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Gluten Free Flour and the Difference between Tapioca Flour and Tapioca Starch

Posted Dec 14 2010 12:00am

The quick answer is, there is no difference.  If a recipe calls for Tapioca Starch or Tapioca Flour it is calling for the same thing!

Tapioca is the starch derived from the root of the cassava, aipim or manioc plant.

The English name tapioca is derived from the South American Tupi name tipi'óka, which is basically the name of the procedure by which cassava starch is rendered edible. 

Once processed, the tapioca starch can be rendered to make a powdered opaque tapioca flour, tapioca pearls and  tapioca flakes.  So the starch is the same, it is just the form that the starch takes that is varied. 

 What brought this up today?  First of all, it is a question I get pretty often.  

Secondly, I am making Gluten Free Flour today!




A little bit of a strange concept, but the kids and I are planning on starting baking soon, and before we can whip up some cookies, we have to whip up some gluten free flour.  


gluten free baking


You can find several pre-made gluten free flours these days - Jules All Purpose Gluten Free Flour works great and I have had great success with the King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour .  In general, I would stay away from Gluten Free Mixes that use bean flour.  That is actually pretty "old school" at this point. 

If you want to make it yourself, which is what we are doing, then use the following recipe which seems pretty standard in the gluten free world today:

Since we are mixing up this flour to make Christmas treats, I going to forego the healthier benefits of the Brown Rice Flour and go with Bob's Red Mill White Rice Flour .  It will leave your baked goods with a nicer texture.  

If you use Brown Rice Flour, it is very important that you use an extra finely ground brown rice flour, (and not just any grind) or your baked goods will be gritty, heavy and/or crumbly.  


Xanthan Gum

Lastly, don't forget the Xanthan Gum .  It is the ingredient in gluten free flour mixes that basically replaces the gluten and holds the recipe together.  To your flour mix, ADD

Bread:   1 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour mix

Cakes:  1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour mix

Cookies:  1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour mix


Dump all of the ingredients into a big bowl and mix together with a wire whip.  

gluten free baking

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