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A basic guide to gluten free flours

A basic guide to gluten free flours

Working out the amounts and which flour to use when doing gluten free baking can be a little tricky when your new to eating gluten free so I’ve put together this quick guide to make things a little easier. I don’t usually use a combination with the harder to find flours like sorghum, tapioca etc but they do make a difference if you’re making something like pastry or scones – which require a bit more of the binding quality. Gluten (found in wheat, barely and rye) has this quality and gives gluten flours its elasticity, which is the reason standard wheat flour doesn’t have an issue with binding together – no matter what recipe you use.

TIP : Adding a teaspoon of xantham gum (found in health food shops) will help add this missing elasticity and is definitely a must have if you like to bake scones or bread regularly, and are thinking of making the switch to gluten free.

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Coconut flour

Coconut flour is a very dry flour due t have the moisture content removed in the processing, this means that the moisture needs to be added back in when using it for baking. Generally, twice the amount of eggs need to be used in order to do this. Plus, I like to add another half a cup of liquid (which ever milk you choose to use – bearing in mind that rice milk is a lot thinner than coconut or almond, or dairy milk so will require a bit more if using rice milk)

Standard measurements for baking with coconut flour are;

*For each cup of standard white gluten flour in the recipe replace with 1/3 cup coconut flour and 2 eggs and ½ a cup of liquid

*If replacing almond flour with coconut flour use ¼ cup coconut flour instead of 1 cup almond flour

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Buckwheat flour

This is my favourite of the gluten free flours as it holds together really nicely. It is however quite a dense flour and again requires a fair bit of liquid to get that nice balance of moistness so that it doesn’t turn out like a big dry lump. It pairs well with rice flour, so I usually do half and half for muffins, cakes, or pancakes so that they don’t fall apart but are also nice and soft.

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Rice flour

Rice flour is very thin and I find it doesn’t hold together well on its own for baking. unless you add tapioca flour and xantham gum (see the below conversion table) However, it does make a great cheese sauce or used as a thickener. I’d like to note however, that brown rice flour tends to be denser and works better in baking than white rice flour – but is often not as easy to find in the supermarket.

Rice flour also works well used with other gluten free flours such as using half and half with buckwheat is how I find it works best, but is also good for making pancake batter just on its own.

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Almond flour

This makes very yummy pancakes, muffins or cakes. But I find that it doesn’t rise too well so again I like to use it with another flour (usually buckwheat). Personally, I think it has the best flavour out of the gluten free flours.

1 and a ½ cups of almond flour is equivalent to ¾ of a cup of standard white gluten flour.

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Where to buy your gluten free flours.

Bulk places like Bin Inn, The Source and your local organic shop are where you will find these in bulk so you can buy as much or as little volume as you like. Otherwise Countdown and New World – and even most Pak n Saves- are now stocking Buckwheat flour, Coconut flour and rice flour by Ceres or Healtheries. And almond flour is sold as Almond meal. You’ll find these either in the gluten free aisle, or in the baking aisle – depending on your local supermarket.

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