The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

substitute(s) for unbleached all purpose flour

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Elle Hyson's picture
Elle Hyson

substitute(s) for unbleached all purpose flour

I am brand new to this site but have read it over the years.  I am also not too swift with the computer and ask your indulgence.  My daughter and I have been following the Eat Right  4 Your Type Diet and our blood type does not allow for any wheat products.  I have been experimenting with spelt flour by itself, mixed in with rye flour and some results have been very tasty.  However, just recently I made the deli rye from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day for my husband and would like to be able to replicate it with other than wheat flour.  I know there is a new flour available at Williams Sonoma called Cup4Cup which duplicates the all-purpose flour - from what I could ascertain that is made from potato flour, potato starch and tapioca starch.  The potatoes are also a no-no.  Does anyone have any thoughts on whether spelt flour, rice flour, amaranth flour or any other might give if not the same results similar results.  I started baking bread some 50 years ago, stopped for many years and now at almost 90 I am starting to bake bread once more.  Any assistance you can give me will be gratefully received.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Bread without wheat is perilously close to a contradiction in terms. No wheat pretty much means no gluten, and that pretty much means no holes.

There are several gluten-free flour replacements that you can obtain by mail (you may not find a local retail outlet that carries them). They do work. They tend to be awfully pricey though. And many of them rely on potato starch as their largest ingredient.

There are several tricks for making gluten-free bread by using something else to provide structure: tapioca starch for example. It can definitely be done. However, it's a topic of some debate whether it's either sufficiently simple or cost-effective. Unlike just a few years ago, most supermarkets now carry a decent selection of ready-made gluten-free breads. The over-reliance on mechanization and strange additives that usually make home-baked far superior to store-bought can instead become a distinct advantage for gluten-free breads -- the big commercial suppliers can sometimes impart reasonable structure to ingredients you'd never be able to use at home. I suggest you investigate the gluten-free section at your supermarket before diving headlong into the idea of baking your own.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

There are plenty of recipes and sources for people who need to have no gluten in theoir diet for any reason. There are also loads of gluten free (hence wheat free) products out there. Spelt is NOT gluten free and is a cousin of wheat.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

There are plenty of recipes and sources for people who need to have no gluten in theoir diet...

Initially I just accepted this common wisdom too. Sites that explain just what gluten-free is or why one might care seem to be plentiful. But when I went looking for a site myself (maybe I need to be a better Googler:-) that told me specifically all the steps to take to produce a loaf of gluten-free bread, I couldn't find much.

I found very little information about gluten-free flour substitutes at a reasonable cost. In fact, I never managed at all to find specific information on how to make my own gluten-free flour substitute (is it potato starch + metamucil + xanthan gum ?).

Even recipes seem to be surprisingly sparse on the web (although I expect they are more easily available elsewhere). Most of those I found were either maddeningly vague about some critical detail, or pointed to a commercially available flour substitute (one that typically cost way more than ten times what wheat flour costs).

So I'm wondering if anybody can supply a specific URL about gluten-free baking?

BMD's picture
BMD

I used to bake bread the way my grandmother taught me and you shouldn't replace wheat with one GF flour.  One has to then add ingredients for leavening and that is normally a combo of ingredients.  The best breads are normally percentages of several GF flours.  This is what I do and it is/has been a journey of learning.  There is a lot of 'food science' one has to learn.  Brand name flour bread mixes are getting better at it.  Have you tried making Bob's Red Mill Wonderful Bread mix? Or Authentic Foods makes several flour blends that you could try using in the recipe you said you liked, but again, you will have to add leavening ingredients.  Also in GF bread making - try rising only one time.  Also, it just depends on the baker, but I like using the bread machine yeast as it's particles are finer and they 'do their thing' while the dough is rising which helps lift those heavier GF flours vs. dissolving the yeast in water before adding to flour.  So then when it's rising, the dissolved yeast doesn't have the same holding power as the bread machine yeast.  I know other bakers like using the dissolved yeast; it can just depend on the GF flours one is using, the protein, fiber, starch ratio . . . yes, this is science at it's best.  Hope this helps.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Gluten free is not cheap-dealing with specialty flours, whether wheat based or non-wheat is always expensive. But it is much more do-able than it used to be and there is more cooking science info available than ever before. I just googled  " gluten free baking" and got the following. There is a lot more out there.

Potato and rice flours are more readily available and therefore cheaper than other, more exotic flours. Amaranth and teff can be quite pricey. "Bread" has no single definition. Is corn approved for the original poster's diet? There are people in the deep south of the USA that have never had wheat based bread-they live on variations of corn bread. It may be a cheaper alternative.

http://www.celiac.com/articles/186/1/Corn-Gluten---Is-it-Safe-for-a-People-with-Celiac-Disease-Who-are-on-a-Gluten-Free-Diet/Page1.html

http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2007/01/cooking-baking-gluten-free-tips-for.html

http://glutenfreegirl.com/category/recipes/breads/

http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/01/05/gluten-free-crusty-boule

http://www.glutenfreebaking101.com/

After living 90 years, you must have done something right! Enjoy what you eat and eat what you enjoy!

Have delicious fun!