What Is Gluten And What Are The Best Flour Choices For Gluten Free Cooking

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Gluten is a complex protein found in wheat, rye and barley and for some people that spells trouble.

What Is Gluten A Free Diet?

A gluten-free diet (GF diet) is one that excludes any type of food that has gluten, which is a particular protein composite found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale.

Who Should Worry About Gluten?

Imagine not being able to eat anything that has wheat, barley or rye in it?

Yet that is the very plight for many who have to maintain a gluten-free diet.

For those who are diagnosed with Celiac disease and Dermatitis Herpetiformis food having wheat, rye or barley in it is no longer an option.

Without becoming too technical or medical, wheat, rye and barley wreaks havoc on their small intestine. To avoid that scenario gluten must be avoided over the course of a lifetime, which is a long time, but, it does not mean you have to give up your favorites.

It just means modification and using the right flours.

Some people who do not suffer from Celiac Disease or DH also reported feeling better when they went Gluten free.

However, it is important to realize that foods labeled as being “gluten free” are not necessarily healthy. Some of them are high in carbs, calories and fat, and so can be a concern for healthy weight management.

Flours That Contain Gluten and Should Be Avoided

  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Rye
  • Bulgur
  • Durum
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Wheat

Gluten Free Flour Options For Cooking And Baking

We live in exciting times where the most creative minds have discovered ways for the gluten-free to have, to hold, and to eat cake too, as long as it is made of flour that is not ground from wheat, rye or barley.

In the market place, more flour selections than ever before are available to accommodate the gluten-free diet.

Brown Rice Flour

This is a supplementary flour, and works great when blended with teff, buckwheat or sorghum flours. It is great for cooking and works for both sweet and savory dishes.

Millet Flour

This is a light in color and drier flour than others are and is best when mixed with heartier flours, like, Teff, Hemp, or almond, but, it should not be used by itself.

Teff Flour

Teff is an all-around flour that works great for baking in gluten free diets. It is loaded with good nutrients and has a nutty flavor and darker color. This flour is not easily found in traditional markets, but can be found online.

Buckwheat Flour

This is an ideal gluten free flour alternative for use in muffins, cakes and pancakes. In fact, buckwheat pancakes are much healthier as far as weight management than the traditional white flour varieties. In order to get dough that rolls well, add something starchy, such as, cornstarch or tapioca flour.

Sweet White Rice Flour (aka Mochiko)

This is a great choice to add moisture and density to baked goods. It has a slightly milky taste, and it’s a little sweet. It is typically used to make Japanese desserts such as Mochi. It works well for both sweet and savory recipes.

Almond Flour

This is a great choice for baking. Made from ground almonds, it is also a great choice for very low carb baking. Using 1/4 of this in any flour mixture will add moistness, binding, a light almond flavor, and a good amount of density to muffins, brownies, cookies, breads, dehydrated snacks and cake recipes.

Corn Flour

Corn flour can be added to many gluten-free flour mixes, pastas and flatbreads.

Commercial Gluten Free Flour Choices

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour

One offering is Bob’s Red Mill, http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-all-purpose-baking-flour.html, which is a fine blend using as its base garbanzo beans, potato starch, and tapioca, to name a few of the ingredients.

Carol’s Amazing Gluten Free ALL PURPOSE Flour

Carol is a chef and decided that the gluten-free options in the marketplace were not turning out products to meet her high standards and, more importantly, did not satisfy her client’s love of baked goods. She therefore decided to create her own blend that she’s marketed to the cheers of many who need to remain gluten-free.

In addition, although Carol is not giving up the exact recipe of her blend, she does admit that she has tested the flour and it has passed, encouraging many to bake with the same results they were having with gluten-laden products.

Ingredients:

White Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Sweet Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Xanthan Gum.

King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour ( http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/gluten-free-multi-purpose-flour )

A third option, King Arthur Flour, an inexpensive alternative at $7.95 for a 24-ounce box. This flour is a blend of white rice and whole grain brown rice flours, along with tapioca and potato starch, but what’s great about this product is that ‘it’s multi-purpose’ and can therefore be used for both baking and cooking, cup-for-cup, the same as any gluten-laden flour product.

4 Tips For Beginners Of Gluten-Free Cooking

1. Experiment, experiment and experiment. There is a learning curve when you first start with Gluten free cooking, but, once you get some practice and experience you will become an expert about what works and what does not.

2. Stay with it and don’t get discouraged. There will be failed recipes because you have to learn which flour combinations work best, but, it just takes practice and testing. It’s best to get guidance from recipe books or online guides when first starting out so you don’t waste time re-inventing the wheel.

3. Begin with simple recipes and learn the basics. As you get more experienced and master those, you can move onto the more complicated dishes.

4. When you pinpoint the perfect flour combinations to match your taste, stick with, likely it will work for all your cooking and baking needs.