Deciding to go gluten-free is a huge step. Huge. You motivate yourself to give it a try for x number of days, do a little research and go to the store to stock up. You’re pumped. Then it happens….you find out how darn expensive it can be. All of the “special” flours and gluten-free labeled chips and crackers and everything else. Who can afford it? I learned this over a year ago and is the very reason I bought a grain mill. You can’t believe how much cheaper it is to buy beans and grains from the bulk bin and grind them yourself. I realize that isn’t an option, nor desire, for everyone, though, so I have a few other suggestions. Ordering online and/or ordering in bulk can be so much cheaper. Here are my favorite places to order from:
- Amazon.com – There are two specific programs I love about Amazon.com. (1) Amazon Prime and (2) Subscribe and Save. Amazon Prime is a membership that does cost $80 per year, but it gets you free 2 day shipping on most anything sold by Amazon. Many other vendors sell through Amazon (e.g. Target) and those items are not guaranteed to qualify, but, seriously, everything I buy is. That in conjunction with Subscribe and Save, not to mention their already low prices, makes my life so easy. Subscribe and Save allows you to set up auto-deliveries of a product at an interval you choose and you save 15% on the price. For instance, I order Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Teff using Subscribe and Save. It’s four 24 ounce packages and I have it setup to deliver once every 6 months. Cost is $18.83 or a little over $4 per package. The same packages are at the store for almost twice as much depending on where you can even find it on a consistent basis. If I am not ready for something when my shipment comes due then I can skip it or reschedule it. No extra cost. I can ship it sooner or I can cancel it at any time. No obligation, no extra cost, only 15% savings. Love it. If you’ve never considered ordering groceries from Amazon.com, you have no idea how convenient it is. Two days and it’s at your doorstep.
- Barry Farms – If you can’t find what you are looking for through Amazon.com, I can almost guarantee that Barry Farms will have it. They have all of the unusual flours for cheap. I buy mesquite flour in 5 lb. quantities from them for way cheaper than you can find it at the store (if you can find it — it’s rare). They have all of the gluten free flours, such as garbanzo bean flour and everything else you can imagine. You do have to pay shipping, though. But even with that I think you’ll find it’s still cheaper than the grocery store. It’s also cheaper to buy in bulk. Maybe you can split it with a friend? I’ve done that with mesquite flour.
- iherb.com – This is another site that has just about everything you can’t afford at the store at an amazingly low price. They even have supplements, vitamins and all kids of other things. You can save $5 on your first order by entering the following code: MUH021 (Then sign up for your own rewards code for your friends to save, too!)
So, those are a few of my favorite sites to order most of my gluten-free or specialty type products from. I rarely buy this stuff at a grocery store or Whole Foods, because I would go broke! It’s also so much more convenient than trying to track everything down and get the best deal. This leads into my Gluten Free Flour Mix…
I did buy from Hen House Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour and it was awfully pricey. Amazon.com is clearly the better deal here as you can get four packages for around $12 ($3/package). It’s closer to $5 per package at Hen House. But, you can also make a mix that I think tastes better and out of the whole grains of your choice for even cheaper (especially if you grind the grains yourself or have some nice person you know with a grain mill grind it for you). The savings is up to you, since you can choose the grains or beans you want to use. I saw this on Gluten Free Girl and the Chef and immediately had to go to work on my signature blend. You can read the entire post here, but the part that pertains to making your flour goes like this:
Mix 700 grams of whole grain, gluten free flour (e.g. teff, brown rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, almond) with 300 grams of a starch (e.g. potato starch, tapioca starch) and you have yourself an all purpose flour mix to make anything with. You can, of course, add bean flours with the whole grains and you can use as much of one as you want. Bobs Red Mill is pretty much all bean (garbanzo and fava) with starch. I like more whole grains, though. I’m more accustomed to that taste.The different combinations you come up with will have different flavors, too. The possibilities are endless! I did come up with one that I think is very good. Much better than Bobs.
I used my GF flour mix last night to make the pizza that Gluten Free Girl posted yesterday and am not kidding — it was delicious. My family had their doubts. So did I. It was fantastic, though. It’s a yeasted dough that is ready to roll in a little over an hour, start to finish, and my husband liked it. I am making crackers next. I know they’ll be a hit. I’m not sure I need wheat anymore. If you think about it, wheat is one grain out of hundreds that are available. Why do we consider a gluten-free diet as being deprived? You can make food that is just as delicious without that one little grain. It just takes a little different method than we’re used to, but it’s not hard. I’ll post that cracker recipe this weekend. In the mean time, get your flour ready
Gluten Free Flour Mix
Feel free to mix and match. If you want to use more of one and less (or none) of another, it’s fine.
200 grams sweet brown rice flour
100 grams buckwheat flour
100 grams teff flour
100 grams millet flour
100 grams amaranth flour
100 grams garbanzo bean flour
150 grams potato starch
150 grams arrowroot
Mix flours and starches together and store in an air tight container. To use in place of wheat flour, use 140 grams per 1 cup of wheat flour.