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Gluten-free Flours, Starches and Grains
Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:34 amForum Host
Learning to cook solely with a gluten-free diet in mind can be a minefield for the newly diagnosed or for 'regular' eaters to cook for a gluten-free friend or family member.
Wheat is such a versatile grain and has wonderful baking qualities that it is commonly used in most homes world wide. Wheat or gluten is found as a common ingredient in many of our foods today.
Cooking gluten-free can be very rewarding- and sometimes very frustrating- but much more economical to cook/bake at home than purchase special gluten-free diet labelled foods.
One of the most difficult tasks to learn is replacing wheat flour in cooking and baking. Ready blended gluten-free flours can be readily purchased in most supermarkets, it is more budget friendly to use unblended flours and starches.
Wheat and spelt grains and flours are not gluten-free and as such are not included in a gluten-free diet. There are other grains, starches and flours that can be included in gluten-free cooking.
My plan is to list some of them and their qualities or how you would include them in a gf diet/cooking. This is by no means and exhaustive list
Keep in mind that many people who have either Celiac Disease or are wheat intolerant may also have other food allergies or intolerances as well.
An ever popular gluten-free grain. Rice is commonly found as a great gf carbohydrate grain. All varieties of rice are gluten-free naturally
As with rice as a grain. Rice flour flour remains gluten-free. It is probably the most common flour used in gf baking and blended gluten-free flours.
Rice flour can be milled with different textures. Coursely ground rice flour will leave a gritty texture to baked goods and is not favoured.
The best rice flours to use are finely ground- the finer the texture the better for gf baked goods. Asian rice flours are generally very cheap and high quality.
Rice flour does not have much taste and white rice flour has little fibre and a high GI value. Brown rice has a lower GI value, some fibre. again little flavour but it does lend color to baked goods. Wild rice flours have a stronger flavor, almost nutty and generally leave a flecked appearance when used in baking.
Both white and brown rice flours are good for dusting meats, fish and chicken before cooking- you can add gf seasonings as desired.
Glutinous Rice Flour / Sweet Rice Flour
Referred to as Sweet Rice flour in the US and Glutinous Rice Flour in most other countries. The word 'glutinous' can be deceptive as it is gluten-free. The name refers to the sticky quality of the flour -add this flour in small amounts to improve the texture and ‘chew’ of gf baked goods or is sometimes used as a thickener in sauces. Often used in pastries.
Rice Bran/ nuka and Rice Bran powder
A great addition to baked goods or mueslis to add some fibre and texture. Low GI value and is high in protein, vitamins and minerals. Fibre is often lacking in a gluten-free diet- add some to your cakes, cookies or muffins
Dried flakes of rolled rice. Can be used as a replacement for oats in recipes (debate over oats being gluten-free suitable). Can be made into a gluten-free porridge
Maize cornflour. The starch from corn. Fine textured and bland. A regular used in gluten-free cooking. Has little nutritional value. Can be used as a thickener in suaces and casseroles.
In Australia - cornflour can be made purely from corn or can include wheat. Care should be taken that wheaten cornflour is not used. Read labels carefully.
Outside the US Cornstarch is also known as cornflour and the terms are used interchangedly
Cornmeal / Maizemeal. Yellow Maize Flour / Polenta
Yellow in colour and generally a coarser flour than cornstarch. Great used in cornbread, muffins, waffles. Can be used as a substitute for breadcrumbs and can be used as a binder in rissoles/burger patties.
Several textures are available.
Tapioca Flour/Starch aka Cassava starchA fine white velvety flour/starch. A regular used in gluten-free baked goods and in blended gluten-free flours. Low in nutritional value. Helps to lighten baked goods and imparts chewiness to breads. A useful flour -can be used in the range of up to 25-50% of the total flour/starch content in baked goods. It can be interchangeable with arrowroot in recipes. Sometimes starch purchased labelled as arrowroot is actually tapioca starch. Good for thickening sauces, soups or gravies (though I prefer cornstarch)
Buckwheat & Buckwheat Flour
Despite it's name, buckwheat does not belong to the wheat family and is gluten-free. It has a strong nutty flavour and works well when mixed with blander gluten-free flours/starches. Often used in pancakes and traditionally used in blinis
Available as a grain or milled into a flour. A low GI flour with a good protein content
Millet / aka Bajari
Millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains.The millet grain can be made into a porridge
As a flour, millet has a coarse grind and a good flavour. Can be blended with other gluten-free flours and starches to increase the nutritional value.
