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The Best Store-Bought Gluten-Free Flour Blends
Published July 1, 2016.
What You Need To Know
In traditional baking recipes, which all-purpose flour you use isn’t terribly important. That’s because all of them contain the same single ingredient—wheat flour. Yes, protein levels in the wheat will vary slightly among different flours, but this typically has a minimal effect on the finished product. But in gluten-free baking recipes that call for a gluten-free flour blend, the blend used has significantly more impact on the final baked good. That’s because each flour blend relies on a mix of different ingredients, yielding cookies, cakes, breads, and muffins with varying textures, colors, and flavors.
To find the best, we tested 10 store-bought all-purpose gluten-free flour blends in three well-vetted gluten-free test kitchen recipes for chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins, and sandwich bread. Twenty tasters from our test kitchen participated in these blind taste tests, which also included samples of each recipe made with the ATK homemade flour blend (the control). Tasters were asked to rate how close each sample came to the control.
While all of the blends produced edible cookies, muffins, and loaves of bread, there were significant textural and flavor differences. Our two favorite blends are made with neutral-tasting white rice flour as their main ingredient, and they produced relatively light, tasty baked goods. While some of the lower scoring options also included white rice flour, they either contained additional distinctly flavored ingredients (like sorghum or bean flours) whose flavors were detectable in the baked goods, or they made breads, cookies, and muffins with heavy, dense textures.
For the best results with our gluten-free recipes, we recommend that you use our custom-designed homemade ATK flour blend, which has the added advantage of being cheaper than store-bought blends. If you choose to use a store-bought blend, King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour is our winner. Our second choice is Betty Crocker All-Purpose Gluten Free Rice Flour Blend.
A WEIGHTY ISSUE
When using a store-bought all-purpose flour blend, we strongly recommend that you weigh it (as opposed to measuring by volume). Because each blend is made with different ingredients, it packs into dry cup measures differently. A scale ensures that you have the right amount of flour, no matter the blend.
Everything We Tested
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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing.