If only it were as easy as subbing like for like: instead of raisins use chocolate chips, right?
Gluten-free flours don't make it easy for us, and there’s a reason that gluten-free flour substitutes will usually consist of 3 or 4 source flours and a binder. As far as gluten-free goes, not all flours are created equal.
Instead of prescribing our blend, we’re going to give you our mechanics take on the situation; your source flours are like tools in a toolbox (or kitchen drawer in this case). While it’s okay to sometimes to use a wrench like a hammer, it’s not the best tool for the job. When it comes to tools we need to know the purpose of the tool, what it works on, and how to use it.
This is no different for our gluten-free flours and binders.
We created a quickie description of our 5 favorite source flours, what they do in a recipe, what they’re good at, and what they taste like. Hopefully this will help you develop your own signature blend and give you some help when it comes to making impromptu substitutions.
Sorghum is our usual neutral base. It has good protein, good weight, and a mild flavour. It tastes great in breads and cookies.
Caution: some of us are still sensitive to oats, and you have to make sure they’re certified gluten-free. At Smallflower, this is a heavier flour we typically save for muffins and oatmeal cookies. We use less gums when we use oat flour, because we find it bakes off a little sticky all by itself.
Buckwheat has a strong nutty flavour, so we usually cut this 50/50 with sorghum or brown rice. If you love it like we do, then try using it to make great pancakes or waffles. This is our base in our gluten-free waffle cones, which can be found with perfectly packed full of Say Hello Sweets Vegan Ice Cream.
This is a neutral base, but will leave that graininess typical of gluten-free if used in breads. A neat tip is to sour it by soaking it for 6 hours prior to use. Souring the brown rice flour gives it a complex flavor and makes the final product less gritty on the finish. Simply reduce the water or liquid in the final recipe; make sure to try it first with a recipe you know well to get the moisture content right.
We LOVE this flour for pastry. It has a mild to medium flavor, and mimics the flakiness of traditional pastry when paired with the right starch mix.
We can all find and modify flour mixes from recipes online, but our advice is to learn about your tools (flours) individually. When we started our gluten-free testing, we made a simple 'pancake' out of each source flour using flour, water and a hot skillet. This enabled us to identify what each ingredient was imparting in our recipe, so if we wanted more of less of something, we could easily make the adjustment.
Good luck and have fun out there—and Happy Holidays from The Smallflower!