New to Gluten Free? A Must Read about Flours & Baking

New to Cooking Gluten Free?  It can be a little daunting so I wanted to share this awesome piece of information about the variety of gluten free flours and how to use them in baking.  I hope this helps.

From beans and grains to tubers and seeds, there’s a rich and wonderful array of delicious and nutritious flours waiting for you.

Keep in mind that baking gluten-free requires using a mix of flours. If you’re new to gluten-diet baking, start with our standard blends (See end of post)  or purchase an all-purpose commercial blend at your local natural  food store. Once you’re comfortable with the nuances of a basic  gluten-free blend, try introducing new flour varieties slowly into your  repertoire. In time, you’ll be able to customize recipes to your  individual preferences.

Knowing the properties and uses for  alternative flours sets you on track for selecting the ones best suited  for each baking application. As you learn how to use these flours, you  can remake your favorite foods without compromising taste and texture.  In fact, you can add essential vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber to  your baked goods, fortifying your diet in flavorful ways.

Beans and Legumes

Bean flours are high in protein, fiber and calcium. Varieties include chickpea  (garbanzo), bean (navy, pinto and red) and soy. Garfava flour is a blend  of flours made from garbanzo, fava beans and Romano beans. These flours  work well with foods, such as breads, pizza and spice cakes. Try mixing  them with tapioca flour, cornstarch and sorghum flour for a hearty,  nutritious blend that lends structure and texture to your baking. Store  them at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  How to use: Add up to 30 percent of a total flour blend. A small amount (¼ to ½  cup) added to pie crust or wraps makes these items more elastic and  easier to roll out.  Watch out for: Certain bean  flours, particularly garfava and chickpea, impart an aftertaste that  some people find unpleasant. Offset the taste by using less than 30  percent in a flour blend in recipes that contain brown sugar, molasses,  chocolate or spices. Bean flours are not well suited to delicately  flavored goods, like sugar cookies and biscotti.

Pea Flour and Green Pea Flour,  the newest additions to the line-up of gluten-free flours, have many  benefits similar to bean flours but without the strong aftertaste. High  protein content lends structure to baked goods without adding any  distinct flavor. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator.   How to use: Add up to 30 percent pea flour to a basic gluten-free blend.  Watch out for:   Green pea flour imparts a green hue to the final baked product, great  for Easter or St. Patrick’s Day but not suitable for bakery items you  want to be white. Too much produces goods that have a starchy taste.

Grains

Amaranth An ancient food used by the Aztecs, this flour is made from the seeds  of the broad-leafed amaranth plant. Amaranth seeds are also puffed into  kernels for breakfast cereals. High in protein, calcium and iron,  amaranth flour adds structure to gluten-free baked goods and helps them  brown more quickly. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.   How to use:   Works well in recipes that contain brown sugar or maple syrup. Because  of its distinct taste, use it sparingly, about 10 to 20 percent of a  flour blend or no more than ½ cup per recipe.   Watch out for: If too much is used, baked goods may have a bitter aftertaste and may brown too quickly.

Corn Flour Milled from corn kernels, this is finely ground cornmeal that comes in  yellow and white varieties. One form of corn flour is masa harina  (milled from hominy) used in making corn tortillas. If corn flour isn’t  available, you can make your own by grinding cornmeal into a fine powder  in a food processor. High in fiber with a slightly nutty taste, corn  flour is a good source of fiber, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron and  thiamin. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.   How to use: Blend with other gluten-free flours, preferably rice and sorghum,  buckwheat or amaranth for hearty baked items. Use it for tortillas,  waffles, pancakes, breads and desserts. Great for cornbread and as part  of a breading for deep-fried foods    Watch out for: Don’t confuse U.S.-made corn flour with the so-called “corn flour” (really cornstarch) used in Great Britain & Australia.

Corn Starch A flavorless white powder that lightens baked goods to make them more  airy. It is highly refined and has little nutritional value. Store in a  sealed container in a dry location.   How to use: Can  be used in place of arrowroot or potato starch. It makes a transparent  thickener for gravies, soups and sauces. It’s an important part of many  all-purpose gluten-free flour blends.   Watch out for: The British/Austrailan term for “corn flour” is really cornstarch.

