So how do you decide which gluten free flour mix is right for you? If you do a search online for gluten free flour mixes you will come up with pages and pages of different gf mix recipes. For someone just starting a gluten free diet this can be overwhelming.
Recently I talked with a woman who went out and bought about 10 different gluten free flours to start baking with. Since different combinations work differently and also taste different, she very quickly got very discouraged with her new diet.
Now if this dietary change had been a choice she would not have been so devastated, but you see, for her, wheat or gluten containing flours for baking were now out of the question as eating even a crumb caused her agony.
Just as there are different grades of wheat based flours, such as all purpose, pastry and cake flours as well as hard wheat and whole wheat, you need different gluten free flour mixtures to achieve varied results.
I faced this situation about 20 years ago, trying out this combination or that one, finding that many recipes just did not turn out the way my wheat baking had done. Nor did the taste satisfy me, not to mention that there was less nutrition in many gluten free flour blends. It was always a crap shoot mixing my own mixes due to the difference in grinds available most of the time. Sometimes I would end up with a gritty batch which was not as palatable. I wanted to be able to bake and share with guests and have them not only, not taste a lot of difference to what they were used to on a wheat diet, but want seconds!
Also even naturally gluten free whole grains are hard to source in an un-cross contaminated state at less than 20ppm. Which is said to be safe, but is not tolerated by some of us who are extra sensitive. I bought 25 lbs of buckwheat flour one time, only to discover it had been cross contaminated. The same thing happened another time with wild rice, and these had actually been marked 'gluten free'.
Grades of the same flour also differ. Brown rice and sorghum flour are only two of which that can be radically different depending on the manufacturer and lot.
Raising a family on a gluten free diet, I came up with my own blends that worked in various situations, tasted good and everyone liked. However; it would take me quite a bit of shopping around to find all the various items sometimes, too much time. Sometimes a particular ingredient would not be available. Sometimes the level of gluten free or ppm would vary. Since there are very sensitive people at our house, this meant discarding a batch every now and then due to the family member getting a slight gluten buzz.
I'm sure many people on a gluten free diet can relate. After years of juggling my gluten free flours, I came up with some pretty fool proof blends. I started writing down my recipes using my blends. I would take foods to church suppers to share, I only have a gluten free kitchen, so this arrangement made sure we had something we could eat and others could try. It is amazing that everywhere you go, you meet someone who needs to eat gluten free.
People tasted and marveled and pretty soon I was getting a lot of requests. Since me and my little kitchen couldn't produce my mixes efficiently, I decided to see about producing them in a dedicated factory. It was a dream come true and I could help feed others. I don't know why I love sharing food so much, maybe it came down from my great Aunt Sally who lived in a small town in Oklahoma during the depression. When someone came into town with nothing, they would send them to Aunt Sally's house for a good meal. Always room for one more!
I put in all my wish lists I had wanted over the years into Astoria Mills gluten free mixes. Nutrition! I had a formula of vitamins and minerals created by a food lab especially to augment a gluten free diet, awesome! I learned about the benefits of resistant starch and after experimenting for weeks, was able to figure out just the right amount to be beneficial and still make foods that rival wheat.
It was a big labor of love, a family endeavor, and investing 'the farm' to finally see the new gluten free mixes manufactured at a pharmaceutical grade gluten free facility, but well worth it I think.
Just recently I did a taste testing and brought some of my gluten free scones. One woman who tried them, closed her eyes in delight, and said, "Now that is a scone". I took some in to my hairdressers, Headliners in Niagara Falls NY, and they passed them out saying, OMG they are good! They are all wheat eaters normally. One woman took a couple home to her niece to try who is celiac.
Remembering the early stages of healing when starting a gluten free diet, I also wanted to take into consideration making flour mixes that would be safe for anyone to begin with, yet work well enough and taste good enough so that they would be great for every stage in a gluten free diet.
Because many in the early stages of a gluten free diet can't tolerate beans that are more nutritious, or even some of the other whole grain gluten free options, I decided to create an additive system. These can be added as tolerated.
So if you are new to a gluten free diet (or not) and looking for an enriched healthy blend of gluten free flours that are lab tested below 5ppm that can make baked goods that rival wheat and taste most like the traditional foods you are used to, then you need to buy Astoria Mills gluten free baking mixes. With a set of Astoria Mills mixes in your kitchen cupboard and my free with purchase e-Cookbook containing 343 recipes, you will always be able to make something good to eat.
I have taste tested on wheat eaters for the past five years and always come out with raves. I always say, "You can get someone to take a bite out of politeness, but you can't get them to finish the whole piece or ask for another if they don't like it! "
Astoria Mills produces three flour blends plus bread, pizza and bun mixes, to make having delicious freshly baked breads and buns easy again. If you compare, pound for pound, you will find the cost of Astoria Mills is very competitive even though these mixes offer more nutrition than most.
For lots more information go to Astoria Mills website.
Astoria Mills gluten free flour mixes weigh 2.2 lbs. and are a good value since they are enriched. You can actually save money in the long run since an entire set makes so much. The cost of raw flours for mixes are much more expensive than those containing gluten due to the fact that they must be processed to avoid cross contamination. If naturally gluten free flours were all processed to maintain their gf nature, we would see prices go down eventually, but that is in a perfect world. Here is a link to a study on gluten free flour price comparisons.
I can attest to Teff and Quinoa being more expensive at under 5ppm, it is like 10 times more! These were the hardest to source and the most expensive ingredients in Astoria Mills Aztec Harvest Blend - Mix #4 a whole grain/seed gluten free and corn free blend.