Going gluten free and avoiding wheat flour in your baking is super easy with so many flour alternatives available today. Keeping these 5 flour alternatives in your pantry will have you creating more wholesome and nourishing baked goodies your family will love.
Gluten and wheat products are playing havoc on our health. Digestive symptoms, brain fog, skin issues, muscle and joint pain, mood changes and autoimmune reactions can all be caused by gluten. The common culprits where this gluten protein is found is in the grains of wheat, barley and rye. But not to worry as I have some awesome alternatives for you that making avoiding gluten super easy!
Wondering why you need to cut out wheat flour from your diet? I highly recommend you watch this trailer from an incredibly informative documentary What's With Wheat.
Whilst this list is not extensive (there are many more gluten and wheat free alternatives on the market) here is a guide to my personal top 5 flours which I use in my day-to-day baking.
Despite the name, buckwheat flour does not contain wheat and is completely gluten free. Buckwheat is actually a seed. This flour has an earthy taste and is high in protein and fibre. Some of my favourite ways to use buckwheat is in pancakes, crackers, muffins and grain free breads.
You can find my buckwheat carrot cupcake recipe here.
Banana flour is light brown in colour with a natural, earthy and wholesome taste. It is completely gluten free and made from green Cavendish or ladyfinger bananas. Because green banana flour is made from unripe bananas it isn't sweet and when cooked won't taint all your baking with a banana-like taste. This nifty flour is packed with gut friendly resistant starch, won't spike your insulin like other starches and is rich in minerals. It can be used in both sweet and savoury baking and even in smoothies.
You can read more about the benefits of green banana flour here or try these green banana flour recipes.
Tapioca flour is extracted from a vegetable called the cassava root. Tapioca is white in colour and unlike other flours mentioned it is neutral in taste. Whilst tapioca flour is actually very low in nutrients (it is made up of almost all carbohydrates) it is still a nifty flour with other awesome benefits). Tapioca is gluten and grain free, nut-free and is low in sugar and fat. I love to use tapioca flour when baking flat bread to go with a curry or in a homemade crispy pizza base. Tapioca is also a great thickening agent in sauces or gravies.
Almond meal would have to be one of the most commonly used gluten free alternatives to wheat flour. It's simply just very finely ground almonds. The same process can be done to other nuts and seeds to create alternative flours (sunflower, hazelnut etc). Almond meal is commonly used in baked goods (I love a good almond meal chocolate cake) and is an awesome grain-free alternative to breadcrumbs.
Produced from dried coconut meat this grain-free flour is popular among those looking for gluten free alternatives. Coconut flour is high in fibre and low in carbohydrates with a slight coconut smell and taste. Keep in mind that coconut flour is highly absorbent and dense which means you will need extra liquid/wet ingredients to prevent a dry and crumbly end result. Unlike other flour alternatives coconut flour cannot be substituted on a 1:1 ratio and works best when combined with another flour.
Where to buy gluten free flours
Although some or even all of these flours may sound foreign to you they are actually incredibly easy to find. Ask at your local health food store or check out the health aisle in large supermarkets (their selection of health foods is forever growing). If you have a high speed food processor or blender you can also grind your own fresh flours in a matter of seconds.
Buckwheat groats = buckwheat flour
Almonds (blanched or skins on) = almond meal
Shredded or desiccated coconut = coconut flour
I personally purchase my gluten free flours from my local The Source Bulk Foods Store. It's an awesome bulk wholefoods shop where you can buy as little or as much as you need. Check them out and see if there is a store near you.
Let me know your favourite gluten free flour in the comments below or if you have any questions I would love to help you out.
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