Posts Tagged ‘xanthan gum’

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.

Sweet Potato Cornbread (vegan and glutenfree)

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

... fluffy, with a nice light crumb and a little bit of cornmeal texture ... add in the sweet potato sweetness ...

Today over at One Green Planet I have published an article on veganizing baked goods. As an exercise, I took a butter milk Cornbread recipe from and made it vegan.

I thought I would share my allergen-free version of that recipe here. It took me three trials to get the numbers right. I used a lot less gluten-free flour than wheat flour and added a good amount of liquid. That is a function of all the starches used to replace the gluten in the wheat.

I find there are far fewer rules and guidelines to follow in getting the gluten out of a recipe than there are for veganizing one. I pretty much have developed an instinct that I go with. Even then, I almost always have to re-work recipes multiple times to get results I am truly happy with.

In this recipe I used the Gone Pie flour mix, the Hi Protein flour mix (mentioned in the Irish Soda bread recipe), corn flour and millet flour. This was my first time using corn flour and am not exactly sure what it did. More experimentation to come with it! The Hi Protein mix was the final touch I added to get a nice light crumb.  I have posted the recipe for it at the end of this recipe again.

All the yellow grains and the orange of the sweet potatoes give this cornbread a truly amazing color! It’s so tasty too!


  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free flour blend
  • 3 tablespoons millet flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour
  • 1/4 cup Hi Protein Mix*
  • 5/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Sift the dry ingredients together and set them aside.

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup organic vegan sugar

Combine cornmeal and sugar in mixing bowl and set aside.

  • 3/4 cup vegan sour cream or So Delicious PLAIN coconut yogurt
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 3/4 cup sweet potato

Puree in food processor until smooth and creamy.
Pour into same bowl as cornmeal and combine well.
This makes the cornbread nice and light.

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Fold into cornmeal mixture until evenly mixed.
Now add dry ingredients and mix until blended.
Do not over mix.

Dough will be very light and fluffy. Pour it into an 8 x 8 inch square pan. I prepare my pan with oil and a dusting of cornmeal. Smooth the dough with wet hands.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 45 minutes. When it is done, it will be firm to the touch in the center.

*Hi Protein Flour Blend:

1 cup garfava flour
1 cup arrowroot starch
1 cup tapioca flour
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour

Irish Soda Bread Muffins (vegan and gluten-free)

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

With a little cross and everything. Sorghum flour on top.

I recently saw this recipe for Irish Soda Bread and I immediately remembered little Irish Soda Breads I made a loooong time ago. The flavor and texture and the smell of them baking! I must have caraway seeds and cardamom perfectly blended in a doughy slightly sweet bread. With plump little currants.

I did it! I did it! I love it! I love it!

The original recipe I found and made (with the addition of cardamom) is here.  They use a flour blend which resulted in a whole meal kind of bread. The bread really didn’t hold together well enough for my purposes.

Irish Soda Bread, as I recall it, is unabashedly white bread. I re-did the recipe a few times adding some of my flour blend and making a few other changes. The final result is super simple to make, once you gather all your ingredients.

I am playing with my version of their flour blend in other recipes. It makes a very different crumb when baked. The blend recipe is at the end of the post.


  • ½ cup currants, soaked/drained or well rinsed

  • 1 cup gluten-free  Hi Protein Flour Blend*
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 6 tablespoons gluten-free flour blend
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sorghum flour
  • 3  tablespoons vegan sugar
  • 1 tablespoon  baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • 6  tablespoons coconut oil

  • 2  tablespoons apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious PLAIN coconut yogurt or vegan sour cream
  • 1 cup So Delicious organic coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice

  • 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1/8  teaspoon cardamom

Combine the wet ingredients and set them aside.

Put all the dry ingredients in your mixer bowl.
Turn it off and on a couple of times to blend them.
Add coconut oil by the tablespoon to the flour mixture.
Let the coconut oil break up in the flour mix until you have
a fairly uniform almost cornmeal like mixture.

Add the cardamom and caraway seeds.

Add the liquid ingredients in two stages. Mix minimally.
When almost evenly mixed, add the drained currants.
Mix just until the dough is blended.

The dough gets firmer as it sits.

I made 12 muffins. I’m sure it would make a nice little loaf too.

This is a lovely, slightly starchy, dense dough. I flattened the muffins with wet hands. Then I sprinkled on some sorghum flour and cut crosses in them. The dough was extremely easy to work with.

Bake muffins at 375 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.

If you made muffins like I did, you could be eating hot Soda Bread now!

I made a loaf too! It was possibly even more delicious. I did the loaf with coconut yogurt so it was soy free.

Hi Protein Flour Blend:

(This is my version of the original blend. You can see the original blend in the original article.Original….)

