A Comprehensive Guide To Gluten Free Flours
Below is a comprehensive list of Gluten Free Flours, along with a brief description about each of the flours.
This article will tell you about the different flour options for gluten free baking and for gluten free raw food recipes. It will also advise you as to which flours are suitable for those on Low FODMAP diets and which are not e.g. besan/chickpea flour and soy flour are not suitable for those on a restricted FODMAP diet.
Find out the health issues caused by Gluten in my article Unhealthy Gluten- Gluten & Disease – How To Go Gluten Free
*Important – the following flours being, sourdough, wholemeal flour, rye, spelt and kamut are still all wheat based and contain gluten. Though you can get gluten free sourdough breads but you must check the label.
Organic Gluten Free, Wheat Free Flour List
Some of these gluten free flours are whole grains and others are starches, you can mix these easily to make your own ‘organic’ gluten free flour blends. See Organic Gluten Free Flour Blend Recipes
To make a gluten free all purpose flour you will need to mix quite a few of them together in specific ratios of whole grains to starches, as well as often using a gum such as Xanthan Gum to help replace the gluten component in wheat based flours.
Made from either blanched (skin off), or plain raw almonds and is a fantastic staple of any gluten free bakers or raw foodies pantry as it is full of protein, minerals and vitamins. To make your almond meal more digestible we recommend using activated and dehydrated raw organic almonds and processing them into a either a coarse or fine meal in a food processor, depending on what your recipe calls for. To see how to activate almonds read – The Health Benefits of Activated Nuts & How To Activate Nuts
A high protein, high fiber (mostly insoluble fiber) flour that contains iron, calcium and magnesium. It is an ancient grain made from the seeds of the Amaranth plant and is great for gluten free baking.
A tasteless, easy to digest, starch based flour that thickens and binds and is made from the root of the Arrowroot plant.
Made from ground chickpeas and while it is high in fiber and protein, it is not suitable for those on a low FODMAP Diet due to the presence of galactans. This flour is a thicker, moist flour that has a sweet bean taste.
Brown Rice Flour:
Made from unpolished brown rice, this means it still contains the rice bran and therefore has a higher nutritional value than white rice flour. Brown rice flour is heavier and grainier and than white rice flour and it has a pleasant, slightly nutty, sweet taste. The thing to be careful of is using too much brown rice, especially imported brown rice, the reason being is rice contains a high arsenic load and brown rice is higher in arsenic than white rice, have a read – Did You Know That Rice Contains High Arsenic Levels.
Buckwheat Flour/ Kasha Flour:
This flour is completely wheat free despite its name. It is made from the seeds of the Buckwheat plant and is a heavy flour that is light grey/brown in colour and it has a relatively strong nutty taste. For baking cakes and biscuits it is best blended with a mix of other flours, so as the buckwheat taste does not overpower everything, but on the other hand buckwheat can be used on it’s own to make great pancakes and pizza bases, although slightly on the heavy side.
Chia Seed Flour:
Made from ground up chia seeds and while we are huge fans of chia seeds due to the fact they are high in Omega 3’s, protein, iron, calcium and a whole lot more. Read Chia Seeds, Are They Really A Super Food?
I do not recommend baking with Chia Seeds or Chia Seed flour as heating Omega 3 oils alters their structure and causes them to go rancid very quickly. So if you are wanting to use chia seed flour then use it to create Raw Food recipes.
Slightly sweet flour, made from the flesh of coconuts. Coconut flour is great for raw food recipes and works really well with almond meal. Coconut flour is also great for baking when a little is mixed in with other flours to create a gluten free all purpose flour mix.
Coconut flour is high in fiber, protein, lauric acid (a healthy fat) and manganese, but you need to be aware that this flour loves moisture and is super absorbent, so you will need to add a lot more eggs, or for vegan baking try using mashed banana’s, pureed pumpkin, or other fruits. As it is such a dense flour you would normally use only a 1/3 or 1.4 cup of coconut flour as a replacement for a cup of grain based flour. Coconut flour is also very heavy and clumpy so it needs to be blended/sifted together very well with the other flours use are using. I tend to use my Vitamix and add my coconut flour and other flours and blend them together for a few seconds until well combined.
Try this decadent but still healthy recipe for – Organic Vegan Carob, Almond & Coconut Kisses.
Corn Flour/ Corn Starch:
A super fine white, starch flour with a very mild taste and is made from finely milled corn. It is a good thickening, binding flour, similar to arrowroot flour. Corn flour is traditionally used to thicken sauces.
Corn Meal /Maize Flour:
A coarser, heavier flour made from milled sweet corn and is great for the traditional corn bread or corn muffins.
Hemp Seed Flour:
Milled from hemp seeds, a super-food in their own right, have a read of Hemp Seed & Hemp Oil Health Benefits.
