Which Basic Blend For Which Bake
For cakes and biscuits , I tend to use Blend A below, which also gives a crumb that is lighter in colour. You might want to check out Gluten Free Alchemist favourites which use this mix, like my gluten free Chocolate Cake gluten free Vanilla Sponge and amazing gluten free Gingerbread House.
When it comes to the carb staples, like bread and pastry, I increasingly use my gluten free, rice-free flour blend B as my base flour, to ensure the best nutritional quality as well as texture. You can see its amazing results in this incredible gluten free Wholemeal Brown Bread recipe, its vegan cousin Vegan Gluten Free Wholemeal Bread, my gluten free Maple Shortbread, Jamaican Ginger Cake and my Cherry Bakewell Scones.
The recipes for my two base gluten free flour mixes are shared below. For many recipes I use one blend alone and for others I add additional gluten free flour ingredients to improve the texture and result of the bake. Ill be honest I can be a bit obsessive about trying to make gluten free bakes as close to or better than their wheat-filled cousins. But I make no apology. I firmly believe that we should make as few sacrifices as possible just because we are gluten free.
Thus, to achieve great results, flour blending becomes a fact of life for the gluten free baker. If you want to reach the dizzy heights of a good gluten free bake, home-blending a gluten free flour recipe is the best way to go.
Where To Source Gluten Free Flour
Whilst there are many different gluten free flours available, there are a few basics which I use more often than others. The ones I use most frequently sorghum white teff, buckwheat potato starch flour white rice and brown rice) are the ones that you too may choose to source . I also use a lot of oat flour, but I grind this from gluten free oats myself at home to save money.
As withany other gluten free products, be sure to buy base flours which are certified glutenfree if you are Coeliac or needing to avoid gluten for health reasons.
Many of the key gluten free flours can be found or ordered into good health food, nutrition and whole food shops. To find them I would recommend doing a bit of a google search on your local area to see what your options are. I also use a couple of amazing local farm shops which often have an unexpectedly good range. Interestingly, I rarely find what I need in places like Holland and Barrett, mainly because many of their products are not certified as Coeliac-safe.
If you cant source the flours you need on the ground, check out the internet for suppliers. Ocado has a reasonable range of some of the basics, as does Healthy Supplies , Pure Gluten Free and Shipton Mill. There will be plenty of other on-line sources though, so check around.
For those of you who do give gluten free flour blending a go, Id love to hear about how you get on. Ping me a comment or an e-mail or tag me into your creations.
Types Of Flour And Their Gluten Content
Therere many types of flour with varying names. You should choose the right type to make your baking a breeze. Generally, the main differentiation in flour is the protein content.
Low protein wheat averages while high protein varieties consist of 10-14% protein. High gluten means more strength. Dough made of high protein is more elastic and has a chewable texture. As you bake bread, a firm structure is paramount. Here are the different types of baking flour.
Whats The Healthiest Type Of Flour
While there isnt just one healthy type of flour, looking for flour alternatives with more nutrient-dense ingredients is the way to go. From nuts to brown rice, to beans, these flours will add fiber and other nutrients to your meal.
On top of that, this flour alternative has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor many people love and the fine texture makes it pretty versatile . It does well when youre making baked goods or breading something, notes Cording.
How To Use It: Almond flour is a perfect flour alternative to baking, especially for moist baked treats . Its not as good for artisanal crusty bread. When substituting, youll want to use less almond flour than you would white flour due to the higher fat content.
Brown rice flour
If youve never tried gluten-free flours before, this healthy option is a good place to start, notes Cording. It has a very mild flavor and texture, which makes it good for everything from cookies to a coating for chicken or fish, she says. It also has more fiber than regular flour and is high in B6 and manganese, which may help keep bones healthy.
How To Use It: Brown rice flour can make your baked goods a little brittle, so experiment with adding more liquid . It also helps to bake at roughly 25 degrees lower than the recipe calls for.
Gluten Content Of Flours
It’s possible for skilled bakers to get good results even with inferior or substituted ingredients, but life is a lot easier when you have the right materials at hand. That’s especially true of flours, which vary widely in their gluten content. Both high-gluten and low-gluten flours excel at specific tasks, and all-purpose flour — while it’s a useful compromise for most purposes — sometimes isn’t up to the job. Knowing the gluten content of your flours can help you make the right choice.
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Customizing With Your Binder
The downfall of creating an all-purpose blend is that it will not be customized for the ideal loaf of sandwich bread or the tender pie crust. These are on the opposite ends of the baked-goods spectrum, as bread generally needs more elasticity and binding whereas pie crusts are meant to remain tender and flaky. So while using an all-purpose blend will generally produce good results, you may find that fine tuning your flour mixture for specific types of baked goods namely bread loaves or pastries will generate a better outcome.
Most gluten-free recipes will also call for a specific amount and type of binder, which is often determined by the type of baked good. This particular recipe gives a measurement for xanthan gum, but it is listed as optional. Xanthan gum is used to mimic the gluten property of wheat flour. It is generally needed in larger quantities for high-rising yeast breads and in smaller quantities for tender cakes, pies, and cookies.
If you choose to leave out the xanthan gum, you can then customize the amount and type of binder to the recipe being made which may help resolve the issues with flour customization mentioned above.
Why Is Flour Bad For You
White flour has very little nutritional value. Its high in carbohydrates and calories, and low in everything else like fiber, protein and vitamins. White flour is stripped of its nutrients during processing, when the bran and germ part of the grain are removed leaving only the endosperm. This is the essential difference between whole wheat versus just the starchy endosperm product in white flour. Bleached white flour is also treated with a chlorine gas to make it whiter.
