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Guide to Gluten-Free Flours

What to know about gluten-free flours, including nutritional information.

Gluten-Free Home Baking

When you're baking at home, it's impossible to simply substitute gluten-free flours for those with gluten and get the same results. However, home baking allows you to use an array of gluten-free flours with more nutrition than what's often found in commercially baked goods.

In supermarkets and online, you'll find a variety of gluten-free flours, including those made from:

  • Brown rice
  • Fava beans
  • White beans
  • Amaranth
  • Potato
  • Oats (make sure oats are certified gluten-free)

Avoid buying gluten-free flours from bulk bins. You never know if someone accidentally used the whole-wheat flour scoop in a gluten-free flour bin. 

When you first start baking gluten-free, it may be easier to stick with a simple multi-purpose flour blend before experimenting further. 

Fenster suggests relying on a pre-mixed homemade flour blend to use in a variety of baked goods, including bread, pizza dough, and pancakes. Having a flour mix on hand is a time saver that makes gluten-free baking that much easier.

"A good flour blend uses a main or protein-laden flour such as brown rice or sorghum or beans, for example, blended with a starchy flour such as potato starch or cornstarch," Fenster says. "The protein in flour lends structure and stability, while the starchy flours add lightness and airiness." 

Recipe: Gluten-Free Flour Blend

Here is Fenster's recipe for a gluten-free flour blend:

  • 1.5 cups sorghum or brown rice flour
  • 1.5 potato starch or cornstarch
  • 1 cup tapioca flour

Whisk together thoroughly and store in a dark, dry place.

When substituting this blend for wheat flour in recipes, measure it as though it were wheat flour.

Fenster says the sorghum version works well for most baked goods. She relies on the brown rice version for light and delicate baked goods, such as cake. When making muffins or yeast breads, you can substitute amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, or teff flour for sorghum or brown rice flour. (Teff is a tiny grain commonly used in Ethiopian cuisine.)

Reviewed on February 05, 2012

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