If, like me, you have been living gluten free for a while, you are by now well aware that there are many difference types of gluten free flour. I must preface I have certainly not used them all and I probably never will.
I do not call myself an expert in gluten free baking nor do I have any intention of becoming one. Rather, I am an avid student (of many things) who shares what little I have learned along my gluten free journey.
I believe that when it comes to the gluten free diet lifestyle – like with anything else – this is not a one size fits all. You will have to learn (and decide) what works for you and what doesn’t. In order to do so, you will have to work with different types of gluten free flour and various gluten free flour blends in order to find out what you like best.
Taste, consistency, feel, how each flour “behaves” will all play a part. Hopefully, this tutorial will help you out in deciding which flours you want to work with and which flours you don’t.
Types of Gluten Free Flour
- Almond flour: sometimes referred to as almond meal or blanched almond meal. Almond flour is in actuality finer than almond meal. I most often use almond meal because it is easier to find and it is also cheaper. However, almond flour is lighter. It works well in baked goods: pancakes, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, and cookies. Something important to note, your baked goods will not taste like almonds unless you add some almond extract. It is the blandest of all nut flours. Almond flour is also grain free. [Buy]
- Amaranth flour is made of tiny seeds which can be bought whole or ground. This seed has a nutty taste and is highly nutritious. I do not have a lot of experience working with this flour. I have only used it a couple times. It is grain free. [Buy]
- Arrowroot flour: arrowroot is a starch which is rarely used alone in gluten free baking although my crepe recipe only uses this starch. It is used most often used as a thickener or as a binding agent. It can be used as a substitute for cornstarch. [Buy]
- Artichoke flour: This vegetable can indeed be dried and ground into flour. however, it is very pricey and I have never used it. I have however eaten artichoke pasta made with artichoke flour and I really like it. [Buy]
- Bean Flours: These flours are made from dried legumes which are then ground into flour. The most common are fava and garbanzo bean flours or a blend of both of these called garfava flour.
- Brown Rice Flour : Brown rice flour is made by grinding unhulled rice kernels into fine powder. Brown rice flour is more nutritious than white rice flour because it still contains the bran where the majority of nutrients reside. However, brown rice flour is also denser than white. I have used it but do so very seldom. My hubby does not care for the denser end-products. [Buy]
- Buckwheat Flour: Buckwheat flour is made by grinding unhulled buckwheat. Rest assured that, despite its deceitful name, buckwheat is not in any way related to the wheat family. Buckwheat – like quinoa – is actually a seed, not a grain. Buckwheat flour is often used in buckwheat pancakes and a few other baked goods. [Buy]
- Coconut Flour: You can read about this wonderful flour here. I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love it in certain recipes and hate it in others. It does have a coconut flavor. [Buy]
- Corn flour or corn meal: This flour is made from dried corn which is then ground into flour. Corn flour ranges from fine to coarse. I mainly use it only when making cornbread and I always make sure to buy certified non-GMO flour. [Buy]
- Cornstarch: Obviously, cornstarch is derived from corn. It used as a thickening agent in sauces, gravies, and soups. It is also used as a binding agent in gluten free baking. Cornstarch is used in many gluten free flour blends. Ensure it is non-GMO before buying. [Buy]
- Hazelnut Meal/Flour: Hazelnut meal – also called hazelnut flour – is made from ground hazelnuts – which I love! Hazelnut flour is great in all baked goods. You can substitute up to one-third of the recommended flour in your favorite recipes. Hazelnut meal is low in carbohydrates. It is also a good source fiber and protein. The downside, it is pricey. [Buy]
- Millet: Millet is made from small round seeds which can be ground into flour. It has a slight a nutty flavor which is stronger than some other flours. It is quite nutritious. I really like it and use it often. I keep mine in an airtight container in the freezer. [Buy]
- Oats: Oats are naturally gluten free. HOWEVER, most oats are contaminated by wheat products. Make sure the oats you buy are certified gluten free. I usually buy the oats and blend them in flour myself using my Vitamix. [Buy]
- Quinoa: Read more about quinoa here. Although it is very nutritious, I personally find quinoa flour a tad bitter so I do not use it anymore. [Buy]
- Potato Starch: Potato starch is not to be confused with potato flour – which is made from the whole potato. Potato starch is made from the starch of the potato. Like tapioca starch, it is used for lighter-textured baked goods as well as a binder. It is used in many gluten free flour blends. A great substitute for potato starch is cornstarch. [Buy]
- Sorghum Flour: Sorghum flour is also known as milo flour or juwar flour in India. Some like to say it compares to corn flour. I disagree. It is not as grainy. It is also higher in protein and lower in fat. Sorghum flour is one of my favorite gluten free flour and I use it in many of my gluten free flour blends. [Buy]
- Sweet Rice Flour: Sweet rice flour is also known as glutinous rice. It is a fine, white, and blend flour derived from a strain of short grain rice. It contains more starch which makes it “stickier” than regular white rice. Sweet rice flour is used in baked goods because it makes them lighter in texture. Thanks to its high starch content, sweet rice flour makes an excellent thickener. [Buy]
- Tapioca Flour also called Tapioca Starch: Tapioca flour is made from the starch of the cassava plant. Cassava flour on the other hand, is produced from the root of the same plant. Tapioca flour is used in gluten free baking as a binder. I use this flour a lot and always have it on hand. [Buy]
- Teft: A member of the millet family. I have not yet used it. [Buy]
- White Rice flour: White rice flour is made by grinding polished rice into flour. White rice flour works well in baked goods as well as a thickener in sauces and gravies. While this flour contains a nice amount of protein, it is not as nutritious as brown rice flour. I really like it and would say it is my favorite gluten free flour to use as it resembles wheat flour the most. [Buy]
Types of Gluten Free Flour in my Pantry
The gluten free flours which I always have on hand:
- Almond flour blanched and regular. I keep them in the freezer.
- Arrowroot flour which I used for my crepes.
- Coconut Flour: I have mentioned before that I am selective with the recipes I chose when using this flour. Despite this fact, I do always have it on hand.
- Oats: I don’t buy the flour, I make it when needed.
- Potato Starch
- Tapioca Starch
- White Rice flour
The gluten free flours which I use on occasion:
- Hazelnut Flour: I love it but don’t always buy it mainly due to cost.
- Millet: when I want a whole grain product, I use a combination of millet and sorghum flours.
- Sorghum Flour
- Sweet Rice Flour