Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Gluten-Free Bakers Stock Cupboard


 Welcome to Part-1 of The Gluten-Free Bakers Stock Cupboard, this post is going to cover different flours and raising agents that every savvy gluten-free Goddess or God should have in their cupboard.
Before you start to worry that the G/F stock cupboard is going to be like that of Delia and Nigella who's larders are akin to the Tardis filled with floor to ceiling ingredients from Harrods food hall let me point out that 1) I have but two shelves at my disposal and 2) I am significantly poorer than Delia who owns a football team, therefore value for money is essential!
I could probably go on forever about various ingredients that might come in handy in your pursuit for domestic deity, but for now I'll just give you the main ingredients that you will find useful on more than one occasion (ahem, Delia, crystallised ginger, hardly useful for everyday cooking is it madam?). The aim here is to give you a list of ingredients that are useful alternatives for use in gluten free cooking and baking. The items listed are approved as safe for coeliacs and those on a gluten free diet by the codex alimentarius (food standard agency).
These are my top ten flours and raising agents, also at the end is a list of stockists where you can find the items I've listed so you can get started on your own stock cupboard.

Part 1- Flours and Raising Agents
  • 1- Chickpea/Gram Flour 
Chickpea (or gram flour) is used a lot in Indian cooking, onion bhaji batter are is more often than not made from gram flour. Gram flour is quite high in protein which is good for anyone on a vegetarian or vegan diet. When gram flour is mixed with equal parts of water it can be used as an egg replacement in vegan cooking or for those who have an egg allergy or intolerance.

  • 2- Rice Flour
Milled from brown or white rice, rice flour is used a lot of Japanese cooking and is used to make rice noodles which are G/F. Rice flour is great for pairing with other flours to make pastries or as a thickener for soups and sauces. All rice flour is high in protein, but brown rice flour more so, with high levels of calcium and B vitamins, helpful in a vegetarian and vegan diet and for those with a B12 deficiency.

  • 3-Potato Flour
Potato flour is one of the cheapest alternatives to normal flour that you can find. While its high in carbohydrates its also equally as high in calcium. Potato flour is great as a thickener, and used with other G/F flours for biscuits,cakes and bread.

  • 4-Maize Flour (corn meal)
Maize flour (don't confuse it with corn flour) is often used in Mexican and southern American cooking, in nacho and taco recipes. Discovery Foods use maize flour in their gluten free recipes. Maize is a good source of minerals and vitamin B12, and can be used in recipes for vegetable fritters and as a thickener.
  • 5-Gluten Free Plain Flour Mixes
If your coeliac you are probably aware by now that you can get a plain flour mix on prescription. Glutafin and Dietary Specials both do plain flour mixes that are available of prescription. Plain flour mixes are usually made up of a mixture of some of the flours listed above.if you want to make your own plain flour blend here's an easy peasy recipe;

300g Maize Flour
500g brown rice flour
200g cornflour

Whizz it all in a blender until all the flours are well mixed and pop in a airtight container, it should last up to 6 months.

  • 6-Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
Again this sort of flour should be available on prescription and can be used for cakes, scones and biscuits. Again these mixes are usually made by combining a mixture of the flours I've listed above. If you want to make your own self raising flour add 50g of gluten free baking powder to your plain flour mix. I find these mixes really useful, and just about as good as I used to find normal flour in baking.
  • 7-Bread Flours
There are lots of bread flours available on prescription, in the supermarkets and online including brown and white bread flours that can be used to make loaves, rolls and other bread products. Bread, I have to admit is probably the thing I really struggle to make well, the various mixes you can buy or get on prescription are really tasty, although they never rise as well as a normal loaf would, the actual making of the bread is really quick and easy.

  • 8-Xantham Gum
Xantham Gum, weirdly can be found in many beauty products, but when used in gluten free cooking gives food the elasticity and stickiness that gluten free products sometimes lack. Added to cakes and scones xantham gum is a powdered additive that helps provide texture and bounce. Never again will anyone ever guess that your Victoria sponge is gluten free!

  • 9-Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar is a raising agent which can be used in the same way as baking powder.

  • 10-Gluten Free Baking Powder
Baking powder is a raising agent that you can put in pretty much anything to give it a bit of oomph.

Doves Farm
Naturally Good Food
Gluten Free Foods Direct
Dietary Specials
Holland and Barrett


  1. Ooh, good post! I've heard good things about Doves Farm. Xanthum gum's good to put in g/f christmas cake (I love Christmas cake!).

    Emily x

  2. Thanks Em! I'm going to attempt xmas cake next year, i love it as well (not the marzipan though, ugh). I've only great things to say about Doves Farm, I've used every product they do i think and its all great quality and value for money. If I'm using the s/r flour for cupcakes i dont even need to put in a raising agent or anything, they come out perfect. do you bake a lot? x

  3. I'm massively envious of how organised your cupboard is! What brand of corn flour do you use? I'm never sure which ones are guaranteed gluten free.

  4. Aw, I do have to admit it got a spruce up before I took the pictures, I'll pop a pic up of it in its current state! haha!
    I use one from Holland and Barrett, and i'm sure doves farm's corn flour is certified glutenf free-although don't quote me!xxx


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