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Gluten-Free Flour

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2012

There’s a new gluten-free flour available called C4C that supposedly can be subbed “cup for cup” for wheat flour in recipes. Does it really work?

This proprietary mix of gluten-free starches and flours (mostly cornstarch, plus tapioca flour and white and brown rice flours augmented with milk powder and xanthan gum) was developed by Lena Kwak, research chef to Thomas Keller, creator of the French Laundry in Napa Valley and Per Se in New York City. Eager to put this product to the test, we subbed C4C for all-purpose flour in sugar cookies, drop biscuits, pie crust, a quick chocolate cake, and, because of a testimonial on the C4C website, brioche.

The cookies made with C4C were chewy in the middle, crisp at the edges, and perfectly shaped—nearly indistinguishable from those made with wheat flour—and the biscuits and chocolate cake were also remarkably similar to their gluten-containing counterparts. The pie crust, which we sampled without filling, was a bit flat-tasting and brittle in comparison with the flaky conventional crust, but tasters agreed that these defects would be less noticeable in an actual pie. The C4C brioche, however, was a dense, dry disappointment.

Though it can’t be substituted for wheat flour in bread dough without tweaking the recipe, C4C is the closest thing to a universally applicable gluten-free substitute we’ve tested to date. The only drawbacks: It’s currently only available at Williams-Sonoma retail outlets and Keller’s Bouchon Bakery chain (or through mail order from either company) and will set you back a whopping $19.95 for a 3-pound bag.

GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR

C4C can be successfully swapped for wheat flour in most baking recipes.