Below I’ve listed gluten free flours that can be used in cooking. Many can be made at home by simply grinding up the seeds/grains/nuts in a high speed blender. Store flours in airtight containers, in a dark cool place or fridge to avoid them turning rancid.
Note that normal wheat flour contains gluten which is the protein that strengthens and binds dough in baking. Due to this, when baking with gluten free flours, you should follow the recipes as shown as alternative binding agents will have been used. No white or corn flours have been included here as I don’t use them based on the Alkaline approach.
WHEAT FREE – GLUTEN FREE
Almond flour is made from grinding up almonds with or without the skin. Almonds are notoriously healthy nuts providing a good amount of manganese, vitamin E, protein as well as a healthy serving of monounsaturated fats. Replacing 25% of the flour in your baking with almond meal will add wonderful texture and flavour .
Amaranth flour made from the seed of the Amaranth plant, which is a leafy vegetable. Amaranth seeds are very high in protein, which makes a nutritious flour for baking. Alternative names: African spinach, Chinese spinach, Indian spinach, elephants ear.
Arrowroot flour is ground from the root of the plant, and is very useful for thickening recipes. It is tasteless, and the fine powder becomes clear when it is cooked, which makes it ideal for thickening clear sauces.
Brown rice flour is milled from unpolished brown rice so it has a higher nutritional value than white, and as it contains the bran of the brown rice it has a higher fibre content. This also means that it has a noticeable texture, a bit grainy. It does have a slight nutty taste, which will sometimes come out in recipes depending on the other ingredients, and the texture will also contribute to a heavier product than recipes.
Buckwheat flour is not, despite its name a form of wheat, buckwheat is actually related to rhubarb. The small seeds of the plant are ground to make flour. It has a strong nutty taste so is not generally used on its own in a recipe, as the taste of the finished product can be very overpowering, and a little bitter. Alternative names: beech wheat, kasha, saracen corn.
Chia flour is made from ground chia seeds. Highly nutritious, chia seeds have been labelled a “superfood” containing Omega 3, fibre, calcium and protein, all packed into tiny seeds. Also known as “nature’s rocket fuel” as many sportspeople use it for enhanced energy levels during events. If used in baking, liquid levels and baking time may need to be increased slightly.
Hemp flour is made from ground hemp seeds and has a mild, nutty flavour. Needs to be refrigerated after opening.
Millet flour comes from the grass family, and is used as a cereal in many African and Asian countries. It can be used to thicken soups and make flat breads. As it lacks any form of gluten it’s not suited to many types of baking.
Potato flour should not be confused with potato starch flour. Potato flour has a strong potato flavour and is a heavy flour so a little goes a long way.
Potato starch flour is a fine white flour made from potatoes, and has a light potato flavour which is undetectable when used in recipes. It’s one of the few alternative flours that keeps very well provided it is stored in an airtight jar, and somewhere cool and dark.
Quinoa flour is related to the plant family of spinach and beets. It has been used for over 5,000 years as a cereal and the Incas called it the mother seed. Quinoa provides a good source of vegetable protein and it is the seeds of the quinoa plant that are ground to make flour.
Soya flour is a high protein flour with a nutty taste. It is not generally used on it’s own in recipes, but when combined with other flours is very successful as an alternative flour. Can be used to thicken recipes or added as a flavour enhancer. It needs to be carefully stored as it is a high fat flour and can go rancid if not stored properly.
Tapioca flour is made from the root of the cassava plant, once ground it takes the form of a light, soft, fine white flour. Tapioca flour adds chewiness to baking and is a good thickener. Tapioca flour is an excellent addition to any wheat free kitchen. It’s a fairly resilient flour, so storing at room temperature is no problem.
Teff flour comes from the grass family, and is a tiny cereal grain native to northern Africa. It is ground into flour and used to prepare injera, which is a spongy, slightly sour flat bread. It is now finding a niche in the health food market because it is very nutritious.
WHEAT FREE – NOT GLUTEN FREE
Barley flour only contains a small amount of gluten, so is rarely used to make bread, with the exception of unleavened bread. It has a slightly nutty flavour, and can be used to thicken or flavour soups or stews. Blended with other alternative flours it is also fairly versatile for cakes, biscuits, pastry, dumplings etc.
Oat flour is made from ground from oats care needs to be taken to ensure that it is sourced from a non-wheat contaminating process. Also contains avenin, which is a protein similar to gluten, so even certified gluten free oats may not be suitable for all celiacs.
Absorbs liquids more than many flours, so may need to increase the liquid content of any recipe it is added to. Readily substitutes into many cake and cookie recipes. Oat flour goes rancid very quickly, either buy small amounts and use quickly, store it in the fridge/freezer, or make your own using a food processor.
Rye flour is a strongly flavoured flour, dark in colour. Breads made with rye flour are denser than those made with wheat, for example pumpernickel which is virtually black. Rye flour has a low gluten content, but it can also be used for recipes such as pancakes and muffins.