There was a bit of hubub on twitter over this flour. Mostly it was about the price – not sure why. 3lbs of the King Arthur Gluten Free Flour is $16 and 3lbs of Jules Nearly Normal flour comes out to about $12 (she sells 5lb bags). It is a little more expensive, but not horribly so. It is a product sold at Williams Sonoma, they sell premium cookware and foods. Pasta sauce from there is expensive too ($12 a jar!). It is a premium store that sells premium products. Call me snooty, but I love shopping there. And I am ok with paying a price for luxury/ premium goods.
And yes, the flour is fairly pricey. But, is it good? Yes. Very.
Blondie and I got up early last Sunday and went to a gluten-free baking technique class. Ours was taught by a delightful pastry chef who gave some good tips for baking – and taught Blondie quite a bit about gluten-free ingredients and baking. I even learned a trick about baking cookies.
The whole point of this class was to sample their new brownie & cookie mixes (which don’t taste like they came from a box at all – but I still think they are cheating). And to demo their new flour. (Williams-Sonoma, please have more Gluten-Free technique classes!)
Cup4Cup is a gluten-free flour blend developed by Chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry and Bouchon Bakery fame. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the flour. I baked some shortbread cookies to test it out. I have had some disappointments in the past when it comes to gluten-free flour blends. And there are very few that I recommend without hesitation. This one is now on that list.
The batter seemed a little gummier than I am used to, but the cookies are a little chewy (but not gummy) and did not turn to dust when I touched them (this has happened). There were no strange flavors (which some brands AP blends have) and the texture of the baked good was spot on. Sometimes when you bake gluten free cookies, you need to substitute shortening for some of the butter so that they do not spread into one giant cookie. This flour held its shape in baking, a major plus.
I also used this while testing my fried doughnut recipe that will be live on Wednesday for the Gluten Free Ratio Rally. It actually seems to be working (the dough is raising now, but the texture seemed spot on. The dough had stretch and absorbed the right amount of moisture). I will have to try a loaf of bread with this next…
I also love that I can pick up a bag of this stuff when I am wandering around Williams-Sonoma ogling the kitchen goods that I am going to register for when I get married. I also am really impressed that a fancy-schmancy player has entered the game.
This blend will not work for those of you who also have problems with dairy or gums, as this blend has both. My only aversion to dairy is that I don’t like the way that milk tastes.
I am going to make sure that Blondie has a bag of this in his pantry for when I come to town. (Especially now that he finally has measuring cups and spoons – I can deal with not having a scale for our weekends together)
I would definitely put this as one of my preferred store-bought blends. I think it might have worked its way up to second favorite blend.
There are some limitations to using a prepared flour blend. You can’t change the ratio of grains to starches depending on what you are baking. (So no whole grain breads). You also can’t change the amount of the binding agent (xantham gum, guar gum, flax, expandex, etc.) But, you can make your grandma’s famous chocolate cake without doing math.
This blend beats out my other favorite blend in one aspect, I can just go into a store and pick it up. (Maybe not in Champaign, but in Chicago). No expensive shipping because flour weighs alot!
If you are baking a recipe from a gluten free site (such as this), just total all the flours and use this in it’s place. It works as a weight substitution and as a volume substitution.
So, thank you Williams-Sonoma and Chef Thomas Keller for this flour.
|Gluten Lemon-Thyme Shortbread||
- 230 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 100 grams (½ cup) sugar
- 340 grams (2 ½ cups) gluten-free all purpose flour blend
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (the juice from 1 large lemon)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Cream together the butter and sugar until it is just blended.
- Add the flour in 2 batches, scraping down the sides of your mixer after each addition.
- Add the lemon juice and mix to combine.
- Stir in the lemon zest and thyme.
- Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes.About halfway through this time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Roll the dough out and cut into the desired shape (I did 3 inch circles).
- Arrange about a half inch apart on a greased cookie sheets and bake for 13-17 minutes.