1 cup garfava flour
1 cup arrowroot starch
1 cup tapioca flour
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour

Vegan sour cream recipe Gone Pie stylee

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

I have been kind of obsessed with making our own vegan alternatives to commercial products lately. As I mentioned in a previous post we have been making sour cream and cream cheese to use in our recipes at the bakery. This was motivated by the so-so taste of the commercially available products, as well as their use of palm oil. I was pretty much working off a standard, functional internet vegan sour cream recipe.  Yesterday I decided to see if I could make a tasty condiment as well as a functional baking ingredient.

The internet recipes I have tried taste a lot like tofu, as does the Tofutti product “Better than Sour Cream”. The Tofutti product was also really, really firm and kind of unpleasant tasting on its own, although fine to bake and cook with. It is much whiter than what I came up with. I tried to select my ingredients with the goal of producing something as close to white as one expects sour cream to be. Alas, it is a tiny bit beige. But let’s focus on the flavor, which I think is quite good.

behold the "sour cream"

I am hoping this recipe will be included in the updated “Dining With Friends”, as it is featured in a couple of the recipes Gone Pie has contributed to the book.

Vegan Tofu Sour Cream

1 pound organic soft tofu
2T fresh organic lemon juice
2-3T organic brown rice vinegar
2T organic brown rice syrup
1/2 t sea salt
1-2T organic coconut oil
1 T mild organic vegetable oil
1/4 t xanthan gum

Gather your ingredients. Put them in your food processor and whirl away until you have a super smooth final product. I let it go several minutes. Patience in the processing will serve you in the final product. The longer you process the tofu etc., the smoother, lighter and better the final product. I definitely recommend letting the sour cream sit over night so the flavors can coalesce.

I used the maximum amount of vinegar and coconut oil. It was nice and sour and I think the coconut oil gave it a nice finished taste. You can definitely use all vegetable oil to replace the coconut oil, if you prefer. I am pretty sure the sour cream will have a hint of tofu flavor if you do that. The brown rice syrup is very mildly sweet and adds a nice sheen. Trust me on the salt and xanthan gum. The recipe really works out well once everything blends together.

I haven’t had non-vegan sour cream in over 20 years, so I am totally not sure if this tastes like the item it is based on. It definitely tastes better than the Tofutti product or the sour creams I made using on-line recipes.  As I taste tested it during the day for texture and flavor, I found myself enjoying it more than I expected. It even had a nearly dairy after taste, although I am not sure if that is a good thing!

I was pretty pleased. Hope you will be too!

Gluten-free Lemon poppyseed cake – updated

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Bathed in sunlight, lemon poppy and chocolate spice mini-cupcakes

Since I first posted this recipe, I have learned a few good tips that have made this recipe far superior to the earlier version.  I definitely used WAY too much xanthan gum originally.  And guess what?  The original recipe also had palm oil!  Yup.   I, too, had to learn of the evils of palm oil.

Here is the recipe again.  This time, I believe it is nearly perfect!

I make this recipe in a mixer.  Here is the most organized way I have found to make a semi-complicated recipe.  It is actually quite simple, if everything is organized properly.

1)  Process the following ingredients until extremely smooth and well aerated, then set aside.

  • 1/2 cup So delicious coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1     cup soured non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup lemon rind
  • 1T1t vanilla extract
  • 2T lemon extract
  • 2T lemon juice

2) Put the mixer bowl on top of a pot of hot water – double boiler style and combine these ingredients.

  • 1/4  cup coconut oil
  • 1/4  cup mild oil
  • 1 3/4 cup vegan white sugar

3)  Combine and sift dry ingredients.  Then add in poppy seeds.

  • 2 1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix
  • 2T quinoa flour
  • 2T coconut flour
  • 2T amaranth flour
  • 2t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds

4)  Take melted oils and sugar and whip them until they are homogeneous.  Add a small amount of the tofu liquid – again whipping until everything is well incorporated.  The mixture should be smooth and light.

5) Alternately add dry and remaining wet ingredients, scraping bowl well and often.  Do not over mix.  Once all ingredients are added, remove bowl from mixer and give it a good mix by hand to make sure the batter is evenly blended.

6) I made adorable tiny cupcakes, but you can bake this in any shape you like.  Scoop into your chosen mold, flatten the batter with wet hands and bake at 350 degrees.  The mini-cupcakes baked 25 minutes.  A larger mold will require longer baking.  The final product is firm to the touch.

I glazed the cupcakes with lemon and sugar and they were quite a hit!

Happy baking!

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!

Gluten-free lemon poppyseed cake/muffin

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Refer to the recipe posted here. I no longer use this recipe and neither should you!
This post was updated on August 6, 2009, to reflect the most recent version of this recipe.

