce per 8 ounces of flour. The results bake light and maintain their rise.

  • 6 ounces amaranth flour
  • 10 ounces garfava flour
  • 5 ounces brown rice flour
  • 12 ounces  tapioca flour
  • 12 ounces sorghum flour


I stumbled upon this recipe a few years back when I was researching our Irish Soda Bread recipe. The recipe referred to this blend as high protein, so we call it that.  We love this in cornbread and quick breads and breadier muffins. It bakes a little bit denser than the light blend and is really nice used in a 50/50 combination with the light blend.

  • 10 ounces garfava flour
  • 10 ounces arrowroot flour
  • 10 ounces tapioca flour
  • 10 ounce millet flour
  • 5 ounces amaranth flour

In addition to selecting the appropriate blend for each recipe, in most recipes, we add different flours, depending on the character of the final item. Some of the flours we use this way are quinoa, almond, coconut, oat flour…

So you see… this idea that you can take a cup of gluten-free flour and use it for a cup of “regular” flour in a “regular” recipe, is kind of an irresponsible statement. Experiment carefully. And beware of recipes that tell you to just use a cup of any gluten-free flour blend.

The key to successful gluten-free baking, in my experience, is finding a way to hide the characteristics of the flours you use in a way that produces a treat that tastes like what you remember. A challenge for sure!!

I hope my experiences help you! I love the challenge of getting to know and use all the different gluten-free flours that are available to us these days. Feel free to share your favorite flour stories.

The best and second easiest vanilla macaroon recipe ever – Which happens to be vegan and glutenfree

Friday, November 19th, 2010

All gussied up with chocolate frosting

A while back I remembered seeing a macaroon recipe in Jennifer Katzinger’s “Flying Apron’s Gluten-free & Vegan Baking Book”. The recipe haunted and scared me. It seemed so simple and delicious sounding. To my mind, it seemed almost too simple and defied logic – I just couldn’t see how it would hold together.  I recently went back to it and changed it up quite a bit – complicated it just a tad – and made a GonePie version. Yum!

When I work on a recipe, I write the original, then maniacally mark my changes.  The second time I went to make the recipe I had trouble reading it and accidentally made something very close to the original recipe in the book.  It was quite good and it certainly worked.  But the changes I include here, take it up a notch from good to divine!

This recipe is super easy and super quick to make.  It uses multiple coconut ingredients to give the most amazingly full and rich coconut flavor, which is lifted by a generous measure of vanilla.


  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together rice flour, tapioca flour, and salt.

Combine with remaining dry ingredients.

Combine wet ingredients.

Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  The dough is odd and almost doesn’t seem right.  It doesn’t hold together easily.

I used an ice cream scoop and made 18 to 20 macaroons. You should pack the scoop tightly with the dough. It helps them hold together during the baking. I space them well on the sheet even though they don’t spread so I can work on them with wet hands to make them smooth.  This really makes them look so elegant and also helps them stay together when baking.  With hands moistened, gently shape them into perfect little rounds.

Bake for 20 minutes.  They need to sit a minute before you move them.  Try one as soon as you can.  They are almost too rich hot.  They are best the second day, as the character of the coconut comes out more.

Hope you like this recipe as much as I do!  I sent a batch over to Integral Yoga yesterday and the staff was literally moaning as they tasted them.  I got 19 out of that batch.  They got 18 and the last one is mine.  Right now…..

The evolution of my glutenfree baking/flour choices

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Cassava root, the source of tapioca flour

Cassava root, the source of tapioca flour

Gluten-free/vegan baking is a very unique process!  Those that have tried their hand at it,  know I have said a mouthful right there!

It seems to me that the biggest challenges arise in selecting what flours to use for what items.  This is the challenge for all gluten-free baking, but is a somewhat more pronounced problem when baking vegan as well.  For the most part I have settled on a blend of flours that works in most recipes.  It contains enough *carrier* flours and *functional* flours to yield good results. I have tried to avoid making it a blend of nutritionless white starches and flours – a common problem in gluten-free flour blends.


  • 2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 1/4 cup garfava flour
  • 1 cup potato flour
  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1.5 cup sorghum flour
  • Why these flours?

    Rice flour: Rice flour was the first gluten-free flour I started experimenting with 10 years ago so I am kind of attached to/used to using it. When used in combination with other flours, it has great baking properties. On its own it is pretty gritty and. in my opinion, dreadful! I have, at times, substituted millet flour for all or part of the rice flour very successfully.

