Creating your own gluten-free recipes
Gluten-free flours can sometimes behave disappointingly - you can end up with an unappetising result; dense and chewy when it's meant to be crisp, and flat and dull when it should be light. The secret is to blend the flours and add some extra ingredients to get a result that's similar to using wheat flour.
Our Shipton Mill GF recipes are created by experimenting with our fantastic range (we're spoilt for choice - 15 GF flours always to hand just across the yard from the kitchen!) and you can use them as a starting point for your own creations.
Blending the flours
We blend two or more flours together rather than substitute one GF flour into a conventional recipe - why? Because they all behave differently according to their individual characteristics and how much liquid they can absorb, so we combine them to improve texture, strength and flavour. Gluten-free flours go on absorbing liquid as batters stand resting, so you may need to add more liquid to get the result you want.
If you're completely new to gluten-free baking, white rice flour and tapioca starch is a simple and inexpensive basic blend - try it in waffle recipes, crumble toppings and pancakes. For a bread recipe, use a strong flour like buckwheat and combine it with white rice flour, plus 30% starch to lighten the mix, and a small amount of binder such as guar to replace the gluten.
Making it rich
So far so good, you can make something flavoursome to eat that holds together, but maybe it's a bit dry, or the mouth feel just isn't right - things can go wrong. When this happens think of adding extra richness - ground almonds is a favourite of ours, and you can also add ground hazelnuts, butter, vegetable oils, coconut oil, fruit juices and nut milks to provide a smoother, richer and more satisfying result.
All Purpose Blend
If you just want to bake something quickly - pancakes or waffles - and you don't have time to fiddle with the individual flours, try our All Purpose Blend. Great in a Victoria Sandwich with lots of butter and eggs, the blend is light and it works really well. You won't know the difference.... Try it in the scone recipe we have created especially for it where we add ground almonds and egg to the recipe.
We stock Naomi Devlin's River Cottage Gluten Free Cookbook, and it has an excellent description of gluten-free flours, which she divides into 4 separate categories: flavour flours, short and crumbly flours, starchy and crisp flours, and binding flours. Choosing a flour from each category for each recipe is a great way to start experimenting.
Understanding our range
Since our flours fall into more than one category we've summarised our range briefly as follows:
Wholemeal flours include quinoa, buckwheat, sorghum, teff, gram and chestnut - these tend to be heavier and denser flours.
Starches include tapioca, potato and maize (we don't currently supply maize starch), and they are added to a recipe for lightness.
Short flours are rice, millet, maize and oatmeal, these flours are crumbly and delicious in the finished product. Sweet white rice flour adds richness and is an excellent binder.