Basic Ratios for Gluten-Free Flours in Baked Goods - dummies

Basic Ratios for Gluten-Free Flours in Baked Goods

By Jean McFadden Layton, Linda Larsen

In the gluten-free baking world, recipes for baked goods like scones, cakes, and breads are often based on a ratio of gluten-free flours to sugar, liquids, eggs, and fat. If you follow these ratios, you have a better chance of getting the result you want with gluten-free flours. Ratios of ingredients are what make a cookie different from a cake and a scone different from a pancake.

When you bake using ratios, you can double or triple a recipe with ease. Remember, you still need to weigh the dry ingredients! You may want to weigh the other ingredients, such as milk and sugar, just to make sure you’re following the ratio as closely as possible. Standardizing how you measure by using grams instead of cups is one way to take one variable out of the baking equation.

When you make a recipe using ratios, you need to establish the base ingredient. This can be any of the ingredients. Most bakers use eggs as the base because eggs are the least variable of all the ingredients. A large egg weighs 2 ounces, or 56 grams. If your recipe calls for 3 parts flour to 3 parts liquid to 1 part egg, you need 168 grams (3 × 56) of flour and liquid.

Of course, you can use the liquid for the base ingredient and simply crack, beat, and measure the eggs. Just keep the ratios consistent and weigh every ingredient and your gluten-free baked goods will be delicious.

With these ratios, you can substitute teff flour for sorghum flour and almond milk for buttermilk without worry. You can change the flavor of a recipe from sweet to savory and vice versa with the confidence of knowing that scones will be flaky and crumbly, cakes will be tender, and breads will have a lovely, airy crumb.

The following table lists some of the basic ratios for common baked goods. Remember that these ratios are measured by weight, not by volume.

Basic Ratios for Common Baked Goods
Product Flour Liquid Egg Fat Sugar
Angel food cake 1 part 3 parts 3 parts
Biscotti 5 parts 3 parts 2 parts 2 parts
Brownies 1 part (1/2 part for fudgy) 1 part 1 part 2 parts
Drop cookies 3 parts 1 part 2 parts 1 part
Muffins 2 parts 2 parts 1 part 1 part
Pancakes 4 parts 4 parts 2 parts 1 part
Pie crust 3 parts 1 part 2 parts
Pound cake 1 part 1 part 1 part 1 part
Quick breads 2 parts 2 parts 1 part 1 part
Roll-out cookies 2 parts 1/2 part 1 part 1 part
Scones 3 parts 1 part 1 part 1 part
Shortening cakes 2 parts 2 parts 1 part 1 part 2 parts
Yeast breads 5 parts 3 parts

Of course, the formulas in the preceding table are used for developing recipes, but you can use them to check whether a recipe should work. If the ratios in the suspect recipe are way off of these numbers, you may want to try another recipe.

Not all ratios for all baked goods are the same; the numbers in the table are general, not specific. You may find that for the scones you like, you prefer more flour and more egg, or that for muffins, you want a bit less flour and more egg. If you choose to bake with ratios, measure carefully by weight and keep track of the ratios that work for you by writing them down in a notebook.