An overview of Gluten Free Flours
As I am very sensitive to gluten I try to avoid foods with wheat and gluten. In recipes, I often switch gluten flour for one of the flours below. If you know of a gluten free flour that isn’t listed please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I buy my Gluten Free flours from Aussie Health Products. They have a wide range of flours at great prices
Host of Loving Gluten Free, Helen Tzouganatos shared that flours generally fall into three categories:
o Neutral white flours for bulk and starch: rice flour, sweet rice flour, potato starch flour, tapioca flour and cornflour
o Nut meals/flours for protein, moisture, vitamins and minerals: almond meal, hazelnut meal and chestnut flour.
o Wholesome flours for protein and fibre: chickpea (besan) flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, teff flour, millet flour, tiger nut flour and quinoa flour.
[ Source: Swanson ]
If you suffer from additional allergies and need to substitute flours I suggest you do this within the same category. For example, if you have a rice allergy you can replace rice flour with another neutral white sticky flour such as tapioca. In the wholesome, nutrient-dense category, sorghum and buckwheat can be used interchangeably.
Almond Flour or Meal
Almonds are a source of healthy fats. They are also relatively high in protein and low in carbohydrates. The mild, nutty flavour of almond flour makes it an excellent option for cakes and cookies.
Almond flour is made by grinding almonds down to a fine consistency. You can make almond flour at home by pulsing almonds in a food processor. But pulsing is key because if you blend too much or too fast, you’ll end up with almond butter instead.
Almond flour can usually be substituted 1:1 for wheat flour, though some recipes may require a little more egg or binder to hold it together and you may want to reduce the liquid slightly. Using almond flour often results in slightly denser baked goods.
“The uncooked amaranth grain contains about 65% carbohydrate, 14% protein, 12% water, and 7% fat. For every 3.5-ounce (100 gram) serving, amaranth contains about 370 calories. It contains roughly 20% your daily value of protein, dietary fiber, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, and a number of dietary minerals. It is particularly rich in manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and selenium.”
Here are some of the health benefits of amaranth and amaranth flour:
It contains more than your daily value for manganese in a single serving – manganese is important for neurological health and brain function.
It is naturally rich in antioxidants which play a key role in protecting against free-radical damage and oxidative stress.
It may have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, helping prevent the development or progression of chronic disease.
It may help lower both LDL or “bad” cholesterol as well as total cholesterol levels by as much as 22% while increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol.
It is naturally gluten free which means that it won’t trigger a negative reaction in individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
It is high in protein and fiber content which could support weight loss by decreasing levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin to reduce appetite and calorie intake.
Because it has been cultivated for thousands of years, several cultures have learned how to use amaranth flour to its best advantage. Amaranth was particularly popular in ancient Incan, Mayan, and Aztec cultures but today is often used in Mexican, Indian, Chinese, and various Asian cuisines.
Arrowroot Flour or Arrowroot Starch
Relative to other starches (sweet potato, plantain, cassava), arrowroot has more protein. Arrowroot also contains moderate levels of B vitamins, copper, iron and potassium. Arrowroot flour and arrowroot starch is the same product.
This light flour is made from pulverized arrowroot and commonly used as you would use cornstarch—to thicken soups, sauces or puddings. It will thicken at a simmer temp, without needing to reach a rapid boil. Arrowroot starch works well for thickening acidic sauces or fruit jams. It can also be used to make smoother homemade ice cream since arrowroot flour will help prevent large ice crystals from forming. And this versatile flour can also be used for baking.
When used in place of cornstarch, use at a 1:1 ratio to cornstarch in the recipe. As a gluten-free flour option, the ratio is 1 teaspoon of arrowroot flour to every tablespoon of wheat flour. You can also mix it with heavier flours for less dense baked goods.
Rich in fibre and protein, with relatively high amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium, buckwheat flour has become a favourite for many people that avoid gluten. Using buckwheat will impart an earthy, nutty flavour. Buckwheat flour is fairly heavy though and will result in dense baked goods unless mixed with lighter flours.
Buckwheat flour can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio with wheat flour. It does not rise at room temperature like many other flours. If you’re baking something that needs to rise, add a little extra time to your bake time so it can rise in the oven or bread maker. Buckwheat flour is also great to use in combination with other gluten-free flours for cakes and bread. The addition of lighter flours will make the goods less dense.
