After discovering that my gluten free playdough recipe worked, I excitedly shared it with several parents of children who have gluten sensitivity or wheat allergies. One of the parents mentioned that this recipe wouldn’t work for her child who, in addition to gluten sensitivity, also has corn sensitivity.
She suggested that maybe tapioca flour or potato starch would be a good substitute. So I altered the recipe to use potato starch instead of cornstarch. I also used grapeseed oil instead of soybean oil, to eliminate another potential allergen.
1 cup potato starch
2 cups baking soda
1-1/4 cups cold water
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
1 tablespoon food coloring
I mixed the ingredients together in a pot, but the first thing I noticed was that the starch didn’t dissolve. It started to form a thick paste instead. I turned the stove to low heat and waited to see what would happen.
As I stirred, the mixture started to look like pudding or hot cereal. I had originally used yellow food coloring, but decided to add some green so the dough would look less like food.
The mixture never started to bubble, but started to firm up and become solid. It didn’t thicken much, so the recipe made half as much dough as I expected.
I took it out of the pot and put it on a plate to cool. The texture was different from both the flour based playdough and the cornstarch based playdough that I had made before. It felt lighter and a little more oily (I don’t know whether this was because I used grapeseed oil or it was just how this recipe is) than I expected. It also crumbled slightly – it resembled “Cloud Dough”, a flour and oil mixture that's another interesting tactile sensory experience.
Even if it isn’t exactly like traditional playdough, it’s a good alternative for children who can’t play with wheat (or corn or soy) based products. And it’s another type of sensory and tactile material for children to experience.