Friday, March 20, 2015

Gluten Free Play Dough

Why I Make Play Dough At My Age 

I hate that when I take care of my grandson, he can't play with his Play-Doh. (Play-Doh is made with wheat flour.) He will help cleanup but he is too young to do it all by himself. Every child loves to play with it. Even adults, including myself, enjoy playing with it. There is so many activities one can do with the Play-Doh. With guidance, play dough activities can help with the physical, mental and creative development of a child. That is a good reason to make a play dough tool box.

So that my grandson could play with play dough at my house, I invested the time to look up gluten free recipes to make a copykat of the Play-Doh. I found this site and the dough is pretty. Found this site that includes several recipes. One of the recipes is very much like the recipe we used in chemistry to make goop or Oobleck - which is a type of non-Newtonian matter. The Oobleck can be made with or without borax. Notice the cautions of making the Oobleck with borax. Students love playing with slime and Oobleck. Didn't want the slime nor Oobleck this time - that's for later.

Substituting Ingredients and Methods

The problem with finding a recipe was that most of the gluten free play dough recipes call for rice flour. Yes, I understand that using rice flour gives a white dough to begin the coloring. I also know that it makes a beautiful baked product but I don't use it; it has a very high glycemic index. More and more gluten intolerants are reading about rice flour and choosing other flours. It is a matter of choice. So, now, the experiment begins. Probably the best choice for substituting rice four is millet flour or sorghum flour.  Just pick one. I compared the color and millet was whiter and I went with it.

I have Jeanine Friesen's Everything Guide to Living Gluten-Free. In the book, she included the play dough recipe that is on several websites. The recipe is also on her website. I used the recipe ingredients "as is" except substituting millet flour. I did use a different cooking method. I'll explain that in a minute. Some of the recipes on other sites call for 1/2 cup salt. I figure that the extra salt helps the dough dry out better but it's going to cause the hands to dry out more also. I kept with the 1/4 cup salt.  Jeanine states to use vegetable oil but other sites use other oils. One frequent ingredient was olive oil but I never saw coconut oil used. I also didn't use the glitter -- this time.

As the dough cooled and I kneaded it, I didn't think that extra salt was needed. More food coloring can be added as the dough is kneaded-- if needed.  It is hard to get the color right by placing the dye in the water and oil, but you can add more dye as you see fit while kneading.

Dough before kneading

I used the microwave to make the dough. I heated the water in a glass pitcher, added the oil and dye; then I added the dry ingredients. After stirring it until smooth with a whisk,  I put it back in the microwave on HIGH for 15 seconds. I took it out and stirred with a large wooden spoon. I did that 5 or 6 times until it was beginning to dry or had a good texture. I emptied the dough on parchment paper on the counter, let it cool a little and then kneaded it until it was no longer sticky. I stored it in a plastic zipper bag in the refrigerator.

If it remains sticky, knead in a little more cornstarch.  Add it a half teaspoon at a time. If you make a mistake, adding to much cornstarch, wet your hands and knead the dough until it is the right texture.

Gluten Free Play Dough

1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon of oil
Liquid food color, gel food color or Kool-Aid powder
1/2 teaspoon chunky glitter (optional)  

1.  Whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
2.  Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the oil and food coloring. Gently stir.
3.  Stir the dry ingredients, including the glitter if using, into the boiling water. With saucepan still on the heat, continue stirring until the dough is drier and has a rubbery texture.
4. Turn the dough out on parchment paper on the counter. Let cool slightly - enough to handle. Kneaed until completely cool -- adding food color if needed. It will be sticky in the beginning but will be less sticky as it cools. 
5.  Put dough in a zipper plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.

Creative Mommy says that the dough lasts a couple of years and she doesn't put it in the fridge. Hmm - guess the salt keeps the dough from molding. She made several different colors in one recipe by adding the color while kneading the dough. She reminds us that when mixing colors, add the light color first. Check out the colors of the play dough she made. 

Both Betty Crocker and McCormick make neon food coloring. Going to try those next time I make the play dough. 


"Allergy-Free Play Dough Recipes | AAAAI." Allergy-Free Play Dough Recipes | AAAAI. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <>.

 "Best DIY Gluten Free Play Dough Recipes -" Onecreativemommycom. N.p., 25 Feb. 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <>.

"Gak, Flubber, Silly Putty, & Oobleck Recipes." A2Z Homeschooling. N.p., 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2015<>.

"How Much Arsenic Is in Your Rice - Consumer Reports." How Much Arsenic Is in Your Rice - Consumer Reports. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015. <>.

"Non-Newtonian Fluids." Science Learning Hub RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2015. <>.

"Steve Spangler Science." GAK. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2015. <>.

"The Price of Eating Rice" - Jessica Corwin  (Also in Go Gluten Free Spring 2014)

Disclosure statement: I have not received compensation for any products mentioned or used in this post.

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