Hemp seed flour tastes slightly earthy and nutty. I think it tastes a little like pine nuts. Hemp flour like chia seed flour contains Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s (actually in the perfect balanced ratio), so we recommend as with chia seed flour not baking with it, but rather using it for Raw Food recipes. Please note currently in Australian and NZ hemp products have not been legalized for sale for human consumption, but throughout the rest of the world it is legal and considered extremely healthy and beneficial!
A highly nutritious flour that is made from the grains of millet, a member of the grass family. It is superfine in texture and is a good source of fiber iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. Millet flour is also high in two important essential amino acids, Methionine and Cysteine, which means it needs to be stored properly and once opened used fairly quickly, as it can go rancid fast. Millet should have a slightly sweet, nutty taste but should not taste bitter, if it leaves a bitter aftertaste then it has gone rancid. Those suffering from Hypothyroidism should avoid millet.
Oat Flour made from Gluten Free Oats:
Oats are a tricky one as they contain a type of gluten that is different to the gluten found in wheat products. Many Ceoliacs and Non-Ceoliac Gluten Sensitivity people will however be able to tolerate the Avenin Gluten found in oats. The other thing one needs to be careful of is that often oats are made in the same processing factory as wheat and therefore can be contaminated with wheat gluten, this is why if you do have either Ceoliac Disease or Non-Ceoliac Gluten Sensitivity then you should only use oats and oat flour from brands that state that they are free from wheat gluten free contamination. More reading about the gluten and oats debate here
Made from cooked and dehydrated potatoes and it is a fine slightly yellow/white flour that is great for baking with, but it does have a definite potato flavour. Potato flour also absorbs and holds a lot of water, so a little helps bind ingredients and add moisture to baked goods. It is a flour that would be used as a relatively small percentage of a gluten free flour blend recipe. It is a lot more nutritious than potato starch, as it contains the whole potato, but most bakers prefer the fineness and tastelessness of potato starch. Potato flour adds a density to baked goods.
Different to potato flour, it is made from using the starchy protein of potato tubers. It does not have a potato taste and is better suited to baking cakes. It is a good thickening starch similar to cornstarch and arrowroot. Potato Starch adds more lightness to baked goods.
Made from the highly nutritious quinoa grain and is one of the rare, complete sources of vegetarian protein, as well as being high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, (read All About Quinoa – Quinoa Health Facts – Quinoa Types & Quinoa History). As a flour it has a mild nutty, earthy taste, but if the saponin coating wasn’t effectively washed off before the grain was milled into flour, then the flour could have a very bitter aftertaste.
From milled sorghum grain and is high is fiber, protein, iron, calcium, potassium and it is also high in antioxidants. This flour has a very mild taste, making it perfect for baked goods, but it generally does need to be incorporated in as part of a gluten free flour blend and not used on it’s own, as it absorbs a lot of moisture. Interestingly food scientists have reported that sorghum flour is not as easily digestible as some of the other gluten free flours.
From soybeans and is very high in protein and a good source or iron, calcium and B vitamins. Soy flour contains natural oils that help add moisture to baked goods. It is finely ground flour with a very mild nutty taste. It is not suitable for those who are allergic to Soy due to it being high in Galactans and should also be avoided by those following low FODMAP diets. See Learn Which Foods Are High In FODMAPS – Steering Clear Of Fructose, Lactose and FODMAPS
A starch based flour produced from the root of the Cassava plant. It can be used in place of arrowroot or corn starch..
White Rice Flour:
Ground from white rice, which unlike brown rice does not contain bran. To make white rice the bran of the rice is stripped off, therefore it does not have as much nutritional value as brown rice, but on the plus side, the outer coating of the rice is removed and therefore the arsenic content is likely to be lower – again please read – Did You Know That Rice Contains High Arsenic Levels.
White rice flour doesn’t have any taste and is lighter than brown rice flour.
Contains the highest calcium content out of all of the wholegrains. Teff flour is made from the smallest grains in the world, those that come from Teff grass. Teff flour along with being high in calcium is also high in vitamin C, protein, iron and fiber.
Storing Gluten Free Flours Safely
Important: Whole grain flours and starches are better bought in small quantities and not in bulk, as wholegrains still contain the germ which contains most of the healthy oils in the whole grain and when they are processed into flour, the germ is split open and the oils exposed to air, therefore they can go rancid quite easily. It is recommended that you store the wholegrain flours on a cool dry pantry shelf or in the refrigerator for only 1-2 months and in the freezer for 2-6 months. This great chart Whole Grain Storage Chart by the Whole Grain Council shows you each grains shelf and freezer life. Smell and taste your flours regularly before use and if they smell sour, fishy or oily, or if they taste bitter or funny, then they have gone rancid.