10 Things to Know About Pressure Cooking / Bob's Red Mill

10 Things to Know About Pressure Cookers

by Sarah House in Featured Articles

Pressure cookers are a great way to save time in the kitchen, but they can be very intimidating. Here are ten things to keep in mind when using a pressure cooker. 

1.    They aren’t as scary as they seem or as they were.

The first time I ever used a pressure cooker (canner, actually) I hid around the corner fearing the whole dang thing would explode all over my kitchen.  Bob has a great story of a very young Bob and his roommate covering their entire kitchen with their dinner that was simmering away in a pressure cooker.  It turns out, though, that my fear was unnecessary.  Modern pressure cookers are much safer than they used to be, just make sure to keep them in good working order and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean and care for the equipment (oil those rubber gaskets, y’all).

2.    But you still need to handle them with care.

It’s very simple:  read the owner’s manual before you begin and maybe as a refresher if you’ve put the cooker away for a season or two; properly assemble the equipment; and properly disassemble, clean, and store the pressure cooker when not in use.  If you follow the instructions and use some common sense, you’ll be safely cooking (and eating) in no time.10 Things to Know About Pressure Cooking / Bob's Red Mill

3.    Pressure cookers are fast.  Ooh are they fast!

When pressure cooking, liquid is heated to boiling in a tightly sealed pot, creating a high level of pressure and temperature.  Since the pressure has nowhere to go and less liquid is used, the liquid penetrates the food faster and cooks quickly.  Pressure cookers cook many foods in about a third of the time they would take to prepare using the standard stove top or oven methods.

4.    Fast cooking makes for better color, flavor, and probably more nutrients.

Fast cooking times and low liquid levels keeps color intact, flavors vibrant, and allows less time for vitamins and minerals to leach out of the food and into the cooking water (which is usually tossed).

5.    They can cook a lot of things!

  • Vegetables and fruit.
  • Beans and grains.
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Soups and sauces.
  • Canning and preserving.

6.    But not everything.

Beans and grains that have been cracked, split, rolled, or pearled have a tendency to release high amounts of starch which can clog the pressure release valve and cause some serious problems to the product, the equipment, and maybe even you.  Steer clear of preparing granular or rolled cereals like oats, pearl barley, and split peas in the pressure cooker.  Other items that should be left out:  cranberries, applesauce, rhubarb, and many pastas.

10 Things to Know About Pressure Cooking / Bob's Red Mill

7.    Read the instruction manual but basically:

  • Soak beans or grains in water for a few hours or overnight, then drain off and dispose of the soaking liquid.
  • Place the beans or grains in the pressure cooker along with the proper amount of fresh liquid.
  • Place the pressure cooker evenly onto a properly sized burner.
  • Place the lid onto the pot, close securely, and lock into place.
  • Select the appropriate level of pressure (low or high, typically).
  • Set burner to high.
  • When steam begins to escape from the steam valve, reduce heat to medium-low or low and begin cooking time. Adjust heat as necessary to maintain pressure and a gentle and steady release of steam.
  • When the cooking time has completed, turn off the heat and use the proper release method (check the owner’s manual for this).
  • After all the pressure has released, unlock and carefully remove the lid.
  • Commence eating!

8.    Do not do these things.

  • Do not use in the oven.
  • Do not move, bump, or shake a pressure cooker while it is cooking and be very careful moving a hot pressure cooker.
  • Do not fill over two-thirds full.
  • Do not prepare the items listed above (note #6) in a pressure cooker.
  • Do not open or remove the lid until the pressure has been released.
  • Do not put your face, hands, or forearms (or any part of your or someone else’s body) directly over the lid during cooking or when removing lid.

9.    Beans and grains in the pressure cooker.

Again, always consult the owner’s manual for your specific model.  Whole beans and grains benefit from a few hours up to overnight to soak before pressure cooking (you don’t need to do this with rice or anything else that cooks quickly on the stove top).  You can add about 1 Tbsp of oil to help reduce foam.  After cooking, letting the pressure release naturally is usually the best bet for properly cooked beans and whole grains.

We are currently in the process of calculating pressure cooking instructions for our beans, grains, and a few soup mixes but typically 1 cup of beans or grains plus 3 cups of liquid set on high pressure.  Times vary greatly so consult your owner’s manual or keep checking back with our website.

10. Listen to some Queen featuring David Bowie while cooking and then some Toots and the Maytals while the equipment is cooling down. 

