Whether you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, or are just interested in a healthy, low-carb diet, there are more options for wheat-free products than ever before.
Types of alternative flours
There are many kinds of non-wheat and gluten-free flours available. These are some of the most common, which may be found at most grocery stores.
- Almond flour is simply ground, blanched almonds. It is very dense, so not suitable for all baking needs, though it is good for heavy things, such as fudgelike brownies or as a crunchy coating for fried foods.
- Rice flour is similar to wheat flour in texture and weight, though it does have a stronger taste. It is suitable for pasta or baking, and can be made from either white or brown rice.
- Buckwheat flour is very popular. It is high in fiber and has a very strong taste. Try using it in bread or pancakes.
- Millet flour is popular for unleavened breads, and is eaten as a cereal in parts of Africa.
- Oat flour is easy to make by grinding oats in a food processor until powdery. This flour does absorb a lot of liquid, so when substituting it in recipes, remember to use more than is called for. Be aware that oat flour is not gluten free.
How to substitute alternative flours
You can use alternative flours on their own or mixed with other flours to produce the results that you want. Most gluten-free flours are unsuitable for baking leavened breads or baked goods where a light, fluffy texture is desired. If a gluten intolerance or allergy is not your reason for seeking alternative flours, you may want to substitute only half the wheat flour for another type. Play around with different flours to develop a mixture that suits you.
When making pasta, rice flour is a popular choice. In fact, it is already widely used in most Japanese and Chinese noodle recipes. It also can be used to make fluffy steamed buns. It is the most popular gluten-free bread flour, as it has a texture similar to wheat flour, and the taste is not very strong.
If you are looking to buy ready-made food items, most wheat- and gluten-free products will advertise that fact on the label. You can also look in the ingredients list to see if it is suitable for your dietary needs.
If you want to try your hand at baking with alternative flours, consider this easy bread recipe that combines three different types of flour.
Alternative flour bread recipe
- 2 cups almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- ¼ cup golden flaxmeal
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 5 eggs
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees; grease a loaf pan.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together until they are well blended. It may be helpful to use a food processor or blender if there are large clumps of flour.
- Add the eggs and vinegar, mix until the batter is smooth and there are no lumps.
- Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for half an hour.
- Let the bread rest in the pan for several hours before serving.