This was a project I worked on a couple of weeks ago.  A client was looking for a vegan and gluten-free pound cake.  Yes, I said without hesitation.  Then I thought, how am I going to do that?  So I jumped on the internet and did some research.  I found a recipe I thought might work and set to dissecting it.  I believe the recipe I found was pretty much the same as the Vanilla Yogurt Pound Cake from “Veganomicon” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  You can refer to that if you want to look at a similar original recipe to compare it to mine.   Here is the recipe I came up with:

  • 1/4 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c shortening
  • 1 1/4 c vegan sugar
  • 3T lemon rind

Whip these ingredients together in a mixer until light.

  • 2 c gluten-free flour mix
  • 2T c quinoa flour
  • 2T c coconut flour
  • 1/4 c poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2t sea salt
  • 2 t xanthan gum

Combine these ingredients well by hand.

  • 1/2 c coconut milk (So Delicious unsweetened)
  • 1 /2c+ 1T soured soy milk
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 c silken tofu

Combine these ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth and fluffy.

  • 1T vanilla
  • 1T apple cider or lemon juice

Have these ready to add.

Once the sugar mix is light and fluffy, alternately add liquid and flour mixtures.  Keep the bowl well scraped.  Add vanilla and cider before the last bit of flour mixture.

This is a very stiff dough.  I scooped it into muffin tins and baked them at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. The recipe made 12 small muffins.
For my purposes, I wanted to make this an item that I could sell after filling this one order.  I opted for lemon poppy seed cake as the final product. I originally made it with a lemon glaze, but this won’t be part of the final wholesale product.  They would like a mini loaf with no glaze.  It will be available next week at Integral Yoga Natural Foods in Manhattan.

I think the richness of the final product is enhanced by both the coconut oil and the awesome vanilla I use.

That’s it.

Bake on…….

The little loaves came out so cute!

The little loaves came out so cute!

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.

Xanthan gum and the world of substitutes in baking

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

I have done some fine gluten-free baking this week!  I have finally stepped into the world of xanthan gum.  I have long seen this in  ingredient lists.  I would look at it and think “I don’t know what you do.  I’m avoiding you.”  But I bought a bag anyway.  It sat in my fridge staring at me for the longest time.  Then finally, it happened.  I found an explanation of the ingredient that made me know I needed to use it.  In the “Gluten-free Pantry” section of  “Living Without” magazine were the words,  “Xanthan gum is the key to successful gluten-free baking.  It provides the binding needed to give the baked product proper elasticity, keeping it from crumbling.”  This made sense.  But I was having no trouble with  that attribute because of the flour blend I was using.  I took out the bag and held it.  Right there, on my previously scary bag of Bob’s Red Mill xanthan gum were the friendly words  “Gum, Xanthan is used by people who are allergic to gluten to add volume and viscosity to bread and other gluten-free baked goods. It is made from a tiny microorganism called Xanthomonas campestris and is a natural carbohydrate.”  That word.  Viscosity.  I knew this was the product for me!   It was no longer a mystical ingredient but a functional ingredient.  If you put some on your hand and you wet your hand, you can feel the texture it will add to your baked good.  A very modest amount (about 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour) is  going to function as a gum or glue in gluten-free baking.   I had , of course, read this before.  But today it had meaning.   I was ready.  All I needed to know was if it was vegan.   As far as I can tell, it is vegan.  It is derived from corn sugar.

I used xanthan gum in my  sesame-peanut cookies.  This is a pretty well held together cookie.  Lots of nut butters.  Rice syrup.  I kind of  liked the chewy texture but could see how it could be slightly enhanced.  Most recommendations for usage say to use 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour in cookies.  I was conservative and used 1/2 teaspoon for two cups.  You have to trust your instincts in these things.  I was very happy with the results.  It changed the texture just a bit so there was a crunch to the cookie that surrounded the chewy inner.  Truly awesome.

crunchy and chewie sesame-peanut cookies

crunchy and chewie sesame-peanut cookies

I read a lot about vegan and gluten-free baking.  There is plenty out there.  It was in my reflection on my experience with the xanthan, and in reading a nice post on vegan baking at The Vegan Nutritionista, that it all came together. The most important thing to understand is why you’re using these ingredients.  So when you make a vegan recipe, think of what you are replacing.  For example eggs.  They bind the product and they can aerate the product.  Is the substitution you are about to make going to do this too?  In my vegan brownies, I substitute the eggs with pureed dates.  I whisk the liquid portion of the recipe until it is well aerated.    But it doesn’t hold the air the way a whisked egg does.  So I have chosen to add a small amount of leavening to replace the second function of the egg.   And so it goes.  To omit an ingredient, you need to know what it does before you replace it.  I usually just go with my instinct, because this kind of scientific method is my instinct.  But if its not yours, it is an important element to consider.

And so I go forth. I’m gonna put xanthan gum in something else so I can see what it does! I might even alter my gluten-free flour mix. It is a little dense right now.   The phrase on the label “add volume to a bread” interests me.   And if I want to make cakes…….