Gluten-Free Flour Substitutions For Baking

Going wheat free doesn’t mean you have to give up breads, cookies and pizza.

There are many flours you can use to substitute in recipes that have delicious results.

Here is a general guide to substituting flour in recipes.

There are a variety of different formulas you can try when substituting wheat flour. Experiment to see what works and tastes best for you.

Gluten-free floursOne thing to note, though, is that alternative flours don’t produce the same texture or consistency as regular wheat flour.

With the lack of gluten, you will need to add a starch to your GF flour.

Know let’s see what these Gf flour substitutes are and the starch’s to use.

Gluten-free (GF) non-wheat flours are generally categorized into three different weights, and these include:

  1. Light starch
  2. All-purpose medium
  3. Heavier whole grain

Light Gluten Free Flours

Light, starchy GF flours include:

  1. sweet rice flour
  2. white rice flour

Medium Gluten Free Flours

Medium GF flours are similar to ‘all purpose flour’- these include:

  1. sorghum flour
  2. oat flour, certified gluten-free
  3. brown rice flour, superfine

If you are unable to find sorghum flour, certified gluten-free oat flour will be your is closest option.

Heavier GF Flours

The heavier grains, including psuedo-grains like quinoa, tend to contain more protein.

Which include:

  1. buckwheat
  2. quinoa
  3. millet
  4. cornmeal
  5. nut meal (such as almond and coconut)
  6. bean/legume flours

These heavier GF flours are similar to baking with whole wheat flour. You get a similar denser product, often darker in color, and with less rise.

Starches To Use With GF Flours

Starches in gluten-free bakingGluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat. It helps baked foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue, holding food ingredients together.

In gluten-free baking, a starch needs to be substituted. These include:

  1. tapioca starch
  2. cornstarch
  3. potato starch
  4. arrowroot starch

Here are some key points to know about starch in general, and specific differences for using each one.

  • Starches need time to hydrate before going in the oven so rest your batter or dough for up to 30 minutes for improved texture of some baked goods.
  • The high starch content of some gluten free flours can result in a gritty texture. Many batters and doughs benefit from more liquid to properly hydrate.
  • More liquid may then require a longer baking time in some recipes.

Starches for the most part are interchangeable.

Cornstarch

  • This powdery white cornstarch is not the same as corn flour. Do not substitute.
  • Not ideal for baking, too much cornstarch results in baked goods with a starchy texture.
  • Stirring too vigorously may cause a mixture to break down and thin out.
  • Cooking over high heat can cause lumping.
  • Best uses for baking: to thicken pie filling and make puddings.

Potato Starch

  • Made from raw potatoes it has no potato taste. Potato starch is not the same as potato flour. Do not substitute.
  • Provides structure, tenderness and binding power in baking.
  • Too much potato starch gives baked goods a crumbly texture.
  • Best uses: muffins, quick breads and a gluten free flour mix.

Tapioca Starch

  • Tapioca starch is all starch but is also called tapioca flour in recipes. It is the same ingredient.
  • Gives chewy texture, elasticity and structure to baked goods.
  • Aids in creating a crisp crust.
  • Can be used as a thickener for pies and sauces.
  • Too much tapioca starch makes baked goods dense.
  • Best uses: cookies, a flour blend and moist breads

Arrowroot Starch

Arrowroot is extremely versatile and can even be used as a substitute for wheat flour.

It works well when mixed with other gluten free flours like almond flour and coconut flour and is perfect for bread or cake recipes.

  • no break down in acidic ingredients
  • creates a clear gel
  • freezes well and thaws properly
  • when using eggs as the primary binder, adding arrowroot powder will significantly help the process
  • lightens the textures in cakes, quick bread, and cookies in gluten-free and grain-free baking

As you can see, different starches will contribute different textures to your baking.

Take Care When Using Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is a unique, non-grain, fiber rich and highly absorbent flour. If you add it to a recipe blend, you may need to add more fat or liquid.

Therefore, you cannot substitute coconut flour on a 1:1 ratio for all-purpose flour, or most other GF flours.

Coconut flour gluten-free baking

Typically you would combine 1/4 cup coconut flour with almond flour, hazelnut flour, cassava flour and a little tapioca starch for the best flavor and baking properties.

Using coconut flour will require one egg extra in the recipe for each 1/4 cup, for both moisture and structure.

First, incorporate the egg yolks into the coconut flour and other dry ingredients.

Whip the egg whites separately, and fold them into the first mixture to make baked goods lighter.

You may also need to increase other liquids in the recipe or make small adjustments to baking times.

A substitute for coconut flour can be flax-meal, cornmeal, and almond meal.

If you want added fiber and texture in your baked goods, add 1/4 cup flax seed meal to your GF flour blend.

Gluten-free Recipes To Try For Yourself

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Gluten Free Iron Skillet Pecan Coconut Cake

Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Gluten Free Blueberry Lemon Bread

How To Cook Dried Beans

Mixed Legumes on paper and burlap - How To Cook Dried BeansSoaking dried beans or legumes in water first, helps with dissolving the raffinose sugars that can cause discomfort in the digestive system. Rinsing the beans after soaking and draining any water after cooking will further help to reduce the sugars as well.

soaking deied beans - How To Cook Dried Beans

Image credit: EHow

Here are some steps you can take to reducing the raffinose sugars, a complex carbohydrate found in most in most dried beans.

This type of sugar is also found in cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus, among other vegetables, and including whole grains.

The California Dry Bean Advisory Board recommend this method for gas-free beans.

  • Place 1 pound of beans in 10 cups of boiling water for 2-3 minutes
  • Remove from heat, cover and set aside overnight

 

Soaking the beans overnight helps to remove or dissolve between 75 to 90 percent of the indigestible raffinose sugars.

If you want, you can add 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water to help remove the raffinose sugars as well.

Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils

Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils

Delicious Living recommends soaking 1 cup of beans in 3 cups of water for 6 hours before cooking them.

After soaking the beans, drain them of the water, then rinse thoroughly. Now your beans are ready to be cooked.

When cooking the beans, you can add any herbs and spices, but do not add any salt or acidic ingredients, like vinegar, tomatoes or juice, which can considerably slow the cooking time. Add these ingredients when the beans are done cooking.

When cooking your beans you can use either water, or a stalk made from vegetables, beef or chicken.

Cooking times will vary depending on the type of beans you will be using. Most cooks will tell you that dried lentils or split peas do not require soaking, but they do require sorting and rinsing.

Keep in mind that cooking lentils in too much liquid, or over cooking them, will make them mushy. They should only be cooked for 20 minutes or until tender.

How to Use Cooked Beans

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Dried beans when cooked are very versatile, and although they have different flavors and textures, they can often be used interchangeably in recipes.

Cooked beans can be used to make soups, added as a topping to vegetable salads, add to cooked rice, couscous or pasta salads for texture.

Here are some of our featured recipes using cooked beans.

Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas

Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas – Featuring a side dish of quinoa with black beans, onion, corn, and chili pepper

Spicy Chorizo and Bean Soup

Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils

South Of The Border Chicken Tortilla Soup

Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Lasagna

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas

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