I found this recipe in a Bette Hagman cookbook when I was first diagnosed. It is my favorite all purpose flour mixture to use. In most things, it works really well, though for most baking I prefer to use a feather light mixture. A feather light mixture has more starches and is a much lighter weight flour.
I have tried other flours and always come back to this all purpose mix. Plus, with a family of6 that is eating gluten free it has been cheaper for us to mix our own flour and grind our own rice.
Flours and Starches
When making this mixture be sure you are using Potato Starch NOT potato flour. They are very different and won’t work the same. Potato flour is heavier than potato starch and it needs to be refrigerated to last. (It can go rancid.)
On the other hand, tapioca starch and tapioca flour are the same thing! I know! It is confusing!
I frequently buy our potato starch and tapioca starch/flour from the Asian store. It is much cheaper at the Asian store than most other places. You may also be able to find these other flours and starches at the Latin market.
This is optional in your flour mixture. I added it to increase the nutritional value and fiber content of our flour. There are a lot of health benefits to eating flaxseed. Make sure you are using ground flaxseed. Flaxseed is not very digestible, unless it is ground.
Flaxseed may not be for everyone. I used flaxseed for years and years in our flour mixture. Recently, I have omitted it because my husband has Crohn’s and we are trying to get that under control. Some research says it isn’t good for people with Crohn’s.
Some say pregnant and breast feeding mothers shouldn’t use flax seed.
This post contains affiliate links. I include these links for your convenience to be able to find similar items to what I am using. I earn a small commission for the referral, but your price remains the same.
No Xanthan Gum
Yes, you need xanthan gum when you are baking and in anything you want to be held together and mimic regular gluten flour. The xanthan gum is a binding agent that mimics gluten fairly well.
You need to add xanthan gum with your flour, to each recipe. I use 1 tsp of xanthan gum per cup of flour. Some people use more depending on what they are making and how gummy or elastic they want the mixture to have.
Xanthan Gum Substitutes
Not everyone does well with xanthan gum, but there are substitutes you can use, to hold things together and make it more like the texture when it has gluten.
Carageenan (I don’t really recommend using carageenan. It is made from red seaweed and causes stomach distress and inflammation in a lot of people. I find it frustrating how many products it is now used in.)
All Purpose Flour Ingredients
6 Cups Rice Flour
2 Cups Potato Starch (Not Flour!)
1 Cup Tapioca Starch/flour
1/4 C ground flax seed (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight container.
All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mixture
It can be more economical to make your own flour mixture, than to buy flour mixtures.
Flaxseed, what is it and why do so many people put it in gluten free foods? What are it’s benefits and is there a downside?
I must say, this post has been an educational experience for me and has changed my point of view.
Flaxseed is also known as linseed. Doesn’t mean anything to you? Me neither, though I have heard the word before.
The plant is flax, but in another article it was referred to as the linseed plant. Frequently, it goes by both names. The seeds are called linseed or flaxseed. It is an ancient grain that people have been growing as early as 3000 B.C.
“Her hair was flaxen!”
Here is why people like flaxseed, but keep in mind many researchers still don’t consider the benefits settled. They do agree that research suggests that there “appear” to be many benefits. Let’s list a few:
This post contains affiliate links. I include these links for your convenience. I earn a small commission for the referral, but your price remains the same.
Which is better flaxseed or flaxseed oil?
With flaxseed you get the entire seed and benefits of the whole thing. The oil only gives you part of the pieces of the seed.
Don’t just eat the seeds
The body isn’t made to digest flaxseed in it’s whole form. Eating it straight will not give you the benefits, because it will go straight through you. So, to get the benefits of this wonder seed we need to grind it down. Because flaxseed has a lot of oil and the seeds are small, the best way to grind it is with a coffee grinder.
The oils will gum up a grinder and many find that using an electric coffee grinder is the way to go, when you are doing it yourself. In fact, any seed or other oily grain that you want to grind, does better in a coffee grinder.
Is there a downside to flaxseed?