 

Cornmeal Larger  particle sized than corn flour, cornmeal lends excellent texture to  foods and has a nutty, slightly sweet taste. Cornmeal comes in yellow  and white varieties and in fine, medium and coarse grinds. Great for  cornmeal cakes, breading, cornbread, Johnny cakes, Indian pudding and  Anadama bread. Select finer grinds for baking and for polenta. Use  coarse meal for breading. High in fiber, iron, thiamin, niacin, B-6,  magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.  Refrigerate to extend shelf life.   How to use: Blend with corn flour or a gluten-free  flour blend. In most recipes, it should be no more than 25 percent of  the flours used. However, some cornbread recipes call for just cornmeal.   Watch out for: Select the grind appropriate for your recipes. Using too much cornmeal or a grind that’s too coarse produces a gritty texture.

 

Millet An ancient food, possibly the first cereal grain used for domestic  purposes. It imparts a light beige or yellow color to foods. Easy  to-digest millet flour creates light baked goods with a distinctive  mildly sweet, nut-like flavor. High in protein and fiber and rich in  nutrients, millet adds structure to gluten-free baked items. It is  excellent for flat breads, breads, pizza and other items containing  yeast. Store in the refrigerator or freezer in a tightly sealed  container.  How to use: For best results, use no more than 25 percent millet flour in any flour blend.   Watch out for: Short shelf life. Millet can quickly become rancid and bitter.

 

Oat Flour and Oats High in fiber, protein and nutrition, oats add taste, texture and  structure to cookies, breads and other baked goods. If oat flour is not  available, you can make it by grinding raw oats in a clean coffee  grinder or food processor. Quinoa flakes can be substituted for whole  oats in most recipes. Store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry  place or freeze to extend the shelf life.  How to use: In most recipes, oat flour should be less than 30 percent of a flour blend.  Watch out for: Most oats grown in the United States and Canada are rotated with wheat  crops, making cross contamination a major concern for people with gluten  intolerance. Select oats that are marked “gluten free.” People with  celiac disease should consult their physician before using oats.

 

Rice Flour Most often used gluten-free flour. It’s available as brown rice (higher  in fiber), sweet rice (short grain with a higher starch content) and  white rice. The texture varies depending on how it’s milled—fine, medium  or coarse. Fine grind is used for cookies, biscotti and other delicate  baked goods. Medium grind, the most readily available, is suitable for  most other baking. Coarse grind is best for cereal and coatings. Finer  grinds produce the best texture in baking. Easy to digest and blend,  white rice flour has a bland taste. Brown rice flour is slightly nutty.  Brown rice flour should be stored in the refrigerator.  How to use: Relatively heavy and dense, rice flour works best in recipes when it’s  combined with other flours, especially those that are high in protein to  balance texture and build structure.  Watch out for: Too much rice flour (unless it’s super-fine grind) can produce a grainy taste and texture and can make baked goods crumbly.

 

Sorghum Flour Also called milo or jowar flour, some believe this flour tastes similar  to wheat. Available in red and white varieties, it has a slightly sweet  taste and imparts a whole-wheat appearance to baked goods. Sorghum  flour is high in protein, imparting all-important structure to  gluten-free baked goods. It’s also high in fiber, phosphorous,  potassium, B vitamins and protein, and is a great choice for pancakes,  breads, muffins and cookies. Sorghum flour is ideal for darker-colored,  heavier baked goods, like brown bread or ginger cookies. Store in an  airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  How to use: Should be no more than 25 to 30 percent of any gluten-free flour blend.  Watch out for: Darker in color than many other flours, it’s not a good choice for baked goods that should look white.

Teff Flour Milled from one of the world’s smallest grains, teff is a key source of  nutrition in Ethiopia. It’s available in dark and light varieties. High  in protein, fiber and calcium, teff imparts a mild, nutty taste to  cookies, cakes, quick breads, pancakes and waffles. Combine teff flour  with Montina in an all-purpose flour blend to produce high-fiber bread  with a whole-wheat taste. Refrigerate for longer shelf life.   How to use: Should be no more than 25 percent of any flour blend.  Watch out for: Too much can overpower delicate recipes.

Grasses

Buckwheat Despite its name, buckwheat is not a wheat. It is a fruit from the  poly-gonaceae family, which also includes rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat  has a strong, robust flavor that combines well with other gluten-free  flours. A great source of balanced protein and eight essential amino  acids, this flour is high in fiber and B vitamins. It’s available in  light, medium and dark varieties. Light buckwheat flour is usually  preferred for baking. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator  to extend shelf life.   How to use: For breads and  rolls, use up to 1 cup per recipe to impart a taste and texture that  comes close to whole wheat. Use less when baking delicate cookies or  pies.   Watch out for: Too much can overpower a baked product.

