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Trader Joe’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, reviewed

Trader Joe's Gluten Free Flour, reviewed
Regular Trader Joe’s shoppers will have noticed that TJ’s has added a new item to their baking section in the past few weeks: Baker Josef’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. They’ve had a good Gluten Free Brownie Mix that has been around for quite a while now, and this all purpose blend should give gluten free bakers a few more options for gluten free baking at home. The popular brownie mix uses rice flour as its primary grain, and so does this flour mixture, which is made with whole grain brown rice flour, potato starch, rice flour and tapioca flour. It’s a small bag – only 16 ounces – so you only get about three cups of flour (give or take) to play with at a time. The bag states that it can be “substituted cup for cup with all purpose wheat flour in most recipes.”

I find that rice flour is often the base for many gluten free flour blends when they’re intended use is dessert baking, as opposed to heartier bread recipes. I tried the flour in several recipes, including a cake and the cookie recipe that comes on the back of the bag. The cake had an extremely tender, soft crumb and a good flavor – but it also had a slightly sandy texture from the rice flour (common, with rice flour) that kept you from forgetting that you were eating a gluten free cake and not a regular one. The blueberries in blueberry muffins tended to sink down a bit, since they didn’t get as much structural support from the batter as they do in regular muffins, but they looked beautiful and were still tasty. The cookies worked out very well, and were just a touch more crumbly than you might expect regular chocolate chip cookies to be. The sandiness that comes from the rice flour was much less noticeable in cookie form.

Overall, I found this to be a good and versatile GF all purpose flour option. It worked well in both the specifically gluten free recipe on the bag and in recipes where I simply substituted it for all purpose flour. I do feel that saying it can be “substituted cup for cup” in most recipes might give bakers who aren’t familiar with gluten free flours some difficulty, as I definitely feel that you’ll get better results in some types of recipes than others. For instance, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for a layer cake because the layers would likely be very difficult to handle when you try to stack them if you’re not very careful (although if you’re careful and or have something like a cake lifter you probably won’t have any problems). It would be a great choice for many cookies, brownies, muffins or single-layer cakes where you should get good results with most recipes.

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18 Comments
  • Julianne @ Beyond Frosting
    January 29, 2013

    Hi! Thanks for sharing this! I actually just saw this on the shelf this week and posted about it yesterday in my “Foodie Finds”, but I haven’t tried it yet. Good to know that it is a good option, the price is great compared to other brands.

  • Leslie Durso
    January 29, 2013

    Thank you for reviewing this! I just saw it at TJ’s the other day and picked it up. Thank you cause now I know how to use it 🙂

  • Jack
    January 30, 2013

    The packaging of products is important, the old fashioned design Baker Josef’s Gluten Free Flour is very appealing. Reading your review, the sandy texture of the rice flour is of concern, but overall it seems you liked this product.

  • Rachelle
    January 30, 2013

    does it have the xanthan gum mixed in it already?

  • Nicole
    January 31, 2013

    Rachelle – No, it doesn’t. You could certainly add some to give the flour blend a little more structure.

  • Mallory
    February 17, 2013

    The bag I bought in the Bellingham store only had a muffin and a pancake recipe, so cookie recipe… would you mind posting the cookie recipe you used?

  • lydia
    March 16, 2013

    im looking for gluten free options that are free of rice and corn and soy and dairy. also legume free . ive heard of coconut and almond flours. but havent been able to buy any yet, are there other options as well?

  • BT
    April 4, 2013

    So I bought the Trader Josef’s gluten free flour, Trader Joe’s chocolate chips, TJ’s vanilla, TJ’s baking soda, TJ’s salt, TJ’s organic cane juice sugar, TJ’s brown sugar, TJ’s eggs and a tub of Earth Balance margarine from TJ’s. Following the recipe on the bag of choc chips, the first batch ended up a runny mess. So I added some more flour to thicken it up and it was better, but still runny. Then I added a lot more (like almost a full cup). That next batch ended up passable.

  • Rebecca
    June 2, 2013

    I just tried the pancake recipe and it was one of the worst gluten free pancakes I have made.

    The batter did stay together so you could make a large pancake but it doesn’t make any difference if no-one wants to eat them as they were more like a pita bread than a pancake.

    I think there has to be a misprint with the ingredients as my batch made close to 20 pancakes and it was meant to make 8 – 10.

  • Emily
    September 22, 2013

    I made the pancakes, and I added and took out ingredients to make the batter more tasty. I added 1 TB ground flaxseeds, substituted 1/2 of the oil for apple sauce, 1 tsp cinnamon and the 1/2 of the oil as coconut oil. I used a little honey as a sweetener and a little maple syrup to taste (not more than 1 TB). I also added 1 1/2 xanthan gum. The pancakes turned out well, but adjusting was required.

  • Emily
    September 22, 2013

    I also needed to add more “milk” than the recipe called for so the pancakes were not so thick. I used flax milk.

  • Jonis davis
    March 3, 2014

    Does the GF flour work in short cookie dough that needs to be chilled overnight and then rolled out?

  • Nicole
    March 4, 2014

    Jonis – Yes, it should work.

  • Noemi
    March 31, 2014

    thank you for this review on the GF all purpose flour, i’m making right know a apple pie
    and bought this flour. I have made the recepie step by step but when i was finishing the doug
    i realized that i had to add more flour, and more, and more…..like 1 cup more.
    Right know the doug is in the refrigetaror. I’m reading that is not quite recomended for pies
    too late for me hehe……i’ll tell you more about the result.

  • ann
    November 25, 2014

    Bought the Trader Joe’s GF flour to bake bread. Baking two loaves, side by side, GF and all purpose flour as my standard. My no-fail all purpose flour bread was no fail, coming out perfectly. My GF flour bread was a disaster and had to, unfortunately, be thrown away. The flour doesn’t seem to hold liquid very well and was soupy in consistency after mixing my ingredients. Never the less, and hoping for better results after allowing the mixture to rest, I again found the mixture unacceptable as I prepared it for the next rest and baking stage. The final results after baking: a hard ball of dough, which was unable to be cut or sliced. Perhaps adjusting the recipe could result in an edible GF loaf, but as the GF flour is a bit pricy, it seems as if the GF loaf of bread is not in the horizon for me. Will however experiment with another baked product using the GF flour.

  • Nicole
    November 25, 2014

    Ann – It sounds like you were baking a yeast bread and gluten free flour is not going to be a good direct substitute for regular flour in a yeast bread recipe. Yeast breads rise because of the way that wheat absorbs liquid and the proteins (gluten) stretch during the rising process. This just doesn’t happen for gluten free breads. You really need to start with a recipe that is designed for gluten free flours for the best results. You might try something like this recipe next time: http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes.php?recipe=7249

  • ann
    December 2, 2014

    Thanks Nicole, great advice. I made brownies using the GF flour which worked out fine. Not only did I exchange all purpose flour for the gf, but I also exchanged flax meal for the eggs and and granulated honey for white sugar.

  • Nar
    January 31, 2015

    I bought Baker Josef’s Gluten free all purpose flour and hoping to find a simple recipe for bread. So far i was not able to find even one recipe that does not need extra flour such as pumpkin etc. Can some one help.
    Thank you.

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