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How can gluten-free bread flour be made at home?
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).
If you intend to bake your homemade bread, pizza crusts, focaccia etc, it is worth your time to source the ingredients needed to have a regular supply of gluten-free bread flour handy.
What is whey protein isolate?
Whey Protein Isolate is an unflavoured protein powder with 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 great respect for casein as its replacement!
I buy whey protein isolate at my local drugstore/chemist, otherwise, most sports stores will sell them. They come in many flavours, but for the purpose of making bread flour, make sure you only buy the natural/neutral flavour and not strawberry or vanilla.
Is there lactose-free protein isolate?
For those who are lactose-intolerant, look for soy protein isolate. This may not be readily available at regular shops, but I found plenty of brands online at Amazon.
This is often confused with regular tapioca flour. 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. The addition of this ingredient makes it much easier to handle and for shaping the dough.
Unfortunately, sourcing this ingredient is tricky. Not many stores sell this “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 comes as a powder and is an excellent binder and stabiliser in general 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 or psyllium husk are good substitutes as a gluten-free binder in baking.
Homemade Gluten-Free Bread Flour
- Measure all the ingredients and place them in a large bowl.
- Whisk together thoroughly and transfer to an air-tight container. Store in a cool or chilled area if preparing during hot weather.