In June, I decided to take on a challenge I felt completely unprepared for. Writing a guide to gluten-free baking. Thankfully, my co-author was much more adept in the kitchen, and I just prayed I would catch on. I had asked The Assistant at the time if he thought it was a good idea. I believe my exact words were, "Do you think I'm crazy?" And he told me that taking on any project was a wonderful thing because no matter what, I would learn. And learn I have. Through trial and error, and lots of flops, I've created over 40 gluten, dairy and soy-free recipes since June. Almost 6 months later, I am astounded at how much I've learned. When I started making recipes for the book in June, I spent days and days on each recipe, often giving up in disgust and accepting a mediocre result. Now, I can go back and look at those recipes, and immediately pick out what I did wrong and how to fix it. I know how to avoid gums in recipes now, I know which flours work best with eggs and which work without, and I know that my waffle how-to guide that I wrote last year was not perfect. I also know that a lot of the recipes on this blog need reworking, and I plan on spending time this year updating my older recipes.
(Most of my pancakes came out fluffier than the ones in this picture...but they got eaten before I could take a picture...the pancakes in this picture were actually my failed pancakes)
The first recipe I wanted to rework was indeed my waffle guide. After realizing my ratios were slightly off (and I apologize to anyone who used that guide and was unhappy with the results!), I decided I wanted a recipe that would work for ANY flour, that was vegan, and that could be used for pancakes AND waffles. Three days and over 24 batches of pancakes/waffles later (seriously...), I have a recipe that makes me happy.
I tested this recipe out on:
Blanched Almond Flour
Garbanzo Bean Flour
Sweet White Rice Flour
White Rice Flour
Brown Rice Flour
Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Mix
I tested it on potato starch and tapioca starch.
I tested it using cups and using grams.
I have never seen so many pancakes in my life. But the last thing I wanted was to post another guide only to realize it wasn't right! So I got out my OCD tendencies, made a chart, and went to work. Here's the recipe, and please read below for my notes on which flours have the best texture and flavor, and which ones weren't so pleasant. Take note that this recipe WILL NOT work for coconut flour. Don't even try it...I did, and it was a huge waste of flour.
Gluten-Free, Vegan Pancake & Waffle Recipe (Please scroll down and read the tips before making these!) (Print-Friendly Option)
1 1/4 cups or 158 grams flour (or mix of flours)***
1/2 cup or 86 grams starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 to 1 3/4 cups liquid
*** I know that cups and grams are different for each flour. HOWEVER, I tested this recipe out with EACH FLOUR with cups AND grams. Whether you measure your flours by cups or the gram measurements given, your pancakes/waffles will work. If you use almond flour, you'll only need about 1/2 cup of liquid. If you use a thick liquid like full-fat coconut milk, you'll need more (up to 1 3/4 cups). Otherwise, you'll need about 1 cup of liquid (milk, water, juice, etc.) regardless of the flour.
1. Whisk together your dry ingredients.
2. Whisk together the applesauce, oil, and 1/2 cup of liquid. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir. Add more liquid slowly (I do it by the tablespoon so as not to pour too much) until you've reached the consistency of a thick pancake batter. Always start with less liquid and test the batter on one pancake or waffle first. If it's too thick, you can add more liquid, but you can't take liquid away once you've added it!
- To make waffles, make sure to oil the iron frequently and keep the batter thick. It won't spread on the iron, but you can use a spoon to spread the batter out evenly on the iron. If the batter is too thin, it is much more likely to stick. (See note at end of post from a reader on sticking waffles before making.)
- To make pancakes, you can use a little more liquid than with waffles (about 2-4 tablespoons more), depending on how thick you prefer your pancakes.
- Potato starch is the best starch to use in these recipes. You can use tapioca, arrowroot, or cornstarch, BUT potato starch makes the insides fluffier. (Update: A few readers have tried using arrowroot and found the results to be gummy, so be forewarned. If you can use potato starch, do!)
- Almond flour makes the best pancakes, hands down! They taste buttery and sweet. The batter should be equally thick for pancakes or waffles. HOWEVER, this recipe DOES NOT work with only almond flour. You have to use the starch, and you'll get amazing pancakes. If you try using just almond flour without starch, your pancakes will be horrible excuses for pancakes that will make a mess of your pan. If you can eat almonds, I highly recommend you make this your go-to pancake mix.
- Millet flour pancakes taste somewhat like biscuits, and are my second favorite flour to use. However, millet does tend to have a bitter aftertaste, so beware.
- I love the flavor of buckwheat and teff. For a hearty mix, try either one or both.
- Coconut flour DOES NOT work. AT ALL. BUT, you can add a few tablespoons to your mix if you want. You'll just end up increasing the amount of liquid needed.
- Sweet white rice flour, amaranth flour, and white rice flour all tended to be a little gummy inside, so I wouldn't recommend using these. Brown rice flour had a nice texture and was good for a basic mix, although a bit bland for my liking.
- Quinoa, sorghum, and garbanzo bean flour all made pancakes and waffles with great textures. The flavors aren't my personal favorites, but they can be jazzed up with the addition of other flavors.
- If using an all-purpose mix like Bob's Red Mill, skip the starch (the mix already has starch in it), and use 1 3/4 cups of mix or 244 grams. I didn't use an all-purpose mix with xanthan gum in it, so I can't say how it will work if your mix has gums. I recommend buying a mix without gums, or better yet, skip the mix and just buy your favorite flour and starch.
- For the sweetener, you can use 2 tablespoons of any granulated sugar. OR you can use 2 tablespoons of a liquid sweetener. Just add it to the wet ingredients instead. I personally thought the granulated sugar gave the best texture to the pancakes though.
- For the applesauce, you can try using any puree...try banana, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, etc. I liked applesauce best in terms of texture though.
- I tested these recipes with water and I liked the flavor. But any liquid can be used. If you use something like full-fat canned coconut milk (which I like to do), you'll need more liquid than if you use water or milk. Using water or milk, almond flour only needs about 1/2 cup of liquid, whereas most of the other flours need closer to 1 cup.
- Many readers have commented that their batter stuck to the waffle iron and this is what one reader, Carol Ann Rowland, told me in her comment below: One thing I would comment on is that, with a nonstick waffle iron, it is best to never grease it. If you do, you end up with a sticky residue that just ends up being a little gummy which makes it harder to clean and subsequent waffles just stick all that much more. If your waffles are sticking, you need to add more oil to the batter, or bake them slightly longer. It's the oil in the batter than needs to keep it from sticking. I didn't oil my waffle iron at all (never have, replaced a previous waffle iron because I hadn't known about this and had gummed it up) and they came out perfectly and my waffle iron looks completely clean without even having wiped it down yet.
p.s. In case you haven't seen it, my fellow Jumbo (Tufts alumni), Isabel Foxen Duke, just put out an incredible free video training series for any of you who may be struggling with "feeling crazy around food." You know, like thinking about food and dieting all day long, only to end up with your fingers in a jar of peanut butter later that evening. She's onto something, and one of the few health professionals out there who are really making the connection between poor body image and emotional eating. I am a proud affiliate and big supporter of her work. You can check out her free video training series here.
This post is linked to Inspire Me Mondays.