 

Montina Flour is made from perennial Indian rice grass, a dietary staple of Native  Americans before the introduction of maize. Recently rediscovered and  now grown in the western United States, this protein-rich, fiber-rich  flour has a wheat-like taste and hearty texture. Blend with an  all-purpose gluten-free flour blend to add fiber, nutrition and protein  to baked goods. It’s an excellent choice for use in dark baked goods,  like spice cakes and gingerbread. Refrigerate in a tightly covered  container.  How to use: Add up to 30 percent Montina flour to your flour blend to produce bread with a whole-wheat taste and texture.  Watch out for: Too much can overpower other flavors. Its whole-wheat appearance may  not suit delicate, light cookies, cakes or sandwich breads.

 

Wild Rice Flour is not made from rice but a wild aquatic grass originally grown in  lakes, particularly in the Minnesota area. Wild rice is now produced in  man-made paddies and, therefore, it’s more plentiful. Rich in folate,  wild rice has a long shelf life because it is dried and slightly  fermented. This flour’s very dark brown to black color adds a rich hue  to pastries and other baked items. It has a hearty, interesting flavor  and texture. It’s best used as part of a flour blend for pancakes,  muffins, scones and cookies. Use it to thicken casseroles, sauces,  gravies and stews.  How to use: Add up to 25 percent to a basic flour blend.  Watch out for: Like Montina flour, wild rice flour imparts a distinct flavor and adds a  dark appearance to baked goods. Not suited for delicate pastries, such  as sugar cookies, white cakes or biscotti.

Nuts

Almond Flour and Almond Meal impart a sweet, nutty flavor to baked goods. High in protein, fiber,  vitamin E and healthy fat. Make your own almond flour by finely grinding  blanched nuts in a clean coffee grinder. Don’t over-grind; almond flour  can turn into almond butter very quickly. Leaving the skin on the  almonds will darken the flour and the final baked product. Almond flour  adds structure and texture to cakes, cookies and cupcakes. It is popular  for Passover baking. Almond flour can be substituted for oats in  oatmeal cookies for people who cannot eat oats.  How to use: Add up to 25 percent to a basic flour blend or use up to 50 percent or more in cakes leavened with eggs.  Watch out for: Not  suitable for people allergic to nuts. Because of its high fat content,  almond flour and meal can go rancid quickly. Store in a tightly sealed  container in the refrigerator or freezer and use within a few months.

 

Chestnut Flour Made from ground chestnuts, this flour imparts a nutty, earthy flavor  to baked goods. High in fiber and low in protein, it is used widely by  Italian bakers and cooks in everything from pasta (tagliatelle and  gnocchi) to cakes, pancakes, breads and muffins. Because chestnut flour  is low in protein, it should be combined with a high-protein flour, such  as bean, amaranth or soy flour, to ensure baked goods hold together.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.  How to use:  Add up to 20 percent to a basic flour blend.  Watch out for: Too much chestnut flour can impart an unpleasant earthy taste. Don’t  confuse chestnut flour with water chestnut flour, a starchy white powder  with different baking properties.

 

Coconut Flour A  low-carb, high-fiber flour with the subtle, sweet fragrance of coconut.  Usually well tolerated by people who have multiple allergies. People on  low-carb diets often bake with 100 percent coconut flour.  How to use: For best results, add up to 15 percent to a flour blend.  Watch out for: Too much can create a very dense end product. If using 100 percent  coconut flour, recipes usually call for extra eggs to create height and  airiness.

Seeds

Flaxseed Meal is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Make your own flaxmeal by  grinding flaxseeds in a clean coffee grinder. (Whole flaxseeds are not  digestible.) Store in the refrigerator or freezer.  How to use: Add 2 to 3 tablespoons per recipe for baked goods or sprinkle on yogurt  or cereal for a nutritional boost. A mixture of flaxseed meal and warm  water is used as an egg replacer in vegan and egg-free baking. (See Substitution Solutions for egg replacement options at the bottom of this page)  Watch out for: Flaxmeal produces a flecked appearance in bakery items. Too much flaxseed or flaxmeal can have a cathartic effect on some people. Introduce it into your diet slowly.

 

Salba Also called chia, salba seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant. Hundreds of years ago, Aztec warriors would tie a bag of these seeds to their belts to sustain them during their conquests. The seeds were so important in Aztec culture that they were used as money. Considered a super food due to high levels of multiple nutrients and protein, salba is flavorless. Unlike flax, salba seeds do not have to be ground in order to be digested.  How to use: Can be added by the tablespoonful to everything from yogurt to baked goods. A mixture of 1 tablespoon salba and 3 tablespoons warm water (let stand, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes until thick) can replace one egg in vegan and egg-free baking.  Watch out for: High in fiber, salba can be cathartic to some digestive systems. Introduce it slowly into your diet.

