In order for gluten-free bread flour to work well, it needs to have whey protein isolate (acts as a replacement for gluten), a modified tapioca starch (a thickening starch that helps create elasticity and texture to the dough), and xanthan gum powder (to bind everything together).
Before going out and buying these ingredients, I’m sure you would like to know what they are, especially if you are going to be eating them on a regular basis!
Whey Protein Isolate:
It is an unflavoured protein powder that has a high percentage of casein (a milk protein). This casein is what successfully replaces gluten in baking. As they say, “gluten is the glue for dough”, so I have a great respect for casein as its replacement!
I buy whey protein isolate at my local drugstore/chemists, otherwise most sports stores will sell them in many flavours. Just make sure you buy the natural/neutral flavour and not the strawberry or vanilla version!
Modified Tapioca Starch:
Please note that this is not tapioca flour. The modified tapioca starch is a chemically modified product, which is why it cannot be replaced with regular tapioca flour. It is a thickening starch that helps create elasticity and texture to the dough. This addition makes it much easier to handle and to shape the dough.
Unfortunately, this is where it gets tricky. Not many stores sell this ingredient “off the shelf”, but the two main brands that I know of, are sold on Amazon as: Expandex (for the US market) and Ultratex (Europe and other countries). I use Ultratex in my bread flour blend.
Xanthan Gum Powder
Xanthan gum powder is an excellent binder and stabiliser in baking. It is made by fermenting corn sugar with Xanthomonas campestris. This type of bacteria is paired with corn sugar and once fermented; it creates a gooey like substance that gives it a unique binding quality.
In very rare cases, it can sometimes cause digestive issues, especially for those who are allergic to corn. Arrowroot powder can be substituted as another gluten-free binder.
Most store-bought gluten-free bread flour blends will have these three important ingredients, so if it seems too complicated to buy these individually, then I would highly recommend: Schär, a reputable German brand for gluten-free flours and products. Schär is now sold in many countries, not just in Europe.
Makes just under 600 gm of bread flour
- 450g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
- 120g whey protein isolate, natural flavour
- 20g Ultratex – modified tapioca starch
- 8g xanthan gum (leave out if your store-bought flour has xanthan gum already in it)
Whisk these all together in a bowl and transfer to an air-tight container.
In my next blog, I will be using this gluten-free bread flour to make an easy-no knead focaccia bread. I was amazed at the results. Just take a look at the texture. It also tastes amazing and makes incredible focaccia sandwiches…another blog to come!!