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Sarah House Google: Sarah House
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3 Easy {and Healthy!} Breakfast Ideas for Scorching Hot Days | Bob's Red Mill

3 Easy {and Healthy!} Breakfasts for Scorching Hot Days

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

Portland has been experiencing an unusually hot and dry summer this year and I’ve long since hung up my apron when it comes to breakfast. Sweltering or not, a girl’s gotta eat. My stomach doesn’t care if it’s summer, breakfast still has to deliver a nutritional punch or I’ll be in trouble.  Here are our favorite breakfasts that are easy, healthy and will keep your kitchen cool.

1. Muesli or Granola and Yogurt: AKA possibly the easiest whole grain breakfast ever. Combine our Old Country Style Muesli, Gluten Free Muesli or one of our many varieties of granola with your favorite variety of yogurt and Voila! breakfast is served. For a softer cereal, combine muesli and yogurt and let sit overnight in the fridge.

3 Easy {and Healthy!} Breakfast Ideas for Scorching Hot Days | Bob's Red Mill

2. Overnight Oats: There are myriad versions of overnight oats online these days and we love them all! The premise is simple: combine oats, milk, yogurt and fruit and let sit in your fridge overnight. The oats will soften up and you’ll have a creamy, delicious bowl of oats that you can enjoy hot or cold. Some of our favorite versions include Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats from The Lemon Bowl, Banana Bread Overnight Oatmeal from The Roasted Root and Mixed Berry Overnight Oats from Naturally Ella.

3. Smoothies: As a busy mom, I find smoothies to be one of the easiest and most manageable breakfast choices as I scramble to get everyone out the door in the morning. I make a big batch, everyone gets a nutritious smoothie and breakfast is done! I like to combine frozen bananas, protein powder, a scoop of almond butter, a heavy helping of chia seeds and a smidgen of unsweetened cocoa powder. Luckily, the little monster loves it, too. Check out our best smoothies ever list for inspiration. (Here we are enjoying our smoothies.)

3 Easy {and Healthy!} Breakfast Ideas for Scorching Hot Days | Bob's Red Mill

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What is it Wednesday | Bob's Red Mill

What is it? Wednesday: Tapioca Flour/Starch

by Cassidy Stockton in Gluten Free, What is it? Wednesday

Our topic this week for What is it? Wednesday is Tapioca Flour. This ingredient is a tricky one to understand and there is a lot of confusing information about it online. We’re going to do our best to clear it up, but if we missed something or you still have burning questions, please leave them in the comments and we’ll get you an answer.

What is Tapioca Flour? Tapioca flour is made from the crushed pulp of the Cassava root (pictured below), a woody shrub native to South America and the Carribean. Like other starches, tapioca flour is a very fine, white powder that works well in gluten free baking. It can replace cornstarch as a thickener for pies and sauces and aids in creating a crisp crust and chewy texture in baking. It is most often used in the Brazilian treat Pão de Queijo (pictured below), a light, puffy cheese roll. Tapioca flour is becoming increasingly common in paleo diet recipes, as well.

What is it? Wednesday: Tapioca Flour. We explore this gluten free, paleo-friendly, vegan ingredient and sort out tapioca starch v tapioca flour. | Bob's Red Mill

Why is Tapioca Flour sometimes called Tapioca Starch and is there a difference between the two? There are quite a variety of different tapioca products on the market. Our tapioca flour is the same thing as tapioca starch, however you need to be aware that there is a third choice called tapioca flour/starch often found in stores that cater to a Caribbean and South American clientele. This type of flour/starch is typically sold as Cassava Flour, but it will not work the same as our tapioca flour. To best avoid confusion, if you need to use an ingredient for gluten free baking, we recommend sticking with something that is clearly marked as tapioca starch or tapioca flour and steering clear of Cassava Flour.

What about Modified Tapioca Starch? This is an entirely different ballgame of starch. Modified starch works well in gluten free baking, but it is not the same thing as our tapioca flour and they cannot be used interchangeably. Expandex produces this type of modified starch.

How is Tapioca Flour made? Essentially, cassava root is peeled, washed and chopped. Then it is rasped (finely shredded) and the resulting pulp is washed, spun, and washed until the mixture is primarily starch and water. The starch is then dried. We  recognize the hazards of under-processed cassava root and our product has been processed in an appropriate manner to make the product harmless.

