The day has come.
See, for the most part, I do avoid gluten when I can, as I eat a ton of sweet potatoes, squashes, GF oats, quinoa, GF breads like Julian Bakery or Ezekiel, and brown rice as my carbohydrates. And as you can see, almost all my recipes on here use GF flours.
Buttt, I definitely don’t say no to gluten-containing foods when offered such as bread at dinner, or cookies/other desserts.
Let me do a little FLASHBACK for you all to explain why I have chosen this: Last year I was having a ton of digestive problems and stomach issues, and so I went in to get an allergy test done as my doctor said some foods can cause symptoms like that and not necessarily an allergic reaction like you would think a food you are allergic to would cause.
I was highly allergic to wheat. Oops.
So I told myself I was going gluten free last year, and then with being up at college and eating at my sorority house, caved in and told myself it really wasn’t gluten that was upsetting my stomach.
Well, after tons of research and real life stories of people close to me going gluten free and feeling so incredible..I realized what I needed to do.
SO, as of now, I am beginning this gluten free journey. Will I sometimes eat a piece of bread out, most likely.. Who knows if I will last and who knows if I will feel differently.Only time will tell. But I feel like it is worth the experiment to see if I see results!
Here’s to self control and hoping that with the holidays at home and eating at my sorority house with all those delicious gluten containing foods, or to those bread baskets that come out when I go out to dinner..that I can say no 🙂 .. at least most of the time!
I’ll be updating y’all in my recipe posts as time goes on!
So as I start this, I realized it would be helpful for me AND you all, to research about gluten free flours and how they are best used and what’s good about each one specifically, so here is a list I’ve come up with!
There are 3 categories of Gluten Free Flours: “Heavy”, “Medium”, and “Light”, when talking about their consistency in baking
HEAVY: gives structure and binding but doesn’t rise well
- Chickpea/Garbanzo Bean Flour:
- A flour made of ground chickpeas, it can be made from raw or roasted beans, the raw being more bitter. It is very high in protein and fiber (5 g of both protein and fiber per 1-oz or 28grams). They are great in savory dishes and also can be used in baking as it provides great structure in GF recipes. I do love making “bean desserts”, but many can’t stand the “beany” tastes whether raw or baked, so you have to try it out for yourself!
- See my Cookie Dough Dips both here and here
- Almond Flour/Meal
- The flour all the Paleo recipes use, is super delicious as it offers a subtly sweet, nutty flavor, is low carb, and is made simply of ground almonds. However it is very pricey at over $10/lb. So even though I love making Paleo recipes on here every once in awhile, I avoid it because of price sometimes. It is very high in protein though as it is comprised of almonds (6g in every 1-oz or 28 grams). It also is a great source of mono-unsaturated fats, and antioxidants; it also contains high amounts of calcium, iron, and dietary fiber
- See my Paleo Bread Recipe
- Coconut Flour
- A grain free flour that is loaded with fiber (6g per 1-oz/28 grams). It absorbs liquid like crazy and has a little bit of a grainy affect on baked goods, so it is good to use along with other flours. If using by itself, you’ll need a lot less flour than you’d typically use, and a lot more eggs for binding and rising purposes. Baking with this flour offers a slightly sweet taste that I absolutely LOVE, and gives a light and airy texture.
- See my Pumpkin Doughnut Recipe that if GF, DF, nut free, sugar free, and fruit free!
- Buckwheat Flour
- Is a very dense flour that binds well and has a distinct flavor that you either like or don’t. It is worth trying though as it is very nutritionally dense, offering high amounts of manganese, magnesium, copper, fiber, and phosphorous. Surprisingly it isn’t a cereal grain like most think, but instead a fruit seed similar to that of rhubarb. I haven’t really experimented yet with this, but plan on doing so!
- Quinoa Flour
- This is another very high in protein flour (7g per 1-oz or 28 grams), but has a very distinct, slightly bitter taste. I am not a huge fan of it in baked goods because of the flavor it offers, HOWEVER, I recently read that toasting your quinoa flour at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes takes away the bitterness in flavor..so I will be trying that out!
- Teff Flour
- Having a unique and slightly nutty taste, it is a dense flour that is good in binding. It is certainly very nutritionally dense too, containing high amounts of protein (4g per 1.1-oz), calcium, and iron. I have never personally used it in a recipe before, but it is said to provide moisture and nutrition in baking.
