Common types of flour and their characteristics
Is raw blanched whole almonds that have been ground into a fine powder.
Use almond meal in cakes, cookies, sweet breads, and a host of other desserts. Use it to add color texture, richness, and flavor in baked goods or everyday meal. It is terrific for coating beef, chicken, and fish or to sprinkle on salads. Almond meal is an excellent choice for people on a low carb diet.
Compared to other flours, almond flour is especially flavorful, with a nutty taste that works well with many other foods. It produces baked goods that are especially light and moist. Almond flour is very easy to use, and doesn't require any sifting or kneading.
¼ cup has 6 g carbohydrates and 3 g fiber
Is made from the seed of the Amaranth plant, which is a leafy vegetable. Amaranth seeds are very high in protein, which makes this a nutritious flour for baking. It's especially high in lysine, which is lacking in many grains.
Amaranth has a grassy, earthy taste, so it works best in savory dishes, like pizza dough, although a handful in crepes or quiche crust will work too.
Its cultivation, appearance and uses are similar to grains and can be used to replace 25% of the flour in your own recipes.
¼ cup has 20 g carbohydrate and 3 g fiber
Ground from the root of the arrowroot plant, it is tasteless and becomes clear when cooking. Arrowroot is easily digested and is used in diets requiring bland, low-salt, and low-protein foods.
It is, however, mostly used as a thickening agent for sauces, fruit pie fillings, glazes, puddings, but can also be used as a flour substitute mixed with rice. A great alternative for those with corn allergies as it works very similar to cornstarch.
¼ cup has 28 g carbohydrate and 1 g fiber
Dried beans can be ground into flours as easily as grains can. Chickpea flour — also known as garbanzo bean or Gram flour — makes a memorable flatbread in the south of France. Lentil flour shows up in Indian cuisine. Even fava beans become flour, and show up in some commercial gluten-free baking mixes. Experiment with the beans you like, in small doses.
¼ cup bean flour averages 18 g carbohydrates and 5 g fiber
Buckwheat flour is not, despite its name, a form of wheat; buckwheat is actually related to rhubarb. The small seeds of the plant are ground to produce a grey/brown flour that is nutritious, being a source of easily digested protein. It is high in fiber and is also said to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
Buckwheat flour is used in pancakes or bread, normally mixed with other flours as it has a strong nutty flavor so is not generally used on its own in a recipe, as the taste of the finished product can be very overpowering, and a little bitter. It does not work well as a thickener. Alternative names: beech wheat, kasha, and saracen corn.
¼ cup has 21 g carbohydrates and 3 g fiber
A delicious, healthy alternative to wheat and other grain flours. It is very high in fiber, low in digestible carbohydrates, a good source of protein and gluten free. Unlike wheat flour, coconut flour offers a good amount of essential amino acids.
It lends baked goods an incomparably rich texture and a unique, natural sweetness with a soft hint of coconut in the flavor.
You can replace up to 20% of the flour called for in a recipe with Coconut Flour, adding an equivalent amount of additional liquid to the recipe. Great for use in breads, cakes, cookies, crepes, pancakes and pastries.
2 tablespoons has 8 g carbohydrates and 5 g fiber
Corn Flour (must be labeled gluten free)
A stone ground flour that contains all of the bran, germ and endosperm. Add it to your favorite pancake, biscuit or bread recipe for added flavor and nutrition. Try making your favorite cornbread recipe with part or all corn flour instead of cornmeal. Your cornbread will be richer and less crumbly when made this way.
Can come in various grinds from fine to course
¼ cup has 22 g carbohydrate and 4 g fiber
Also known as ceci, besan, chickpea or garbanzo bean flour, is made from chick peas. A golden yellow coloured flour it is best used in savory dishes. It is widely used in Indian cooking for things like pakoras and bajjis, however it can be used to make a wonderful, slightly nutty pastry.
It is a heavier flour more suited to be used in smaller quantities in heavier doughs or batters. It makes an excellent thickener. This flour is a very good source of protein.
¼ cup has 13 g carbohydrate and 2.5 g fiber
Is made from pure, ground hazelnuts. It's low in carbohydrates and a good source of dietary fiber and protein.
It has a sweet, nutty flavor. Perfect for adding a rich flavor to all baked goods, from breads and muffins to cakes and cookies.
