Are you confused about how and what to use in gluten free cooking, especially with flours?
With a coeliac in the family, gluten free flour takes front and centre of my pantry. But you don’t have to be coeliac to be gluten free. If you suffer from any autoimmune condition, or thyroid conditions then it is often a good choice to remove gluten from your diet.
I have been gluten free for many years as I suffer with thyroid issues. I also have a member of the family who is a diagnosed coeliac, therefore I constantly cook with GF products.
GF products have come along way even in the last 5 years. But I am not a fan of the heavily processed GF products you get on the supermarket shelves. I am more partial to wholefood cooking and using some alternative flours to achieve the best results.
I often make my old normal (would have been gluten) recipes and just swap out the gluten items. This has become quite easy with all the different options now available.
When using some of these GF flours you are also improving your protein intake as some of them are high in protein compared to your standard flours. Almond Meal and Besan Flour are two that are high in proteins.
- Almond Meal – 20.5 gm of protein per 100gms
- Besan Flour – 19.7gm of protein per 100gms
Below I have listed some of my favorite GF flours and how I would use them.
Almond meal is my favorite GF flour as it gives such a lovely texture and taste to your products, especially good for baked items. It is a bit looser than your regular flour and you may need to increase your dry ingredients and add baking powder (GF). Obviously this is made from ground almonds making it unsuitable if you are needing nut free foods.
I will often use Almond meal in cakes with eggs then you get a buttery smoothness.
Buckwheat is my second favorite GF flour as it is also great in baked goods. I don’t find it as crumbly as almond meal as some may suggest, but will add some tapioca flour if I need to improve the texture.
Buckwheat flour provides a rich, earthy flavor and is good for baking quick and yeast breads. I use this in muffins and pancakes.
Cassava flour is a more recent addition to my pantry and I must say I am very happy with it. This flour is good for breads, pizza bases, fritters and the more savory type of dishes.
It is the most similar to white flour and can be used in recipes calling for all-purpose flour. It has a neutral flavor and is easily digestible. It has less calories than coconut flour or almond meal and is nut free.
You have to like coconut to like this one as the flavor does come through your cooking. I do like coconut but other family members don’t so I have to limit the use for this flour.
Coconut flour is quite solid once cooked so it is often used alongside other flours. This is because it soaks up more water than other flours. I might use this to increase the strength of a recipe in a cake or muffins. Or it is great if making a bread as it really holds its shape.
Besan (Chickpea) Flour
Chickpea flour is a good option for savory items. I love to use this in fritters or burgers. Chickpea flour is traditionally used to make falafel, hummus and flatbread.
As a legume, chickpea flour offers plant-based protein, fiber and other nutrients that help to bring balance to a vegetarian/vegan diet.
Tiger Nut Flour
Another relatively new flour in my pantry. Despite its name, tigernut flour is not made from nuts. Tigernuts are small root vegetables that grow in North Africa and the Mediterranean.
Tigernut flour has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that works well in baked goods. It is slightly coarser than white flour and likely results in products with more texture.
I don’t really use this as a single flour but will add it to a recipe to add thickeness. I also use it in place of cornflour when needing a thickening agent.
Green Banana Flour
Green banana flour is made from unripened green bananas.
Banana flour has a delicious, natural earthy flavour, that doesn’t distinctively taste of bananas, along it does have a strong taste. It is a pale brown colour with a light texture that is great for baking recipes, mostly sweet dishes. It is recommended for all types of dishes but I found the flavour more suitable to sweet products.
Other Flours worth mentioning that are also GF are:
- Quinoa flour
- Rice Flour (Brown & White)
- Teff Flour
- Amaranth Flour
- Corn Flour
- Arrowroot Flour
- Chia Flour
- Apple Flour
- Hemp Flour
Authored by Jan Caton BHSc – Naturopathy. Naturopath and owner of Magnolia Apothecary. Owner at The Conscious Spender. Jan has clinics in Mt Evelyn and Kilsyth.