    Garfava flour: Garfava flour, I love you. You are light, not too beany and super fun to say. If you avoid beans, a combination of quinoa and amaranth can be substituted here.

    Potato flour: Potato flour is a not so secret, secret passion of mine. When used in combination like this it gives a very unique lightness to everything.  I first encountered it in French chocolate cakes.  That’s a little bit of knowledge that has served me well for years!

    Tapioca flour: Tapioca flour is where most of the *glue* in the mix is coming from. In this blend it is well aerated by the *carrier* flours. Tapioca is a root starch derived from cassava.

    Sorghum flour: Sorghum flour has a very neutral flavor and adds lightness to the blend. The blend also works just fine without the sorghum. If you opt to use it this way, you will use less in a recipe and can add the sorghum as part of your other flours in the recipe.

    I like to use this blend for 1/3 to 1/2 of the flour in a recipe. I use more in cookies and brownies than cakes. The most common flours I use along side the mix are buckwheat, coconut and additional sorghum. I like quinoa and amaranth as well. It is kind of up to you, how many different flours you want to keep around. Sorghum is by far the most neutral, but too much leads to a pasty texture. I like coconut a lot. It has a sweet flavor and is very light – both in color and in texture. It has to be used carefully or everything will taste like coconut. Buckwheat has a great almost nut-like flavor, but is very dark and can effect the color of your final product. Quinoa and amaranth have distinct flavors and can overwhelm if not used moderately.

    It is often a good idea to increase the flavoring in a given recipe to mask some of the flavors. For example, increase the lemon, vanilla, spices, etc. After texture, flavor is the biggest drawback to many gluten-free flours.

    …… and don’t forget the xanthan gum!

    The never ending search for the perfect gluten-free flour blend

    Sunday, December 6th, 2009

    Sweet sorghum growing

    Sorghum growing


    For the most part, in gluten-free baking I have settled on a blend of flours that works in most recipes. It contains enough *carrier* flours and *functional* flours to yield good results. I generally use this blend for about 1/2 to 3/4 of the flour in a recipe and combine a few favorite flours for the balance of the flour. I find myself using a lot of buckwheat, additional sorghum, coconut, quinoa, amaranth and oats in various combinations, as suits the recipe.  The decision of what to use is based on the desired texture and flavor of the final product.  Most of these flours do not have flavors you want peaking through in your baked good.  Coconut flour in moderation, buckwheat flour and sorghum flour are the obvious exceptions.  Both coconut and buckwheat add a great flavor element to a recipe.  Sorghum is fairly neutral in flavor, while giving a great lightness of texture.  Introducing these flours into a recipe also enhances the nutritional value of gluten-free baked goods, which with lots of starches can be quite low.

    In some cases, I find the flour mix without the sorghum is preferred. The choice is really just a way to vary textures in the final products. Often in recipes with this blend, I add sorghum in on its own in larger quantity than in the sorghum mix. Sometimes I use the concentrated starch properties of this blend in combination with other “carrier” flours to carry out a recipe.

    So here for your consideration are the two gluten-free blends I have been using. I keep some of each made up at all times. I use far more of the second blend which is really just a sorghum enriched variation of the first.


    • 1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
    • 1 cup white rice flour
    • 1 1/4 cup garfava flour
    • 1 1/4 cup potato flour
    • 3/4 cup tapioca flour


    • 1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
    • 1 cup white rice flour
    • 1 1/4 cup garfava flour
    • 1 1/4 cup potato flour
    • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
    • 1.5 cup sorghum flour

    And don’t forget the xanthan gum!

    An exercise in expanding on a recipe

    Monday, October 5th, 2009

    We are so proud of this recipe we had to share it and how it came to be. If you want to try our version, you can order them here (for a limited time only).

    Once upon a time, a small vegan bakery had a cookie order to fill. When the vegan baker arrived at work on the baking day she realized she had committed a big baking sin. She had not inventoried her ingredients the night before. And this led to the development of this recipe for… THE ULTIMATE VEGAN AND GLUTENFREE PUMPKIN COOKIE.

    This recipe provided the basis for a little early morning Gone Pie magic. Here it is with a little discussion of the changes we made and why. At the end of that is the new recipe.

    This is the original recipe:

    1/2 c. shortening
    We substituted 1/4c coconut oil and 1/4c mild vegetable oil
    We did this to omit the shortening, which contains palm oil. We do not consider palm oil vegan. (See this recent post on veganism to read more on that.) Coconut oil is deliciously rich if used in moderation. Vegetable oil (we used sunflower) is used to add a bit more oil for texture.

