Going wheat free doesn’t mean you have to give up breads, cookies and pizza.
There are many flours you can use to substitute in recipes that have delicious results.
Here is a general guide to substituting flour in recipes.
There are a variety of different formulas you can try when substituting wheat flour. Experiment to see what works and tastes best for you.
One thing to note, though, is that alternative flours don’t produce the same texture or consistency as regular wheat flour.
With the lack of gluten, you will need to add a starch to your GF flour.
Know let’s see what these Gf flour substitutes are and the starch’s to use.
Gluten-free (GF) non-wheat flours are generally categorized into three different weights, and these include:
- Light starch
- All-purpose medium
- Heavier whole grain
Light Gluten Free Flours
Light, starchy GF flours include:
- sweet rice flour
- white rice flour
Medium Gluten Free Flours
Medium GF flours are similar to ‘all purpose flour’- these include:
- sorghum flour
- oat flour, certified gluten-free
- brown rice flour, superfine
If you are unable to find sorghum flour, certified gluten-free oat flour will be your is closest option.
Heavier GF Flours
The heavier grains, including psuedo-grains like quinoa, tend to contain more protein.
- nut meal (such as almond and coconut)
- bean/legume flours
These heavier GF flours are similar to baking with whole wheat flour. You get a similar denser product, often darker in color, and with less rise.
Starches To Use With GF Flours
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat. It helps baked foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue, holding food ingredients together.
In gluten-free baking, a starch needs to be substituted. These include:
- tapioca starch
- potato starch
- arrowroot starch
Here are some key points to know about starch in general, and specific differences for using each one.
- Starches need time to hydrate before going in the oven so rest your batter or dough for up to 30 minutes for improved texture of some baked goods.
- The high starch content of some gluten free flours can result in a gritty texture. Many batters and doughs benefit from more liquid to properly hydrate.
- More liquid may then require a longer baking time in some recipes.
Starches for the most part are interchangeable.
- This powdery white cornstarch is not the same as corn flour. Do not substitute.
- Not ideal for baking, too much cornstarch results in baked goods with a starchy texture.
- Stirring too vigorously may cause a mixture to break down and thin out.
- Cooking over high heat can cause lumping.
- Best uses for baking: to thicken pie filling and make puddings.
- Made from raw potatoes it has no potato taste. Potato starch is not the same as potato flour. Do not substitute.
- Provides structure, tenderness and binding power in baking.
- Too much potato starch gives baked goods a crumbly texture.
- Best uses: muffins, quick breads and a gluten free flour mix.
- Tapioca starch is all starch but is also called tapioca flour in recipes. It is the same ingredient.
- Gives chewy texture, elasticity and structure to baked goods.
- Aids in creating a crisp crust.
- Can be used as a thickener for pies and sauces.
- Too much tapioca starch makes baked goods dense.
- Best uses: cookies, a flour blend and moist breads
Arrowroot is extremely versatile and can even be used as a substitute for wheat flour.
It works well when mixed with other gluten free flours like almond flour and coconut flour and is perfect for bread or cake recipes.
- no break down in acidic ingredients
- creates a clear gel
- freezes well and thaws properly
- when using eggs as the primary binder, adding arrowroot powder will significantly help the process
- lightens the textures in cakes, quick bread, and cookies in gluten-free and grain-free baking
As you can see, different starches will contribute different textures to your baking.
Take Care When Using Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is a unique, non-grain, fiber rich and highly absorbent flour. If you add it to a recipe blend, you may need to add more fat or liquid.
Therefore, you cannot substitute coconut flour on a 1:1 ratio for all-purpose flour, or most other GF flours.
Typically you would combine 1/4 cup coconut flour with almond flour, hazelnut flour, cassava flour and a little tapioca starch for the best flavor and baking properties.
Using coconut flour will require one egg extra in the recipe for each 1/4 cup, for both moisture and structure.
First, incorporate the egg yolks into the coconut flour and other dry ingredients.
Whip the egg whites separately, and fold them into the first mixture to make baked goods lighter.
You may also need to increase other liquids in the recipe or make small adjustments to baking times.
A substitute for coconut flour can be flax-meal, cornmeal, and almond meal.
If you want added fiber and texture in your baked goods, add 1/4 cup flax seed meal to your GF flour blend.
Gluten-free Recipes To Try For Yourself