7 Gluten Free Flour Tips
This little piece should help you get your head around the array of confusing information about flour, grains, seeds, nuts and legumes.
What are gluten free flours?
Here’s a list of the ones that we know of or use regularly, but a form of flour can be made from a variety of dried ingredients so let us know if you’ve created something new!
- Almond Meal – made from ground almonds
- Buckwheat Flour – made from a pink flower
- Gram Flour – made from ground chickpeas
- Potato Flour – made from ground potato starch
- Rice Flour – made from ground rice starch
- Cornflour – made from ground corn (check for 100% cornflour)
- Tapioca Flour – made from Cassava plant starch
- Coconut Flour – made from the coconut fibre
7 tips for working with gluten free flour
- Weigh Flour
Measure your flour by weight rather than by cups or teaspoons. Some flours are fine while others are very dense which means a recipe could be very different than you intended.
- Play with your Food
You can learn a lot about how a particular type of flour works by simply taking a few teaspoons, adding a few drops of water and working it into dough. Some flours will simply not become stretchy as this is caused by the protein molecules (gluten) changing shape as the mixture is worked. Try adding a little bi-carb soda or some gluten free yeast and seeing what happens. This simple experiment will give you a physical idea of how each flour works and is an excellent way to learn how to work with them.
- Deeper Pans
Gluten free breads and cakes don’t generally rise as well or hold their shape so you should consider using deeper pans to avoid a big mess, in particular with cakes, loaves, muffins and cupcakes. I’ve served many a lopsided cupcake because the mixture has just run over the sides rather than risen nice and fluffy.
- Substitute Practice
Don’t just restrict yourself to browsing gluten free recipes. Look at a variety of recipes then consider which flour or ingredient you could use to substitute. Most supermarkets sell a range of gluten free pre-mixed flours such as ‘self raising flour’ or ‘plain flour’ mix which can be used in place of self raising flour. But it is when you get creative that you will discover the best from your ingredients!
Many of our recipes will offer a gluten or dairy free suggestion in the recipe ingredients or method if we think an easy one is available. Watch for our new label icons coming soon for gluten free and other special diet meals.
- Moist Ingredients
Make everything slightly moister than you would have before. Use ingredients like grated apple or apple juice to bring more natural sweetness and moisture to the mixture. Add vegetables like zucchini, finely grated, to savoury muffins – provided there’s some cheese and bacon in there we promise the kids won’t notice. Some people suggest adding an extra egg which also increases the protein content.
- Bake with Flour Blends
If you are using the flour to create a coating for meat, to thicken a sauce or for anything basic you can get away with using a single flour but it is best to use a combination mix if you are going to be baking cakes, cookies, scones, flans or any baking which requires the object to rise. Use a pre-made mix if you can as it makes baking so much easier, but if you have particular intolerances and need to make a custom mix you can experiment to create a flour that works to your own taste buds.
- Freeze Flour
Store your flour in the freezer if you are not going to use it regularly. In particular flour which is made from nuts or ground legumes can contain a lot of fat and this attracts moulds and bacteria if left in the heat. Airtight freezer containers or glad bags with portions measured can help keep gluten free flour fresh, but always on hand.