    1/2 c. granulated sugar
    1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
    We also added some brown rice syrup, which is great for making cookies more chewy.

    1 c. 100% pure pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
    More pumpkin please!

    1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    1 c. chopped, toasted pecans

    2 c. all purpose flour
    In selecting flours to use, we wanted to consider the properties needed for taste and texture. The goal was a hearty gluten-free cookie and so we selected some really substantial flours. The usual Gone Pie gluten-free flour blend is a good base to build on. We added buckwheat and amaranth to make a heartier cookie. We added coconut for a background richness of flavor and tapioca for chewiness.

    1 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    We cut both of these ingredients for less rise amd more chew!

    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. ginger

    We cut the ginger because the baker is obsessed with crystallized ginger and wanted to add some.

    1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    1/8 tsp. cardamom

    We messed with the spice quantities and types a bit.

    pinch salt
    We added more salt.  Pumpkin recipes NEED salt.

    That is it for adapting the recipe. But then to make it a bit more Gone Pie, we added some pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chopped apricots, crystallized ginger and more spices.

    This is the final recipe:

    1/4 cup coconut oil
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup vegan white sugar
    1/2 cup vegan brown sugar
    1 t vanilla

    Combine this in a mixer until smooth and creamy.

    1 1/2 cup pumpkin
    1/2 cup brown rice syrup

    Combine these two ingredients.

    3/4 cup gluten-free flour blend
    1/2 cup sorghum flour
    1/2 cup buckwheat flour
    4T tapioca flour
    2T amaranth flour
    4T coconut flour
    1/4 tsp ginger
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp nutmeg
    1/8 tsp cardamom
    1/8 tsp mace
    1/8 tsp allspice
    3/4 tsp baking powder
    3/4 tsp baking powder
    1/8 tsp salt
    1 t xanthan gum

    Combine all the dry ingredients.
    Add the remaining liquid and dry ingredients alternately.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes. Our yield was 20 BIG cookies.
    Fold in nuts and fruits and seeds and whatever you want. Now make it yours!

    I think it is nice to start with a recipe as a point of departure. From there, have some fun and express yourself!!!!

    Gluten-free flour redux

    Friday, August 21st, 2009

    When I first started to get more creative with my gluten-free baking, I had the thought that I could create a basic all-purpose flour to use in any recipe. Make baking simple. Who was I kidding? That has never been my way of baking. I like combined flavors more than simple flavors. For gluten-free baking, there are certain properties you want to promote — mostly lightness and cohesion, so a basic mix that accomplishes this is a great idea. It has been a whirl wind of experimentation and researching and tasting! My basic formula has gone through quite a few formulas. I am pretty stuck on the most recent one that I posted recently (July). It is quite bland (in the good sense) and versatile.
    Here it is again:

    Gluten-free flour blend

    • 1 cup white rice flour
    • 1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
    • 1 1/4 cup garfava flour
    • 1 1/4cup potato flour
    • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
    • 1 1/2 cup sorghum flour

    This provides a great foundation for most of the recipes I do. Having experimented with several other flours — buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, millet, coconut, gluten-free oat — I have found that if I bake a recipe with at least 50% of this blend, I can then select other flours based on the item I am creating. This blend has good binding properties and is quite light in flavor. It is a lot like all-purpose wheat flour. On its own, it doesn’t have a great flavor profile, but it does a great job holding all the tasty bits together. In most baked goods, I like to boost the flavor with tasty flours or spices or coconut oil!!! The flour on its own works really well in brownies and fruit breads — pumpkin, banana, zucchini, applesauce. As I re-read that sentence, I find myself thinking out loud about trying it in the pumpkin brownies for the fall.
    I recently used a combination of buckwheat and coconut flours, along with the blend to make a really tasty chocolate chip cookie. I had been making the cookie with just the flour blend, but it really needed a little more flavor depth. The coconut flour, used in moderation, added a lightness and sweet/rich flavor. The buckwheat also provided a flavor depth, and the cookies baked up really light.

    That’s all for now……

    The latest and greatest gluten-free flour blend

    Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

    Earlier posts have had versions of my basic gluten-free flour mix. I have again changed it a little. I am finding this version a little lighter and more versatile. Thus far, I have used it in cookies, brownies, cakes and pies. What no muffins?!?!

    And here it is….