Substitute up to one-third of the recommended flour in your favorite recipes with our hazelnut flour.
¼ cup has 5 g carbohydrate and 3 g fiber
The seeds of the guar plant, which grows in India and Pakistan, make a granular flour when dried and ground. Take a look at many processed foods — such as commercial ice creams and puddings — and you will see guar gum on the list of ingredients.
In small amounts, guar gum can be a somewhat effective binder, mimicking some of the effects of gluten. As such, it is often used by the teaspoons to add elasticity to gluten free breads and cakes.
A whole grain flour. To be gluten free oat flour, it must be guaranteed pure oats with companies steadfast in protecting the oats from cross-contamination with other grains during growth. Their fields have been wheat-, barley- and rye-free for at least 3 years before their oats are planted. Pure oats production uses only dedicated or thoroughly cleaned equipment in planting, harvesting, transport, processing and packaging. No cross-contamination is allowed
1/3 cup has 26 g carbohydrate and 4 g fiber
Mild and ever-so-slightly sweet, millet is an adaptable grain. It soaks up the tastes of the foods surrounding it. It sings in harmony, rather than blaring out loud.
Millet flour lends a crumbly texture to breads and muffins, and it is especially good in quick breads. In its properties and uses it is comparable to rice flour.
¼ cup has 22 g carbohydrate and 4 g fiber
Potato Flour (not to be confused with Potato Starch)
Is ground from 100% dehydrated whole potatoes and is used in bread, pancake and waffle recipes or as a thickener for smoother sauces, gravies and soups.
This is a very heavy flour and should probably be used in small quantities or avoided altogether when looking for a fluffier result. Not suitable for cakes or light airy breads.
3 tablespoons contains 27 g carbohydrates and 2 g fiber
A ‘must-have’ for the gluten-free baker, this is a fine white flour made from potatoes, and has a light potato flavor which is undetectable when used in recipes.
Potato starch helps to produce the lightness and softness in a mix and will hold moisture, but it doesn't work very well as a thickener. Potato Starch keeps well and can be bought in quantity, which is a good thing, because of all the different gluten free flours/starches, potato starch will become the staple in your pantry.
It makes for wonderful crepes and blintzes by itself. This flour is also an excellent alternative to cornstarch for those who are allergic to corn and will be more stable when cooking at higher temperature.
4 tablespoons has 32 g carbohydrates and 1 g fiber
Quinoa Flour (pronounced keen-wa)
Is the most nutritious grain available. It is also one of the oldest cultivated grains in the world; it was staple to the diet of the Incas. Quinoa is high in protein, calcium and iron. Also known as the "gold of the Incas", quinoa is the most nutritious grain, packed with protein, calcium, and iron.
Use this delicate slightly nutty flour when baking.
You can substitute this flour for half of the all-purpose flour in many recipes or completely replace wheat flour in cakes and cookie recipes, but may need to add a bit of extra liquid as the baking results can sometimes turn out a bit on the dry side.
¼ cup contains 18 g carbohydrate and 2 g fiber
Brown Rice Flour
Use 100% stone ground to prevent the flour from tasting gritty-a common complaint about many brown rice flours. It is heavier than its cousin, white rice flour. It has a higher nutritional value and contains the bran of the brown rice. This flour contains more vitamins, more proteins, and more fiber than white rice flour.
It has a slight nutty taste. It will contribute to a heavier product. It is not often used completely on its own.
¼ cup has 31 g carbohydrate and 2 g fiber
White Rice Flour
Is ground from polished white rice. White Rice Flour is the most desirable flour for gluten-free baking. It's never gritty, and the taste is so mild, it will not alter the taste of your baked goods when mixed with other flours.
Great for baking breads, cookies, cakes, etc!
¼ cup has 32 g carbohydrates and 1 g fiber
Sweet White Rice Flour
Is made from high-starch, short-grain rice. It is a superior thickening agent especially good for recipes to be refrigerated or frozen as it inhibits liquid separation.
Also, the flour helps retain moisture by slowing the breakdown of starches. This flour is great for gravies
¼ cup has 40 g carbohydrate and 1 g fiber
Is a millet-like grain, America's third leading cereal crop. White sorghum flour is high in insoluble fiber with relatively small amounts of soluble fiber. The protein & starch components of grain sorghum are more slowly digested than other cereals and slow the rate of digestion for products made from white sorghum. Slower rates of digestibility are particularly beneficial for diabetics.
