I LOVE gluten free flour…………. and I have NO “issues” with gluten. Rather I eat gluten free flour because I love the taste and the health benefits.
Gluten free flour can be used to make delicious baked treats that are really healthy for you and offer a variety of tastes that are different from our “wheat based society.” Once you start baking with gluten free flour, you will wonder why you have not always used these amazing flours before! If you want to know HOW to bake with gluten free flour, READ ON!
Even f you have NO “issues” with gluten, the wonderful taste and the health benefits of gluten free flour are STAGGERING!
What Is a “Primary” Gluten Free Flour?
It is important to understand that when baking with gluten free flour, it is advised to combine multiple flours (primary and secondary flours) to achieve the desired taste. The reason is that combining different types of gluten free flour, helps the taste, and helps to bind your treat together. (Gluten holds things together and rich protein in flours or eggs can help substitute for this. However, if you used only one protein rich flour, it would not taste good; as it would be TOO heavy in protein.)
The combination of flours is the magic trick!
So what I mean by a “primary” gluten free flour is that you can use this type of flour with the highest percentage in your recipe. For example, if you need 2 cups of flour, you can use 1 1/2 cups of a “primary” gluten free flour, and then mix in other flour as a “secondary” as a general guideline.
My Primary Gluten Free Flour Choices:
#1. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is DELICIOUS.
- The biggest question I am asked…..does it taste like coconuts?
No, it doesn’t make your food taste like coconuts, but it gives food a moisture that is wonderful and very healthy too! There are some recipes and cookbooks out there that enable you to cook ONLY using coconut flour; which would technically make it a primary flour, but I add it to the secondary list for most cases.
- Bruce Fife wrote the book Cooking with Coconut Flour where you can use coconut flour as a primary flour…..with A LOT of eggs. I like his recipes if you double all of them to get 12 servings, and would recommend his book.
- I typically use coconut flour as a “secondary gluten free flour” when I am creating recipes.
Tip: When baking with this gluten free flour, your recipe will need more moisture and more eggs to bind than many of the other flours. “A little coconut flour goes a long way.”
This fabulous gluten free flour can be used on it’s own as long as you have enough protein to bind it together. (Typically requires a lot of eggs) You can also use this flour as the primary flour and augment it with other gluten free flours. It is DELICIOUS and so healthy for you.
#2. Blanched Almond flour
Almond flour is my favorite primary gluten free flour…….. HANDS DOWN! This unique gluten free flour does not require the addition of other flours, as long as you are using a recipe that was designed for it. In saying that, almond flour also works really well in combining with other gluten free flours.
- My favorite brand of blanched almond flour is from Honeyville, which I order online from Amazon.
- My favorite blanched almond flour cookbooks are from Elana Amsterdam. She is the guru of Almond flour!
#3. Brown rice flour – This gluten free flour is a wonderful, healthy, primary flour and can be used as 75% of your flour source. Taken from the healthy “brown rice, this fiber rich flour is super healthy for kids and delicious!
Don’t you agree that the Garbanzo Bean marketing department should change the name? Well, they have tried. This gluten free flour is also called Chick Pea flour or Gram flour. That is the BEST they could come up with?
#4. Garbanzo bean flour– I know this gluten free flour doesn’t sound appetizing, but it is delicious, healthy and is a wonderful primary gluten free flour that you can use up to 75% in a recipe. And…………..NO, I know what you are thinking……… it doesn’t taste like beans! (I thought the same thing!)
My Favorite “Secondary” Gluten Free Flours:
A secondary gluten free flour, is one that you could combine with a primary flour to add nutrients, protein, taste for the health benefits and to help bind the baked goods together.
1. Quinoa Flour
Quinoa is a complete protein and is filled with health benefits. This gluten free flour is a very versatile and easy to bake with.
Quinoa flour adds taste, moisture, protein and binding action to your baked treats; and should be a staple for gluten free baking.
2. Millet Flour
A healthy delicious and healthy gluten free flour, Millet flour is delicious to combine with other secondary flours.
3. Amaranth Flour
This gluten free flour is the most difficult to bake with. It is considered to be a “complete protein” and is very valuable to use for that reason. It also adds a sweet taste that is lovely.
- Please beware though that too much of this gluten free flour can make your baked goods not turn out at all.
Tip: Do not use more than 1/4 of a cup (TOPS) of Amaranth flour in any recipe. Even 1-2 tablespoons enriches the health benefits of your treat.
4. Almond Meal
Please don’t confuse almond meal with blanched almond flour. They are NOT the same.
Almond meal grinds up the entire almond, where blanched almond flour removes the skin. The skin is loaded with health benefits, so almond meal is very good to use in cooking and baking; but only in very small amounts.
- Almond meal doesn’t act like a “flour” would, and is best to add no more than 1/2 cup if you are replacing flour.
There are so many different types of gluten free flour including: buckwheat, corn flour, potato flour, soya flour, tapioca flour, white rice flour, teff flour and sorghum flour to name a few.
I have not used every gluten free flour there is in baking; but when I do test each and every one of them…..I will let you know what I find. Please share your experiences in the comments below.