top of page
  • Writer's pictureMoy's Gluten Free Kitchen

How to write a Gluten Free Bread flour blend recipe (Part 1)

Updated: Oct 15, 2023

There are gluten free 1 to 1 flour blends, all purpose flour blends, bread flour blends, specialty flour blends like those for cakes or brownies. Then there is rice flour, almond flour, buckwheat flour and so on. How do you figure out which one to choose and why are there so many variations?

The problem with gluten free baking and cooking

Let’s start with what is gluten and what it does. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, spelt and rye. It allows dough, like bread, to expand (rise) and trap gas produced by leavening agents (e.g. yeast or baking powder). This dual function improves texture, helps the baked good to retain moisture and gives bread dough for example the characteristic domed shape.


Without gluten, other grain flours like rice cannot trap gas as efficiently because there is no structural support, no gluten “network”. That is one of the reasons why many gluten free loaves are flat and dense. The gluten “net” is also binding, sticky, able to hold the flour together. Gluten free grains lack this stickiness which means that many baked goods can also be crumbly.


There is more...Wheat flour has it all, protein, moisture, starch and fat. Same with many of the other types of flour that contain gluten. Individual gluten free grains do not have enough of these components to successfully replace wheat flour.


Without help, gluten free flour is also deficient in a purely aesthetic way. Regular flour dough browns as it cooks giving the finished product a lovely glow. GF goods are often lacking in that department. Baked goods with gluten also have a better texture and a superior taste. Finally GF goods tend to stale faster.


So, in addition to putting together a flour blend that has a similar nutritional profile to wheat flour, the gluten free baker must find a way to improve the texture, taste, longevity and the look of the of their baked goods.

The solution to this multi-complex problem is the answer to the why, why we need so many gluten free grains and different types of blends. In short we are putting together individual components (grains, starches, binders etc.) that together will mimic the properties of regular flour.


Look at the Nutrition Facts Comparison Table below (this is not about which one is healthier or has less carbs or anything like that, this is not a complete analysis for those issues). In the comparison you can see the differences with wheat and other grains. The numbers do not vary wildly from one grain to the next but if you decided to pick one grain to replace wheat you would quickly see or feel the effect of those differing values. Also it is important to note that none of the other grains contain the gluten protein which is not accounted for here as a separate value (gluten is estimated to be as much as 80% of the protein found in wheat). Therefore, a blend of several gf flours and starches is the accepted way to create a more diverse profile, one that is more similar to wheat flour.

Nutrition Facts Comparison Table

Another huge factor lending success to gluten free flour blends and recipes is the addition of non gluten proteins. Their addition can reduce amino acid deficits, making the bread healthier. But these proteins also help with structure, color and texture producing a far more acceptable end product with a longer ‘shelf life”.


One more thing. There are also different types of regular wheat flour blends, e.g. bread flour, cake flour or pastry flour. Bread flour is engineered to have more protein than cake flour because it needs a stronger support structure. Gluten free flour blends adopt the same principle, bread flour blends need more protein, cake flour blends do not.

Gluten Free Bread Flour Blend Examples

All things considered the basic formula for a good gluten free bread flour blend looks something like this:

Gluten Free Flour Blend = Primary flour + Secondary flour + Starch


The logical question now would be, how do I choose what to use, which flour, binder, starch or protein? Well, I will be sharing more on this in another post. In the meantime take a look at 2 of my flour blends I use to make bread (table below). In these examples the primary flour is whichever one I use the most:


Gluten Free Bread Flour Blends Comparison Table

Either of these blends make really good gluten free bread. The success of the blend though is greatly influenced by what flour is in the primary position. Primary flours that I have found relatively easy to use include, buckwheat, brown rice, oat and sorghum (sometimes called sweet white sorghum flour). Many of these also work well as the secondary flour as demonstrated in the example above.


My preference for secondary flours would be corn flour, white rice flour, almond flour, cassava flour, quinoa flour, millet flour, coconut flour, nut and bean flours.


Until you have a good grasp on how each type of flour behaves, I would not suggest using almond flour, quinoa flour, millet flour, coconut flour or any nut and bean flours.