Is Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour gluten free? Yes, tapioca flour is naturally free from gluten. At Bob’s Red Mill we take it a step further by producing it in our gluten free facility and batch testing it for gluten in our quality control laboratory.

Is Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour organic? No, our tapioca flour is not certified organic.

Is Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour vegan? Yes, our tapioca flour is suitable for a vegan diet.

Is Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour sulfite-free? Yes, our tapioca flour is sulfite-free.

Is Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour pregelatinized and what does that even mean? No, our tapioca flour is not pregelatinized. Pregelatinized means that the starch has been cooked and dried, making it ideal for quick thickening. This process is used for things like tapioca pearls to create instant puddings, salad dressings, pie fillings, etc. Grinding tapioca pearls will not produce tapioca flour, however, you can replace instant tapioca pearls with tapioca flour. If you need tips for doing so, see below.

Why would you use Tapioca Flour? Tapioca flour is a wonderful thickener that is superior to Arrowroot Starch and Potato Starch. It provides a crispy crust and chewy texture in gluten free baked goods. Some people choose tapioca because they cannot eat corn or potatoes for health reasons and tapioca flour is a wonderful alternative.

Tips for using tapioca flour to replace other ingredients: 

  • Tapioca Flour for Cornstarch in baking: Replace 1 Tbsp Cornstarch with 2 Tbsp Tapioca Flour
  • Tapioca Flour for All Purpose Flour in thickening: Replace 1 for 1
  • Tapioca Flour for Instant Tapioca Pearls: For every 1 Tbsp of quick-cooking tapioca pearls use 1 ½ Tbsp of tapioca flour.  Mix the tapioca flour with any dry sugar in an uncooked pie filling or make a slurry with a small amount of the liquid before heating in a pre-cooked pie filling then slowly add the slurry back into the pie filling and continue to cook the filling at a simmer for 5 – 10 minutes or until the cloudiness from the tapioca flour has turned transparent.

Our favorite recipes using Tapioca Flour:

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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If you're going to take the time to cook beans and whole grains from scratch, making a big batch and freezing the leftovers will save you time in the long run. Learn how to best store these ingredients. | Bob's Red Mill

Storing Cooked Grains and Beans

by Cassidy Stockton in Whole Grains 101

Last year I wrote a post about the best way to store uncooked whole grains, today, I’m sharing how to best store cooked grains and beans. This topic comes up a lot around here because whole grains and dried beans are time consuming to cook and lack of time is one of the most common reasons people cite for not cooking with whole grains or making dried beans.

If you're going to take the time to cook beans and whole grains from scratch, making a big batch and freezing the leftovers will save you time in the long run. Learn how to best store these ingredients. | Bob's Red Mill

Yes, cooking beans and grains is time consuming. That’s why you need to make it worth your effort. Most people who use whole grains often will tell you to make a large batch and store the rest for use throughout the week. But how do you do that? What is the best method for storing cooked grains? My conundrum has always been that I will make a big batch, but I get worried about how long they last in the fridge (what day did I make those again?) or I forget to use them and they go to waste. Then, I discovered that most grains and beans can be frozen with no ill effects.

I freeze my grains in resealable plastic bags in 2 cup portions, small usable amounts that work well for a meal on the fly. They take very little time to defrost (simply plop that sealed plastic bag into a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes and you’re good to go) and take about 40 minutes off your cook time. They taste just as good as freshly cooked grains. Same thing goes for beans. They take a bit longer to defrost, but far less time than cooking from scratch. You can easily use any form of airtight container- plastic, glass, whatever. I like the bags because they take up less room in my freezer, can be easily labeled and can be set in water to defrost quickly.

Grains that work well with the freezer method:

Grains that don’t work very well, are those that tend to be softer when cooked, such as Millet, Amaranth and Teff. They’ll freeze just fine, they just won’t have the same properties as they did before they were frozen. All beans will work well when frozen, though lentils and softer beans may be a bit mushy upon defrosting.

That’s the freezer method. If you are good about using your grains and beans throughout the week- airtight containers in the fridge work fine. Cooked grains and beans will last approximately 3-4 days in the fridge. They’ll last about 2 months in the freezer.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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How to Clean up Xanthan Gum

How to Clean up Xanthan Gum

by Test Kitchen in Gluten Free

Xanthan gum originates from a micro organism whose cell coat has the uncanny ability to form strong gels in most liquid solutions. This unique property makes it a desired ingredient in many food items, particularly gluten free baked goods.

