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Gluten-Free Flour 101

Is There A 1:1 Flour Substitution For Wheat Flour?

No. Gluten free flours work best in baking (most of the time) when they are used in combination with each other. However, there are some exceptions- recipes that call for a small amount of flour may work well with a 1:1 brown rice flour substitution. Another example where you wouldn’t need a gluten-free flour mix combination would be when thickening a sauce — a singular gluten-free flour would be a fine 1:1 substitution in that instance.

When Going Gluten-Free, How Do You Pick Which Flours To Buy First?

Unfortunately, there is not a one-size fits all solution. You need to decide what is important to you when you start experimenting with flour mixes.

Typical considerations:

  • Glycemic index — this would be a good thing for everyone to consider but especially for diabetics, celiacs, or those trying to lose weight.
  • Additional allergies — if you have to adhere to a casein-free or nut-free diet, you would obviously need to take this in consideration when picking a mix.
  • Taste — not everyone likes the same things! Pick flours that you like the taste of.
  • Whole grain — getting enough whole grains is on everyone’s mind these days. If you are trying to increase your whole grain consumption, pick those flours from the whole grain category listed below.
  • Performance — this simply means how well your mix performs. Is the cake moist? How is the texture? Does it taste good?
  • Digestion — some people do not tolerate certain flours well (think bean based).
  • Cost — some flours are more expensive than others
  • Availability — however, with online stores this is becoming less of an issue.

Should you just buy a store-bought pre-made mix or make your own?

Pre-made mixes work well for a lot of people especially in the beginning of their gluten free baking journey. However, if you find yourself using flours to bake gluten free more frequently, the pre-made mixes can be expensive while at times the homemade mixes perform better than the ones you can buy.

Where is the best place to store your flours?

gluten-storage

Keeping gluten-free flours in the refrigerator in canisters can extend their shelf life (whole grain flours do get rancid because they haven’t been over-processed and stripped of their nutrition like regular all-purpose flour). Some people do fine storing them in their pantry because they use the flours so quickly and they may have limited refrigerator space. Labeled canisters can help your fridge or pantry stay neat and clean.

Where can you get gluten free flours?

You can buy your flour from Schaefer’s Market (Crandon), Golden Harvest, Country Seed (Rhinelander), Natural Living (Antigo) even Wal-Mart and Trigs have gluten free flour sections. In addition, online ordering can be less expensive and possibly more convenient for you. Amazon.com is a great place to start.

How do you measure gluten-free flour?

Kitchen Scale

Once you become familiar with the process, it is extremely helpful when mixing your own flour to have a scale on hand. It is surprising how quickly your measuring can become inaccurate when working with different gluten free flour types and measuring cups.

Is it important to sift gluten-free flour?

Sifting, shaking or whisking your gluten-free flour mix can help to ensure you do not end up with pockets of one type of flour or pockets of xanthan gum or baking powder in your baking.

What makes a good gluten-free all purpose baking flour? If you are just starting out, pick a pre-made all-purpose gluten-free mix. Those work great. If you are looking to save money and be more adventurous, there are several options. Some resources report that equal parts sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and brown rice flour works perfectly well for cakes, muffins, and quick breads. Others break it down more saying to mix 40% whole grain with 60% white flour/starches (see list below), which is similar to whole-wheat flour ratios. A good place to start is: Mix 200 grams of sorghum flour, 200 grams of millet flour, 300 grams of sweet rice flour, and 300 grams of potato starch. (That’s for 1000 grams of flour mix). Or pick your own favorites from the list below:

Whole Grain Flours

  • Brown Rice Flour
  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Corn Flour
  • Mesquite Flour
  • Millet Flour
  • Oat Flour
  • Quinoa Flour
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Sweet Potato Flour
  • Teff Flour

White Flours/Starches

  • Arrowroot Flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Potato Flour
  • Potato Starch
  • Sweet Rice Flour
  • Tapioca Flour
  • White Rice Flour

Nut Flours (Count Nut And Bean Flours Under Whole Grains)

  • Almond Flour
  • Chestnut Flour
  • Coconut Flour
  • Hazelnut Flour

Bean Flours

  • Fava Bean Flour
  • Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • Kinako (Roasted Soy Bean) Flour

How long can I store my gluten-free flour?

Most gluten-free flours, such as brown rice flour, will keep in the refrigerator for four or five months. Gluten-free flour can be kept in the freezer for up to a year. Before you buy a large amount of flour, make sure to consider if you will use it in this time frame.

GLUTEN FREE FLOURS

  • sourgum flour

    Sourgum Flour

    Sorghum Flour — Some people describe the taste as nutty; others describe it as bland or tasteless. It adds a great texture to baked goods, along with valuable protein. It is a very popular flour in the gluten free community.

  • White/Brown Rice Flour

    White/Brown Rice Flour

    White Rice Flour/Brown Rice Flour — These two are interchangeable in recipes. The brown rice flour is whole grain and is therefore better for you. If you are concerned about the food budget, buy white rice flour. Rice Flour is great for making a roux and as part of a gluten-free all-purpose baking mix. It works well for recipes that call for a small amount of flour.

  • Sweet Rice Flour — This is a preferred flour for making a roux. It is an excellent addition to any baking mix and wonderful in pizza and breads. This is one of the more popular flours in the gluten free baking world.
  • Tapioca Starch

    Tapioca Starch

    Tapioca Starch/Flour — A great binder in baked goods when used in combination with other flours. It is also a great thickener for sauces. The great thing about tapioca flour is that it will thicken at a low temperature.

  • Potato Starch — Not to be confused with potato flour, potato starch is a wonderful thickener and can tolerate higher temperatures than cornstarch. It adds moisture to baked goods. A lot of mainstream flourless chocolate cakes recipes contain potato starch.
  • Arrowroot Starch — This is generally considered the most neutral tasting thickener, but it is definitely the priciest! Use arrowroot for acidic sauces.
  • Teff Flour

    Teff Flour

    Teff flour — This whole grain flour has a mild, nutty, and almost sweet flavor. It imparts moistness in gluten-free baking.

  • Buckwheat Flour — This flour is great in homemade buckwheat pancakes and waffles. It is also good as part of a flour combination in muffins and quick breads.
  • Quinoa flour — This flour gives baked goods a nuttier taste. Quinoa flour is wonderfully healthy; it contains a complete protein.
  • Coconut flour — This flour adds moisture to baked goods. It is a great addition to chocolate desserts!
  • Almond Meal — This meal/flour adds moisture and protein to baked goods. I use it in baked goods all the time — great in pancakes.
  • Hazelnut Meal — This meal/flour also adds protein and moisture to baked goods • usually used for specialty desserts only (think cheesecake crusts).

More Gluten Free Baking Necessities

  • Xanthan Gum — This works wonders for gluten-free baked goods. It is expensive, but you only use a little at a time. It is a great binder — it helps lock air bubbles in batter to keep breads light and airy.
  • Guar Gum — Works well as a binder, thickener and volume enhancer. Some recipes will call for it — works well to help keep larger particles suspended in batter.
  • Baking Soda — Make sure it says “gluten free” like Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda.
  • Baking Powder — Make sure it is aluminum-free and gluten-free. Featherweight Baking Powder is gluten-free and also corn-free. Make sure your baking powder is less than six months old.

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