    Gluten-free flour blend

    • 1 cup white rice flour
    • 1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
    • 1 1/4 cup garfava flour
    • 1 1/4cup potato flour
    • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
    • 1 1/2 cup sorghum flour

    The quest continues: Gluten-free flours

    Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

    Those that know me, know I did not select the word “quest” lightly in these on-going discussions of gluten-free flours.  That mocking of my own scientific nature,  is the story of my baking life.  Man, I think about all these crazy flours all the time, and there is just one thing that bugs me.  I miss the nutritional edge my product had when I first started using non-wheat grains.  The evolution from wheat is clearly necessary.  The usage of white flour in our culture is appalling.   Whole wheat flour doesn’t really appeal to me and I don’t use it unless it is requested.  I personally have no allergies or intolerances to any foods.  I prefer to use whole grains that taste good AND add nutrition to the final product.  I am seriously morally opposed to any form of consumption of animal anything.  With these  considerations, I have approached baking.

    As the years have passed, I’ve known people with all sorts of food intolerances, and I’ve really enjoyed developing products for them, and for a whole range of consumers.    I think I am good at adapting to all kinds of diets because I think so much.  It is through all this thinking that I have come to my latest dilemma.  I wonder if my product is all that healthy these days?

    Many of these gluten-free flours that I have been working with don’t seem to be particularly healthful.  They are not unhealthy,  but they don’t make your snack less sinful.  They make it truly an indulgence.  Here is the nutritional information for tapioca flour, a common gluten-free choice.

    Ingredients: tapioca

    Serving Size 1/4 cup (30g)
    Calories 100 Calories from fat 0
    Amount Per Serving – % Daily Value
    Total Fat 0g – 0%
    Saturated Fat 0g – 0%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Cholesterol 0mg – 0%
    Sodium 0mg – 0%
    Total Carbohydrates 26g – 9%
    Dietary Fiber 0g – 0%
    Sugars 0g
    Protein 0g
    Vitamin A 0%
    Vitamin C 0%
    Calcium 0%
    Iron 2%

    The bean flours have more nutritional value.   A typical flour I use is garfava flour.  Here is the nutritional information for the same amount of that.

    Ingredients:  garbanzo & fava bean flours

    Serving Size 1/4 (30g)
    Calories 110 Calories from fat 15
    Amount Per Serving – % Daily Value
    Total Fat 1.50g – 2%
    Saturated Fat 0g – 0%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Cholesterol 0mg – 0%
    Sodium 5mg – 0%
    Total Carbohydrates 18g – 6%
    Dietary Fiber 6g – 24%
    Sugars 3g – 8%
    Protein 6g – 12%
    Vitamin A 0%
    Vitamin C 2%
    Calcium 4%
    Iron 10%

    A bit more nourishing.  For me, that is definitely something to consider, although bean flours can have a strong flavor and should be used carefully to avoid changing the flavor of the final product. Now that I have a good basic baking mix that adapts well to all kinds of recipes, instead of changing it, I will start adding small amounts of other flours, as appropriate, especially quinoa and millet, to enhance the nutritional value of the final baked good.  Especially quinoa and millet.  Quinoa and millet are both highly nutritious whole grains.  Gluten-free oats, are another consideration.  I just worked with them for the first time this week.  They are thick and hearty, and worked really well in the fruit bars.  In this recipe I grind them into oat flour.  The thing about using a whole grain, is that it takes up liquid differently than a more purely starch flour.  The tiny oats bits aerated this product beautifully.

    And so the quest continues….

    My nutritional information is from my good friends at Bob’s Red Mill, without whom, finding quality gluten-free ingredients would be so much harder!

    The quest continues: Gluten-free flours

    Saturday, April 18th, 2009

    One of my earlier posts had what I was using, at the time, as my basic gluten-free flour mix.  I have since changed it a little.  It works really well as is, but I am not so down with the gritty feeling some of these flours leave you with.  The second version is slightly lighter as well as slightly less gritty.


    • 1 cup white rice flour
    • 1 cup brown rice flour
    • 1 cup garfava flour
    • 1 cup tapioca flour
    • 1 cup potato flour


    • 1 1/4 cup white rice flour
    • 1 cup brown rice flour
    • 1 1/4 cup garfava flour
    • 1 cup potato flour
    • 1 cup tapioca flour

    Both versions of the mix have held together quite well for my purposes.  I have also started using xanthan gum, when appropriate.  This is also helpful in holding the baked good together.  I use about 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour.

