Getting to grips with gluten-free flours

To me, there is more to gluten-free baking and buying a bag of flour. Having a natural baking curiosity, I sought out other available natural gluten-free flours, there are quite a few on offer.

It is finding the right flour for the right job. Each flour serves a purpose, such as

  • Binding
  • Texture
  • Taste
  • Leavening

Once they are combined

you will be able to make your baking undetectable as gluten-free. We have all had the dry, crumbly or gummy biscuit/cake/bread. There is no need for it be that way.

We all know that we can buy bags of plain and self-raising gluten-free flour now, readily available in every supermarket However, there is a wide range of naturally gluten-free flour. Most of these cannot be used on their own in place of plain flour, however, they can be mixed with another type to make great-gluten free bakes.

1 Rice flour

Rice flour is naturally gluten-free, it does not absorb liquid like wheat flour and is a harder grain. If you tried to use this one on its own, your bake will often have a gritty and gummy texture. This is the reason it needs to be mixed with starches There are two types of this flour, a white and brown one. Mixed with some other flours it is best used for

  • Asian dumplings
  • Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Pizza bases
  • Thickening sauces

Recipes using rice flour

Millet flour

As well as being gluten-free it is packed with protein, amino acids and essential fibre. It has a light nutty texture. It can be substituted100% for regular flour, although in bread and cakes it needs to be mixed with other flours. Best used for

  • Gluten-free bread
  • Flatbreads
  • Gluten-free pitta bread

Recipe using millet flour

Protein gluten-free bread


Corn flour or corn starch as it is called in other countries was used to be used just as a thickener for gravies and sauces. This very white powdery starch has been around for a long time and is obtainable everywhere. It is produced by very finely ground corn kernels, removing the tough outer hull first. It is an ingredient in all plain and self-raising gluten-free flours. It provides the structure when making gluten-free bread. Best used for

  • Vegan lemon curd
  • Thickening gravies
  • As a coating for fried foods
  • salt and pepper tofu
  • biscuits

Recipes using cornflour

Zingy lemon bars

Vegan lemon curd

Protein gluten-free bread

Buckwheat flour

As scary as it sounds, this one confuses newly diagnosed coeliacs because of its scary moniker. Buckwheat flour does NOT contain gluten. It is not even a grain but comes from a herb related to the rhubarb and sorrel family. It is my favourite flour to use. It has a nutty whole grain taste. A carbohydrate that contains protein and fibre to aid digestion. This flour cannot be used 1.1 to replace a gluten-free flour mix as it is not able to mimic the properties of gluten. It is made from grinding the triangular seeds into flour. Great used in

  • Blinis
  • Pancakes
  • Wraps
  • Bread
  • Heavier cakes

Recipe using buckwheat flour

Buckwheat pancakes

Chickpea/gram flour

This is also called besan flour and is the flour made from grinding down chickpeas which becomes this golden gluten-free flour. Traditionally used in Indian dishes, it is the flour that makes the gorgeous batter for wonderful onion bhajis and pakoras

I have a recipe that I want to add to my blog which is socca a traditional North African flatbread. It is also ultra-absorbent. It has a nutty earthy taste which also works well in some cakes such as carrot cake. I have also been practicing making vegan Yorkshire puddings with gram flour. In England it is used less than the usual flours and is seen mainly as an Indian ingredient, sometimes bought but never used (been there). It is high in fibre iron, low in cholesterol and also soy-free.

Great for

  • Onion bhajis and pakoras
  • chickpea pancakes
  • Chickpea fritters
  • falafel burgers
  • Vegan egg substitute for pancakes, frittatas and quiches.

Recipes using gram flour

Quick cook falafels

Loaded peanut butter American cookies

Oat flour

This is one of my favourite flours to cook with, it has a lovely soft texture and is also really easy to make your own. They are naturally gluten-free but because cross contamination in the processing procedure, I buy gluten-free oat flour or make my own to air on the side of caution. A good source of dietary fibre, rich in antioxidants, a soluble fibre that is great for increasing the growth of good bacteria. All in all oat flour is a great choice for your body.

  • Cookies
  • Gluten-free bread
  • Muffins
  • Pancakes

Oaty chocolate cookies

Protein packed gluten-free bread

Tapioca flour

Tapioca flour is mainly used in combination with other flours it can not be used as a 1:1 substitute in baking, too much tapioca flour makes your baking gummy. it is in so many gluten-free baked goods and helps to add a crusty element to so many things. I am not a fan of touching it, it has a squeaky texture when rubbed but it has its place. It is derived from the cassava root which is native to Brazil. It can also be used as a thickener in sauces and gravies. Tapioca flour and tapioca are interchangeable, unlike potato starch and flour. Great for

Coconut flour

The best selling gluten-free flour. It is made of dried coconut meat. It is denser and drier than other flours and incredibly absorbent. It is a flour I like to use often. Low in carbs if you are watching your carb intake, it is packed with fibre and natural fats and if you are following a Paleo diet then coconut flour is your baking friend. It cannot be used as a 1:1 substitute for regular flour and does need a bit of jiggling around to get the ratios right.

  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Sweet breads

If you like this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my Facebook page Iwould love to see seeing your versions of the recipes from the blog. All your comments and suggestions are welcome.

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