However, this gelling quality can also pose problems when spilled; often leaving us with the question, “I spilled xanthan gum on my counter. What is the best way to clean it up?” And, unfortunately we did not have a concrete answer, until now.

Our test kitchen compiled a list of 8 viable household items and put them to the test.

How to Clean up Xanthan Gum | Bob's Red Mill

The Test

We divided the test kitchen counter into 8 squares (one for each item), distinguished by painters tape. In each square, 1 tablespoon of dry xanthan gum was sprinkled to create an even layer.

The designated household item was applied to the xanthan gum covered surface and wiped with a paper towel. The results are listed below.

Baking Soda
1 tablespoon of baking soda was added to ¼ cup of water. This solution caused the xanthan gum to smear.

Cooking Oil
Though the xanthan gum did not gel, the surface was left oily and it was undecided if the oil had cleaned the surface or simply absorbed and smeared the xanthan gum.

Dish Soap
When xanthan gum was wiped with dish soap, the soap acted as a surfactant and successfully removed the majority of xanthan gum from the surface. The amount of residue left behind was miniscule.

Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide was allowed to sit on the surface for a couple of minutes before being wiped. Though some of the xanthan gum of successfully removed, gelled portions remained on the counter

Ice Water
When ice water was applied to the xanthan gum coated surface, the xanthan gum immediately began to gel and was not able to be wiped off.

Laundry Detergent
Acted in the same manner as dish soap.

Lemon Juice
Lemon juice was poured on the surface and wiped. The xanthan gum had gelled and was smeared on the surface.

Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol was allowed to sit on the surface for a couple of minutes before being wiped. When wiped with a paper towel the surface was clear of xanthan gum and all residues.

Acted in the same manner as Lemon juice.

Reviewing the results, a multi-step process was tested and agreed upon.

Step 1: Scrape or sweep as much dry xanthan gum as possible off the surface.

Step 2: Using a paper towel or clean cloth, wipe the surface clean with rubbing alcohol.

Step 3: Add soap to a soft sponge and gently scrub the surface.

Step 4: Wipe the soapy surface thoroughly with a dry clean cloth.

Step 5: Use hot soapy water to thoroughly wash the surface clean, repeating if necessary.

It is important to note that water should not be used until Step 5.

Though we did not test this clean up process on Guar Gum, they possess the same properties and we are confident that the above method will yield the same results – a clean counter or floor.

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What is it Wednesday | Bob's Red Mill

What is it? Wednesday: Popcorn

by Cassidy Stockton in What is it? Wednesday, Whole Grains 101

What is popcorn and what makes it different from ‘regular’ corn? Popcorn is quite simply, a variety of corn. Some corn is best for milling cornmeal, some corn is best for eating on the cob, some corn is best for feeding livestock and some corn is best for popping. Unlike these other types of corn, popcorn is the only variety of corn that will pop when exposed to heat.

What is the difference between white, yellow, red, blue and all the other colors of popcorn? The color of the hulls is the primary difference between the different colors of popcorn. That shiny outer layer of a popcorn kernel is the hull and will be different colors depending on the variety of popcorn. The white part we associate with popcorn is generally white (I have yet to see one that is truly another color) regardless of the hull color. I have noticed that blue popcorn tends to be very white, while yellow is a bit more creamy. No matter what, though, they all have pretty much the same corn flavor and nutritional profile.

Is popcorn a whole grain? Yes, all popcorn is whole grain. Whether you buy the chemical-laden packets from the store or choose a simple bag of unpopped kernels like ours, all popcorn is whole grain. This makes it an ideal snack. We prefer the simple popcorn to the junky versions, but in the world of snacks, popcorn is far superior to convenience foods. It has a healthy dose of fiber, is very low in calories and pretty darn tasty, too!

What is it? Wednesday: Popcorn | Bob's Red Mill non-gmo, gluten free, healthy

Is Bob’s Red Mill popcorn gluten free? Popcorn is naturally gluten free. At this time, our popcorn is not certified or tested gluten free. We plan to add gluten free testing and our gluten free symbol in a few months. If gluten is a concern for you, be sure to look for our gluten free symbol on the packaging.

Is Bob’s Red Mill popcorn non-GMO? Yes! Bob’s Red Mill yellow and white popcorn were the very first Non-GMO Project verified items in our line. They will be the first products to proudly display the Non-GMO Project logo.

