Gluten-free baking can be overwhelming, especially in the beginning! There are so many different gluten-free flours from almond flour, coconut flour, brown rice flour and beyond it can be confusing to know which flour to use and also disappointing if your gluten-free baked treats don’t turn out that way you hoped!
What’s so wrong with white flour? While white flour is a standard staple in baking… it’s nutritionally void of any nutrients. Not to mention it contains gluten, which if you need to avoid gluten for health reasons, white flour is not an option. White flour is also heavily processed and completely stripped of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Because white flour lacks fiber, it has also been shown to spike blood sugar levels.
As we approach the Holiday season we hope this blog post helps you bake with confidence if you’re wanting to avoid white flour ad switch to a more wholesome, flour alternative!
Here are some gluten-free flours we love to use:
Almond flour is an incredible gluten-free alternative with an amazing nutty taste. This flour contains 6 grams of protein in just 1/4 cup! It is also a good source of vitamin E. which may support immune function, reduce inflammation and lower your risk of certain diseases such as cancer and heart disease. At your grocery store, you’ve probably seen almond flour and almond meal. Almond meal still contains the skins after processing, so if you’re looking for a more traditional baking flour, stick with regular almond flour.
Coconut flour is another great alternative to white flour. Coconuts contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s), which are a type of fat that may protect against bacteria and also enhance brain and heart health. This flour is also rich in fiber, which may benefit digestion as well as regulate blood sugar levels. 1/4 cup of coconut flour contains 10 grams of fiber and 20% of your daily iron!
Cassava flour actually comes from a root vegetable that is commonly eaten in South America, but now can be found in over 90 countries worldwide! Cassava is higher in starch, but lower in calories than other gluten-free flours. Cassava is nutrient rich and contains high amounts of vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, B vitamins and potassium. The high vitamin C content found in cassava flour may promote skin and eye health.
Tiger Nut Flour
Contrary to its name, tiger nut flour is another root vegetable that is completely nut free and is perfect for those with nut allergies. It has a similar taste and nutty texture to almond flour. It contains high amounts of healthy monounsaturated fats, giving it a similar nutrient profile to olive oil. This type of fat may lower unhealthy LDL cholesterol and raise healthy HDL cholesterol. It also contains the amino acid arginine, which may enhance heart health lowering overall blood pressure.
Gluten-free oat flour is an excellent source of soluble fiber! This type of fiber breaks down in your digestion tract and forms a gel like substance that helps regulate blood glucose levels as well as lowers cholesterol levels. Oats are also rich in antioxidants that can have positive anti-inflammatory effects! Oat flour can be bought in a package or you can simply blend some of the oats in your pantry until a fine flour forms.
Buckwheat does not actually contain wheat, making it another great white flour alternative! It actually comes from a plant that is typically found in Asia, which is why you may see many Asian dishes using buckwheat noodles. It is an excellent source of plant-based protein containing about 6 grams per 1/4 cup! It also contains 12 amino acids that work toward muscle and cell growth. The antioxidants found in buckwheat may help stabilize blood pressure and protect against certain diseases such as cancer. Buckwheat flour has a more earthy and strong flavor compared to other flours and can be perfectly mixed in with other flours to tame the taste.
Some other gluten-free flour alternatives we love are arrowroot and tapioca. These flours are higher in starch and are typically used in all purpose flour blends, which give baked goods an amazing texture similar to that of white flour. They can also be used to thicken sauces and soups!
Important Facts To Know When Baking With Gluten-Free Flours:
Not all gluten-free flours are created equal. When using a small amount for sautéing or cooking, these flours can be used in single use form. However, when it comes to baking, a mix of gluten-free flours is typically recommended because using a single flour does not have the same properties as white flour or other gluten-free flours. For example, if a recipe calls for one cup of almond flour, you cannot simply replace it with one cup of coconut flour and get the same result.
Protein is an important property of gluten that needs to be considered when using gluten-free flours. If you’re making your own homemade gluten-free baking mix and using a lower protein flour such as rice flour, combine it with a starch, such as tapioca or arrowroot, which adds thickening and bulk to recipes.
Gluten also acts as a binder in recipes and is important to add to gluten-free flour mixes. Some binders you can use are guar gum or xanthan gum to replicate the properties of gluten. Add 1/4 teaspoon per cup of flour used.
A great place to start when switching to gluten-free flours is to buy a 1-to-1 baking mix. This means it can be interchangeably used in recipes that call for white flour. We love to use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour Mix, which saves time by taking the guess work out of gluten-free baking.
HGG Recipes Using Flour Alternatives:
Below are just a few HGG Recipes we love that are made with gluten-free flours. Click the title to head straight to the recipe on the blog!