Valentine’s Day is almost here, and we can feel the love in the air. There is a special aura around this day (whether you celebrate it or not) and we love to feel the love in our hearts AND in our stomachs. But instead of eating unhealthy desserts filled with gluten that will leave us bloated with a food baby, we’re looking into flour alternatives that still give a great taste and texture. Many gluten-free recipes may call for a blend of these flours, but here we’ll give you the (honest) down low on our opinions about each flour so you can understand the different components of your recipe. Read on!
- Almond flour. Almond flour is high in protein, healthy fats and fiber, low in sugar, and one of our favorite gluten free flours. It is moist and easy to work with, and bakes similar to wheat or white flour. It works well in anything from pancakes to biscuits, and is great in both sweet and savory baked goods. One of our favorite brands is King Arthur, so try some with these heart shaped cookies for Valentine’s Day!
- Brown Rice Flour. Brown rice flour is pretty much a staple in gluten free baking. You will find rice flour used a lot in pizza crusts and savory dishes. It’s high in fiber, vitamin B, protein and iron, however it can be a bit grainy at times, and is higher in carbohydrates than the other flours. You can also use it to thicken sauces, or coat fish. Bob’s Red Mill produces our favorite brand, and we can’t get enough of it! One of our favorite brown rice flour recipes are these gluten free brownies!
- Tapioca Flour. Also known as tapioca starch, is the starch extracted from the cassava root. It is used as a binding agent, and acts like gluten in many baking mixtures. We love that it has a naturally sweet taste, and love to use it to make waffles! The downside is it’s an extract, and so is slightly more highly processed than other flours. It also usually isn’t used in a recipe by itself, and best when mixed with another flour.
- Coconut Flour. We already know the benefits of coconut, so why not incorporate it into your desserts? Coconut flour is finely ground dried coconut meat, and is pretty low on the glycemic index. It has a rich flavor that resembles coconut without a strong coconut flavor. Because of its high fiber content, it absorbs a lot of liquid, and could leave desserts a bit dry and crumbly. When baking with coconut flour, be sure to use enough liquid, or egg to ensure it will hold together and be moist. It typically isn’t the only flour used in recipes, and is usually paired with tapioca flour or almond flour. What’s our favorite recipe? Chocolate cake of course!
- Garbanzo Bean Flour, aka Chickpea Flour. Now you may be thinking, “isn’t this what’s used to make hummus?” Yes, you’re right. But due to its versatility, it can also be ground into flour and used for gluten free baking! It’s high in protein, fiber and iron, and works well with strong flavors like chocolate and pumpkin. Try out these raisin spice muffins!
Often, many of these flours are combined to form an ultimately tasty and moist baked good! Many companies like Cup4Cup sell packaged flour mixes to take all of the hard work out for you and to allow you to replace regular wheat flour in a recipe on a 1-to-1 ratio! And if you would like to combine flours yourself, you can do so and make something delicious like this gluten free pizza. We definitely urge you to experiment with these flours to achieve the ultimate texture and taste of your choice. After all, the best part of experimenting is getting to eat the finished product!
What gluten free flour is your favorite to work with and why?