The increasingly popular fight to live gluten-free is very real. Whether you are slightly intolerant, Coeliac or just looking for a healthier option, we have your needs covered at The Pantry with these four delicious wheat-free flour alternatives.
1. Coconut Flour
Popular due to being low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fibre, coconut flour is a favourite in healthy pantry’s. Produced from dried coconut flesh it is soft to work. In conjunction with being high in fibre and protein, coconut flour is very high in manganese (a nutrient supporting bone health with anti-inflammatory properties and a powerful antioxidant.) and contains selenium, potassium, iron and vitamin B6. Although the health benefits are amazing, it can be a little challenging to work with in the kitchen. Coconut flour is quite absorbent and therefore can dry out your baking. To counteract this, you can use a couple of extra eggs (for every 1/4 cup coconut flour, use one egg), mashed fruit, oil, vinegar or milk. The most popular way of cooking with coconut flour is combining it with almond meal to substitute for wheat flour.
2. Rice Flour
Rice flour comes in both brown rice and white rice, with the brown rice flour being higher in fibre but white rice flour having a longer shelf life. It contains iron, potassium and phosphorus, but is a little higher in carbohydrates than other alternatives. Like coconut flour, rice flour can have a drying effect on your baking, so is best used in conjunction with the ingredients above. Using a bread machine will help a lot to avoid your bread being dry. For best results in baking, use recipes specific for rice flour rather than substituting it for wheat flour in a non-GF recipe.
3. Quinoa Flour
Bold and nutty, quinoa flour is often used for savoury baking. Quinoa is a complete plant protein and has gained a lot of attention in the health world because of this, with many people using it daily instead of rice or other grains. Some people find it a little bitter and others find in fine, so just try out a small batch of baking first to ensure it suits your taste. To get rid of the slightly sour taste, you can toast the flour and freeze it. To do so simply spread the flour evenly over a baking tray lined with paper and heat in a preheated (100 degree celcius) oven for 2 hours. Cool off, bag up for use and store in the freezer until you need it for your baking.
4. Oat Flour
Oat flour has a similar flavour to wheat flour and therefore makes the baking taste more ‘normal.’ A slight controversy in the gluten-free community about whether or not oats truly are free of the stuff. The reason oats sometimes contain gluten, is if they have been cross contaminated with other gluten-containing ingredients. If you are coeliac, or very intolerant, you will need to ensure they are pure oats and have not been contaminated with anything (they are usually labelled as so). Oats are very high in B vitamins and a range of minerals and have been associated with weight-loss and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Like the above three types of flour, oat flour doesn’t rise very well, therefore you will need to add in extra yeast or extra baking powder to your recipe.
Try some of these flours out in the fantastic gluten free recipe below. Most of the ingredients can be found at The Pantry.
Healthy Blueberry Banana Loaf
- 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/2 cup quinoa flour
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup mashed banana about 1 medium
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or oil of choice
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup blueberries fresh or frozen
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a loaf pan with baking paper and set to the side.
- Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, mashed banana, oil, syrup and vinegar and beat until smooth.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together. Once combined, fold in the blueberries.
- Transfer batter to the prepared loaf tin, sprinkle with turbinado sugar (if using). Bake on the center rack for 45 – 50 minutes until the top has turned golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for approx. 1 hour then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.