All About Gluten-Free Flours

By Escali in Healthy Living, Homemade

Celiac Disease is a condition that damages and prevents the lining of the small intestine from absorbing important nutrients from food. The damage is due to the reaction to gluten. Gluten is a storage protein and can be found in barley, rye, oats, wheat and other grains. The most common symptoms of someone who has Celiac Disease is stomach pain, leading to bloating, inflammation, stomach cramps, diarrhea and even weight loss. Besides digestive symptoms, there are other signs and symptoms– listed here via Mayo Clinic.  The initial cause of Celiac Disease is relatively unknown, but it is estimated that 1 in 141 people in the United States have the disease, although many times it goes undiagnosed.

Cooking and baking can become very challenging to those that have the disease. When it comes to ingredients such as flour, alternatives must be used in order to avoid inflammation and discomfort.  Whether or not you have Celiac Disease, attempting to follow a gluten-free diet, or just simply curious about some of the different types of flour that are out there, we did the research this is what we found!:

Whole Grain

  • Brown Rice FlourMade distinctly from rice starch. Naturally gluten free. Purchase in small amounts and refrigerate because it could spoil quickly.
  • Buckwheat FlourMade from a fruit seed that is related to wild rhubarb. Readily available at health food stores. Can help lower one’s risk of developing high cholesterol & can help improve blood flow.
  • Corn FlourMilled down from ears of corn into white or yellow flour. Can reduce constipation. Rich in fiber which enhances fullness.
  • Mesquite FlourSweet/Nutty taste. Low on the glycemic index. High in protein and micro-nutrients
  • Millet FlourRich in fiber and protein. Good source of maganese, niacin and copper. Store in airtight container in a cool, dry place-will keep up to a year when stored in a freezer.
  • Oat FlourMade from ground oats. Must be used with other flours in baking or else baked goods won’t rise or hold together. Good source for dietary minerals. Buy in small amounts– less likely to go bad if small amounts are used at a time.
  • Quinoa FlourSlightly Sweet/Nutty taste. Contains all nine amino acids. Good source of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium and iron.
  • Sorghum FlourCereal grain that originated in Africa about 5000 years ago. Contains as much protein as quinoa. Aids in digestion.
  • Sweet Potato FlourMade from dehydrated potatoes. A little bit goes a long way. High in fiber and protein–can be used in place of xantham gum or guar gum
  • Teft FlourMilled from one of the world’s smallest grains. Key source of nutrition in Ethiopia. High in protein, fiber and calcium.

Bean Flours

  • Fava Bean Flour-Milled from blanched (skinless)  fava beans. Can be added in place of white flour but should be added with other flours as well. High in protein.
  • Garbanzo Bean Flour-Also known as Chickpea flour. High in protein and fiber. Good substitute in crackers, breads, pizza crusts and strong flavors such as pumpkin and chocolate.
  • Kinako (Roasted Soy Bean) Flour-Milled from whole, raw soy beans. Good source of fiber, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein. Best to keep a close eye on your products your using it with because they tend to brown more quickly.

Nut Flours

  • Almond Flour– High in protein. Low in carbohydrates & sugars and low on the glycemic index. Blanched almond flour is recommended versus unblanched (almonds that haven’t had their skin removed). Can be spendy.
  • Chestnut Flour-Made from ground chestnuts. Low in fat and calories. Contains less carbohydrates than white flour yet is still considered a high glycemic index food–doesn’t contain a significant amount of other nutrients.
  • Coconut Flour– High in fiber and protein. By-product of coconut milk. Less expensive than almond flour. Lots of extra ingredients such as eggs are needed in order to hold together the flour and recipe.
  • Hazelnut Flour– Made from the excess oil from pressed hazelnuts. Sweet/Nutty taste. Low in carbohydrates and a good source of dietary protein and fiber.

White Flours/Starches

  • Arrowroot Flour-White, flavorless powder made from extracted starched from various tropical tubers such as cassava and the arrowroot plant. Drier than Tapioca flour. Doesn’t contain any protein and doesn’t break down when combined with acidic ingredients.
  • Cornstarch-Fine, powdery starch that is made out of corn. Best used as a thickening agent for sauces, fruit pie fillings and gravies. Flavorless. A little bit goes a long way.
  • Potato Flour– Made from ground potatoes. Differs from starch flour because it is only made from the tuber’s starchy proteins. Should be used with other ingredients because alone it will soak up too much water.
  • Potato Starch– Extracted from the cells of the root tubers of potatoes. Neutral taste and high binding strength. Contains minimal protein and fat.
  • Sweet Rice Flour– Most often made from short-grain glutinous rice aka “sticky rice.” (Glutinous doesn’t mean containing gluten–denotes high starch content i.e. binding) Neutral in taste. Higher starch content than other flours. Differs from regular rice flour.
  • Tapioca Flour– Ground from the cassava root. Thickening agent which is best used for muffins, gravy, pudding, cake and soups. Neutral taste. Retains consistency when frozen.
  • Tapioca Starch– Finely ground from tapioca. Dissolves completely without the chance of leaving gelatinous residue like instant tapioca can.Thickens at a lower temperature. Able to stay stable even when frozen. Imparts a glossy sheen.
  • White Rice Flour-Absorbs more water than wheat. Must be used with other flours in baking or else baked goods won’t rise or hold together. Best used to thicken soups, gravies and sauces. When stored properly, is thought to have an indefinite shelf life.

Disclaimer: The Escali Blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatments. more.

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