Flour is present in many foods such as breads, desserts, dumplings, and noodles. Moreover, this ingredient is also a thickener for soups, stews, and sauces. Though most people consume flour without a second thought, some people cannot enjoy the same luxury.
Individuals with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or those subscribing to a low-carb lifestyle do not consume white or wheat flour. Luckily there are many gluten-free flours available.
Though it includes the word wheat, buckwheat is not a wheat grain. This gluten-free grain is a member of the pseudocereal group. Though pseudocereal grains are consumed like cereals, they are not a member of the grass species.
In terms of taste, buckwheat flour has a deep earthy flavor best suited for quick or yeast breads. However, its gluten-free nature creates a delicate crumb. Buckwheat flour works well when combined with other gluten-free flours such as teff or oat flour.
Buckwheat contains a variety of flavonoids. These flavonoids are biologically active phytonutrients with several health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol, inhibiting tumors, and regulating hypertension. Additionally, flavonoids also control inflammation, carcinogenesis, and diabetes.
Before you purchase buckwheat flour, ensure it is certified gluten-free buckwheat flour. Cross-contamination can occur when buckwheat is processed, transported, or used as a rotational crop with wheat.
Though arrowroot flour is not as popular as other gluten-free grains, it is an excellent gluten-free substitute. Arrowroot flour is produced from starchy composites extricated from a tropical plant called Maranta arundinacea.
Arrowroot is a flexible flour that is an excellent thickener for puddings, soups, and sauces. Additionally, it is perfect for pastries when used along with coconut, oat, and almond flours. However, if you are frying food, arrowroot flour will create a crispy, crunchy crust.
Arrowroot flour is an excellent source of iron, potassium, and B-vitamins. One recent study implies that arrowroot flour is a possible source of prebiotics.
Furthermore, some studies assert arrowroot flour may possess immunostimulatory possibilities. However, more research studies must be conducted to understand the health benefits of arrowroot flour fully.
Almond flour is one of the more popular types of gluten-free flours. Almond flour is made by grinding blanched almonds into a fine powder. The blanching process removes the skin and gives almond flour its pale color.
With a nutty flavor, almond flour is perfect for baked goods, but it is also an excellent alternative for breadcrumbs. Though it is energy-dense, almond flour is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, fiber, α-tocopherol.
Almond flour also contains minerals such as magnesium, copper, and phytonutrients. Additionally, almond flour also decreases cholesterol.
Corn flour is a finer variant of cornmeal. Though corn flour and cornstarch are used interchangeably, they are not the same thing.
Cornstarch comes from the starchy parts of corn. In contrast, corn flour is made from the entire kernel, which is comprised of the bran, germ, and endosperm. Corn flour can be yellow or white, and it’s perfect for breads or pizza crust. Corn flour is an excellent thicker for sauces and soups.
Corn is an excellent source of carotenoids, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin. Multiple studies show these carotenoids are beneficial for your eyesight.
Corn may even possess possible anti-HIV activity. Galanthus nivalis agglutinin (GNA) lectin or GNA-maize is responsible for these capabilities.
Similar to buckwheat, amaranth is a pseudocereal. Amaranth has a rich, earthy, nutty flavor that fades into the background and allows more pronounced flavors to shine through.
Amaranth flour is best for quick or yeast breads, tortillas, and pie crusts. However, amaranth flour can only replace a quarter of the total wheat flour called for in a recipe. For best results, combine amaranth flour with other gluten-free flours.
Amaranth has various health benefits, including reducing plasma cholesterol and blood glucose levels, exerting an antitumor activity, and anemia. In addition to this, amaranth flour also possesses anti-allergic and antioxidant activities, stimulating the immune system and improving hypertension.
Brown Rice Flour
Brown rice flour is produced by grinding brown rice. Brown rice flour is a whole grain flour as it includes the bran, germ, and endosperm. Its flavor profile is deep, earthy, and nutty, and it is the perfect thickener for sauces and soups. Brown rice flour is an ingredient in noodles and, when mixed with other types of gluten-free flour, it can be used to make cookies, cakes, brownies, and bread.
Research suggests brown rice possesses many health properties such as anti-diabetic, anti-cholesterol, cardioprotective, and antioxidant abilities. Brown rice is a rich source of phenolic compounds.
These compounds are linked to a variety of health properties such as anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic, anticarcinogenic, antiallergenic, and antiatherosclerotic abilities. Additionally, brown rice contains copious amounts of dietary fiber. Dietary fire plays a role in protecting against colorectal cancer and breast cancers.
Bean flours are produced by grinding dried beans into a fine powder. Bean flours include black bean, white bean, fava bean, garbanzo bean or chickpea, green pea, soy, and garfava flour, which is a combination of garbanzo bean and fava bean flour.
Bean flours are very versatile. They are used to make pasta, as a binder for vegan meatballs, burgers, and meatloaves, and to coat ingredients for sautéing.
Bean flours have a distinctive flavor. Therefore, they are used in savory dishes. They can be used to make quick breads or muffins. However, bean flours should only be used in desserts containing chocolate or spices. These ingredients will conceal the bean flour’s robust flavor.
Beans consist of bioactive elements, including functional properties that may impact cardiovascular risk. Fava beans, also called faba beans, are an excellent reservoir of protein, dietary fiber, and non-nutrient secondary metabolites. Furthermore, pea flours vitamin and mineral content may impact deficiency-related diseases, particularly those related to deficiencies of Se or folate.
Cassava or yuca is a starchy tuber indigenous to South America. Cassava flour is produced by grating and drying the entire tuber. Not only is cassava flour gluten-free, but it is also nut and grain-free.
Though it has a neutral flavor, cassava flour is nearly identical to all-purpose flour. Moreover, cassava flour is one of the lower-calorie gluten-free flours.
Cassava contains alkaloids and possesses cyanogenic and flavonoid glycosides. Flavonoids contain antioxidant and hypolipidemic properties, while glycosides are effective for heart disease.
Tigernuts are small root vegetables indigenous to North Africa and the Mediterranean. Although the name implies it, tigernut flour is not a derivative of nuts.
Tigernut flour is coarser than all-purpose flour, but it does add texture to baked goods. With a sweet and nutty flavor, tigernut flour is best for baked goods. Furthermore, because of tigernut’s sweetness, you can decrease the amount of sugar you add to a recipe.
Tigernut flour is a rich source of minerals. It contains sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and traces of copper. Tigernuts are also high in fiber and believed to possess ingredients that may prevent heart attacks and improve blood circulation.
Quinoa flour is produced by grinding quinoa seeds to a powder that resembles all-purpose wheat flour. Quinoa flour has a subtle nutty flour and is pale in color.
Quinoa flour is so versatile it can be used in many sweet and savory dishes. In particular, it works wonders for cakes, cookies, breads, and muffins.
Quinoa has many phytochemicals such as amino acids, fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, it also contains saponins, phytosterols, phytoecdysteroids, phenolics, betalains, and glycine betaine.
Whether you choose cassava flour or almond flour, it is paramount you inspect the package to ensure your almond flour was not processed in the same factory as gluten.
Unfortunately, there are too many gluten-free flours to cover in one blog post. Be sure to check out our gluten-free flours part 2!