What is it? Wednesday: Popcorn | Bob's Red Mill non-gmo, gluten free, healthy

What is the best way to make it? Do you need a popper? There is no single right way to make popcorn. Anyway that yields a healthy amount of popped corn is right in our book, however, you don’t need a popper and you don’t need a fancy packet to make a quick batch of popcorn in the microwave. Check out this post for a handy, easy-to-follow microwave method using only popcorn and a paper bag. (These instructions will start appearing on our packaging soon.) Works like a charm, trust us.

Our favorite ways to enjoy popcorn are:


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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Garbanzo Fava Bean Flour

Flours: A Primer

by Sarah House in Gluten Free, Recipes, Whole Grains 101

The world of flours seems to be growing year after year.  Long gone are the days of two options:  white flour and whole wheat flour.  By my count, Bob’s Red Mill carries fifty-four different flours and meals.  And these range from gluten-free to gluten-full, light to white to whole-grain, single grain flours and flour blends.  Is anyone getting overwhelmed yet?  How in the world does one pick a flour to use?

As many people are aware, there are flours that contain gluten (a protein found in wheat and similar grains and flours that are gluten-free (contain no gluten proteins but therefore aren’t able to create structure as easily as gluten-based baked goods).  Gluten-full grains provide great structure and delicious flavors that can be enjoyed by anyone who is not affected by Celiac disease nor has gluten intolerance.  Gluten-free grains may be enjoyed by anyone and provide many unique flavors, colors, and textures that many gluten-eaters haven’t yet discovered.

Bob's Red Mill Flour Primer: gluten free, high protein, low carb, whole grain- we have it all and we'll tell you how to use it. #bobsredmill

If you aren’t affected by food allergies, eat any and every grain flour you can!  There is a whole wide and wonderful flour-full world out there.  Grains and flours that contain gluten include:  wheat & semolina, barley, Kamut®, rye & pumpernickel, spelt, and triticale.  All-purpose, bread, pastry, and cake flours are typically varieties of gluten flours with differing amounts of protein that correspond to their specific purpose.

If you maintain a more strict diet, don’t fret, your options are far more expansive than you can imagine:  nuts, beans and peas, amaranth, buckwheat, coconut, corn, flax, millet, oat, potato, quinoa, rice (white and brown and sweet), sorghum, soy, tapioca, and teff.  All of these products are inherently gluten-free but they are not always tested for or processed in certified gluten-free facilities, so if you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure to check the labels.

Most gluten-containing flours are available as whole-grain flours (meaning they contain the bran and germ along with the standard endosperm) and white or light versions.  Classifying flour as “white” or “light” indicates that all or most of the bran and germ have been removed.  Why choose one over the other?  Whole grain flours contribute rich flavor and color to a baked item as well as affects the texture (and don’t forget about all the fiber and vitamins and nutrients!).  The gluten and starches in the grains’ endosperm create wonderfully pillowy structures that give us our much-loved sandwich breads, ciabattas, baguettes, cakes, and cookies.  The bran and germ, when included (or not excluded), cut into the endosperm’s structures, thereby creating items with a bit less height and a more defined texture.

The best way to pick your gluten flour is to think about the finished texture.  The lightest and most delicate items should be made with Super-Fine Cake Flour or Unbleached White Pastry Flour.  Hearty heavy-duty breads work best with whole-grain flours like Organic Ivory Wheat Flour and Organic Dark Rye Flour.  Most other items fall right in the middle and can use blends of any light, medium, or heavy flours.  Coarse meals like Organic Pumpernickel Dark Rye Meal and Graham Flour can be added for extra texture and a coarser crumb.

Bob's Red Mill Flour Primer: gluten free, high protein, low carb, whole grain- we have it all and we'll tell you how to use it. #bobsredmill

Super Light




Extra Special Add-Ins

If you are new to whole grain flours or just aren’t in the mood for 100%, try swapping out a portion of your standard white flour for some whole grain.  An easy exchange is 25%.  Use a blend of 75% Unbleached White Fine Pastry Flour and 25% Whole Wheat Pastry Flour in you next pie crust, or try Spelt Flour as a quarter of the flour in your next sandwich bread.  Or just go for it and whip up a batch of whole wheat chocolate chip cookies!  (see recipes below)

Just because you may not follow a gluten-free diet, don’t turn your back on all those gluten-free flours or you will be missing out.  Gluten-free flours run the gamut in terms of flavors and textures.  Gluten-free flours rarely work as stand-alone flour and the typical flour blend consists of two gluten-free flours and one starch.  A good jumping off point is 1/3 of each, but as you become more comfortable and familiar with gluten free baking, you’ll run across and be able to create blends that better suit your personal tastes (more info is available here

Including links about how to use binders).  To incorporate gluten-free flours with gluten-full, swap out the same 25% as you would whole-grain flours.

