Saying good-bye to all-purpose wheat flour means entering the world of gluten-free flour blends. Flour is of course elemental to baking, but unlike traditional baking, gluten-free baking does not utilize just one flour. Rather, different flours are used together to achieve better results than what one gluten-free flour can do alone.
A gluten-free flour blend is a combination of two or more gluten-free flours in varying ratios depending upon the purpose you want to achieve. While a gluten-free flour blend can be created that replaces all-purpose wheat flour cup-for-cup, it’s more common to experiment with different flours and ratios until you find a unique blend that works in a particular recipe.
Not all gluten-free flour blends are created equal, every gluten-free flour or starch has its own set of characteristics and culinary powers. Some flours are higher in protein and fiber, while some have strong flavors or courser textures. One gluten-free flour blend may work great for a bread and muffin but not so well for another baking and cooking purpose. In fact, different flour blends are often created specifically for the product or recipe in mind. Some flours are used to build structure, and add protein and nutrients, while other flours are used to add a characteristic like improved browning or chewiness.
Most product manufacturers have their own proprietary blends, and cookbook authors typically vary in what they think is the ultimate flour blend. When experimenting, try cookbook authors’ recommend subtracting ingredients and adjusting ratios to discover what works best for your particular recipes. Working with flour blends in gluten-free baking is both an art and science where constant experimentation is commonplace among expert chefs, cookbook authors, and home chefs alike.