 

Hemp Flour A protein-rich whole-grain flour that imparts a nutty flavor to breads, muffins, cookies and pancakes. It is an excellent source of protein containing all essential amino acids and is very high in dietary fiber.  How to use: Add ¼ to ⅓ cup to a basic flour blend.   Watch out for: Too much produces a gritty texture and an unpleasant earthy taste.

Mesquite Flour Ground from the pods of mesquite trees, this pleasantly sweet flour is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. Combine it with other gluten-free flours to add a molasses-type flavor to baked goods. Best added to darker bakery items, such as brownies or gingerbread.  How to use: Add up to 25 percent to a basic flour blend.  Watch out for: Too much imparts a distinctive taste that can compete with other flavors in a recipe.

 

Quinoa Milled from a grain that’s native to the Andes Mountains, quinoa is a seed that has a delicate, nutty flavor that’s similar to wild rice. This flour is easy to digest. Quinoa contains high levels of calcium, protein, complex carbohydrates, phosphorous, iron, fiber and B vitamins. Quinoa flakes are an excellent replacement for oats in cookies, breads, cakes and rolls and a delicious addition to granola. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.  How to use: Mix with other flours, up to 25 percent of total blend, to increase the nutritional value of baked goods.  Toast in a frying pan lightly before adding to your recipe will also help to remove bitterness.  Watch out for: Too much can overpower the flavor of bakery items. Whole quinoa should be rinsed first to remove the bitter-tasting natural oil that sometimes lingers on domestic varieties.

Tubers and Roots

Potato Flour Made from dehydrated potatoes, this fine yellow-white powder is high in fiber and protein. It can be used in place of xanthan gum or guar gum in gluten-free baking. It lends a soft, chewy mouth-feel to baked goods, homemade pasta, breads and pizza crust.  How to use: Add 2 to 4 tablespoons per recipe. Reduce or eliminate the gum ingredients accordingly.  Watch out for: A little goes a long way. Too much potato flour will create a gummy product. Don’t confuse potato flour with  potato starch, which is used in much larger quantities in recipes and has different baking properties.

 

Potato Starch Made from the starch of dehydrated potatoes, this white powder is often used as a one-for-one substitution for cornstarch in recipes. It has excellent baking qualities, particularly when combined with eggs. Contains no protein or fat.  How to use: Gluten-free recipes often call for ½ to ¾ cup potato starch as part of a flour blend.  Watch out for: Potato starch tends to clump, so it should be stirred for accurate measuring. Don’t confuse it with potato flour, which is used in much smaller quantities and has different baking properties.

 

Root Flours (Arrowroot, Sweet Potato Tapioca) Made from root plants, these  flours/starches are usually well tolerated by food-allergic people, even those with multiple allergies. Their high nutritional properties enhance baking performance and give bakery goods a chewy texture and increased browning capabilities. Arrowroot flour is pleasant-tasting and versatile, good for making breads and bagels. Sweet potato flour, which has a  yellow-orange hue, imparts its color to baked items and has a taste that complements recipes containing chocolate, molasses, spices and such. Tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch), is made from the cassava (manioc) plant. It’s a good choice in breads, tortillas and pasta.  How to use: Root and tuber starches should be part of a flour blend, up to 25 percent. Arrowroot starch and tapioca flour/starch are also used as a thickener in gravies and other sauces.Watch out for: Too much of any of these flours can produce a gummy result.

General Guidelines for Using Xanthan or Guar Gum

Gum (xanthan or guar) is the key to successful gluten-free baking. It provides the binding needed to give the baked product proper elasticity, keeping it from crumbling.

  • Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum per cup of flour blend to make cakes, cookies, bars, muffins and other quick breads.
  • Add 1 teaspoon per cup of flour blend to make yeast bread, pizza dough or other baked items that call for yeast.

Gluten-Free Flour Substitutions

To make a flour blend, thoroughly combine all ingredients. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until used.  You can double or triple these recipes to make as much flour mix as you need.
Note: If you purchase a commercial flour blend, read the ingredient list carefully. Some blends contain salt and xanthan or guar gum. If so, there is no need to add more.

All-Purpose Flour Blend

Use this blend for all your gluten-free baking.