Brown rice flour
Easy to make, Brown rice flour is a great gluten free option! It’s budget-friendly and only 1 ingredient required. You can use the recipe by This Healthy Kitchen. “The main difference between brown and white rice is the husk. During milling, the removal of the husk produces white rice. However, the husk of brown rice is left intact, making it more nutritious and a good selection when considering fiber, vitamins and nutrients such as calcium and zinc.” ( NDTV Food )
Chickpea Flour or Garbanzo Bean Flour
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are legumes that are high in protein, iron and fibre, making this an exceptionally healthy option. Chickpea flour lends a sweet, rich, slightly “beany” flavour to baked goods, so it often works best in savoury dishes, but other flavours like chocolate mask it well. This flour works great as a batter or to thicken soups, sauces or gravies.
When substituting chickpea flour for wheat flour, you’ll need to use slightly less. For every cup of wheat flour, use 7/8 cup of chickpea flour.
Coconut flour is high in fibre, and it’s also a source of healthy fats. Compared to other flours, coconut flour is also moderately high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It’s made from fresh coconut meat, which is dried, defatted and ground into a flour. It has a mild coconut flavour that is easily disguised with other flavours. Because of the process used to make coconut flour, not all brands are created equal. Different brands can yield different results using the same recipe. So, when you find a brand that suits your needs—stick with it!
A little goes a long way with coconut flour. It is incredibly absorbent. You’ll need a 1:4 ratio for most recipes (that is, for every cup of wheat flour, only use ¼ cup coconut flour). While experimenting with coconut flour in your recipe, try adding one tablespoon at a time, keeping a close eye on the consistency of the batter or dough.
Cornmeal and Corn Flour
The difference between cornmeal and corn flour is that corn flour is ground more finely. Depending on your texture preferences, you can use corn flour in some recipes that call for cornmeal at a ratio of ¾ cup of corn flour to 1 cup of cornmeal.
Cornmeal is an extremely versatile gluten-free option that is already commonly used. It can be used for batter, breading, tortillas, grits, porridge, bread and pancakes. Cornmeal is high in fiber. It also contains modest amounts of iron and zinc.
Cornmeal is best used in recipes that specifically call for it, like cornbread or corn muffins, which showcase the unique flavour profile and texture of cornmeal. If you want to try substituting cornmeal or corn flour for regular flour in a recipe, cornmeal can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio, but only use ¾ cup of corn flour for each cup of wheat flour.
Easily accessible in Australian supermarkets or make your own fresh. It has a nutty flavour and is very nutritious.
Some call it one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. There’s some evidence it may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. That’s quite a tall order for a tiny seed that’s been around for centuries.
Flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. Now, thirteen centuries later, some experts say we have preliminary research to back up what Charlemagne suspected.
Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its primary healthy reputation to three of them:
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
- Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
- Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.
Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may have a protective effect against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. At least two of the components in flaxseed seem to contribute, says Kelley C. Fitzpatrick, director of health and nutrition with the Flax Council of Canada. In animal studies, the plant omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, called ALA, inhibited tumor incidence and growth.
(Source: WebMD )
Peeled hazelnuts can be ground to make flour for baking. It is low in carbohydrates and rich in dietary fibre and protein. Nutritious and gives a rich, sweet, nutty flavour and dense texture to foods which many people enjoy. Hazelnut flour adds a subtle nuttiness and buttery taste to savoury and sweet dishes.
How to make it:
Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake them for about 7 – 10 minutes. They should start to give off an aroma and the skins should start to brown and split. Check the nuts every few minutes towards the end and stir the nuts so they roast evenly.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Once they are cool enough to handle they can be skinned. Place the hazelnuts in a clean tea towel and gently rub together. The skins will come off quite easily. Don’t worry if a small amount of skin remains, this is normal.
( Source Healthy Ez Recipes)
Lentil flour, ground uncooked lentils, is a healthy wheat flour substitute. According to research by Charles Sturt University, it is high in protein, low glycemic index, low in saturated fat and a good source of antioxidants. has a mildly nutty flavour often added to baked goods and many Southeast Asian recipes.
Premeditated Leftovers writes:
Place 1 pound of lentils into a fine-meshed sieve or colander and rinse the lentils thoroughly under cold water. Remove any debris or discoloured lentils. Lay a dishtowel on a large baking sheet and spread the rinsed lentils over the towel in a single layer. Pat the lentils with another towel to remove excess liquid. Let the lentils sit until they are completely dry. Once the lentils are completely dry, place the lentils in a large skillet and toast them over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the lentils from burning. Remove the lentils from heat and let the lentils cool completely. Attach the Mockmill Grain Mill to your mixer. Set it to the finest setting. Place your toasted lentils in the hopper. Turn on the mixer and grind the lentils. Sift the lentil flour through a fine sieve into a bowl or container. You can send any pieces of lentils that are too large to pass through the sieve back through the grinder. Store the lentil flour in a sealed container.
