Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Too Many Flours

     I remember getting started with gluten-free baking. I've always loved baking, but gluten-free baking was a bit overwhelming. Not only did the dough not hold together the same, there seemed to be a  lot of choices for flour. I was concerned with both nutrition and getting my kids to eat it.

     After trying different flours and mixes and reading labels, I found that rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch are common flours used and produce a taste and texture close to that of wheat flour products increasing the chances of it being accepted by those who need to change their diet. A flour blend of 3 parts grain (like rice) and 2 parts starch is a general rule that seems to work in creating flour blends. The Bette Hagman's flour mix requires 2 parts rice flour, 2/3 part potato starch and 1/3 tapioca starch. I have substituted this flour for wheat flour at a 1:1 ratio in some of my favorite recipes with good success. Remember the xanthan gum-see below.

     This is a good place to start, trying new flours a little at a time. There are many flours to choose from with many nutritional benefits. A bean flour combined with rice flour makes a complete protein.

      I like to use brown rice flour for increased protein and fiber compared to white rice flour. White rice flour does work nicely for treats like a lighter cake or sugar cookies. I also try to reduce the starch when I can since it does not have any protein or fiber in it.

      Of course there are flour blends and baking mixes already prepared for you, but it is usually cheaper to make them yourself. It is very easy to make the Bette Hagman or other flour blends ahead of time so you are ready to go. Your favorite baked goods can easily be prepared ahead of time by getting the dry ingredients ready.

     If you are going to try converting a recipe over to gluten-free, don't forget the zanthan gun. Zanthan gum is a dry powder that replaces the gluten or "glue" that holds wheat flour together in the finished product. Check for guidelines for usage on the package. Some recipes don't need zanthan gum. For example, banana or pumpkin can provide the "stickiness" in a recipe if there is enough of it.

     Look in health food stores or health food sections in grocery stores for gluten-free flours and blends and for zanthan gum.

No comments:

Post a Comment