I'm Very Excited to Unveil My Splendid Gluten-Free and Low-Carb Bake Mix At Last!

Almond flour versus almond meal may produce some differences.  The texture of muffins and loaves is moist with a soft crumb and compares very favorably to baking with all-purpose flour – often even tastier, in my opinion.

NOTE:  I have moved away from this bake mix in favor of Splendid Gluten-Free, Low-Carb Bake Mix 2 - the two bake mixes are completely interchangeable - please read instructions at the latter bake mix.

Instructions Updated:  28th September 2011

12/3 cups almond flour, (400 mL)
  (I use almond meal, i.e. ground sliced
    almonds versus almond flour)
2 tbsp coconut flour, (30 mL)
  (Bob’s Red Mill,® OR Aloha Nu®)
3/4 tsp xanthan gum (3 mL)

In large bowl, combine almond flour, oat flour (if you are intolerant to gluten-free oat flour then substitute another gluten-free flour), coconut flour and xanthan gum.  In container with airtight lid, place bake mix and shake the container well to combine.  When measuring oat flour (not necessary with the other ingredients) into measuring cup, make sure to tap the cup on the counter top and fill to the top to get the correct yield for the bake mix.  Keep bake mix at room temperature for up to one month or freeze for much longer storage.

Instructions:  Substitute 1/4 cup (60 mL) additional bake mix when substituting for 1 cup (250 mL) or more than 1 cup (250 mL) flour in recipes and use 2 tbsp (30 mL) more if substituting for less than 1 cup (250 mL).  Always begin by adding an extra egg in muffins, cakes, coffeecakes and loaves (except for cookies most times as it can change the texture) and withholding about half the liquid/wet/fat ingredients and adding in as necessary.  If the batter after processing at least a minute is still very thick, add more of the liquid ingredients and if accidentally the batter ends up too sloppy, then add a little more bake mix. If all the liquid has been used and the batter is still stiff, add another egg and another if necessary. Baking experience is helpful.  Coconut flour needs eggs.

This bake mix is great in muffins, loaves, cookies, donuts, coffeecakes, many cakes, pie crusts and a few other specialized applications, but will not be suitable for all applications, nor for most yeast applications.  Xanthan gum has gluten-like properties and it binds ingredients together preventing crumbly outcomes.  Cookies:  bake a couple and see how they turn out before adding another egg.

My Alternate Bake Mixes (not gluten-free): When substituting the Splendid Gluten-Free bake mix for some of my other bake mixes, 2 tbsp (30 mL) to 1/4 cup (60 mL) more bake mix may be required depending on if one is replacing less than 1 cup (250 mL) or 1 cup (250 mL) or more.  Follow the same rules above.  It is convenient to double or triple this bake mix; just shake container really well to combine. Alternatively, the Splendid Low-Carb Bake Mix may be used instead - just use less of it - 2 tbsp (30 mL) less if less than 1 cup (250 mL) and 1/4 cup (60 mL) less if replacing 1 cup or more of the Splendid Gluten-Free Bake mix.

Yield:   21/2 cups (625 mL)
1/4 cup (60 mL) per serving
125.7 calories
4.5 g protein
8.9 g fat
5.7 g carbs (22.8 g per cup)

Update June 3, 2011:  New and Improved Version of the Splendid Gluten-Free Low-Carb Bake Mix:   I stepped back from my baking for a while and then went through my notes again and this newer version (see recipe above) popped into my mind.  The carbs are very close, but the texture is a little better, the taste a little better and the bake mix a little more robust, therefore, it keeps a slightly better height in baking as well.  Now to add yet another option, check out another version below this recipe.  Recipe above.

Health Benefits of Oat Flour:  http://low-carb-news.blogspot.com/2011/07/further-evidence-that-oats-can-lower.html

Almond and Coconut Flours: Update - I tried almond flour and Bob's Red Mill Coconut Flour in my bake mix and baking. There was some discussion recently on lowcarbfriends.com about almond flour vs almond meal.  As you know, I use almond meal {i.e. sliced almonds (tiny bit of skin on the perimeters)} in this bake mix.  Now Honeyville almond flour is greatly preferred by many low-carbers because one can buy it in bulk at a fairly good price and it is high quality almond flour.  It is partially defatted and finer than any almond meal one makes at home.  Therefore, if you're using almond flour vs almond meal (which I use), there may be slight differences in the baking.  I'm guessing the baking will have a finer texture and be a bit drier (hopefully not too much drier).  Also, I have read on other blogs that differences occur in coconut flour.  I happen to have Aloha Nu here at home.  I ordered it from Netrition, however, they are now out of stock and wondering when they'll be getting it in again.  I'm not quite as worried about this as the coconut flour by Bob's Red Mill is the one that is preferred and is more readily available in America and I happen to know that my friend, Donna, was using it and the baking was working out for her.  Nevertheless, I am going to go the extra mile and order Honeyville Almond flour and Bob's Red Mill coconut flour so that I can test one or two recipes with those brands.  When I do that, I'll be sure to report back here about my findings.  The oat flour should not be a problem, although I use the garden variety oat flour that I can pick up locally in the store (it is not certified gluten-free).  I use Arrowhead Mills oat flour because my hubby is only intolerant of gluten and does not have Celiac disease.