    But why leave it alone?????  I think I can improve it. I am looking for more of a neutral texture.
    Today I am going to add in some sorghum flour. Not sure exactly what amount yet. But all I have read about sorghum, intrigues me. I have read that it has a “bland, neutral taste that leaves no trace of unusual colors or flavors when added to food products“. That sounds like wheat to me. I am making chocolate chip cookies.  And I will post my results later (tomorrow).  Mind you, these cookies were awesome already.  But I want them to be even better. When I brought them to a client to taste yesterday, this was how it went. She approached the cookie with typical gluten-free “phobia”. She took a bite, and with utter dismay in her voice said “Wow. These are really good.” Get ready cause they are gonna get even better.
    When I tweak the recipe I will post pictures and the new mix!
    And if you want to try them the way they are now, you can get them at the juice bar at Integral Yoga Natural Foods.

    The quest for the perfect gluten-free flour blend

    Saturday, March 7th, 2009

    I think one of the things that most serves me in my baking, is that I have a strong foundation in traditional baking and the science of baking.  Its very difficult to start with a recipe that you want to change, when you are not clear on what function individual ingredients have in a recipe.  In baking it is important to understand what will cause the leavening, what will help maintain the shape, what will effect the texture……

    For a long time I refused to make any product that was not a strict vegan translation of its mainstream counterpart.  So the eggs in brownies became HUGE to replace.  If you just replace them with an egg replacer (a topic for another day), you may get the binding, but not the lightness they provide.  So the compromise there is to use a leavening agent.  Although a classical brownie is unleavened, its vegan counterpart is leavened.  I learned to deal with that.  The compromise allows the vegan product to model itself upon the original.  And if you are a crafty little baker, as I am, you can make a brownie that even the most mainstream individual will like.

    a most mainstream consumer blissfully enjoying a gluten-free brownie

    I think the same is true of gluten-free baking.  But the challenge is far greater in replacing the gluten.  In a typical baked good, gluten is what gives it its texture and form.  Gluten is the protein that forms in wheat flour during the baking and preparation processes.  It binds the product as well as defines its texture.  In choosing a gluten-free alternative to wheat, a lot of experimentation will lead to the best result.  Different products are suited to different flour blends.  The properties of the flours you use are important as well as the taste.   Many of the gluten-free alternatives have strong flavors that can be overpowering on their own, but in combination are fine.  The same is true of their textures.  Too much alone, but excellent in combination.  Additionally, you can consider the nutritional aspects of the flour in your choice.  Nutrition is usually something I address after the product has the right texture.  For example, I made peanut butter/sesame cookies with my flour blend.  I wanted to add a nutritional kick to the recipe, so after the recipe was about right, I added quinoa flour.  Quinoa is a good source of vegetable protein and so makes the cookie a healthier snack.

    This is what I call my basic flour mix.  It has a mix of flours as follows:

    one part white rice flour

    one part brown rice flour

    one part garfava flour

    one part tapioca flour

    one part potato flour

    This is the blend I choose to work with as my most basic starting point.  Baking gluten-free requires lots of ingredients.  So keeping a flour blend on hand helps simplify the process.  In most recipes, I will use this blend then augment it with  additional flour that may or may not be in the blend already.   So it is important to know the properties of the individual flours.  The white rice flour is fairly light and flavorless, so is a good base flour.  The brown rice flour is denser and grittier and stronger in flavor.  The garfava flour has an amazing texture, but a distinctly beany flavor if you use too much of it.  In the correct proportion it gives a lovely smoothness and density to the product.  The tapioca flour is an amazing ingredient!  It adds a chewy texture that is hard to get in gluten-free baking.  The potato flour and the tapioca flour both help hold things together and enhance the texture of  a gluten-free baked good.  The combined properties of all five flours, make a nice basic blend.

    I don’t use this flour blend for everything I do gluten-free.  But I do think it is a helpful starting point for someone baking at home.  In baking professionally, I consider not only the best blend of flour to use in an individual product, but also the variety of ingredients in all of my products.  In serving a market for those with food allergies, one cannot use the same ingredients over and over without excluding some consumers.  When baking at home, you know what you and your family can/can not eat .  And once you settle on your blend, you can use it for pancakes, pies crusts, cookies……….

    This blend is a good place to start.  I have used it for pie crusts, brownies and cookies thus far and have been quite pleased with it.  I hope it helps you in your gluten-free baking endeavors.