[Disclaimer: I was given a box of Better Batter All Purpose Flour Mix but was not paid to write this post/review.]
Many of us can relate to Naomi Poe’s feelings as she tried combining gluten-free flours, hoping to hit upon something that tasted good and worked well in recipes. With two sons who had to eat gluten-free – one greatly helped with autism through the diet - she had a lot of practice in a gluten-free kitchen. Then both she and her husband learned they also had to eat gluten-free so that meant more experimenting with flours and more attempts at tasty baked goods.
One night, frustrated, she prayed for an answer, then went to bed. During the night, she had a dream about the mix of flours she put together the next morning and Better Batter resulted, a cup for cup substitute for all-purpose white flour. Just six years later, her inspired mix is on track for $1.5 million in sales in 2012.
For the flour mix, Naomi tested 14 brands of rice flour in her pursuit of the right one. She chose one that’s U.S. grown and ground for two reasons: she likes supporting U.S. businesses and was also concerned about heavy metal contamination with rice flours out of Asia.
You’re probably wondering, as I did, can I actually substitute this cup for cup in any recipe? Naomi says, “Every so often just to make sure, we’ll go to a random yard sale and buy a cookbook, take it home and make 10 or 12 things out of it out of the flour and we don’t have any issues.” If a recipe calls for resting or refrigeration before baking, she advises against it because the xanthan gum in the mix makes it get thicker over time.
In addition to the flour mixture I tried, the company makes a seasoned flour, Pancake and Biscuit Mix, and mixes for both chocolate and yellow cakes, and fudge brownies. (I’ve got to try those.)
Naomi’s excited about a new product that’s coming out later this year. Inspired by an 8-year-old girl named Kaylee who she’d seen at gluten-free expos – “We see each other and love on each other all over the country” – Naomi created nutrition bars that can be tasty emergency rations at school or on the go. A peanut-free peanut butter and jelly flavor will be named “Kaylee, a chocolate mint bar will be named for her eldest son, Zion, and a blueberry vanilla bar will be named for her second son, Caedon. For the other flavors, kids’ artwork will be chosen and used for several months, their name on that bar during along with the art. Naomi says, “Flavors will stay the same but the name will change. I want to give kids ownership.” She adds, ”We’ll allow them to pick their favorite charity to support, a portion of sales going to that kid’s passion and heartbeat.”
Watch next year for a new series of whole grain mixes that are xanthan gum free. (As a note: xanthan gum can be sourced from corn but theirs is sourced from sugar beets so corn-free.)
Poe believes in Better Batter. “What really pushes the growth of the company is that it’s a good product.” She’s also giving back. Those on WIC, receiving, food stamps, or with a child who has developmental disabilities such as ADD, PDD, autism, or Down’s syndrome receive a discount. She believes this is unique to Better Batter, “I don’t know of any other food company that uses it.”
Important Tip: To meaure the mix properly – and have the recipe come out right, you must spoon the flour into the measuring cup then level it with a knife.
Ask me how I know about the tip above. You see, I made some red velvet cupcakes using a Gluten Free on a Shoestring recipe. They had perfect rounded tops when they came out of the oven. Then they fell while cooling. My husband (my sweets expert) pronounced them tasty but more dense like a brownie. I topped them – re-dubbed red velvet brownies – with cream cheese frosting and they were all eaten. Considering the experience Nicole Hunn of Gluten Free on a Shoestring has with Better Batter, I suspected I’d done something wrong. My conclusion: I didn’t measure my flour properly so the amount I used wasn’t what was called for.
Remember those mouth-watering biscuits from Red Lobster? Enjoy the flavor once again with this Better Batter recipe. It calls for their Pancake and Biscuit Mix. If you’re using the flour mix as I was, use this recipe for the biscuit portion. This is the link for the original:
2 cups Better Batter All Purpose Flour Mix
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup milk or water (if dry, add extra until it has a biscuit consistency – I needed about 3 Tablespoons extra)
Old Bay Seasoning and cheese are the same (note the “finely” shredded cheese. I used the second largest grater side of my box grater)
Bake until golden brown.
The topping is the same. My husband says these were perfect except that the garlic was a little light so you may want a pinch more.