Easily substitutes for rice flour and any other gluten-free flour for all your favorite recipes! Great for breads, pizza dough, cakes, pastries, and as a breading agent.
Add 15% to 20% sorghum flour to your flour mixes to make delicious breads, cakes, and cookies
¼ cup has 25 g carbohydrate and 3 g fiber
Is from roasted soy beans ground into a fine flour containing all the fiber and oils-a good, healthy food high in protein. It has a short shelf life and best kept in the fridge or freezer. It is another ingredient that people can become allergic to so best used in moderation.
Soy Flour is also used to condition bread dough.
Try adding one tablespoon for each cup of flour called for in your favorite bread recipe. You'll add nutrients and have a higher, lighter loaf.
Baked goods using soy flour may brown more quickly so it is best to lower the oven temperature slightly.
¼ cup has 8 g carbohydrates and 3 g fiber
Is made from the root of the cassava plant, once ground it takes the form of a light, soft, fine white flour.
Tapioca flour adds chewiness to baking and is a good thickener. Use it as a binder with flours to hold baked goods together. For every cup flour, add 10 percent of tapioca flour.
Tapioca flour thickens so quickly that it can sometimes be used to correct the thickness of sauces right before serving!
¼ cup has 26 g carbohydrates and 0 g fiber
Teff (Tef, T'ef) Flour
Teff comes from the grass family and is pleasingly light, uniquely flavored, whole grain flour. As a flour, teff is nearly miraculous. The fine flour — ground from the tiny seeds — almost dissolve in baking, giving it a slightly gelatinous quality. This binds the baked goods in a somewhat similar fashion to gluten. It contains the highest calcium, zinc, potassium and iron content of any cereal. Teff flour is high in dietary fiber and an excellent source of essential amino acids. A versatile flour that can be used to make breads, pasta, pancakes and muffins, but is best not used in yeasted recipes.
Substitute teff for about a fourth of the all-purpose flour called for in your favorite baked goods recipe to add an appealing taste and added nutrition.
¼ cup has 22 g carbohydrate and 4 g fiber
Xantan gum can be found in salad dressings and frozen foods as a stabilizer. You can even find it in the list of ingredients on your toothpaste, where it binds everything together in a uniform consistency. In gluten-free baking, along with the slight less popular Guar Gum, it serves to replace the properties of the gluten in providing the cohesiveness and flexibility of your doughs and batters.
An absolute necessity for gluten-free baking. Only a tiny amount (1/2 teaspoon or less) is enough to bind that dough to make cookies and pie crusts, only a little more for cakes and breads.
There are many other flour options that we have not yet touched; Pea flour, Mesquite flour, Montina flour, but as living gluten-free becomes the life style for a larger group of the population day by day, either by medical direction or by choice, I’m sure more options will be discovered …… and we will do our best to stay on top of all of them!
Some of us like to make our own different baking blends to substitute flour in recipes. You can mix up a different blend suited to either breads or cakes, sweet or savory baking needs ready mixed in your pantry. The simplest way to try out what works best for you is to make sure all your mixes include components from all of the groups listed below:
Group A – Cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca or arrowroot. These provide smoothness to your mix.
Group B - Brown rice, sorghum, coconut, cornmeal, quinoa, gram, teff, millet, amaranth or millet. These all provide protein to your mix.
Group C - Potato starch and quinoa. Add moisture to baked goods.
Aside from just the flours in any given mix, a replacement for the gluten is needed as well. This is necessary to hold the baked goods together and give it flexibility and ‘bounce’, without it your baking would crumble. For breads, cakes and muffins, slightly more will be needed than for example in cookies or pies. You have the following two options to choose from: Xanthum gum or Guar gum.
Keep in mind that the texture and flavors of baking with gluten free flours and starches may not be exactly what you are used to, but in experimenting with the different combinations of flours you can create delicious alternatives that will make you and everyone else unaware that anything is missing!!
GF Flour Blend Cake/Bread (store in airtight container in fridge)
1 ½ cup sorghum flour
1 cup coconut flour
½ cup white rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour
1 cup arrowroot flour
4 teaspoons xanthan gum