The most popular gluten-free flours are made from rice and sorghum and rice is milled as both whole grain and white.  These grains contain enough protein to aide in structure and have mild flavors that don’t detract from the ideal finished product.   For yeasted breads, bean flours are often used due to their high protein contents.  Be forewarned, some people may notice a distinct bean flavor and aroma in raw doughs but it will dissipate after baking.

Using gluten-free flours are a great way to change up flavors and textures.  Amaranth and quinoa add savory grain flavors while buckwheat, corn, millet, and oat can walk the line between both sweet and savory.  Teff, buckwheat, and green pea and black bean flours can change up the color along with incorporating unique flavors.

Almond, hazelnut, and flaxseed meal, and coconut flour are all unique ingredients that require a bit more practice and information.  All can be added as an extra addition and almond and hazelnut meal work well as stand-alone flour in certain applications (think macarons, flourless chocolate cakes, and paleo-centric baking).  Flaxseed meal and coconut flour are a bit tricky.  Flaxseed meal combined with water makes a gel-like substance that is a great substitute for eggs when used as binders and is wonderful to add to any baked good for a fiber boost.  Coconut flour is extremely high in fiber and using it as the main ingredient in an item will call for using unique recipes unlike any traditional bakers have seen before.  Adding a tablespoon or so of coconut flour to your recipe will help with liquid absorption and will add a delicate coconut undertone to the flavor.  Before you go adding any more than that, check out some recipes designed especially for coconut flour.

Bob's Red Mill Flour Primer: gluten free, high protein, low carb, whole grain- we have it all and we'll tell you how to use it. #bobsredmill

Creating a Gluten Free Flour Blend:

  • For an all purpose flour blend use a ratio of 1/3 light flour and 2/3 heavy and/or medium flour.
  • For a pastry flour blend use a ratio of 2/3 light flour and 1/3 heavy and/or medium flour.

Substituting Gluten Free Flours for one another:

  • As a general rule, substitute gluten free flours within the same “weight” group cup for cup.
  • By substituting flours, you may experience a change in flavor and texture.

Heavy Flours

Medium Flours

Light Flours

Gluten free flours are classified based on their protein content. Heavy flours assist in creating the structure of your baked goods, as do medium flours. Light flours aid in binding and moisture retention.

These recommendations should help you set out on your foray into whole grain baking.  As you become more comfortable and as you investigate other resources, more and more ideas and flour blends will come your way.  Some excellent new whole grain baking books have come out in the last few years, some even earing award nominations!  Pick up a bag of whole grain flour that piques your interest and start baking!


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Gluten Free Flour Tortillas | Bob's Red Mill vegan, gluten free

{Meatless Mondays} Gluten Free Flour Tortillas

by Sarena Shasteen in Gluten Free, Meatless Mondays, Recipes

To be perfectly honest, when you live with a restricted diet due to food allergies and intolerances, it really is tough in the beginning and you eventually learn to just live without sometimes. Now, while I love getting creative in the kitchen, there are a few foods that I really just let go of out of ease. A flour tortilla is one of them. Our family just kind of resolved to not being able to have them and so we just gave in to buying corn tortillas instead. Though we do like corn tortillas, there are times when you really want the soft chewiness of a flour tortilla, ya know?

Gluten Free Flour Tortillas | Bob's Red Mill vegan, gluten free

I will admit, these tortillas do take a little bit of time to prepare, but I assure you they are so worth the time. They are soft, yet durable enough to hold all the goodness you want to put in them! I have used them for soft tacos and quesadillas! They soften up when heated either in the microwave for about 15 seconds or heated in a skillet briefly. They also crisp up really well for quesadillas. I’m also happy to say that we had a few left over and they stayed fresh for up to three days sealed in a container on the counter!

Gluten Free Flour Tortillas | Bob's Red Mill vegan, gluten free

Gluten Free Flour Tortillas

makes 20 small or 10 large

In a large mixing bowl, combine the gluten free 1-to-1 flour, baking powder and salt; mix well. Then, add the carbonated water (start with 2-1/4 cups and add more as needed), olive oil and apple cider vinegar to the flour mixture. Combine all of these together and allow the mixture to sit for an hour. The dough should be thick, but slightly sticky to the touch. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Using a large cookie scoop*, scoop out one or two scoops of dough per tortilla. With wet hands, press out the tortillas to make a thin circle. Place the pans in the oven and bake the tortillas for 5 minutes, then flip the tortillas and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes.

