We do a lot of gluten free baking in our home. And, over the past few years, we have learned a number of things we will be sharing over the next few months. But, when you first start baking gluten-free, most people go out and purchase an all-purpose gluten free flour mix to use. While it sounds like a good idea, usually the mix doesn't bake correctly and has a horrible after taste.
When we first started on our gluten-free baking experience, we did the same thing. We just assumed that gluten-free baking had a nasty after taste. But, it just isn't so.We have now graduated to mixing our own flour mixes for different baking. We enjoy baking more than we did when we just used wheat flour. The variety of flours and tastes now available to us is exciting and fun.
Our favorite go-to flour combination is 2 parts sprouted brown rice flour, 1 part sorghum flour, and 1 part teff flour. You will see this combination pop up a lot as we start sharing our favorite gluten free recipes.
Once you start experimenting and trying different flour combinations, you will find what tastes you like the most and what works well for the food you like to eat.
To start, I am just going to explain a few of the basic gluten-free flour options that you should be aware of:
Almond Flour - an easier flour to find at a regular grocery store since it is used in baking quite often. Almond flour has a light texture. Because of it's high fat content, it needs to be refrigerated and used within two months.
Corn Flour - like corn meal, just a finer consistency. It leads to much of a distict, yet light and nutty flavor in foods.
Flaxseed Meal - Flaxseeds are a great way to add some healthy fiber and omega-3 fatty acids in food. Another great benefit of flaxseed meal, is that it acts as another binder, which is usually the problem in gluten free baking. Flaxseed meal goes rancid very quickly, so we recommend buying your own flaxseeds and grinding them your self in a coffee grinder.
Garbanzo (Chickpea) Bean Flour - this flour gives thinly baked goods a nice crunch. It also adds a slight bean flavor to foods. But, don't let that scare you. Our favorite pizza dough recipe is made from a mix with garbanzo bean flour. Alone, this flour is too crumbly to create a crust. Store garbanzo bean flour in a dark, dry place.
Sprouted Rice Flour - different than just regular rice flour, sprouted rice flour is the best flour we have found for baking. It is lighter than traditional rice flour, and has a sweet light flavor. Out of all the flours, this is the only one that we can use just by itself when baking.
Rice Flour - is the flour used most often when replacing wheat. It can lead to a sandy texture in food if not mixed with other flours. It is a lot cheaper than sprouted rice flour, so it is worth trying, be we would recommended using the sprouted rice flour in baking.
Sorghum (Milo) Flour- another one of our favorite flours. Some say that it tastes the closets to wheat. It is a great one to offset the graininess of rice flour. It is also a great way to add more protein into your diet.
Tapioca Flour - We don't like to use this one a lot. It is a starchy flour, and therefore, not very healthy. But, tapioca flour does add more of a chewy texture to baked treats, and so it is good to add in small amounts.
Teff Flour - another of our favorite flours. We love the strong taste of this flour. It is also highly nutritious, such as quinoa or amaranth. It shouldn't be used in yeast breads because of a symbiotic yeast it contains. Store it in a dark, dry, cool place.