Gluten Free Flours and Which Ones Are Right For You

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Here is everything you need to know to make great gluten free baked goods.
There are many things to consider when choosing gluten free flours.
* The glycemic index is a concern if you are diabetic, a celiac or just trying to lose weight.

*If you are allergic to other things as well.

*There is taste to consider.
Not all flours taste the same to everyone.

*Whole grain.
We all know it is healthier to eat whole grain. If it is important to you, you would choose whole grain flours.

*How a mix performs for you.
Not all mixes are the same. You have to find one that is right for you.

*Digestion problems.
People do not tolerate are flours well.

Some flours are very expensive. Since I own my own wheat grinder I grind my own brown rice flour and save a bundle. You can buy brown basmati rice any where they sell bulk foods. Try Asian markets as well.

*Availability. Sometimes you just can’t find the flours that a recipe calls for. That is where online shopping comes in handy, but now we are back to affordability again. I would rather tell a store manager what I need and see if he will get it for me. Remember if you want to buy it they want to be the one to sell it to you.

Sorghum Flour
This has become very popular gluten free flour and is ground from the seeds of the Sorghum plant. On the farm this was grown with the corn. The dairy farmers would harvest the sorghum and corn together, chop it and put it in a sloping pit, cover it with black plastic and pile old tires on top. In winter the plastic would be peeled back and the steam that rose off the top smelled sweet and earthy. It is called corn silage and the farmers serve this warm mixture to the dairy cows, who love it. The sorghum has a sweet nutty flavor and adds texture to gluten free bread.

Sweet Rice Flour
I buy brown basmati rice and grind in on fine, unless I am making bread and then I grind it just a little bit coarser. It is also called sticky rice and it is the rice the Japanese use. I make Swedish Pancakes using the sweet rice flour. I have made them out of all-purpose flour for years and loved them. Then when I discovered I was allergic to all grains I started making them out of the sweet rice flour. May I tell you I find that they are more delicate out of the sweet rice flour and melt in your mouth? Sweet rice flour is the best at thickening sauces and gravies. If you miss fried chicken and never thought you could have it again, try this flour. It will be crispier than you remember your chicken being. It works well for anything you want to coat in flour.

Brown rice and white rice flour
This flour has about 6.5 percent protein and does not form gluten. It is the main ingredient in most gluten free baked goods. When you use it in baked goods you must also use other ingredients to help gluten form. There are two binders, guar gum and xanthium gum that are essential to all gluten free baking. There seems to be no difference in them. I have used them both.

Tapioca Flour/Starch
This is a great binder in baked goods when used with other flours. It is also used to thicken sauces and gravies. It has the advantage of being able to thicken sauces without having to bring them to a boil. This must be stored in the frig as it goes bad quickly but in the frig it will last up to two years. I use it so quickly it doesn’t have time to go bad.

Potato Starch
Do not confuse this with potato flour. If you add hot water to potato flour you will have mashed potatoes. This is used hand in hand with Tapioca flour in baked goods. This will also thicken sauces and recipes and can stand heat better than corn starch.

Teff Flour
Teff is a grain about the size of a poppy seed. It comes in colors ranging from red, white and dark brown. When ground it has an unappealing gray tan color. It is power packed with all kinds of nutrients for the human body. It is higher in protein than wheat and has a high concentration of iron, calcium and thiamin. The iron in Teff is very easy for the body to absorb. The grain is so small that when it is ground the bulk of the flour is mostly germ and bran with very little starch. This makes it an ideal flour for diabetics. Since Teff contains no gluten it is perfect for those who are celiac or have wheat sensitivities. Due to the nutritional benefits it is becoming popular with athletes. Teff grows predominantly in Africa and is a staple grain of their diet. In Africa this grain is used to make the traditional injera bread.

Quinoa Flour
Many think Quinoa is a grain but it actually is a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Quinoa has been recently rediscovered. This ancient grain, once considered, the gold of the Incas, is a native plant to South America. It has complete protein, which means it has all nine amino acids. This grain is so small it is packed with a lot of bran and over 80 nutrients. The benefits of this grain are so long I cannot write them all here. One good thing to note it is said that if you include Quinoa in your diet you can reduce the number of migraines you have. The flour also lends moisture to your gluten free product. This grain you can easily buy in the store whole and grind yourself in your own grain mill. To bake with Quinoa you will need to mix it with another gluten free flour. Try this, 2 parts quinoa flour, 2 parts sorghum flour and 1 part tapioca starch mixed together. You will have to add xanthan gum or guar gum to this as well. Buy some and it will tell you right on the package how much to use per cup of mix. Good luck.

Oat Flour
This flour contains 17 percent protein and is used to boost the protein in breads and baked goods. It can be substituted for one third of the wheat flour in recipes. It does not form gluten. It must be ground from groats which is what the oat berries are called. You cannot just grind up rolled oats. They will not feed properly into the wheat grinder. Now if you live close to a grain elevator chances are pretty good you finding groats, but if you do not, then I suggest searching online. Oat flour brings a lot of flavor with it, which it imparts to your baked goods.

Corn flour
Now you can make a meal by grinding it coarse or you can make it fine. You can add a little corn flour to any recipe. Both corn meal and corn flour contain 7-8 percent protein. Neither corn meal nor corn flour will form gluten making it perfect for the gluten sensitive. Here is a little trick you can try to get rid of the grainy texture when making recipes with corn meal in it. Try adding the moisture called for in the recipe to the corn meal and bringing it to a boil. Let it sit until it is room temperature before adding the rest of the ingredients and proceeding with the recipe instructions.

Soy Flour
This flour is the highest in protein at 50 percent and is used primarily to increase protein content in baked goods. Soy flour cannot make gluten and does not contain starch. If you use this flour in large amounts it will affect the taste and not in a good way and it will brown very quickly. I suggest you substitute 2 tablespoons of soy flour out of every cup of flour. If you use any more than that you won’t like the results.

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