There are a few things you need to know before we start baking together.
Soon after I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance, I searched for a gluten-free flour mix that I could use at ease for my recipes. I tried commercial ones, with different results. But it was becoming very expensive, and, honestly, none of them was able to produce consistent results.
In my search I was lucky enough, and yes, determined enough, to find a great inspiration for what later became a staple in my pantry, Simona’s Flour Mix. Carol Kicinski’s book, Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts introduced me to the use of sweet rice flour, or gelatinous rice flour.
In my years of baking gluten-free, I have learned that the flours and starches we use can make a great deal of difference. For this reason I want to suggest you buy the best, finest, rice flour available, from Authentic Foods, directly or on Amazon. In addition to this, I confess that, personally, I do not like the taste of tapioca starch. In my opinion, everything prepared with the commercial tapioca starch has the same aftertaste. So, I thought I won the jackpot when, by stroke of luck, I stumbled on Expandex, a modified tapioca starch. Usually it’s carried by Modernist Pantry or Better Luck Store. Sometimes I just Google it and buy the cheapest available.
Lastly, thanks to British baker Phil Vickery, I found that adding glycerin to some baked goods adds moisture and cohesiveness to the final product. Vegetable glycerin, or glycerol, is a clear, odorless liquid produced from plant oils, typically palm oil, soy, or coconut oil. I buy food grade vegetable glycerine, usually from Amazon.
Now, before I give you the recipe for Simona’s Flour Mix, I would like to make a final suggestion. Growing up in Italy, I used scales in the kitchen my whole life. They ensure precision, and replicability in a recipe. I can ensure you that there is a kitchen scale in every household in Italy, and that millions of people use it everyday. I know that it can be a little intimidating at first, but once you try it – and have fun with it – believe me if I say that it becomes second nature. Now my American husband uses it too, and my kids love to help me read the numbers on it when we bake together. You can find a digital scale for less than $20.00 on Amazon. Try to buy one that has both ounces and grams. When I write my recipes, I write the measurements in volume and weight, though I can only attest to the success of the recipes if weight is used.