- Peanut Flour
- This is a great, high protein (7g per serving) choice when desiring the peanut butter flavor, such as in sauces or baked goods. Very low in fat and high in protein. I love incorporating it into smoothies/oatmeal (use about 1-2 tablespoons), making a yogurt dip for fruit (1-2 tbsp), or using it in stir-fry meals/thai flavored meals/dressings. Also a great addition to desserts whether it be cakes and muffins (use up to 1/2 cup), or a simple peanut sauce to drizzle over (peanut flour+milk+honey). Great to add to other flours when baking, but not to use on its own as the only flour in baked goods.
- See my Peanut Butter and Chocolate Mugcake or my no bake Peanut Butter Balls
MEDIUM: lighter than flours above but still can be dense; evens out strong flavors of above
- Brown Rice Flour
- It is a more neutral, cheap, all purpose flour, but does add a slightly grainy taste to recipes. I used it in a my Pumpkin Caramel Bars, and realized after the first attempt that I needed to add more sweetener as the grainy taste overtook the crust flavor. But it is in general a great GF flour to turn to. Stiffer than white rice flour. 3g of protein per 1-oz serving
- Sorghum Flour
- This is the lightest flour of the “medium” gluten free flours, and has a slightly sweet, mild taste and offers a light, crumbly texture. Is also called jowar and is sold in Indian stores under that name. 4g of protein and 3g fiber in every 1-oz/28gram serving
- Millet Flour
- Offers a nice, nutty, mild flavor. Is nutritionally dense and is a great substitute for wheat. It offers a yellow/golden color in recipes, and is great when mixed with rice flour and a starch (like tapioca/potato).
- Amaranth Flour
- Nutritionally dense and mild. Even though I have never used it, it is said to have a slightly bitter, “grassy”/earthy taste. Has 4g protein per 1-oz serving, is very high in calcium and fatty-acids, and has 3x the fiber and 5x the iron of wheat flour. It is suggested to use up to 25% of this flour in baked goods, but that this is also great for thickening and breading purposes
- Oat Flour
- Offers a wonderful taste that we all know because of oatmeal. I believe it is the closest to normal flour, and typically buy gluten free oats and grind them myself as it is much cheaper (make sure you buy gluten free oats). It contains 4g protein per serving
LIGHT: Needed for binding, adding lightness, and sometimes crispiness
- White Rice Flour
- Slightly grainy taste like the brown rice flour, but typically cheaper. Many GF cheap foods are made only with this, which offers a flavor I’m not a huge fan of. It is nutritionally empty so I never use it, but if you are looking for a cheap, GF flour, this is a good one. BUT can result in a grainy, gritty texture.
- Sweet Rice Flour
- No nutritional value but is a great sub for regular flour. Works great as a thickener as well
- Chestnut Flour
- A grain free flour that is made of ground chestnuts and has a slightly nutty taste. Is great when used along with almond and coconut flours, but it is expensive.
- Arrowroot Starch
- This and tapioca starch are something I’ve just begun to use, and have made all the difference in my GF baking as it lends the crispness that GF flours often lack and helps to bind the recipe together. Great to use along with other GF flours, but not alone. Is interchangeable with potato and tapioca starches, and even though having no nutritional value, is almost a must in GF baking to add the brown/crispness.
- Potato Starch
- Interchangeable with arrowroot and tapioca starch, but again no nutritional value. Lends crispness/browning of recipes. NOT to be confused with potato FLOUR, which is NOT THE SAME as potato starch. Potato starch also lends a “lift” and lightness to recipes when baking like the other starches.
- Tapioca Starch
- I use this starch the most in baking, as you’ve probably seen in GF recipes of mine. Slightly more heavy than the other starches but does a good job of adding crispness/browning to recipes and binding all the ingredients together.
GUMS: necessary often in GF recipes for binding purposes or used for thickening (only 1/4-1 teaspoon typically in a recipe)
- Guar Gum
- A great addition to GF recipes to bind or thicken. Holds recipes together and prevents the crumbling that often occurs in GF recipes. Is digested much easier for most compared to Xanthum Gum below, and is also MUCH cheaper. I’ve also used this is my smoothies and protein shakes to add thickness (I love eating smoothies and shakes out of a bowl with a spoon!)
- Xanthum Gum
- Same binding and thickening properties of Guar Gum, however it is a lot more expensive and many have complained of it upsetting their stomach and it not digesting well.