Are you new to gluten-free baking and cooking? We have created this guide to gluten-free flour especially for you.
What is gluten and what does it do?
Traditional flour is ground wheat that absorbs liquid to produce elastic strands that can be kneaded and prompted to rise during cooking. This is why flour is always a key ingredient of cakes and pastries. The naturally occurring protein that creates flour’s elastic properties is known as gluten. It is a key building block for grains, wheat, barley and rye.
Why do some people need gluten-free ingredients?
Some people’s immune systems react to gluten, attacking it and damaging their digestive system. This is known as coeliac disease. Removing gluten from the diet is the only known treatment. Some consider gluten-free eating is a good way to maintain your gut health generally and so prefer to use gluten-free alternative ingredients where they can.
What is Gluten-free flour?
Gluten-free flour refers to any flour that uses an alternative protein to create the elasticity your cooking and baking needs. There are lots of types to choose from. The good news is Planet Organic is here to help guide you through some of our favourites.
Almond flour is a very popular gluten-free flour. It is made from ground, blanched almonds. Being nut-based means it is rich in a whole range of important nutrients. It is commonly used in baked goods and can be a gluten-free alternative to breadcrumbs too. It can replace wheat flour directly with a one-to-one ratio but tends to be thicker and denser so you might need to tweak some recipes.
Buckwheat has a misleading name because it is not a wheat grain and is gluten-free. It belongs to the grass family and provides a rich, earthy flavor good for yeast breads. It is also rich in antioxidants, Vitamin B and iron, folate, magnesium, zinc, manganese and fibre. Buckwheat flour is crumbly and coarse in texture so it might be worth combining with smoother gluten-free flours for recipes requiring quality doughs.
Teff is the world’s smallest grain. It is one thousand times smaller than a kernel of wheat. It is high in protein, fibre and calcium and can help manage your appetite and blood sugar levels. Teff flour is a key ingredient of injera, a fermented, sourdough-like bread from Ethiopia. Today, it is a great gluten-free alternative foods like pancakes, cereals, breads and snacks. It can be substituted for 25–50% of wheat or all-purpose flour.
Brown Rice Flour
Ground brown rice is considered a whole-grain flour. It has a nutty flavor and can be used to make a roux, thicken sauces, make noodles or prepare breaded foods. For baking bread, cookies and cakes it benefits from mixing with other gluten-free flours. It is rich in iron, B vitamins, magnesium and manganese, as well as plant compounds called lignans.
Oat flour is made from whole-grain oats rather than wheat. It gives baked goods more flavor and results in a chewier, crumblier more moist texture. You might have to rethink some recipes to create light and fluffy baked goods. Oats are rich in soluble fiber, protein, magnesium and phosphorus as well as B-vitamins and the antioxidant group avenanthramides.
Corn flour, a very finely ground version of cornmeal, is made from the whole corn kernel including the bran, germ and endosperm. You may already be using it to thicken liquids but it makes for a good flour alternative for to
Coconut flour is a by-product of coconut milk made from the dried and ground coconut meat. It offers a soft light texture, mild coconut flavor and a lot more absorption than regular flour. Coconut flour is a good option for those with both nut and gluten allergies. It contains healthy fats and fibre too.
The cassava, sometimes known as the yuca plant, is a starchy root vegetable or tuber native to South America. Cassava flour is made by grating and drying the whole plant’s root. It is similar to white flour and can easily be used in recipes calling for all-purpose flour. It is a good source of carbohydrates and resistant starch which has a variety of digestive system benefits