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Flour Questions
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Hey everybody, I am new to the boards, have been looking around all day today though. My stepdad was just diagnosed as having a gluten intolerance, not celiac's, just a gluten allergy that caused his DH rash. I tend to do all the cooking at home, so I am doing all the research and meal planning regarding this, and then I will teach my parents what I learned.

Anyway, I have been doing a lot of research and compiling lists on all the products, brands, ingredients and so on. So far it doesn't seem THAT bad, a pain and going to be expensive, but it is what it is.

My main question is the flour situation. I'm not a chef that understands how all foods work, and I tend to keep my ingredients and flavors pretty simple when cooking, but I can cook and follow a recipe pretty well. I'm understanding that there isn't one substitute I can make, and that I have to make mixes of flours depending on the food. but I guess my questions are more basic than that...

Can I convert regular recipes into gluten free, even if they contain flour?

How do I figure out which flours to use?

Does it convert into the same amounts? (1c wheat flour = 1c gluten-free flour?)

And are there any simple tips and tricks I can do besides just old fashioned trial and error? I can't really afford to be making entire recipes only to have it end up inedible...

Sorry for the long winded post, I haven't been too overwhelmed with all this until this topic came up. Thanks! :)

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Welcome to the fascinating world of gluten-free baking.

You CAN get cup-for-cup substitutions, such as Better Batter and Cup4Cup. Generally, mixes which contain more starch than flour (ie, a flour mix of corn starch and rice flour), you should use 3/4 a cup per cup of wheat flour. But, generally you can not substitute just ONE type of gluten-free flour per cup of wheat flour, which is why we mix. Rice flour on it's own is not the best in baking.

Buckwheat.....potato starch....there's a lot.

You can go grain-free and use almond meal or coconut flour. These, can be used on their own.

Here's a glossary of all the gluten-free starches and flours we can use. There are more than this, but these are most common.

When using gluten-free flour, if your mix does not already contain it, you must use xanthan or guar gum to replace the gluten.

*though tapioca flour can be used on it's own, there's even research in seeing how tapioca can emulate wheat, and one such product that does that is "Expandex" flour.

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AndreaMamie, you state your step-dad was dx'd as having a gluten intolerance, not celiac's, just a gluten allergy that caused his dh rash. Did he get dx'd with dh? Because if he did get a dh dx then he IS celiac. DH does not occur with a gluten intolerance; only with celiac. Other skin problems may occur with a gluten intolerance but not dh. There is medical literature which states that a dx of dh IS a dx of celiac disease.

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Cookies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, pancakes are all easy to convert to gluten free without very little change. The tricky part comes when you bake breads and other things containing yeast (i.e. pizza crust, croissants, English muffins). It is very simple to replace flour in things in cooking but baking is different. In cooking, when making sauces, just use cornstarch or arrowroot. Sweet rice flour is fine, too.

You do not substitute 1:1 in baking recipes unless you have a blend. There are tons of blends out there but I make my own for each type of thing I bake. Check out The Gluten-Free Goddess's website and The Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef's site for excellent recipes that work. I use about 20 kinds of flours and starches but you do not need to do that - I'm a baker so I enjoy that. Great beginner things are what I mentioned above and oh, brownies! They are very easy to make gluten free. The most common starches are tapioca starch (also called flour), white and brown rice flours and cornstarch. You can also get sorghum (one of my favourites), amaranth, chestnut, coconut, almond, hazelnut, quinoa, garfava, millet (another of my favourites), corn flour, sweet rice flour, chickpea and so on.

I'll look up baking ratio info and will post. Each starch is used for different things - browning, flavour, texture, crumb, etc. so in many recipes you will see at least 3 used. Mateo's right - rice flours, especially plain white, is not the best to use always, especially alone, as it is nutrtionally empty. I like to use things that actually are healthy for me. Sometimes, of course, I make plain white bread but usually I make whole grain breads.

After awhile substitutions become easier and second nature. :)

ETA: Don't forget naturally gluten-free desserts such as pavlova, panna cotta, macarons (and some macaroons), etc. There is a thread on such desserts on here with some delectable ideas!

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Yes, you can use your old recipes, which love2travel also answered. I posted a reply to a similar question - to save myself some typing I'll point you to this thread (and message 4 is from me):

However, to avoid sulfites I now use baking soda only (with vinegar or cream or sour cream), or yeast. And at the moment I'm using rice flour only, I successfully used my Vitamix dry container to make some rice flour a little finer, so it'll rise better. When I try it without grinding it a bit more I got a soggy center instead of a nice flat bread. I'm going to try adding some tapioca flour soon, but I'll still avoid potato and corn starches (and I also have DH).

Also, I find that depending on what you're making (cake or muffin), beating the egg whites separately and folding them in at the end can help give it a little more 'lift'. And, use muffin liners and parchment paper if you'll be baking with nonstick bakeware that previously had gluten stuff baked in them -- at least that's what I do.

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