Learning to bake gluten free can present its own set of challenges. And is an education in and of itself. That said, working with gluten free flour will give you an insight into how everything works together. In the end, you will come out a much better baker for knowing how everything works with and against each other in your recipes.
In general, gluten free flour blends can be substituted 1:1 as a replacement for wheat flour. However, not all gluten free flours will work the same in a recipe. They have different amounts of moisture they will each absorb, as well as different flavors and textures that will add to or detract from your final product. Which flour to use depends on the purpose you use it for.
Can I Substitute Gluten Free Flour for All Purpose Flour?
Gluten free flour can be substituted for all purpose flour in most recipes. However, the results will depend on what the purpose of the flour is in the recipe as well as which flour blend you use.
While in gluten baking there is one basic flour to use (with a few variations), with gluten free flour you have almost unlimited combinations available. Check out this post on how gluten free flour is better than wheat flour for a deeper dive into the differences between them and how they work.
So the simple answer to can I substitute gluten free flour for all purpose flour is yes. Read on for more information.
How Do I Substitute Gluten Free Flour For Regular Flour?
“Flour” is a term for the finely ground and powdery product of a plant. Typically this is from a grain, but it doesn’t have to be. When we see just the word “flour” it typically refers to wheat ground into a powdery substance and used in baked goods.
This includes wheat flour, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, pastry flour, cake flour, self rising flour, and 00 flour. As you can see most of these don’t reference the grain used to make them. But they are all made from some version of wheat. Some of them have other ingredients added (ie self rising flour has baking powder added).
So the question of how to substitute gluten free flour for regular flour comes down to what you want that flour to do. What application are you looking for, what type of texture you need, and how well it should hold together. There are many versions of all purpose gluten free flour blends, follow the link for the one I recommend.
Does Gluten Free Flour Work The Same As Wheat Flour?
Gluten free flour has some advantages over wheat flour because there are so many different types of gluten free flours. Depending on what end result is desired you can pick and choose the exact gluten free flours to best compliment it. However, there are premade gluten free flour blends that will work in many recipes the same or close to the same as a wheat based all purpose flour blend.
Gluten free flour does not work quite the same a wheat flour. Wheat flour contains the protein gluten. Gluten is what bakers use to make bread dough stretchy, allowing for it to stretch and stay together. The most visual example of this is tossing a pizza. This same substance is what causes so much trouble for those with autoimmune diseases or other conditions.
So while they don’t work quite the same, a combination of gluten free flours can be brought together to mimic the structure of gluten in whatever application you are trying to achieve. Although no gluten free product can be tossed in the air like a pizza to stretch it, the end result can come quite close.
Do All Gluten Free Flours Work The Same?
The simple answer to this question is “no”. While combining different gluten free flours can yield a pleasing texture, it takes an experienced hand to know which flours to substitute. This is where flour blends come into play. These are crafted by experienced gluten free cooks and they work in their recipes.
In general, gluten free flours have very different purposes in baking and cooking. They do not work the same. If you are not familiar with gluten free baking and cooking you should start by relying on a flour blend that has been put together by someone else. Depending on the texture desired this could vary. However, most flour blends are very good at replacing all purpose or wheat flour.
Some gluten free flours are considered starches and work to bring the ingredients together. Much in the same way as eggs do. Starches make them sticky, however too high of a starch content will result in a gummy end product.
Another category is considered a flour and these will not typically bring the ingredients together, but make the product drier. Added to a blend these will help create a pleasing crumb. However, by themselves they will typically create an end product that crumbles apart when touched.
How Much Gluten Free Flour Should I Substitute? (And The Chart)
The question of how much flour to substitute comes down to a few things. Is it a blend? A flour on its own? A starch? How much water will it absorb?
Follow our chart below to find the best flour blend or individual flour to use. Or use it to try creating your own flour blend!