When it’s time to change the flour, everybody panics.
Have you ever made that classic change from wheat flour to rice flour and the recipe turned to stone? It became dry, hard and tasteless?
If this has happened to you, let me assure you that you are not the only one! We have all been through that.
So pay attention because it’s time to start getting to know your flours, their characteristics and their best use in baking.
But before we get into more details, let me start off with the most important tip:
never substitute wheat flour 1:1 with any other. It has to be a combination of flours that give structure, softness and elasticity to the recipes!
This means that, if you will use only rice flour, for example, you will have:
– a cake with only structure, no softness and no elasticity
– it will be dry and hard
– it will be tasteless
– it will have a high glycemic index! Rice flour is better than wheat flour because it’s gluten-free, but it is still a carbohydrate.
You will have to use it in combination with at least one more flour to give softness and flavor to your cake and one or more starches, which will give elasticity to your dough.
Indeed you will need to add specific flours and ingredients that contain good fats, protein, and fiber to give taste and smoothness to your final product. Only this way you will have a delicious and healthy recipe with a balanced glycemic index.
Having that said, let me tell you about the several types of gluten free flour you will use for creating healthy cakes that are delicious as well.
Almond flour is made from ground almonds.
The process involves blanching almonds in boiling water to remove the skins, then grinding and sifting them into a fine flour.
It is a light flour that gives softness and humidity to the dough and does not have a strong taste.
It is rich in good fats and contributes significantly to reducing the glycemic load of a preparation. Because of its high fat content, the dough will become light and humid. It is best used together with another flour that gives structure to the dough, like rice flour.
OTHER NUT FLOURS ARE: cashew, hazelnut, walnut, pecan, peanut, brazilian nut, pistacchio, macadamia, chestnut flours.
These are all great options for baking. They are all rich in protein and good fats, and they all contribute to reducing the glycemic load of your cake or dessert. Some have a stronger flavor than others, so have that in mind when choosing the recipe or the flour you are using for a specific recipe.
This flour is made from defatted coconut. It has a delicate coconut flavor and a pale ivory color. It is very rich in fiber, good fats and proteins.
It is best combined with a lighter flour. Use it in cakes, muffins, pancakes and cookies. But use it sparingly. Too much coconut flour will make your baked goods dry, so it should be used in recipes with a good quantity of liquids.
It is very rich in fiber and great for giving structure to the dough.
Because it is rich in fiber, the ratio used needs to be well balanced with lighter flours or/and with liquid or humid ingredients to avoid getting a too dense heavy dough.
If you have trouble finding gluten-free oat flour, you can make your own by processing gluten-free rolled oats in a food processor or blender until finely ground.
Make sure the oats used to make the flour are free from cross-contamination.
Oat flour has a mild flavor and adds nutrients to quick breads, cookies, pancakes and sweets.
Totally gluten-free and rich in fiber, it gives a feeling of satiety and also eliminates waste and toxins from the intestine. The fiber in brown rice flour is also great for improving cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
It is the easiest substitution to be found and the most used in recipes for breads and cakes because – despite not having gluten – it also gives structure to the dough.
Teff is a traditional Ethiopian grain that’s rich in fiber, protein, and minerals. This flour is quickly becoming a popular gluten-free alternative to wheat flour.
Teff is a good source of copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, and selenium. Additionally, it’s an excellent source of fiber and protein, boosting? all the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein in your body.
It’s highly nutritious and naturally gluten-free. However, it’s not as widely available as other gluten-free flours and may be more expensive. It is excellent in breads, for instance.
Chickpea flour is high in protein, fiber, and B vitamins. It is a flour that provides structure to the recipe, but it can leave an aftertaste, so it is nice to use it in combination with other flours.
Amaranth flour is rich in protein, iron, calcium and fiber. It is a flour that gives structure and also needs to be associated with a mix of flours. It has a very nice feature: it turns the color of baked goods – such as cake batter and cookies – more golden.
Gluten and grain-free, organic buckwheat flour has more protein, dietary fiber, and B vitamins than an equal weight of oat or whole wheat flour and is an excellent source of potassium and essential amino acids.
Buckwheat flour can be particularly tricky in batters because excessive mixing or beating may produce some rather stiff (and bad tasting) batter.
Gluten-Free Flour Mix
You can make it at home or buy gluten-free baking/all-purpose flour in local stores, supermarkets or online.
It’s a mixture of several gluten-free flours and starches, that mixed in the right proportion give structure and elasticity to the dough, like wheat would do.
I could go on giving you more examples, but you should start with a few options and try them out until you master each one of them and see how each flour reacts with heat, in the type of pan you use and with the other ingredients.
Remember: successful baking is only possible when you know what you are doing. Getting to know the flours is key to achieving that baking success you so much desire! 😉
Have a sweet healthy week!