Just because you can’t use wheat flours anymore doesn’t mean you can’t use any type of flour. I also doesn’t mean you will never see another thick sauce or bake another delicious goody. I merely means you will be going a different route. There are plenty of different flours and way to use them that are completely gluten free. You can even mix them to make all purpose flours that you can use for anything. There are also companies that will premix them all for you.
Bob Mills makes many different types of flours and a whole bunch of gluten free mixes that are rich and satisfying. Robin Hood also makes a gluten free all purpose flour but I personally find it has a taste too it that overpowers anything you are making where the Bob Mills brand doesn’t. I’m sure there are plenty of other companies these two are just the ones I have tried so far. There is also a brand that makes cup 4 cup flour that you can use just like normal flour. I am intrigued and I am on the hunt for this brand.
With most gluten free brands you will have to make sure you add a thickener to it because gluten is the main thickening agent in wheat flours. For this you can use guar gum or xantham gum. They will help give your baked goods some volume and will help them stick together. When you are making breads or cakes you would need to add 1/2 to 1 tsp of either one for every cup of flour you are using. You will also need to add 1 to 2 tsp of baking powder for every cup of flour to allow your baked goods to rise.
Gluten free all purpose flours are normally a mix of a couple of flours. The mixes generally are normally 40% whole grains to 60% white starches/flours. Currently I am still playing around with certain flours so I don’t have my own homemade preference other than the Bob Mills brand.
Here is a list of most of the gluten free starches and flours you could use and where they sit on the spectrum of light to heavy and whether they are a whole grain or a white flour.
Whole Grain Flours
Brown Rice Flour – light flour -best mixed with tapioca flour and xantham gum, can be used as a thickener for soup or gravy, has a neutral flavour, it is also high in fibre, protein, iron and vitamin B.
Buckwheat Flour – medium flour – an all purpose flour with a strong earthy flavour but does not rise when baked, it is also high in fibre, protein, and rich in both vitamins and minerals
Amaranth Flour – can be used as a thickener for sauce and pie filings, it can be used to replace 25% of the flour in recipes and his high in protein and lysine
Chickpea Flour (Gram Flour) – heavy flour – has a strong nutty flavour and helps to bind together meatballs and burgers, it is a little heavier then normal flour so if you are mixing it into your mixes only use at the most 25% chickpea flours. This flour does have a high sugar content so be aware of that if you are watching your sugar intake.
Corn Masa – medium flour – is used for tortillas and tamales, has a corn taste, and is good for anything with a dough
Corn Flour – medium flour – can be used for corn bread and as a breading, this flour is a little high in salt
Millet Flour – is used for breads and makes the edges nice and crispy, it is also filled with protein and amino acids
Nut Flours (Almond, hazelnut) – heavy flour – they give a distinct nutty taste because they are merely ground up nuts, you can use them as a direct replacement as a cup for cup of normal flour but it will need an extra binder to hold it together.
Sorghum Flour – gives bread a soft and smooth texture unlike some of the other flours, this flour also gives you a lot of energy and protein
Teff Flour – is an Ethiopian flour that’s high in protein and calcium as well as vitamin C, magnesium and B6
Arrowroot Flour – light flour – this flour has a neutral taste, it is used for a thickener in a rout sauce or with a heavier flour for lighter baked goods, it also handles citrus well so would be good for lemon or lime pies
Potato Starch – light flour – this is a good replacement for cornstarch if you can’t have corn or don’t have any on hand, it also adds moistness to baked goods if you find they are too dry and crumbly
White Rice Flour – light flour – used for thickening and added to all purpose flours it is also great for batter, high in potassium and protein
Sweet White Rice – light flour – is used for baking and noodles, it is also good for recipes that will be refrigerated or frozen
Tapioca Flour – light flour – has a slightly sweet flavour it can be used for a thickener in pie fillings because of its sweet flavour, this flour is also high in sugar which is why it has a sweet flavour.
There are more flours that could be used but these are the main ones. I found a couple of different variations of flour mixes that I will put here I have yet to try them so if you do let me know how you like them.
For one cup of flour use – 1/2 cup of rice flour, 3 tbsp of potato starch, 1 tbsp tapioca starch and 1/2 tsp of xantham gum
All purpose flour (good for baking)
1 1/2 cups of white, brown, or sweet rice flour or a mixture of them, 3/4 cup of tapioca starch, 3/4 cup of corn or potato starch and then add xantham or guar gum if you need it to rise
High Fibre flour blend (good for breads pancakes and snack bars)
1 cup of brown rice or sorghum flour, 1/2 cup of teff flour, 1/2 cup of millet flour, 2/3 tapioca starch, 1/3 cup of potato or corn starch
High Protein flour blend ( good for wraps and pie crust)
1 cup of brown, white or sweet rice or a mixture of them, 3/4 cup of chickpea flour, 3/4 cup of arrowroot, corn or potato starch or a mixture of them, and 1/2 cup of tapioca starch
Self Rising Flour
1 1/4 cup of sorghum flour, 1 cup of brown, white or sweet rice or a combination, 3/4 cup and 4 tsp of tapioca starch and a 1/2 tsp of potato or corn starch
Reminder: Don’t forget about the xantham and/or guar gum if you find your recipes are crumbling or falling apart. Potato Starch also adds some moisture so try swapping it for one of the starches you have used.
If you have made it down this far BRAVO! This was a long one but I wanted to make sure you had all the information I could find. If you have any questions or any suggestions please feel free to comment.