Gluten free cake made using a blend of rice, tapioca, maize, potato and buckwheat flours.
Today there is a wide range of gluten free flours available to buy online or in many supermarkets. As well as specific plain, bread and self-raising blends such as those that can be bought from Doves Farm there are many individual naturally gluten free flours.
Almond flour – This can be used in many recipes and is especially nice in cakes and biscuits. It can also be used mixed with a plain flour to create a delicious topping for fruit crumbles. Recipes can be found that call for almond flour alone or you can substitute up to 25% of the flour in most recipes without the finished results being affected negatively.
Buckwheat flour – Buckwheat is not related to wheat at all and so is safe to use for those on a gluten free diet. Despite its name, buckwheat is a fruit seed and is related to rhubarb. It has a mild earthy flavour and is often used to make crepes and blinis.
Brown rice flour – This gluten free flour has a rich earthy, nutty flavour and will add a darker colour to baked items. It can also be used as a thickening agent in soups, stews, casseroles and other dishes and sauces.
Chestnut flour – This sweet flavoured flour is a good choice for desserts and other sweet recipes and is often featured in those that include almonds, chocolate, hazelnuts or honey. Chestnut flour is a staple in Tuscany, where it is known as Farina di Castagne and can be used in a range of recipes including pasta, pie crusts, crepes and cakes.
Coconut flour – Coconut flour absorbs more water than wheat and some other gluten free flours so it is likely that more will be needed when using this. This flour is high in fibre and low in carbohydrates so is also a good choice for people following a low carb diet.
Cornflour – This is generally used as a thicken agent and is generally not suitable for cooking with on its own. Some shortbread and biscuits recipes include a portion of cornflour as it can give these a lighter texture.
Gram flour – Chickpeas are used to make this naturally gluten free flour that is commonly used in Indian cooking. It is used to make flatbreads, pakoras and samosas and is best suited to savoury dishes rather than sweet.
Ground almonds – These are not really flour at all but can be used in baking cakes and biscuits. They can also be used as a substitute for breadcrumbs. Ground almonds can help to add a lighter texture to gluten free baked items.
Maize flour – This light and sweet flour is useful for sweet and savoury dishes and is made by grinding dried corn kernels. Maize flour is lighter than rice and tapioca flours and is low in saturated fat. This gluten free flour may also be called masa or corn flour (not to be confused with the cornflour used as a thickener).
Millet flour – Millet flour is made using ground millet seed. This flour has a sweet nutty flavour and is a good source of many vitamins and minerals. Millet flour is rarely used on its own and is more commonly combined with other flours to make gluten free flour blend.
Potato flour – Like many other non-wheat flours, potato flour is not often used on its own in cooking. It is often combined with rice flour to create a blend closer resembling wheat flour than either alone. Potato flour can be used as a thickener in liquid based foods such as stews but care should be taken not to boil it as this can alter the taste and consistency of the finished dish.
Quinoa flour – This gluten free flour is another that is made from a seed and is very high in protein and fibre. The flour can be produced using milled or un-milled quinoa seeds. The flour can go off very quickly and should be kept in the fridge or frozen to prolong its lifespan. As quinoa flour is more expensive than many other gluten free flours some cooks chose to grind their own using a food processor at home and bought quinoa. Another advantage to this is that you are able to grind only as much as is needed and avoid any waste.
Rice flour – Rice flour is a common ingredient in gluten free recipes and flour blends. Rice flour is used in many countries such as Japan and Thailand to make noodles and desserts and can also be used as a thickening agent. Rice flour is easier to digest than wheat flour so can be a good choice for anyone who has stomach or digestive issues.
Sorghum flour – This is generally available combined with other flours as when used alone sorghum flour creates quite dry baked goods with a unpleasant gritty texture. Adding a little more fat and eggs can also help to improve anything made using this flour. Sorghum is also sometimes known as milo and jowar.
Teff flour – This brown wholegrain flour is milled from one of the smallest grains in the world and is native to North-eastern Africa and South-western Arabia. It has a malt like flavour and is high in protein, calcium, and iron. Teff flour can be used to make delicious gluten free pie crusts, cookies and breads.
Tapioca flour – This is a very useful addition to gluten free baking as it helps to improve the texture of the cooked food. It is mostly used in combination with other flours and helps to add crispness and crunch to foods such as biscuits and pastry.