If your new foray into plant-based eating also involves going gluten-free, you aren’t alone. In fact, many people are opting to eliminate gluten from their diets – or decrease their intake – indicating that it makes them feel more confident, more energized, and better able to concentrate. As you continue to investigate options surrounding a vegan and gluten-free diet, one area you may be interested in exploring is baking with gluten-free substitutes. Here’s what you need to know about the options for alternative, gluten-free flours.
Rich in protein, iron, and calcium, this ancient grain is most commonly known from its use in Ethiopian cultures, as the grain of choice for the Ethiopian flatbread called Injera. Use it to make your own flatbread, or bake it into muffins and cookies where it lends a slight caramel taste and coloration.
Quinoa flour is a great option to combine with brown rice and buckwheat to bake into muffins, breads, and cakes. You can also use it in cookies. Be sure to adequately cook this flour, and stay away from using it in excess, as it has a distinct and sometimes off-putting flavor.
A good binding flour which helps other denser flours stay together in baked goods, brown rice flour is a whole grain alternative to the more common white rice flour. Be aware when using this flour that it can make products have a gummy texture if used in excess and does best when combined with a starchier flour like tapioca starch.
A popular alternative for whole grain flour, buckwheat behaves very similarly to whole wheat flour and is a good option for baking things such as breads and muffins. It has a distinct flavour, and can lend a slightly slimy texture to items during the dough stage. Also note that in large quantities, and not balanced with other flours, it may make your product quite dense, or crumbly.
This one is for all the popcorn lovers out there who are looking to move away from the corn, but not away from the satisfying pop and crunch. Sorghum is a small, round grain, which is often ground into a flour, but when left whole, behaves very much the same as corn kernels. You can use it as popcorn in the grain version, but in the flour version, select sorghum when you want to make muffins, cupcakes, or cakes.
It is important to note the difference between coconut flour and ground coconut: coconut flour is the de-fatted version of coconut, while ground coconut still has a high-fat content. Because of this, the former is a highly absorbable flour. It will soak up lots of liquid in your baking, and if not adequately balanced with other flours and moist ingredients will yield a crumbly, dry product.
With a high protein content and incredible versatility, this flour can be used for everything from muffins and cakes, to cornbread to granola bars. Left as a whole grain, you can turn it into hot breakfast cereal, or cook it for dinner, and it does well in both savory and sweet recipes.
These are just a small selection of the several flours which are available to use in gluten-free baking. Head to the grocery store and stock up on a few as part of your vegan meal kit, or better yet, subscribe to a healthy meal service and we’ll bring everything directly to you – no need to decide on flour type at all!