The Wonderful World of Gluten-Free Flour

Display of Various Gluten-Free Flours
We somehow fit all of these gluten-free flours, starches, and seeds in our cupboards

Overview of Gluten-Free Flour

This article provide a brief overview of gluten-free flours and answers some common questions.

What is gluten-free flour?

Gluten-free flour refers to any flour that is not made with one of the 3 gluten-containing grains of wheat, barely, or rye. Standard baking flour contains wheat and therefore contains gluten. Gluten-free flours include singular flours made from grains and nuts or a blend of flours and starches.

What’s the difference between gluten-free flour and regular flour?

Gluten-free flour doesn’t contain wheat or other gluten containing grains like regular flour does, and all purpose gluten-free flours are blends of multiple flours, starches, and gums that attempt to replicate the structure and consistency that the gluten in regular all-purpose wheat flour provides to foods. Singular gluten-free flours, like almond flour, rice flour, or buckwheat flour, usually don’t come as close to replicating the taste and texture of wheat flour in foods as gluten-free flour blends do.

What are the different types of gluten-free flours?

The 2 main types of gluten-free flours are gluten-free flour blends and flours made from singular grains, nuts, or other plants. Gluten-free flour blends are a combination of grain, nut, or plant flours and starches, and these flour blends are generally used in baked goods the same way wheat flour is used.

Some gluten-free flour blends distinguish between “all purpose” gluten-free flour and “cup for cup”,”measure for measure”, or “1:1” gluten-free flour. All-purpose gluten-free flour is used when a gluten-free recipe calls for flour, whereas “cup for cup” or “measure-for-measure” flour serves as a 1 for 1 replacement of regular wheat flour in recipes. While a 1 for 1 replacement works in some cases, it may not work well for recipes that use yeast, because gluten-free flour typically does not rise as well.

As an example, if you were following a gluten-free bread recipe, you would likely use a blend of gluten-free flours, but most gluten-free bakers wouldn’t use a bread recipe that normally calls for wheat flour and directly substitute the 1 for 1 gluten-free flour because it likely wouldn’t work well. Similarly, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of gluten-free flour, you won’t get as good results if used 1 cup of just coconut flour or rice flour.

Here are some of the singular gluten-free flours:

Gluten-Free Grain Flours:

  • Brown Rice Flour
  • White Rice Flour
  • Sweet Rice Flour
  • Sweet Brown Rice Flour
  • Millet Flour
  • Quinoa Flour
  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Fonio Flour
  • Teff Flour
  • Oat Flour

Gluten-Free Nut Flours

  • Almond Flour
  • Coconut Flour

Gluten-Free Legume Flours

  • Garbanzo Bean/Chickpea Flour
  • Fava Bean Flour

Other Gluten-Free Plant Flours

  • Tapioca Flour
  • Cassava Flour
  • Potato Flour
  • Corn Flour
  • Arrowroot Flour
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Amaranth Flour
  • Tigernut Flour

What does gluten-free flour contain?

I compared 20 different gluten-free flour blends and found the most common ingredients are:

  • Rice Flour (Brown Rice, White Rice, Rice, & Sweet Rice)
  • Tapioca Flour/Starch (Tapioca Flour and Starch are the same)
  • Potato Starch
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Xanthan Gum

The 20 gluten-free flour blends compared did not contain yeast, soy, eggs or peanuts, or added sugar.

Allergens in Gluten-Free Flours

Relatively few of the gluten-free flour blends compared did contain at least one food allergen:

  • 2 out of 20 gluten-free flour blends contained milk in the form of milk powder
  • 1 out of 20 gluten-free flour blends contained tree nuts in the form of almonds flour and coconut flour
  • 4 out of 20 gluten-free flour blends contained corn in the form of cornstarch or corn flour

Does gluten-free flour have starch?

The majority of gluten-free flour blends contain starch. The most common kind of starches in gluten-free flour blends are tapioca starch and potato starch, but cornstarch, modified food starch, and rice starch are also used in some gluten-free flour blends.

Jordan Clark

Hi everybody, I'm Jordan! I was diagnosed with celiac disease and lactose intolerance in 2016, and have been living gluten-free and lactose-free out of necessity ever since. I created this blog to help to help others navigating the gluten-free life.

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