[This product was reviewed by Annsley Klehr, NFCA volunteer and Owner of Gluten Freedoms, LLC, a gluten-free life coaching and consulting company.]
I always think of myself as a connoisseur of gluten-free flour mixes, since I never have enough time to make my own from scratch. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) tipped me off about 1-2-3 Gluten Free, Inc., a mother-daughter company that makes multipurpose gluten-free flour mixes as well roll, pancake, cookie, pound cake, devil’s food cake, brownie, muffin, and cornbread mixes, to name a few! In addition, all of their products are produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility, also free of wheat, dairy, casein, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and soy. If you still had any concerns, they are certified gluten-free and Kosher Parve.
1-2-3 Gluten Free got its start when owner Kimberlee, already diagnosed with celiac disease, learned her nieces and nephews also have celiac disease. Kimberlee felt like the sacrifice of gluten foods was not a big deal to her, but to see her family members mourn the loss of those goodies motivated her to take action. She began creating food that was enjoyable and edible for individuals with celiac disease and their non-celiac friends alike.
I decided to test 1-2-3 Gluten Free Olivia’s Outstanding Multi-Purpose Flour Mix, which as I learned is as easy to use as saying 1, 2, 3! Most gluten-free food has not been fortified like many of its gluten counterparts, but not so with 1-2-3 Gluten Free! Not only does the mix contain rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch and xanthan gum, but it is also fortified with niacin (vitamin B3), reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and folic acid (vitamin B9). I decided to try this enticing mix in three different baking experiments to see how it tested overall.
I made buttermilk pancakes with and without blueberries, lemon squares/bars, and banana muffins. In each testing round, I weighed the flour instead of using its equivalent cup measurements, since gluten-free flour is generally denser than gluten-containing flour and usually requires a bit less of it in baking products. In all three cases, I had several people of the gluten-friendly world sample the products as well.The buttermilk pancakes came out beautifully, browned on the top and bottom with white fluffy edges. They felt light in your hand and equally light in the mouth. Somehow, the buttermilk flavor was not as strong in these, but didn’t seem to deter us from eating them. They were of a marginally chewy consistency, different than I am used to, but not bad. I did detect a slight aftertaste, which I would guess was due to the extra vitamins in its fortification. My daughter didn’t complain once, and devoured the whole plate before more could come off the griddle! We even tried throwing some blueberries in, which added a burst of sweetness. We thought the pancake batter would easily accommodate your choice of fruit or even gluten-free chocolate chips. And of course, what are pancakes without maple syrup?
Next, I made my mom’s amazing lemon square recipe that never fails. There is a bit of flour in the lemony filling on top and the bottom layer is dough made up of lots of flour. The end result was gorgeous. I certainly could not tell a difference between these and the one my mom makes. The lemony filing coated my mouth with a tangy and sweet jelly, while the crust crumbled along with it. The taste was brilliant, but my testers and I wished the crust held together a bit better, and my mouth also had that aftertaste feeling. Still, it makes an excellent dessert or snack at any time of day!
The final test was my banana mini-muffins to which I also added a bit of shredded carrot and squash. The flour rose splendidly and did not deflate once the muffins were removed from the oven. There was a light, sweet, moist taste to them. Though the overall taste was great, that chewiness that I experienced in the pancakes, I also experienced in the muffins. It gave them a gum-like quality that while was not bad, was not necessarily what I was expecting.
Overall, the products cooked out flawlessly and the taste was terrific. Only the consistency wavered a bit from what I remember of the old-fashioned gluten days. Thank you to those as 1-2-3 Gluten Free for the opportunity to test and review their product!