Once we have the flour blend we now add the other components that make up the recipe. We will continue to use bread in this example.

Gluten Free Bread Recipe = Gluten Free Flour Blend + Binder + Fat + Protein + Liquid


Xanthan gum, Guar Gum and Psyllium husk powder are all examples of binders. These help to improve the elasticity of gluten free dough, allowing it to form a basic “fiber” network. Typically you need very little in a recipe. Butter, oil, milk (dairy and non dairy), powdered protein isolates, eggs are often used interchangeably for the fat, protein and liquid components of the recipe.


Take a look at my full gluten free bread recipe printed below. In that recipe psylllium husk powder (my preference) or xanthan gum does the binding, the oil is the main source of the fat, the non gluten protein is contributed mainly by the flour or milk if used and liquid is the water or milk. It’s a simple enough recipe, you could replace the cassava flour with oat flour and the recipe will still work. Resting the dough without leavening agents is a simple way to improve the quality of the finished product. Once you incorporate the yeast there is no need to let the dough rise twice as is the case with wheat flour (in fact try not to do that, the non gluten protein structure can weaken).


Of course, this explanation is not exhaustive. At the very least, I hope you understand why gluten free recipes require so many components. In my next post of this series, I will share more on how to build a good gluten free flour blend for bread, cakes or other uses.


Feel free to try out the recipe below, make substitutions and observe the results, that is the best way to learn. I have made numerous "mistakes" to get where I am now and I still make them...

(this post was shared on Nov 12th, 2020)


Gluten Free and Vegan Bread Recipe

Bread made with buckwheat flour
Tasty Gluten Free Vegan Bread

Ingredients

1½ cups buckwheat flour

¾ cup cassava flour

¼ cup tapioca starch

1 tbsp psyllium husk powder

OR

1¼ tsp xanthan gum

2 tsp brown sugar

½ tbsp baking powder

2½ tsp instant yeast

½ tsp salt

¼ cup vegetable oil (I use coconut)

1¼ - 1½ cup warm water (105-115°F)* ½ tbsp vinegar

*You can use milk e.g. coconut milk instead of water

Making the Bread

In a bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients, use only 1/2 tsp of the yeast and none of the baking powder. Set aside Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients (except the vinegar), kneading or mixing until thoroughly combined. The dough should be slightly sticky or shaggy but holding together and fairly easy to work with


Cover the bowl with cling wrap or other and set aside in a cool place to rest for about an hour. Resting the dough improves the texture of the finished loaf At the end of the rest period add the rest of the yeast (2 tsp), the baking powder and mix or knead well. Add the vinegar and mix or knead again. The dough should be slightly sticky or shaggy but holding together (like a thick brownie batter, scoopable not pourable). Add more water a little at a time if needed


Scoop the dough into a baking tin (approx 7 1/2"l x 4"w x 4.5"h internal measurements). You can smooth the top of the dough with the back of a spoon. Wet the spoon, it will be easier to work with Allow the dough to rise just over the rim of the tin and no more (the bread can collapse if it rises too much) Once the dough is in the tin, preheat oven to 350°F. When it is ready place the dough in the oven and bake for 50 minutes After 50 minutes, lower the heat to 275 and bake for another 15 mins. After the 15 mins, turn your oven off and leave the bread there for another 15 mins, you can take the loaf out of the pan for this (if the bread feels really firm on all sides, especially the bottom of the loaf you can skip this step) Cut the bread when it's completely cool. Store in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for an extended period of time

Recent Posts

See All

16 comentarios


starfdo160
03 jun

Hi, please could you tell me if I absolutely have to add fat to my recipe, or could I eliminate that, and only add water and vinegar as my liquids?


Me gusta
Moy's Gluten Free Kitchen
Moy's Gluten Free Kitchen
06 jun
Contestando a

Hi Star, I believe that some kind of fat helps improve the texture of the loaf. You can try an alternative liquid source that has a "fatty" component to it, for example milk, yogurt or sour cream (there are both dairy and non dairy options that can work). However your recipe will not fail outright if you decide to eliminate the fat altogether in favour of water as your primary liquid source.


