The Gluten Bigot: What Gluten Free Flours Do I Need?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What Gluten Free Flours Do I Need?

When you went gluten free were you completely overwhelmed by the number of gluten free flours available? Or the opposite, did you just go by rice flour and try to act like it was normal flour to highly disappointing results? Personally I started with just the rice flour, then I learned about all the options and didn't know what to do so I basically bought them all.

Off the top of my head at any given time I will have: white rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, coconut flour, garbanzo bean flour, sorghum flour, soy flour, millet flour, quinoa flour, buckwheat flour, corn flour, almond meal/flour, corn starch. Sometimes you will find teff flour, amaranth, or arrowroot as well. This is in addition to maybe a box of gluten free pancake mix, pizza crust mix, and maybe a cake mix I keep on hand. Now that's a lot of flour for a tiny Manhattan kitchen! I have so much because everything I make uses at minimum three flours as there is no direct translation with gluten free flour to replace the gluten version in recipes.

This is a big investment, I think when I first moved to Manhattan I probably spent about $80 on flour to get set up, so if you're new to the gluten free world, or you're not a big baker that much flour probably isn't necessary. I'm frequently asked what my must have's are, so I thought I would like them for you. 
  • White Rice Flour
  • Brown Rice Flour
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Potato Starch
  • Coconut Flour
  • Xanthum Gum
The rice slours find their way into most things and are the cheapest. Tapioca and potato starch are really frequently used in my recipes. Coconut flour is my absolute flavor for its taste and delightful texture and fluffiness. I listed xanthum gum as well as it is critical to gluten free baking. Gluten is a binder, so when we remove it we're essentially taking away the glue that makes our goodies stay together. Xanthum gum is  a binder. Sadly it does not come cheaply, though it is worth the money as most recipes will require 1 tsp or less (ie - a little bit goes a long way).

What flours do you keep on hand? Which is your favorite to bake with?

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