My findings with Honeyville Almond Flour and Bob's Red Mill coconut flour.  For cakes and cupcakes this almond flour is superior - the baking is prettier too.  The coconut flour is perfect in this bake mix!  Actually didn't find the baking drier...there is a difference in texture, for sure, but for most things I like my almond meal and it's a much cheaper option (i.e. I buy big bags of sliced almonds at the equivalent of Costco and grind the almonds in a large cup coffee bean grinder).  My almond meal is quite coarse, as it has tiny bits of sliced almonds in it that are not finely ground, but it seems to be fine in baking and not perceptible.

Another Option:  You may use 1/4 cup coconut flour and the rest of the ingredients the same as the recipe above. (1/4 cup = 5.6 g carbs).  This is a very robust bake mix and will keep a very good height in baking, although a little bit of sinking will still occur.  The texture is pretty nice, but I'm quite happy with the Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix because it has slightly less fiber and I can do with that.  However, this is an option for those folks who like lots of fiber in their diet.  I find the xanthan gum is particularly tricky on my tummy in excess so I don't need too much extra fiber on top of that.  The xanthan gum (it is dieting though - helps with weight loss) is necessary for the gluten-like properties it imparts to the bake mix and it prevents crumbly outcomes.  Some people find that guar gum is a little better (it is less expensive) and others find it is worse.  There is another option besides the gums - I forget now what it is but I've never tried it and it seems difficult to source.

The older version of the Splendid Gluten-Free Bake Mix and the story behind it:

It was no small feat to come up with this recipe. I wish I could say I entered my kitchen looking quite pretty and fifties-like with my apron on and suddenly a light bulb went off in my head and wallah there was the recipe! Instead, some of you have followed the agonizing, not-so-glamorous journey (and my sore tummy journey too) on my blog to falling flat on my face with a big flop and then finally getting it right! (insert smiley face here). First of all - thank you, God.  In addition, I do credit Donna Hodach-Price with re-inspiring me to do my best to come up with a bake mix that is gluten-free and low-carb that we can use instead of all-purpose flour.  She decided to help do some testing for me and boy did she do a lot of testing!  She was very methodical too.  We both decided on a bake mix that used some golden flax meal.  It was really good actually but both of us for various reasons decided we can no longer personally use flax meal.  So this left me in a pickle and I didn't feel like I could expect Donna to keep trying all the different variations I could come up with. She had a vegetable garden to plant after all and a life to lead other than spending all her time in the kitchen, plus she delicately moaned about the fact that it is fattening!  Yep, recipe testing can be fattening if one is not careful.  I'm happy to say I didn't gain any weight, but I did over Christmas when I went off plan.  I remember finishing one of my cookbooks and doing low-carb beautifully the whole time and I was thinner than I am now!  Low-carbing simply works and if one wants to keep one's lowest weight (for most of us this is true), that is the way to go.

Coconut flour in excess causes problems for my tummy, xanthan gum in excess - same thing - just really crimping (or cramping! 'scuse the pun!) my style and not giving me many options.  I tried so many configurations and computations and fed my poor eldest son (youngest had escaped to the city - the first to leave the nest by a couple of weeks before his brother) so many muffins (all the same test recipe - poor Daniel!!).  This was truly blazing a new trail - coming up with a bake mix with fairly ordinary ingredients that we can make at home that is both gluten-free and low-carb.  Tall order in case anyone is wondering.  The gluten-free bake mixes on the market are woefully high-carb.  For instance, the gluten-free low-carb cake bake mix by Bob's Red Mill, is still woefully higher in carbs than most of us would like:  29 grams of carbohydrate for about 1/3 cup, which is almost as high as all-purpose flour, give or take 5 grams of carbohydrate.  Same kind of thing with Arrowhead Mills Gluten-Free Bake Mix.

Unfortunately in most cases the certified gluten-free oat flour (Bob's Red Mill recommended - not Legacy Valley according to Donna) and coconut flour will need to be ordered online. Xanthan gum is usually available in health food stores as is blanched almond flour.  I grind my own almond flour from sliced almonds (they have a tiny bit of skin on the perimeter) in a Coffee Grinder by Cuisinart.  Cuisinart actually has appliances specifically for grinding nuts and spices.  I didn't know that until recently.  The coffee grinder works quite well.  I have to pick out the occasional sliced almond that doesn't grind up, but other than that, it works quite satisfactorily, and I would have to say at the moment, it is one of my most used kitchen appliances.

OAT FLOUR:  For those who are merely gluten-intolerant, using store-bought regular oat flour such as Arrowhead Mills might not be a problem as any gluten-contamination from a facility that also makes products with gluten in them is bound to be small. My DH who is gluten-intolerant (he thinks so lately) tolerates regular oat flour just fine.  For those who cannot even use certified gluten-free oat flour (remember oat flour has no gluten), then Donna mentioned quinoa flour might be an option.  She mentioned it is about 17 net grams carbs per 1/4 cup and oat flour is about  14 net grams.  Rice flours can impart a gummy texture to baking if not offset with starchy components which is, of course, not an option for us low-carbers.  

Update 27/May/2011:  I tried the quinoa flour and here are my results and thoughts about it.