Recipes Basics & Cheats

Some of you may know this already, but cooking is one of the great joys of my life. I absolutely love to create things to eat (despite lactose intolerance, acid reflux and ongoing digestive annoyances lol) and I am going to share my favorite recipes with y’all! And a bonus: some of them are gluten-free and many are freezable!! All those will be found on the home page. Since I’ll also be blogging DIY ideas and wedding tips on other pages, you can type ‘recipes’ into the side bar if you don’t want to spend time scrolling through all my pretty photos :o)

We’re going to start off with a basic mix that will be referenced in various recipes: basic gluten-free white baking flour. GI_LG_flour

Now here’s the thing–most grocery stores now carry gluten-free flour mixes. Different prices abound and whether these flours are *truly* equivalent to their wheaty counterparts in terms of taste and texture varies with each mix, but the worst offender in terms of ridiculous cost (and the most like wheat flour) has to be “Cup 4 Cup” at William-Sonoma for $16.95. For a 3 pound bag. Yeah. You read that right. Um…NO. Another option is you can go get a bag of Bob’s Red Mill rice flour or bean flour or whatever for $4-8 for a 2 pound bag, which will still have to be mixed with other flours in order to make them work as a successful substitute for wheat flour. Lucky for us (cheap) realistically-budgeted DIY folks, our good friends over at the ‘Books for Dummies’ company made a “Gluten-Free Baking For Dummies” book, which I happen to own and I’m going to give you the most useful information I’ve gleaned from it: the aforementioned gluten-free basic white baking flour.

Gluten-Free Basic White Baking Flour (**scroll down to bottom for nutrition info)

  • 5 1/2 cups (685g) tapioca flour (aka tapioca starch)
  • 8 1/3 cups (1370g) potato starch
  • 4 1/2 cups minus 1 TBSP (sorry lol this makes it 685g) sweet rice flour, more commonly known as glutinous rice flour

YIELD: 6 POUNDS OF GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR (about 18 cups)

Each flour has a slightly different grain to it as well as different weights, which is why the quantities seem so wonky. The overall flour mix itself will be extremely fine, like pre-sifted bread flour. It’s also a bright white color. Very dainty.

Mix all three flours together in a really big bowl (I have to use my jumbo stainless steal bowl that will hold a child)–if it helps you in terms of blending, do one cup of each at a time until the specific quantity of each flour is met. You can also weigh the quantities in advance on a kitchen scale if you aren’t sure if they’re packed into the measuring cups evenly–as stated above, this recipe yields 6 pounds of gluten-free flour, which is about 18 cups (this flour weighs more than wheat flour because it’s finer). Each cup will weigh around 148g. It bakes a bit “lighter” than regular flour (in texture, not color) so for example when I make chocolate chip cookies with it, they have a lighter and fluffier texture, whereas if I use wheat flour they’re a bit more crunchy or chewy, but I can cook them for the same amount of time and the taste is the same. In some recipes that tend to be on the dry side you can decrease the quantity of gluten-free flour just a bit–banana bread has this issue.

WHERE TO BUY: I know some of you are not going to want to leave your local Publix or Kroger but I can tell you right off that when they DO carry these flours, you’re looking at $6 or $7 for a 500-680g bag and you’re going to walk away going “I can’t believe that stupid girl thought THIS would be cheaper than Cup 4 Cup or King Arthur G-Free Flour!”. No, no, dears, I’m actually decently smart and generally very price savvy (you kinda have to be if you have special dietary needs!), which is why I always buy all three flours at my local J-Mart, which is this adorable Asian grocery store on the edge of town that is cleaner than a surgical chamber and full of lots of fun colored packaging to look at!

It’s been awhile since I’ve priced it (I tend to buy 3 or 4 times what I need so it lasts me a loooong time) but it is usually $1.29-1.79 for a 1 lb bag of tapioca flour or glutinous rice flour, and the potato starch come in larger quantities of 5 or 6 pounds (which, since the flour is so lightweight, are like the size of a a Costco triple box of cereal) for $8 or $10. So, if you can bring yourself to shop outside your convenience zone and go to an Asian supermarket–and fyi because they do a LOT of rice-based food stuffs, lactose-free and gluten-free fare, they usually will carry all three types of flour and they’re going to be cheaper than in a supermarket chain because at Asian food stores these are not seen as a specialty item–you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck! Your gluten-free flour mix ends up costing somewhere in the neighborhood of $0.95-1.25 for each pound, compared to $5.65/pound for Cup 4 Cup–of course regular wheat flour is usually around $4-5 for a 5 pound bag but you already knew that ;o). And fyi, it’s way cheaper to buy this stuff locally than on Amazon. The rice & tapioca flour bags are around $6 per pound on there, and the potato starch is *GASP* $30 for 5 pounds. Crazy.

I use this flour most of the time (obviously not when I’m doing yeasty recipes) and every person who has ever eaten something I baked with it didn’t believe me that it was gluten-free. So, I call most of my recipes “Gluten-Free AND STILL QUITE EDIBLE” lol.

I hope this helps y’all!!! Happy Baking!

**side bar about nutritional content
Please note that this is not intended to be used in recipes that are for hearty breads or anything that is intended to be healthy and nourishing for growing children or those who may need a high-fiber diet. What I mean by that is this: wheat contains all sorts of beneficial things, like fiber, B vitamins and of course including the much-maligned gluten, which is the protein in wheat. If I make corn bread from wheat flour vs corn bread from basic gluten-free white flour, the wheat version will have more nourishment and vitamins and such. Period. Now whether I would be able to digest it is another story. SO, if you are looking for a high-fiber gluten-free flour, this isn’t it–and you should probably buy that Dummies book because they have multiple flour recipes intended to be used across the spectrum. THIS recipe is perfect for cakes, cookies, basic breads and bars and will cook in the same quantities as wheat flour without having to have other things added to ‘make it work’ or have measurements in the recipes altered (generally speaking–if your recipe involves yeast, you HAVE to use a different flour that contains protein so the yeast has something to bond with–that’s why you have gluten-free bread flour and others that include things like xanthan gum that nobody ever heard of before gluten became the devil).

 

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