There are a few concerns and downside to flaxseed, for some people. Keep in mind these problems usually go along with other conditions or from high consumption of flaxseed. Some people tolerate it very well and others may not do so well. Listen to your body.
High consumption of flaxseed can lead to a laxative effect. For this reason the National Institute of Health has suggested that those with the following conditions should not use flaxseed: diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. (I need to re-evaluate our use of flaxseed, considering my husband was diagnosed with crohn’s.)
If you are eating a lot of flaxseed it can cause obstructions in the esophagus, intestines or bowel.
Some people are allergic to flaxseed
Because of the estrogen found in the plant, it can have a negative effect on those with certain hormone related health conditions. This is because the hormone in the plant acts the same as human hormones. (Reminds me of the issues with estrogen in soy.)
May reduce blood clotting; making the blood thinner.
Can cause the mania in some people who are bipolar
May contain heavy metal amounts because of contaminated soil. The one of most concern with the flaxseed crop is cadium. The cadium the plant absorbs may actually increase the chances of breast cancer. Undoing all the benefits of the flaxseed. Organic foods are NOT tested for heavy metals.
Possible cross contamination with gluten. As with any grain, if the flaxseed is grown in a field that alternates with gluten grains the potential for cross contamination increases. Also, if the milling happens in a plant, but especially on the same equipment or same area as gluten grains the potential for cross contamination is greater.
Who shouldn’t supplement with flaxseed?
With so many great benefits it seems like everyone should supplement their diet with flaxseed! However, there are groups of people that should be more weary:
According to research, breast feeding mothers may not want to consume flaxseed. Studies are contradictory and the risk may outweigh the benefits.
“Our own animal studies showed that flaxseed exposure during these stages may be protective against breast cancer in the offspring. But a study of another investigator showed the opposite effect,” Thompson says.
Those who have an allergic reaction to flaxseed which can include: abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or anaphylaxis.
Diabetics should be cautious about consuming flaxseed and how much. (This one is a little confusing since other information says it may lower the risk of diabetes. One would think that it would also help if you already have diabetes. I think the biggest problem for diabetics with this is the thinning blood.)
People with bleeding disorders should also be cautious. This is because it can thin the blood and reduce blood clotting.
Those who are bipolar– flaxseed may bring on mania.
Why I Use Flaxseed in My Flour Mixture
I wanted to add more protein and fiber to our flour mixture. Our whole family is gluten free and so, I make Bette Hagman’s combination for flour; it is less expensive for me to do so. Which is simply: 6 cups rice flour, 2 cups potato starch and 1 cup tapioca flour. Then, I add approximately 1/4 cup (maybe a little less) of ground flaxseed. I really like this mixture and it works well in most things.
For baked goods I use Bette Hagman’s Featherlight combination of 1:1:1. 1 Cup rice flour, 1 cup corn starch and 1 cup tapioca starch. (I do not add flaxseed to this! You want it to be light so your baked goods can be fluffy.)
***Remember that there IS a difference between potato starch and potato flour. Potato starch will last longer and they have different textures.
Tapioca starch and tapioca flour are the exact same thing! There is no end to the confusion in the gluten free diet.
Continued use of flaxseed?
I need to carefully decide if we should continue to use flaxseed in our mixture; I am leaning toward not doing so. My husband has been diagnosed with crohn’s and that is a big deal! The last thing I want is to cause him more problems with his digestive tract.
Another big concern for me is the hormone issues. My daughter has Hashimotos and hormones do affect this disease in a negative way. It is recommended to avoid soy (which is also hard to do on a gluten free diet) and the hormone issue is the same or similar with flaxseed.
In my opinion, I don’t understand why so many gluten free companies use these plants that are hormone disrupters. People with celiac already have a higher risk of developing certain conditions like auto-immune thyroid and these foods can have such a negative effect.
I am disheartened by what I have learned in writing this post. When I began, I was a proponent for flaxseed, but after what I have learned I am strongly leaning toward discontinuing using flaxseed.