Millet, a small grass seed and naturally gluten free. High in protein and low GI, it has a great nutrition profile including being high in fibre, magnesium, niacin and also calcium. Millet is one of the few grains that is alkalizing to the body. This ancient grain is actually a small seed that is easily digested and is suitable in various applications including bread when blended with other flours. Millet has a sweet nutty flavour, and can be also used in similar applications as quinoa.
Millet flours, in particular from white teff and proso millet, are being increasingly produced in Western countries as gluten-free flours for baked goods and pasta manufacture. Puffed whole grain proso millet is produced as breakfast cereal using the technology of gun puffing. Millets are also puffed and then milled into pregelatinized flours for gluten-free baked products. Millet rice is produced from foxtail millet and proso millet. Fig. 4.5 shows a number of modern-type millet food products. Millets are also malted to a limited extent for use in gluten-free beers.
Poornima’s Cookbook offers the following recipe:
Wash the millet thoroughly to get rid of any dirt and stones. Soak it for 30 minutes and drain it completely.
Spread it as a thin layer in a newspaper / cotton cloth and allow to dry in shade for 1 to 2 hours or till it’s almost dry yet slightly moist.
Add the millets in a mixer and grind it to a fine powder (do it in batches).
Sieve to get fine powder and collect the remaining millet rava (coarse texture) in the sieve; add it to the next batch while grinding. Continue the process.
Now your Millet flour is ready to use immediately or you can also store in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days.
Potato Starch vs. Potato Flour
Potato starch and potato flour are different products and the two can’t be used interchangeably. To make matters more confusing, potato starch is sometimes labelled as potato starch flour. Potato starch and potato starch flour are the same product (look for the word ‘starch’), and potato flour is different.
What’s the difference? Potato starch is produced with only the starch from potatoes. Potato flour is made by cooking and dehydrating whole potatoes and grinding them into a powder. Potato starch contains minimal nutrients, potato flour contains many of the same nutrients as whole potatoes and is a source of potassium, calcium, phosphorus and dietary fibre.
Both can be used for baking, depending on the recipe, but keep a close eye on which one your recipe requires. Potato flour is dense and results in firmer, heavier baked goods, while potato starch is better for softer foods like dinner rolls or sandwich bread.
Potato starch can be substituted at a ratio of a ¾ cup per 1 cup of wheat flour. Or use 5/8 cup of potato flour for every 1 cup of wheat flour in your recipe.
Quinoa is a superfood that few people in Australia are aware of. It is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fibre, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.
This is the nutrient content in 1 cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa (2):
Protein: 8 grams.
Fiber: 5 grams.
Manganese: 58% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
Folate: 19% of the RDA.
Copper: 18% of the RDA.
Iron: 15% of the RDA.
Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
Potassium 9% of the RDA.
Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
Small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin) and vitamin E.
Why use Quinoa flour?
Very Nutritious. …
Contains the Plant Compounds Quercetin and Kaempferol.
Very High in Fiber, Much Higher Than Most Grains.
Gluten-Free and Perfect for People With Gluten Intolerance.
Very High in Protein, With All the Essential Amino Acids.
Has a Low Glycemic Index, Which is Good for Blood Sugar Control.
High in Important Minerals Like Iron and Magnesium
Has Beneficial Effects on Metabolic Health
Very High in Antioxidants
May Help You Lose Weight
Easy to Incorporate Into Your Diet
(Source: Healthline.com )
Premeditated Leftovers shares how to make Quinoa flour:
Place quinoa into a fine-meshed sieve and rinse the quinoa thoroughly under cold water. Remove any debris. Spread the rinsed quinoa over a large baking sheet in a thin layer. Allow the quinoa to sit until it is completely dry. Toasting the quinoa is optional. However, it enhances the flavor and produces a nutty flavored flour). Once the quinoa is completely dry, place the quinoa in a large skillet and toast them over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the quinoa from burning. The quinoa will begin to pop when it is nearly done toasting. Remove the quinoa from the stove and allow the quinoa to cool completely. Attach the Mockmill Grain Mill to your KitchenAid mixer, then place the hopper on the mill. Set it to the finest setting. Place your toasted quinoa in the hopper. Turn on the mixer and grind the quinoa. ( Source: Premeditated Leftovers )
Rice flour is also a good source of fibre. It’s available as white rice flour or brown rice flour. Rice flour has a fine consistency and a neutral flavour, making it an excellent flour substitute. Brown rice flour has a slightly nuttier flavour. White rice flour creates a light, delicate, spongy texture in baked goods. Like many of the gluten-free flours already mentioned, rice flour can also be used as a thickening agent.