1/2 cup rice flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour

1/4 cup cornstarch or potato starch

Each cup contains 436 calories, 1g total fat,   0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 99g carbohydrate, 3mg sodium, 2g fiber, 5g protein

High-Protein Flour Blend

This nutritious blend works best in baked goods that require elasticity, such as wraps and pie crusts.

1  1/4 cups bean flour (your choice), chickpea flour or soy flour  – if low fodmap diet then use another alternatiave above.

1 cup arrowroot starch, cornstarch or potato starch

1 cup tapioca starch/flour 1 cup white or brown rice flour

Each cup contains 588 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 128g carbohydrate, 24mg sodium, 6g fiber, 11g protein.

High-Fiber Flour Blend

This high-fiber blend works for breads, pancakes, snack bars and cookies that contain chocolate, warm spices, raisins or other fruits. It is not suited to delicately flavored recipes, such as sugar cookies, crepes, cream puffs, birthday cakes or cupcakes.

1 cup brown rice flour or sorghum flour

1/2 cup teff flour (preferably light)

1/2 cup millet flour or Montina® flour

2/3 cup tapioca starch/flour

1/3 cup cornstarch or potato starch

Each cup contains 428 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 92g carbohydrate, 19mg sodium, 5g fiber, 8g protein.
Self-Rising Flour Blend

Use this blend for muffins, scones, cakes, cupcakes or any recipe that uses baking powder for leavening.

1  1/4 cups white sorghum flour

1 1/4 cups white rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca starch/flour

2 teaspoons xanthan or guar gum

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Each cup contains 514 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 113g carbohydrate, 1163mg sodium, 8g fiber, 10g protein.

Nutritional Value is US based.

Substitution Solutions

Milk

Replace 1 cup cow’s milk with one of the following:

1 cup soy milk (plain)

1 cup rice milk

1 cup fruit juice (depending on what fruit, if on a low fodmap diet, no apple or pear juice for example)

1 cup water

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup goat’s milk, if tolerated

1 cup hemp milk

Buttermilk

Replace 1 cup buttermilk with one of the following:

1 cup soy milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1 tablespoon white vinegar (Let stand until slightly thickened.)

1 cup coconut milk

7/8 cup rice milk

7/8 cup fruit juice (depending on what fruit, if on a low fodmap diet, no apple or pear juice for example)

7/8 cup water

Yogurt

Replace 1 cup yogurt with one of the following:

1 cup soy yogurt or coconut yogurt

1 cup soy sour cream

1 cup unsweetened applesauce (not suitable for a lowfodmap diet)

1 cup fruit puree  (please check fruit, no apple or pear for example)

1 cup of lactose free yoghurt

Butter

Replace 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter with one of the following:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine  (US)

8 tablespoons Nuttelex (Non Dairy) spread or Earth Balance (Non-Dairy) Buttery Spread (US)

8 tablespoons  Organic Shortening

8 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

For reduced fat: 6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce + 2 tablespoons fat of choice (not suitable if on a low fodmap diet due to the apple)

information source: http://www.livingwithout.com/

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4 responses

  1. Thanks so much for another great post! For the high protein flour blend, what would you use instead of the bean flour if on a low fodmap diet? I’m a really inexperienced cook but am having to try or else ok would either be very bored or very hungry! Any advice would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

    • Hi Becky, for the high protein blend, you can substitute the bean flour for Almond flour (not meal) that’s if not allergic to it. Or sorghum flour is high in protein too but if you want your baked goods to look white pick another flour. Or a mix of Teff flour (1/4 to 1/2 cup), hemp flour ( 1/4 to 1/2 cup), Millet four is higher in protein but again only about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup per mix or Amaranth flour as its high in protein and iron And even calcium and only about 1/4 cup per recipe or If in your country Montina flour (never seen it in Australia though) and again 1/2 max per recipe. Many have over powering tastes so for me it would depend on what I am cooking and what I had in the pantry but I do cook. I would look at maybe picking almond flour as the whole swap or a little almond flour, millet and amaranth (I cook with these 2 often) as my substitute mix. I hope this helps 🙂

  2. Have you ever tried a gluten free “puff pastry”? I am wanting to make sausage rolls and have only found a (mash) potato based recipe that is quite tasteless – not that we can flavour much on the Sue Dengate Elimination Diet!

    • No I haven’t but I make my own sausages rolls using brown rice or just plain flour mix. But as I can’t have onion or onion powder I am yet to find a sausage mince I can eat so I just use normal mince with herbs and spices and hidden veg, like very finely grated carrot. I have been meaning to post the recipe for a while and am actually making them after the gym for the kids for dinner before Carlie has netball.

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