*Since gluten free doughs need to be slightly wetter than their gluten counter parts, I use my large cookie scoop when I need to scoop out even sized things like rolls or tortillas. It keeps things a little cleaner and insures that I can bake things evenly through.

Sarena Shasteen: The Non Dairy QueenSarena Shasteen has been an avid health food and fitness enthusiast from an early age. She holds a degree in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Atlanta, a certification in Fitness Nutrition and is a certified Fitness Trainer from International Sport Science Association (ISSA). Becoming a Personal Trainer and Specialist in Fitness Nutrition has been a lifelong goal of hers. Sarena enjoys helping others reach their health goals by teaching them that health and fitness are not only achieved in the gym, but also through fun everyday activities. Now a food writer, recipe developer, personal chef,  Personal Trainer and Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, she enjoys sharing with others that healthy living can be fun and delicious. Keep up with her at The Non Dairy Queen and on Facebook and Twitter.

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Sarena Shasteen Google: Sarena Shasteen
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Hot Cereal 2

Hot Cereal: Thinking Outside the Bowl

by Sarah House in Whole Grains 101

Hot cereal is a great way to start your day, especially with the variety of styles available:  flakes, farinas, grits and meals.  The possibilities of whole grain goodness are almost endless.  But, have you ever thought about making something other than your usual hot pot of breakfast cereal for you and the family?  If not, then you should.  Hot cereals are so much more than just for breakfast.

Hot Cereal F

Our flakes and rolled cereals (think oats, barley, rye, spelt, triticale and wheat) are perfect candidates for home-made granolas, crisps, and cookies.  Try swapping out the usual rolled oats in your favorite fruit crisp topping or oatmeal cookie with barley or wheat.  If you want to take it a step further, try incorporating rolled flake cereals into biscuits or breads.  Since the cooking time (think “how long it takes for the flakes to hydrate and soften”) is relatively short for rolled flake cereals, they are great candidates for additions to quick cooking items like biscuits and scones and they work great mixed-in and sprinkled-on yeasted breads and rolls.  The texture and décor they provide when incorporated into a loaf of bread or sprinkled on the top of rolls is an excellent way to personalize a recipe.  I like to add up to ½ cup rolled flakes into my single loaf bread recipes.  As a topping décor, anywhere from 2 Tbsp to ¼ cup usually gets the job done.

bread w oats

If you are aiming for a muffin or bar with a more delicate and chewy texture, farinas, grits, and meals are what you are looking for.  The amount of liquid necessary to fully hydrate the cereal will vary depending on the particular grain (wheat, corn, rice, millet, buckwheat, and many, many blends) so make sure to take note of the liquid amounts recommended in the basic preparation instructions before making a final choice.  Adjust the liquids in your recipe accordingly (or try soaking and then draining the cereal before using) otherwise, you may find some crunchy bits in your baked goods!

Finely ground cereals like farinas, grits, and meals release more starch than flakes or larger grind cereals.  This extra starch will contribute to softer textures and increased chew and also works well as a binder.  Try using a starchy cereal like Brown Rice Farina in place of a panade in your next meatloaf or to help hold together a batch of veggie burgers.

When incorporating farinas, grits, and meals into baked breads, their small grind and subsequent starchiness can cause a significant effect on the crumb similar to flours.  Using this style of cereal to replace some flours as opposed to “in addition to” will produce a better loaf.  For satisfying texture and flavor, replace up to 20% of a recipe’s flour with cereal; anymore and you’ll be looking at a shorter, heavier, and dense loaf (which isn’t always a bad thing).

Now, let’s say you cooked a big pot of porridge for breakfast and there is still a fair amount left over in the pot.  Did you know…you can bake that leftover hot breakfast cereal into your next loaf of bread?  As if you were adding nuts or seeds to your bread dough, try adding some cooked flakes or granular cereals.  Start small, about ¼ cup per loaf.  Once you know what the outcome is, adjust the amount and type of cereal to your liking.  I won’t go into specifics here and instead direct you to the master artisan bakers at Tartine in San Francisco, in particular their book Tartine Book No. 3.  If you are serious about bread baking, this book and all their other bread books are a goldmine of information and creative inspiration.

