Saturday, 1 March 2014

Ingredients of the Month 29: Gluten Free Flours


 I usually join in the discussion at #veganrecipehour on Twitter; it's a great way to talk and share recipes on a Thursday evening. This week the theme was gluten free recipes, and there were some really yummy-sounding bakes and desserts. One of the tweets also took the form of a chart of gluten free flours, and so I got to thinking about which ones we use in our kitchen. Now you may wonder what relevance gluten free flours would have in a household where nobody has gluten intolerance, but we think it's really good not to rely on just wheat and rice (especially the wheat) all the time- not only does it get boring, but it's nutritionally limiting too as some other flours, like buckwheat, for example, have a quite different nutritional benefits from wheat. Also, eating the same food meal in, meal out, day in, day out, for years can lead to tolerance problems eventually. Who has noticed that eating bread more than once a day gives them a bloated stomach? Or that pasta leads to indigestion?- I bet at least some of you have, which is why some kind of gluten free flour should have a place in anyone's kitchen. Here's what we have in our kitchen at the moment, plus a list of some other gluten free flours:

Speckly brown buckwheat flour has a strong, earthy taste.
  • Dove's Farm gluten free brown bread flour- a blend of rice flour, tapioca flour, potato flour, buckwheat flour and carob flour, plus sugar beet fibre and xanthan gum (for stickiness.) I made some quite passable chapattis with this, although they had to be smaller and a bit thicker than normal despite rolling them between sheets of clingfilm because the dough is rather breakable.
  • Millet flour (aka bajri/ ragi)- used in Indian cookery to make thepla (a kind of paratha) and pancakes. Added to wheat flour, it makes a soft and light cake, and I have used it as a cheesecake base too. Millet is a staple grain in many African countries, and is used to make porridge in China and Russia.
  • Chickpea flour (aka baisen, gram)- a pale yellow-beige soft and fine flour, which tastes rather "beany" unless cooked through. It is really versatile and can be used for sweets like baisen ladu and baisen burfi, or for batters to make pancakes, pakoras or toad-in-the-hole. I have also used it as a binder in veggie burgers, nut roasts and gluten free cookies.
  • Buckwheat flour- a speckly brown flour with a strong, earthy taste which makes pancakes called blinis, plus good cakes and cookies, especially when teamed up with other strongly-flavoured ingredients like ginger. It is used to make 100% buckwheat noodles called soba, and you can experiment making your own buckwheat pasta too. We like buckwheat flour so much that if we don't have it we will grind our own from whole buckwheat!
  • Potato flour- a white flour made from cooked and ground potatoes (not to be confused with potato starch); you can mix it with other flours (wheat or gluten free) when baking, or with mashed potato and seasoning to form patties or dumplings.
  •  Other gluten free flours-include rice flour, maize (corn) flour and chestnut flour. Here's the link to a list:
http://www.plantbasedpharmacist.com/2012/07/the-gluten-free-diet-is-it-right-for-you.html



This flour blend is a good substitute for breads, chapattis and baking in general.

2 comments:

  1. Hoorah for wheat and gluten free flours! I might have to try one of these alternatives as a change to my usual free from option :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very useful list of gluten free flours.I am interested on exploring potato flour,thx for sharing

    ReplyDelete

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