Mochi flour – what is it?

I use something called Mochi flour quite often in my bakes, and some of you are probably scratching your head wondering what on earth this stuff is.
Mochi flour is a very unique type of rice flour, made from a certain kind of short grain rice. There are many different kinds of rice, such as long grain, basmati, and brown rice, and short grain rice is a variety used in east-asian cooking a lot (so in countries like Japan, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines). It has the unusual property of being naturally sticky! You’ve probably eaten it before in sushi, or maybe Thai sticky rice, without realising that was what it was – I did too.
Flour made from short grain rice becomes very elastic when cooked with liquid. This means when you use it in gluten free baking, it can give that lovely stretchy behavior to breads and cakes which normally would come from the gluten in wheat flour. That elastic stretch is very hard to recreate in gluten free baking, and I honestly have no idea why Western free-from baking hasn’t embraced short grain flour like the blessing it is – other than that it’s simply not known about over here! It doesn’t work for everything, but when it does it’s fantastic.
So why do I call short grain rice flour ‘mochi flour’? Simply put, it’s because there are a LOT of different names for this kind of flour but ‘mochi flour’ is the quickest and easiest to say/type. Mochi is a kind of Japanese desert made with – you guessed it – mochi flour, and I’ll put up a recipie for it… just as soon as I master how to make it. It’s one of my favourite deserts but it’s much trickier to make than the stuff you usually find on here!

Mochi flour is also known as:
Short grain rice flour
Sticky rice flour
Sweet rice flour (because it’s often used to make sweets)
Glutinous rice flour (but it contains no gluten!)
Mochiko flour

The best thing about Mochi flour is although it sounds like it would be a top-shelf, import-only, sold-in-tiny-packets-for-eye-watering-prices type of ingredient, nothing can be further from the truth. You can absolutely order it online for £5-£7, but I discovered you can but a huge bag of it for £2 in any Asian supermarket. You’re probably thinking that’s useless to you because there’s no Asian supermarkets in your area, but I assumed the same thing and was stunned to find my town had not one but THREE. They tend to be less prominently placed than the standard chains so they can get overlooked by busy people who aren’t looking for them. Go search Google, you might be just as amazed as I was by what’s on your doorstep! In the shop, it’s most likely to be called short grain or sticky rice flour.

So that’s mochi flour, the modern gluten free baker’s dream. No fiddly gums, no awkward blending of flours, no hoping your store-bought flour blend will do. Just a big old bag of awesomeness.