Have You Tried?… Gluten-Free Flours

by in Gluten-Free, Healthy Recipes, July 13, 2010

gluten free blueberry muffins

Whether you need to steer clear of gluten because of an allergy or just like to experiment in the kitchen, there are plenty of choices beyond good old wheat. Mix things up with these flour alternatives.

New Ways to Get Whole Grains
Different flours provide unique flavor to the dishes you use them in. It’s also a good way to get in some of the whole-grain nutrients you can’t find in wheat flour. If you do have a gluten allergy, check packaging to make sure the brand you buy isn’t made in a facility that also manufactures wheat products.

You can find many of these flours at your local health food store or online, or you can also make your own with a quick zip of dry grains in the food processor. Since these flours don’t contain gluten, you’ll usually see them combined with other flours and maybe some xanthan gum in recipes for baked goods to get the right texture.

Rice Flour
Characteristics: Fine and powdery, made from white or brown rice. Lower in protein, but higher in fiber than enriched wheat flour.
Uses: Baked goods, tempura and crispy coatings on veggies, meat, or fish.
Recipe: Crab Cakes

Oat Flour
Characteristics
: Made from whole-grain oats (also called oat “groats”) and high in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Our resident food scientist Alton Brown has his own take on oat flour — watch this video and get his recipe for gluten-free oatmeal-raisin cookies. (Note: You can make your own oat flour by grinding oats in the food processor. If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure you buy oats labeled “gluten-free” as conventional oats are often contaminated during the growing and/or processing.)
Uses: Breads, pancakes, toppings and coatings with a nutty flavor – great for fruit crisps.
Recipe: Pear and Ginger Crumble

Gluten-Free Baking Mix
Characteristics: Made from a combination of dried and ground beans, potato starch and tapioca flour (see below). It’s slightly lower in calories than most other grain flours. There are a few different brand out there, we like Bob’s Red Mill.
Uses: Pizza dough, cookies, muffins and breads.
Recipe: Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

Corn Flour
Characteristics: Finely ground cornmeal made from whole yellow or white kernels. It has a slightly gritty texture and sweet corn flavor and is especially high in iron. “Masa Harina” is a special type for making tortillas, you can find it at most large chain grocery stores.
Uses: Polenta, crispy coatings, corn tortillas
Recipe: Corn Tortillas

Tapioca Flour
Characteristics: Also called “cassava flour”, it’s derived from the starchy tuber called yucca.
Uses: Thickening agent for soups, sauces and fruit fillings; similar to cornstarch.
Recipe: Chewy Gluten-Free Cookies

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (377)

  1. Celiac Eats says:

    Regular oats are actually not gluten free. Those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or allergy should look for certified gluten free oats and oat flour were are available.

    • Roses1 says:

      Yes, you are correct because regular oats are grown in fields also used to grow wheat; buy gluten-free oats if extremely sensitive.

    • Whole Foods even Kroger grocery stores carry gluten free oats now.

    • Tina says:

      Cup for cup flour at William Sonoma is the best GF flour there is on the planet that I know of…..you do not have yo use all of the other multi ingredients, but just what is calls for. cup for cup. Try it ….the best

      • Steven says:

        Check-out http://www.jkgourmet.com for their finely-ground Almond Flour. Nutritious and easily adaptable to so many types of desserts. 100% gluten-free, grain-free. You need the powdery texture, so don't buy at a bulk store. Almond flour has negligible flavor so you can really taste the other ingredients you add to your muffin, cookie, cake, pie, pancake…

  2. great info for the G-Free peeps

  3. Jenn says:

    Yah – Oats are NOT gluten free – I wish.

    • judith says:

      You can get gliten free oats, they do have a protein which is close to gluten so some people have a cross reaction

    • Denise says:

      Well I heard they were suppose to be gluten-free, but in separting the grain, it gets mixed up with gluteness seeds or grains. It really is suppose to be gluten-free.

  4. Linda says:

    Certified gluten free oats are gluten free. Companies that sell them go to great lengths to make sure they are not contaminated with gluten.

    A quote from a blog post about oats, with a listing of five companies that sell gluten free oats. "The commitment from planting the seeds to the final package on the store shelf is complete. They use certified seeds, dedicated land, harvesting equipment, trucks, mills and storage facilities. And the final product is tested to rule out cross contamination." http://blog.kitchentherapy.us/2009/06/o-is-for-oa

    Here is a link to a recipe for awesome oat flour cake. http://blog.kitchentherapy.us/2010/03/beautiful-g

  5. pet says:

    bob's red mill has now gluten free rolled oats and gluten free steel cut oats. much more expensive but worth it. you find it in health food stores. I regularly make crepes with garbanzo bean four. Salty or sweet filling – my guest like them better than the wheat ones. I am fortunate that I do work in a Health Food Store and the owner orders gluten free merchandise just so that I can try it.

  6. Tammy says:

    I have been baking with gluten free flours for three years now. Would love to see more gluten-free and dairy free recipes!Thanks!

  7. Jill says:

    Oats do not produce gluten, but they get cross contaminated with the processing equipment and they are usually grown near wheat fields, so they are cross contaminated. They have to be certified organic and wheat free in order for "some" celiacs to be able to tolerate them. I was diagnosed 6 years ago and make my own breads now. Hockey pucks at first, but now, I've been slowing making my own recipes for great, light and ariy loaves. LOVE IT!

    • Petra says:

      My father at age 80 has been diagnosed with celiac. He misses a "light airy" piece of bread very much. Would you mind giving me your recipe so that I can try to make him a loaf?

      • Michelle says:

        Google almond flour (or almond meal) receipes. It is a great substitute for wheat flours that is suited for celiacs. It makes amazing muffins.

      • Michelle says:

        Bob Red Mills brand also has an amazing gluten free corn bread for celiacs

  8. Diana says:

    What Cook Book do you recommend for those trying to live gluten free?

  9. jill says:

    check out my facebook page at Zema's Madhouse Foods. I have developed mixes for gf crepes and flatbreads. Mine are super nutritious and different flavors. I am surprised no one talks about ancient grains. That's where I get most of my nutrients from.

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