Millet contains roughly 11% protein and rich in B vitamins
White grain sorghum produces a greyish/white flour that is excellent used for baking gluten-free. It is easily digested by celiacs. Add some sorghum flour to your blended gluten-free flours or use it to replace some of the gf flours in recipes for bread, cakes, cookies or muffins. More widely available in the US. In Australia it is available.....but you will need to look in specialty health food stores, on-line or in Indian grocers.
Teff Flour is a highly nutritious whole grain flour -a good source of dietary fibre. May not be readily available. A staple used in Ethipian diets. Good protein source and has a nutty flavour.
Millet flour can be substitued for teff
Teff flour can be added to all-purpose blended gluten-free flour mixes.
Chickpea/Garbanzo/Gram/Bean Flour/ Chana Dal Flour
Chickpeas are a legume. Roasted and ground into a flour it is a moist and heavy flour. Traditionally used in Indian cooking. A light yellow flour that has a good protein value.
High in fiber, low in digestible carbohydrates has a good protein content and natural sweetness. A lighter flour than almond flour/almond meal(so cannot be firectly substituted). Low GI value making it suitable for diabetics. Good in baked goods such as cakes and cookies
Almond Meal/Ground almonds/ almond flour
Made by finely processing blanched almonds. Great added to gf baking or in place of some gf flours. Adds moisture to gluten-free baked goods and helps keep the fresher for more than just a day or two. USed in place of flours/starches in flourless cakes and friands
Hazelnut Meal/ Ground hazelnuts/ hazelnut flour
Finely processed hazelnuts. Used in cakes and cookies. See almond meal above. Leaves a more nutty taste than almond meal and a browner colour to baked goods
Masa harina is a very finely ground corn flour made from corn that has been dried, cooked, ground up and dried again. Traditionally used in Mexico, Central and South America
Produced from the starch of potatoes. A very fine white powdery starch. A regular in gluten-free baked goods and mixed gluten-free all-purpose flour blends. Bland tasting. Can be used as a thickener in soups and sauces
In Australia potato flour is just another name for potato starch. Potato starch is labelled as both.
In the US potato flour is seen as an inferior flour and not generally used/favoured in gluten-free cooking
In the US, potato flour is produced from potatoes which have been cooked, dried, and then ground potatoes. Best uses as a thickener in soups and stews. Can be used in dumplings
A whole grain.Can be used similar to rice or cous cous in recipes. Becoming more popular and as it becomes more available is becoming less pricey to purchase. Available in white, red and black or sometimes as rainbow packs. Great used in salads such as tabouleh style
Quinoa grains, milled to form a flour. A good addition to cookies and pancakes. Does have a slightly bitter flavour.
Dried quinoa that has been rolled. Use as a replacement for oats in baked goods recipes or add to a gluten-free muesli. I prefer these to rolled rice as they are much softer and have more flavour.
Indian Lentil/Dhal flours
Various varieties available and can be readily purchased from Indian grocers. Dried lentil seeds are ground into a flour. Can be used for general baking purposes. Lentils are easily digested and have a low GI value. Add proteing to a vegetarian diet
A standard flour used in gluten-free baking and readily available.Adds protein and a lower GI value than many other gf flours.It generally has a creamy yellow colour, unless bleached. Has a strong nutty flavour, so often blended with other gluten-free flours or starches. Often used in chocolate baked goods. Best to purchase a 'de-bittered' soy flour. Use while fresh. Does not store well and can go rancid
(this post was originally posted for October TOTM)
Chia Seeds and Chia Flour were also discussed as being a great option and can be added to cakes, muffins and breads.
Come and Play "Where's the Bilby?" in the Australia/NZ Forum....ends Easter 2012
THis bibly was found
Last edited by **Jubes** on Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:07 pm, edited 4 times in total
Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:12 pmFood.com Groupie
If you aren't into mixing your own flour blends...try Domata and Better Batter!!!! You won't be disappointed!
Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:58 pmFood.com Groupie
Thank you, what a valuable list! I have been browsing/saving lots of your GF baking recipes. Is flax seed added to baked goods more for nutrition than for function in a GF product?
Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:05 pmFood.com Groupie
Flax seed, to be useful, needs to be ground: otherwise it goes straight through ..
Flax seeds provide nutrition: but they a gelling agent. They are used as a substitute for eggs in some recipes, or as a binder substitute in GF recipes ..
Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:22 pmNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
I am very new to this gluten free thing. Been experiencing too many possible symptoms of gluten allergies, so I am cutting it out of my diet. This will help me a lot!
This is extremely helpful. Thank you!
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