At some point during baking when your loaf is set you may need to cover it with foil to keep the crust from drying out too much while it continues to cook on the inside (I'm assuming that you are not using a closed baking system like a…


Me gusta

Lynda Green
Lynda Green
09 mar

How to prevent hard crust

Me gusta
Moy's Gluten Free Kitchen
Moy's Gluten Free Kitchen
14 mar
Contestando a

I can give you a few general tips but your actual process will affect these suggestions. Bake your bread in the normal manner until the crust is properly set and then cover the loaf with aluminum foil for the rest of the baking cycle. You can also try a tin with a cover to trap moisture while the bread bakes. Baking for a longer time at a lower temperature is another option.


I find that brushing the loaf with oil or butter as soon as it comes out of the oven to be very effective. This method will not change the thickness of the crust but it helps to soften it as it cools. Does this help? Moy

Me gusta

Fernando E Silva
Fernando E Silva
08 mar

Incredibly well written. Thank you for this.


Could you explain a bit more on why a fat in necessary in the entire baking spectrum of gluten free specifically? I know it binds to the gluten protein in regular wheat flour.. but what about GF recipes?

Me gusta
Moy's Gluten Free Kitchen
Moy's Gluten Free Kitchen
11 mar
Contestando a

For now and unlike what happens with regular wheat flour, I have not seen any significant differences in the structural volume of baked goods with the addition of fat. However, in gluten free baking fat can add moisture, reduce staling and improve the texture and taste of baked goods. Fats will still react with the starches and other components within the flour and therefore have some kind of effect on the end result. Depending on the recipe, the type of fat, solid versus liquid for example will matter. A significant point to note here is that in comparison to wheat flour some gluten free flours are intrinsically fat heavy e.g. almond flour. So the issue of if and when to…

Me gusta

Ann Karimi Ndeke
Ann Karimi Ndeke
25 ene

Thank you for this post. Its been quite helpful. I've been trying to bake gluten free bread but it's either too dense, or dry. I can't wait to try your recipe. I'm wondering if you've tried baking any starch free variety. I saw a recipe using only flax seeds. Me and my husband are trying to loose weight. So any food with a low GI is on my radar.

Me gusta
Moy's Gluten Free Kitchen
Moy's Gluten Free Kitchen
25 ene
Contestando a

So lovely that you found the post helpful. Gluten free bread needs starches to prevent it from being too dense. Regular wheat flour or other types of flour that contain gluten naturally have enough starch. We add starch to gluten free flour to mimic what would be normal for regular flour.


Of course you can decide what is best for you but your decision affects the final outcome. For example a bread that uses only flax seeds might better serve your goal of losing weight but not satisfy your desire for a light and soft loaf.


Also, apart from the rice flours, there are gf flours with a healthier profile that you can experiment with e.g. amaranth and teff flour.…

Me gusta

Deborah Mulford
Deborah Mulford
13 oct 2023

Fantastic info. Thought I had read all the "tips" over the past 12 years, but you have given new life to my willingness to keep trying. I am not a vegan. 1.) Do you have tips/thoughts about a bread recipe that uses eggs? 2.) Have you split the primary ingredients equally if you use Sorghum (or oat) and Brown Rice? 3.) I've not used cassava...would more starch like potato or corn, in addition to the tapioca be a good replacement? 4.) I took note about your caution of using Millet at first. Of course I purchased some...could I exchange a small bit for some of the sorghum/oat or brown rice, 1 for 1 in volume?

Thank you so much...I'm still…

Me gusta
Moy's Gluten Free Kitchen
Moy's Gluten Free Kitchen
16 oct 2023
Contestando a

Hi Deborah, I admit that even I keep making new discoveries so we must always keep trying. That said, this is still a guide and the real proof is in the trial. Hopefully my answers will be helpful.


1) I don’t have to much to offer concerning recipes with eggs, other than they add much needed protein and improves binding. This can allow you to use some of the trickier ingredients I shy away from like coconut flour. For certain recipes, I think there is merit in going the extra distance and whipping egg whites as you would for a meringue and folding it into a gf bread batter. Whole eggs also add liquid to your recipe so I would…


Me gusta
bottom of page