This processing essentially enhances the gluten content but strips the flour of other nutrients. The fiber in whole grains is associated with many health benefits including a lower mortality rate. According to a consensus of doctors and researchers across North America, South America and Europe, thistechnology-driven way we currently process wheat and gluten may be driving some of the more nuanced gluten reactions that many identify with today.
Eating white flour can also cause insulin spikes. Products made with white four have a higher carbohydrate content than similar products with whole grains. For example, white bread has 74 net carbs with 2 grams of fiber butwheat bread has 48 net carbs with 3 grams of fiber. Lower net carbs are associated with more regulated blood sugar and less insulin spikes. Insulin itself is highly inflammatory in the system, says Doctor Brooke Scheller. “When we eat high carb foods, we increase insulin, which can create inflammation.”
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How To Make Gluten Free Oat Flour
Gluten free oat flour can work out prettyexpensive if you buy it ready-milled. The good news is that it is really easy to make at home. Just be sure to makesure you source certified gluten free oats toavoid any possibility of cross-contamination from adjacent or samefield growing or milling processes. They are now readily available in mostsupermarkets, many of which produce their own brands at a reasonable price.
Use a foodprocessor to grind gluten free pure oats until you have a finepowder. This will take about 10-20 seconds on full power .
You can grind on a weight for weight ratio for each recipe . Or to save time, grind half a kilo or so in one batch and store in an airtight container so that you always have it there when you need it.
Concerns About Rice Flour
There is also a growing body of evidence and information that rice flour in large quantity may even be harmful, with the concern that it contains arsenic from water and soil contamination. Arsenic being a poison, is not a great thing to be eating.
Bog-standard boiled rice carries less of a risk because of the process of boiling in water, particularly if the rice has been soaked for several hours before cooking as advised in this BBC health article. Rice flour however, is not boiled, but is produced by grinding rice before it is cooked.
At low levels, the damage may be minimal, but for Coeliacs, it is all too easy to find that your diet has switched from damaging wheat to toxic rice and if you dont find ways to lessen the intake, you could be causing harm. If you buy ready-made commercial bakes, flours and bake mixes, take time to read the packaging you may be shocked at how much rice you are consuming. You can find information on arsenic in rice in this article written for the BBC by Dr Michael Mosley, this article in Nature World News and a wealth of information through the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program.
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White Or Brown Rice Flour
Full of fibre, white or brown rice flour is best blended with other gluten free flours to avoid a dense bake. Great for pancakes or muffins. This Pomegranate & Orange Drizzle Cake uses half rice flour, half buckwheat in the recipe so why not give it a go?
In 100g of brown rice flour, theres approximately 363 calories, 7.23g of protein, 76.5g of carbohydrates and 5.6g of fibre.6
In 100g of white rice flour, theres approximately 359 calories, 6.94g of protein, 79.8g of carbohydrates and 0.5g of fibre.7
Using Binders In Gluten
Fiber Husk / Xanthan Gum / Guar Gum / Locust Bean Gum
Most of my gluten-free flour mixes do not include a binder to replace the gluten in the flour this is usually already included in the purchased flour mixes.
Binding agents include xanthan gum, guar gum, locust bean gum, and fiber husk I get the best results with xanthan gum or guar gum.
Gluten-free baking has a variety of properties and applications depending on the mix. The best way to discover your favorite flavor is to experiment with different types of gluten-free flour one at a time. And, depending on your recipe, you can also add a variety of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fiber to your baked goods, thereby supporting a healthy diet in a tasty way.
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Flour Before Coeliac Disease
Before becoming a Coeliac family in 2011, baking was pretty straight forward. In the cupboard, we had bags of plain flour, self-raising flour and bread flour. either brown or white. Okay, that may be a little simplistic, but wheat flour was a given in the kitchen and pretty much every recipe relied on its qualities, not least the gluten it contained. That gluten is a remarkable and reliable thing. It provides structure, support, airiness and elasticity and gives infinite possibility to what can be baked. But for Coeliacs, it is also poison!
As soon as gluten has to be avoided, baking suddenly becomes an alien world. It seems there are dozens of individual gluten free flours out there, but none of them comes close to the glutenous qualities of wheat flour and they rarely work effectively alone. And thats where the gluten free flour mix comes in
How To Determine The Amount Of Gluten In The Flour
Since gluten is formed when the flour mixes with water, its difficult to know the amount of gluten without making the dough. You should wash out the starch from the dough and weigh the remaining mass.
A simpler way is to read the information label on the flour bag. If the packet is 100 grams and the protein content is indicated as 12 grams, then the protein content is 12%. The higher the protein content, the more the gluten produced.
The bottom line
Gluten gives the bread the stretchy characteristic and is chewy. If you make bread every week, you should ensure you have the specific flours for the recipe at hand.
Although all flours are made from wheat, the protein content varies depending on how the flour is milled and the time of the year the wheat is harvested.
Flours with high protein generate high gluten while those with low protein generate less gluten.
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Choose Your Alternative Flours Carefully
While these alternative flours are usually gluten-free, they’re not always safe on a gluten-free diet due to gluten cross-contamination in processing. The equipment to harvest and mill coarse grains or seeds into flour is pretty expensive, and so farmers and manufacturers frequently use the same equipment to process both gluten-containing and gluten-free ingredients.
When that occurs, naturally gluten-free ingredients can be cross-contaminated with gluten during harvesting or processing. That may mean they will contain enough gluten to make them unsafe for someone with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity to consume.
Also, some products that use alternative flours as ingredients also include gluten as another ingredientto eat gluten-free, you always need to check ingredients carefully.