Flour is a powder made by grinding raw grains, roots, beans, nuts, or seeds. Flours are used to make many different foods.
Whether flour contains gluten or not depends on the flour type. Flour made from wheat, barley, or rye contains gluten.
However, there are many types of gluten-free flour, such as rice flour, corn flour, almond flour, and coconut flour. These flours are made from grains, nuts, or seeds that do not contain gluten. It’s important to read the label carefully or check with the manufacturer to ensure the flour is gluten-free.
Types of flours
- All-purpose flour – a versatile flour that is made from a blend of hard and soft wheat and is suitable for most baking purposes.
- Whole wheat flour – a type of flour that is made from whole wheat grains and contains more fiber and nutrients than all-purpose flour.
- Bread flour – a high-protein flour that is ideal for making bread, as it helps the dough to rise and develop a chewy texture.
- Cake flour – a low-protein flour that is perfect for making light, tender cakes, and pastries.
- Self-rising flour – a type of flour that contains baking powder and salt and is commonly used for making biscuits and quick breads.
- Gluten-free flour – a type of flour that is made from grains, nuts, or seeds that do not contain gluten, such as rice flour, almond flour, or chickpea flour.
How is gluten-free flour made?
Gluten-free flour is made by grinding grains, nuts, or seeds that do not contain gluten, such as rice, almonds, or chickpeas, into a fine powder. This flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in baking for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Different types of gluten-free flour may have different textures and properties, affecting the final result of baked goods.
Different types of gluten-free flour
- Almond Flour: It is made from ground almonds, this flour is high in protein and healthy fats and is commonly used in baked goods such as cakes, cookies, and muffins.
- Coconut Flour: It is made from ground coconut meat, this flour is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, making it a popular choice for those on a low-carb or ketogenic diet. It can be used in various baked goods but requires more moisture and eggs than other flours.
- Rice Flour: Made from ground rice, this flour is a versatile option for baked goods, including breads, cakes, and cookies. It has a mild flavor and a light texture.
- Corn Flour: Made from ground corn kernels, this flour is commonly used in savory dishes such as tortillas, cornbread, and tamales. It has a distinct corn flavor and can be combined with other gluten-free flour.
- Buckwheat Flour: Despite its name, buckwheat is naturally gluten-free and not related to wheat. Buckwheat flour has a nutty flavor and can be used in baked goods, including pancakes, waffles, and breads.
- Chickpea Flour: Made from ground chickpeas, this flour is high in protein and fiber, making it a popular choice for gluten-free pasta, flatbreads, and savory dishes such as falafel.
- Sorghum Flour: Made from ground sorghum grain, this flour has a mild flavor and can be used in various baked goods, including breads, muffins, and cakes. It is also a common ingredient in gluten-free flour blends.
Which companies produce gluten-free flour?
- Bob’s Red Mill: A well-known brand that produces a variety of gluten-free flours, including almond, coconut, rice, corn, buckwheat, and sorghum flours. Their flour is often sold in natural food stores and online.
- King Arthur Flour: This company produces a range of gluten-free flours, including all-purpose flour, bread flour, and pancake mix. They also offer recipes and baking tips on their website.
- Cup4Cup: A premium brand that produces a high-quality gluten-free flour blend that can be used in various baked goods. Their flour blend is cornstarch, white rice flour, brown rice flour, and milk powder.
- Namaste Foods: A company that produces a variety of gluten-free flours, mixes, and baking ingredients. Their products are free from the top 8 allergens and are certified gluten-free.
- Arrowhead Mills: This company produces a range of gluten-free flour, including brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, and millet flour. They also offer gluten-free pancake mixes and other baking mixes.
- Pamela’s Products: A brand that produces a variety of gluten-free flours, mixes, and snacks. Their flours include almond, coconut, and cassava flour. They also offer a popular gluten-free pancake mix.
Tips for buying gluten-free flour
- Check the ingredients: When buying gluten-free flour, check the ingredients list carefully to ensure it does not contain any wheat, barley, rye, or other gluten-containing grains.
- Look for certified gluten-free labels: Look for products certified by a reputable organization, such as the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) or the National Celiac Association. These certifications ensure that the product has been tested and meets strict standards for gluten-free safety.
- Consider the intended use: Different gluten-free flours have different properties, such as texture, flavor, and baking. Consider the intended use of the flour and choose a flour appropriate for the recipe. For example, almond flour works well in baked goods like muffins and cookies, while rice flour is better suited for bread and pizza crusts.
Is gluten-free flour healthy?
Gluten-free flour is not inherently healthier than regular flour. Still, it can be a good option for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity who need to avoid gluten.
How to store gluten-free flour?
Gluten-free flour should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place like a pantry or cupboard. It’s best to use gluten-free flour within 3-6 months of opening to ensure freshness and prevent spoilage.
What is the taste of gluten-free flour products?
The taste of gluten-free flour products can vary depending on the type of flour used, but they may have a slightly different flavor or texture than products made with wheat flour. Some gluten-free flours, such as almond flour, may have a nutty flavor, while others, like rice flour, may have a more neutral taste.
Is gluten-free flour rises same as normal flour?
Gluten-free flour does not typically rise in the same way that wheat flour does, as it does not contain gluten, which is responsible for creating the elastic texture necessary for rising. However, there are ways to help gluten-free baked goods rise, such as using alternative leavening agents like baking powder or yeast or combining different gluten-free flours to achieve a similar texture to wheat flour.
Who should use gluten-free flour in their diet?
People with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity, or wheat allergy should use gluten-free flour to avoid symptoms such as digestive issues, skin rash, or anaphylaxis.
What are the risks of contamination while using gluten-free flour?
Gluten-free flour can become contaminated with gluten if it comes into contact with gluten-containing grains or products during processing or handling. To minimize the risk of contamination, it’s important to choose certified gluten-free products, store the flour separately from gluten-containing products, and use separate utensils and equipment when preparing gluten-free foods.