9 Healthy Gluten Free Flours

| October 20, 2012 | 1 Comment

gluten free fours

Cooking with gluten free flours can be tricky but it is worth it. 
Imagine eating sinfully delicious deserts that are also healthy for you!

When you are just eating gluten free whole grains, it is relatively simple.  You can just throw some rice or millet in a pot, and with a little variation on the amount of water; you can get a pretty good meal.  If you want to cook perfect millet or rice every time, it is more precise but for many this is not absolutely necessary.

Once you get into baking though, it’s a whole new level of complexity and precision to get that perfect cookie or cake.  You can’t just substitute your favorite regular wheat recipe with rice flour for example.  It just won’t work out. I often feel like a chemist in the kitchen fine tuning gluten free recipes.

The first step is to have the proper flours.  To keep it simple I have limited this list to a small handful of my favorites .   I was extremely sensitive to gluten and almost everything so I have been cooling and baking gluten free for almost 20 years.

All my recipes are also 100% white sugar free and 100%  unhealthy starch free. Many of the common gluten free recipes and products are loaded with sugar and starch and that is definitely not healthy.

The healthy ones I like and use for specific reasons include:

Grains

Brown Rice Four

White Rice Flour

  • Use  for shortbread and pastry
  • Add lightness and texture
  • Add somewhat dry gritty crumbly texture
  • Works best when combined with high protein flours to balance texture and build structure

Caution: Use only small amounts as it has less nutrition than brown and is tending to be starchy.

Rolled Oats

  • High in fiber, protein and nutrition
  • Add taste, texture and structure
  • Contains lignans which protect against heart disease and cancer.
  • Read many more benefits at 10 Benefits of Oatmeal

Caution: Often contaminated with wheat so must buy special gluten free oats and flour

Nuts (for grain free baking)

These two have become favourites in my baking for grain free recipes.

Blanched Almond Flour/Meal

  • Add a sweet, nutty flavour
  • Add protein, fiber, vitamin E and healthy fat
  • Adds structure and texture

Caution:  It is high in fat and can go rancid easily so keep refrigerated or freeze if not using within a few months.

Coconut Flour

  • Low-carb, high-fiber flour
  • Subtle, sweet fragrance
  • Well tolerated by those with allergies

Caution: It is a very dense flour to use 100% without eggs or flax meal.

Beans and Legumes

Chick Pea Flour

  • Adds moisture, good texture, high protein and high nutrition.
  • Is creamy coloured with a slightly sweet bean taste

Caution:  Never use more than 30% of mixture due to bitter aftertaste.

Seeds

Golden Flax Meal

  • High in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Mixture of flaxseed meal and warm water is used as an egg replacer in vegan and egg-free baking
    • Healthy substitute for xanthan gum or guar gum

Caution: They can cause a flecked appearance and too much can have laxative effect so introduce slowly.

Tubers and Roots

Potato Flour

  • High in fibre and protein
  • Fine creamy white-yellow powder
  • Made from dehydrated whole potatoes
  • Healthy substitute for xanthan gum or guar gum

Cautions: Don’t confuse with potato starch. Use much less.

 

Arrowroot Flour

  • Well tolerated by food-allergic people, even those with multiple allergies
  • High nutritional properties enhance baking performance
  • Chewy texture and increased browning capabilities
  • One of the few healthy starches- read my article  Arrowroot Flour for Healthy Gluten Free Baking

Caution: Too much (over 25%) can produce gummy texture.

There are many more gluten free flours but these are the basics.  I am always experimenting with new  gluten free flours and combinations.  I play with millet, sorghum, quinoa, amaranth, teff, buckwheat and even ancient wheat. Most of those grains are already in my diet and I love them.  I must be careful when teaching to not overload but I like to play and experiment myself. Suggestions of YOUR favorites are welcome.

Our diet needs to consist of is a wide variety of foods; not just the same ones over and over every day.  Sometimes the same food is eaten many times a day like wheat which comes as toast for breakfast, muffins for tea, sandwich for lunch and then pasta for dinner and cake or cookies for dessert.  I believe that is one of the reasons so many have intolerance for the gluten in wheat.

I am also passionate about creating more healthy gluten  free recipes.  You can read my rant about this here: 9 Dangers of Common Gluten Free Products and Recipes

Many popular recipes and products are filled with sugar and starch.  Almost everyone knows the dangers of too much white sugar but many people don’t know that starch is very similar to sugar.  It has almost no vitamins and minerals, and extremely low amounts of fiber, and protein.  Read all the difference here:  Starches VS Flours – What is the Difference

That’s why all my recipes are filled with only healthy flours and ingredients.

That is also why I teach a special Healthy Baking BootCamp – for people to get not only the knowledge but also the skills to bake and cook properly with gluten free foods.  It has the focus and success of a gritty outdoor boot camp so in one weekend you get to create sinfully delicious AND healthy desserts…but from the comfort of your home. 

Check it out here:  Healthy Baking BootCamp

 

About Diana Herrington

I am the Founder and Author at Real Food For Life. Have been teaching cooking classes worldwide since 1982. Create original, healthy recipes and menus, which are gluten free and white sugar free. Also, the author of the GREEN means LEAN and Balance Your Body e-books. I turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar free, gluten free eating and cooking.

Category: Nutrition

Comments (1)

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  1. diane Nestowick says:

    Is there something I should watch because I have type 2 diabetis and, for example,I have to stay away from pasta. My doctor also told me that, if I would loose 20 lbs I would have no need for insulin

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