Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gluten Free Flours and how to use them

photo courtesy of goodygirlred

Here are a few great resources on gluten free flours and how to use them. I think you'll find that everybody has their own opinion on what works best for them and what flours are their favorites.

We'll definitely have a program in the future on what flours to use in your gluten free baking, but for a really quick intro... here's a basic, easy mix that I love:

1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup sorghum or millet flour (either is fine)
1/3 cup arrowroot starch
+ 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

I use this basic mix for just about everything I bake. It just works well.

You need the xanthan gum in most flour mixes because it helps create the texture that you're used to with gluten-based breads, cakes, muffins, etc... It's a bit expensive... but a little goes a very long way.

I buy all of my flours (except almond flour), xanthan gum, and active dry yeast from Bob's Red Mill online. I've found they have some of the best shipping available and I trust that their flours are gluten free. (You really have to be careful with some companies!) This works for me because I usually buy in bulk once or twice a year and I'm done. However, if you're not a bulk buyer or don't want to buy online:

  • Wilson: Harris Teeter carries brown rice flour, tapioca starch & cornstarch (which you can use in place of the arrowroot). Walmart may also carry some of these ingredients, but I'm not super familiar with their small selection near the spices.
  • Raleigh: Harmony Farms & Whole Foods carries all of these ingredients and tons more. EarthFare also carries a wide variety of gluten free items.
  • Greenville: Kroger's, Lowe's Foods, The Fresh Market, and Harris Teeter are all good sources, and I think you could get everything you need from them. There is a health food store called Oakmont Health Food... the customer service is awful and honestly I don't shop there, but they do carry Udi's bread in stock if you're not up to driving to Raleigh.
  • Goldsboro: HealthHabit on Spence Avenue has a great selection of gluten free pantry items (you could probably buy all of your baking supplies there), and they also carry Rudi's gluten free bread in their freezer section. Carlie C's IGA on Wayne Memorial Drive has a LOT of gluten free items, both baking items and other things like gluten free pasta. This is the first place I found gluten free bisquick. The items are not in a separate section, you just have to look for them in every "normal" section of the grocery store.

Here are several posts that explain the differences in flours and why each is important:

Gluten Free Flours 101 (I focus on low glycemic baking):

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free's Series on Gluten Free Flours:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:

Gluten Free Mommy's GF Flours Introduction (One of my favorite overviews of gf flours):

I hope this info is helpful to people who are new to the diet! :-)

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