If you are feeling totally overwhelmed by the myriad possibilities of incorporating cereals into your recipe repertoire, just step back and take a breather.  Cook up a pot of good old-fashioned hot cereal and choose one of our unique topping combos for any easy and impressive spruce-up.

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Sarah House Google: Sarah House
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Chia Seeds BRM

How-to Replace Eggs and Fat in Recipes with Flax and Chia

by Sarah House in Health, Recipes

When the calendar flips over to a new year, we are often driven to change things up for the better. Quit some things, start doing others, improve what we’re doing and do it better. More often than not, these changes often involve some tweak to the food you eat. Maybe it’s the excess of the holidays that drive us to want to eat healthier, but I think there is something about a new year that makes us want to be better than we were. A chance to start over.

If some major changes are underway for your diet (say you’re going vegan or cutting back on fat or cholesterol) seeds are an excellent substitute for many animal-based proteins commonly used in baking and can increase the nutritional value of your baked good. Simple, easy swaps for a healthier you.


Eggs are easily replaced with Flaxseed Meal or Chia Seeds, which is a great way to reduce cholesterol or transition towards a plant-based diet.  Use either of the substitutions below and, after they’ve had a chance to sit for 5 minutes, add the whole mixture just as you would the eggs in a recipe.  Just remember that seeds won’t provide leavening power like egg whites.  So, if your recipe is devoid of yeast or chemical leaven (baking powder or soda) or heavy on the eggs, try adding ¼ – ½ tsp of baking powder or soda to your recipe.

1 egg = 2 tsp Chia Seeds + ¼ cup water (let sit for 5 minutes)

1 egg = 1 Tbsp brown or golden Flaxseed Meal + 3 Tbsp water (let sit for 5 minutes)

If you are looking to cut back on fats, use the ratio of 3 parts Flaxseed Meal to replace 1 part fat.  Chia Seeds work, too, but in a slightly different ratio (explained below).  Now, you won’t want to replace ALL of the fat.  Fat is an important factor in flavor, mouthfeel, and helping you feel full.  You don’t want to eat three fat-free (but still sugary) cookies and feel unsatisfied when one cookie with at least half the fat would have done the trick!  So any time you plan on substituting fat, only sub half.

Chia seeds1 Tbsp fat = 3 Tbsp brown or golden Flaxseed Meal + 1 Tbsp Water (let sit for 5 minutes)

1 Tbsp fat = ½ tsp Chia Seeds + 1 Tbsp water (let sit for 15 minutes)

Yes, the volumes of these fat subs aren’t identical but the thickening abilities of the seeds even out with these amounts.  Substituting these seed mixtures for fat often causes baked goods to brown more rapidly and most success has been found with recipes which contain small amounts of fat such as muffins and pancakes.  You may want to experiment with reducing the baking temperature by 25°F and increasing the baking time.  If the crust starts to darken too fast, tent the top with tin foil.

One thing you don’t want to do is substitute BOTH the eggs and fat in a recipe with all seeds.  You will most definitely NOT end up with something close to what you were expecting.  Instead, use the seed swap for eggs and rely on other fat substitutes like applesauce or pureed banana, avocado or prunes.

If you’re happy with your egg and fat consumption, you can still incorporate seeds into your baked goods for some major health bonuses and some great new flavor and texture profiles!

Flaxseed Meal can replace 10 – 20% of the total flour in a recipe.  If you want more texture and opt for whole Flax Seeds, combine them with the liquid called for in the recipe and let the whole thing sit for 30 minutes first.  Baking with Flaxseed Meal can make the texture of an item chewier and sometimes a bit dry.  If you find that to be the case, add a bit of extra liquid next time.

Not only are Chia Seeds an excellent and more nutritious substitute for poppy seeds but they also act as a great food extender that lowers calories and doesn’t affect the flavor!  Use a ratio of one part chia seeds (you may grind them after measuring if you want) to nine parts water.  Let this mixture stand for 10 minutes and then use in your favorite soups, smoothies, dips or spreads.  The exact amount of gel to use depends on the specific recipe you are using so adjust to your liking.  This mixture keeps, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

Seeds are so much more than a last-minute garnish or muffin mix-in.  Alongside all the unique flavors and textures, Chia and Flax boost nutrition and spark tons of creativity in the kitchen.  Have fun!

About The Author
Sarah House Google: Sarah House
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