If you are new to Gluten-Free baking, it can be a tricky ordeal, but with some useful tips and a little practice, you can bake Gluten-free breads and desserts that are every bit as tasty as the conventional products you are used to.
Here is a list of Gluten-free flours and suggestions for their best uses.
Tapioca, also known as Tapioca Starch, is made from the dried roots of the Cassava plant. It is great in gluten-free baking, as its flavor is slightly sweet, yet not overpowering, as some other flours can be. This flour is particularly good in pie crusts, as it both promotes browning and a crisp texture. Tapioca flour also works well in cookie recipes, but works best when mixed with a moister flour, like Potato Flour.
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Also known as Potato Starch, is made from dehydrated, ground white potatoes. It is a very versatile flour and the taste is not as strong as you may expect. A tablespoon or so can be added to most recipes for added moisture and when paired with Tapioca or Rice flour makes wonderfully moist and chewy cookies
Rice flour is available in both brown and white, but White Rice Flour generally works best in baked desserts, as the taste is less strong. Rice bread/ baked goods tend toward the dry side, so again, potato flour is a great asset to this flour, as it adds moisture. Like Tapioca, rice flour batters tend to hold their shape during cooking, which is great for cut-out cookies.
Quinoa, often called “The Mother Grain” is an extremely nutritious and flavorful grain. Quinoa Flour is great in breads and hearty muffins and adds a delicious nutty, whole grain flavor. However, because of its strong whole grain flavor, it can sometimes be overpowering in Dessert breads, cakes and cookies.
Almond and Hazelnut Flours
Both of these nut flours are excellent in most recipes. As with most gluten-free flours, a mixture is recommended, but they can be used for the entire amount of flour as well, if you don’t mind a crunchier texture and heavy nut flavor. You may need to adjust the baking time, as nut flours cook quicker and are more likely to burn.
Garbanzo Bean and Fava Bean Flours
These flours, particularly when used in a combination with others, such as tapioca and potato, can be delicious in breads and whole grain muffins. However the flavor can sometimes be overpowering, so be sure that if you are using a flour containing beans for a dessert bread, that the other flavors are strong as well.
Coconut Flour is a great tasting source of fiber that can be substituted for up to 50% of the flour in any recipe, but remember to add a little extra liquid, as it is more absorbant than other flours. Works great in cookies as well as cakes and muffins.
Xantham Gum is also an important addition in your gluten-free baking. Xantham Gum works in much the same way as Gluten to keep your baking moist and whole.
A suggested chart follows.
You will find that varying the amount Xantham gum in your baking can make a big change in texture.
- ¼ tsp for Cookies
- ½ tsp for Cakes
- ¾ tsp for Muffins
- 1-1½ tsp for Breads
- 2 tsp for Pizza and Pie Crusts
Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to you in your Gluten-free cooking, but please remember that they are only suggestions and that often in baking, experimentation can be half the fun!
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