The differences between rice flour and wheat flour are most noticeable in baked goods. For most other purposes, you can substitute rice flour without noticing a big difference in your recipes. When rice flour is used in baking, it’s usually best mixed with other gluten-free flours into an all-purpose flour blend. Rice flour can be substituted for wheat flour at a ratio of 7/8 cup of rice flour for every cup of wheat flour.
Sorghum is packed full of nutrition, high in antioxidants, protein, fibre and iron, with a smooth texture and a sweet, mild taste. It works well with neutral white flours and adds flavour, texture and nutritional value to baked goods. It can have a bitter profile. It’s best to not use more than 30 per cent sorghum in a flour mix or blend.
Split pea flour
Split peas or beans ground as flour).
Sunflower Seed flour
Sunflower seed flour is made by grinding up raw sunflower seeds until the texture is fine, like regular flour. This creates a grain-free flour alternative that is low carb and contains no nuts.
Wellness Mama writes:
Rich in protein and fiber, sunflower seed flour is mildly sweet and nutty, yet neutral enough to use in many baked goods. It can be good substitute for almond flour, which is pricey, not to mention off-limits for those of us who have nut allergies. I have used it in the aforementioned crumble as well as breads. Nut-free macarons are on the to-try list… In a blender, pulse sunflower seeds for about 30 seconds, until finely ground. Optional: Sift for a finer flour.
Tapioca Flour or Tapioca Starch
Tapioca flour, sometimes called tapioca starch, is similar in consistency to arrowroot flour. It can be used as a thickener and as a light flour in gluten-free baking. Like arrowroot flour, it also lends a springy texture to baked goods. It is also a moderate source of iron.
Tapioca can typically be used in the same ratio as arrowroot flour (1 teaspoon of tapioca flour for every tablespoon of wheat flour, or if you use it in place of cornstarch make that 2 teaspoons for every 1 tablespoon of cornstarch). Tapioca flour tends to have a slightly sweeter taste than other flours. You can mix it with a heavier gluten-free flour for less dense baked goods, and it’s ideal for crispy crusts and browning!
Tiger nut flour
Helen Tzouganatos writes: “Tiger nuts are not actually nuts, they are a root vegetable with a sweet, nutty flavour. Tiger nut flour is extremely versatile and can be used as a nut-free alternative to almond meal, providing moistness and a delicate sweetness to baked goods. This ground root flour is very high in dietary fibre and resistant starch so it is great for gut health. It is also a good source of iron, potassium, protein, magnesium, zinc and vitamins C and E”
Xanthan gum is a thickening substitute in gluten-free baking that mimics the qualities of gluten and helps rise baked goods by trapping air bubbles created by agents for leavening including baking powder and yeast. If sensitive to xanthan gum replace it with psyllium husks or ground chia seeds and add elasticity to your recipes.
All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blends
Many gluten-free bakers opt for blending several gluten-free flours, along with a few other ingredients, to get a balanced wheat flour alternative that can be used in the same ratio as regular all-purpose flour.
If you are up for a culinary adventure, you might want to try this at home. You can find plenty of recipes to try online, and we’ve included one below from the Minimalist Baker. There are also gluten-free, all-purpose flours you can buy pre-mixed to save time.
Gluten-Free Flour Blend Recipe1
1 ½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup potato starch
¼ cup white rice flour
¼ cup tapioca flour
1 tsp of xanthan gum (optional, for binding)
The Best Gluten-Free Flour for Baking
There are many gluten-free flour options, and the best flour for one recipe may not be the best for another recipe. So, experiment for best results and see which flavours and consistencies you like most, or maybe even try a gluten-free replacement blend for all-purpose flour. You can opt for lighter flours like arrowroot or tapioca flour for pastries, or go a little heavier for bread with almond flour or buckwheat flour. Try them all and see which you like best!
If you know of a gluten free flour that isn’t listed please email me at email@example.com.