What Are My Flour Choices?
Ok. So you can no longer grab a loaf of bread or cake mix off the shelf. You may not find gluten free flours in the baking aisle of your local grocer either, but at least you'll know what to look for.
I'm more of a cook than a baker, and I'm still finding my way when it comes to making gut-friendly cakes. I don't bake much mainly because it encourages me to use sweeteners and dairy products. BUT there are LOADS of blogs out there now written by masterful gluten-free goddesses. Do a search online!
While they aren't on the list below, do some research into Garbanzo (chickpea) flour and Sorghum flour. My brother swears by Garbanzo flour, saying it's the best of the bunch for baked goods.
Amaranth is a whole grain flour used by the Aztecs. It is high in protein and contains more calcium, fiber, magnesium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C than most grains. It is also more expensive. Amaranth has an earthy flavor similar to graham crackers without the sweetness. Amaranth is my favourite flour for baking.
Buckwheat is most often used in pancakes, and tends to make baked goods heavier and stronger tasting. Buckwheat is the seed of a plant related to rhubarb. It is high in fiber, protein, magnesium and B vitamins.
Some people find buckwheat can irritate them.
Brown Rice flour is milled from unpolished brown rice and has a higher nutrient value than white rice flour. Since this flour contains bran it has a shorter shelf life and should be refrigerated. It is best to combine brown rice flour with several other flours to avoid the grainy texture.
Baked goods made with rice flour tend to be crumbly, so consider substituting a mixture of one part arrowroot or other thickener plus four parts rice flour. Adding more eggs is another way to reduce crumbliness. Since rice flour absorbs more moisture, you may need to add more liquid to recipe.
I find rice flour to be super dense and heavy.
Millet flour has a more pronounced flavor than all-purpose flour. It is a small, round grain that is a major food source in Asia, North Africa and India. It is very healthy, but can be coarse and dry.
Potato Starch Flour is used in combination with other flours. This is a gluten-free thickening agent that is perfect for cream-based soups and sauces. Mix a little with water first, then substitute potato starch flour for flour in your recipe, but cut the amount in half.
Don't confuse Potato Starch Flour (sometimes just called Potato Starch) with Potato Flour. Potato flour retains potato flavor. That is a pleasant advantage in some applications. While potato starch lightens the texture of a baked product, potato flour makes a baked product heavier.
Quinoa flour (pronounced keen-wah) tends to make baked goods moister. It was a staple food of the Incas. Quinoa is a complete protein with all 8 amino acids. It contains a fair amount of calcium and iron.
Nut Flours are high in protein and, used in small portions, enhances the taste of homemade pasta, puddings, pizza crust, bread, and cookies. Finely ground nut meal added to a recipe also increases the protein content and allows for a better rise. Ground almond meal can replace dry milk powder in most recipes as a dairy-free alternative.
Tapicoa Starch Flour is a light, velvety flour from the cassava root. It lightens gluten-free baked goods and gives them a texture more like that of wheat flour baked goods. It is especially good in pizza crusts where it is used in equal parts with brown rice flour.
Tapioca is nice for coating meat and fish before frying.
Arrowroot Flour can be used cup for cup in place of cornstarch if you are allergic to corn. It makes baked goods impart a nice chewy taste. Arrowroot, as a thickener, works best at low temperatures.
To use as a thickener, remember 1 tsp = 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour or 1 Tbsp cornstarch.