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What to do with which gluten free flour?

 
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Heeey folks!

I'd like to get as many opinions as possible on the different uses for different flour. My mother has celiac's and I've been exploring gluten free flours, but there are so many options!

Tapioca, coconut, potato, buckwheat, Bob's 1:1, and so on and so forth.

I dream of making different breads--for sandwiches, flatbread, crackers?

What's best for a birthday cake vs a coffee cake?

Please, all the praise and cautionary tales are much appreciated!
 
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So mum gets Dove flour which uses a blend of rice, potato, tapioca, maize, buckwheat and xanthum apparently.

I've found it works well for sponges (almost the same as wheat flour), it's ok for crumble (it needs more butter and the texture is wrong but the flavour is ok) and terrible for cookies (no structure at all).

This flour needs a good dose of ground almonds to remove the powdery taste in cakes and crumbles.


I'm only comparing to ordinary flours as I have no experience of other gluten free flours.
 
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my gluten-free wife can’t do potatoes or tapioca, so all of those mixes are out. sorghum is our main go-to, sometimes amended with acorn flour or almond meal, depending on the application. sorghum works well enough for quick breads/muffins (and i would guess coffee cake by extension).
 
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Here are some threads about gluten free that you or others might enjoy:

https://permies.com/t/171830/kitchen/Natural-Gluten-Free-Bread-Alternatives

https://permies.com/t/97222/kitchen/ISO-easy-cracker-recipes-grain

https://permies.com/t/190709/kitchen/Gluten-Free-Sourdough
 
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I'm completely in love with chickpea flour. I don't have an oven, so I make pancakes and use those for bread. They're usually 100% chickpea, cause it holds together the best and has the breadiest texture of the flours I've tried. You have to eat them right away or they get sooooo sry, though!  

Millet flour has a really nice texture and mild taste, but it doesn't hold together as well as chickpea. I often mix chickpea or oat flour in with other flours to keep them from being as crumbly.

Take a look at www.powerhungry.com She's got lots of gluten free baking recipes, most with very few ingredients. I've made a few of her things and liked them all.
 
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I'm celiac with a maize, oat and soy intolerance too. Here's a few basics I've learned after a lot of experimenting:

2 parts flour, 1 part starch is usually the best starting point. For every 2 cups of whole grain flour, you'll usually want about 1 part starch (tapioca, arrowroot, etc.). This is a general rule but isn't always the case.

Each starch is slightly different and will behave better with different grains. Tapioca is better for a chewy texture, arrowroot is better at holding moisture and will have less chew. I don't use potato starch or corn starch so i'm not sure exactly what their properties are. Sweet potato starch and mung bean starch are available in some asian markets as well, but again, I'm not as familiar with them.

Different flours will all have different properties but I generally sort them into 3 categories.

--Millet, sorghum, rice are drying flours. they will be crumbly by themselves and have little to no binding properties. They work well to balance out moist ingredients (such as applesauce, zucchini bread, banana, pumpkin, etc.). They are generally going to be about 1/3 of a standard gluten free mix. I've heard oats behave similarly but I don't use oat flour.

--Some other and legumes are more binding and softer but tend to hold on to moisture or be too tough or flavourful by themselves. Most bean flours are in this category, teff falls in this group too. Amaranth sort of falls here but is a bit unique. Buckwheat flour falls in this category but has a bit less binding by itself. Teff is my go-to here.

--High protein/fat flours are the 3rd category. Higher fat flours such as almond, hazelnut and some bean flours such as Lupin will fall under here. They can be used in certain very low carb recipes by themselves but generally serve to lighten up the texture and improve nutrition of a flour mix. You'll generally use them in smaller amounts.

Because I'm not using gluten in recipes and I highly frown upon xantham gum, I generally use ground chia seed or flax seed as a binder. Psyllium reportedly works as well but it disagrees entirely with my body. Most gluten free recipes use a lot of eggs, but its not required if you use a good balanced flour mix. No eggs or 1 egg is usually plenty.

Here's a couple mixes I use more or less weekly.

Muffin & whole grain pancake blend:

1 cup Tapioca starch
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup teff flour
1/4 cup ground chia
(feel free to replace up to 1/4 cup of sorghum flour with a nut flour or bean flour, mesquite flour is especially delicious in pancakes)

use 1 to 1 with 3 cups of all purpose flour in your typical recipes.



The above mix works fairly well for bread, but will not rise nearly as much as gluten bread. It is really really reliable as a blend and even makes decent cookies.


Flatbread mix:

2 cups amaranth flour
1 cup tapioca starch

mix with about 1 cup water and a tablespoon or two of oil to make a simple dough. Salt to taste, a little instant yeast if you want. I often add herbs, cumin seeds, dried onion flakes, things like that. Bakes in about 15-18 minutes at 425, makes an easy bread to dip in soups, or top with anything. Arrowroot starch instead of tapioca starch will make a softer bread, tapioca is chewier.

Amaranth needs no binders, making it really easy to work with, but it gets really grassy and stodgy (read: not good at all) if it gets very wet. Amaranth flour does not make good pancakes or muffins in my opinion.




Cookie mix:

1 cup millet flour
1 cup tapioca starch
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup chia seed

This is a favourite mix of mine for cookies. The millet is so pleasant in flavour but it makes a really really delicate crumb so it needs a lot of binding power. A chewy cookie is the perfect place to showcase it.



Pastry is something i'm learning all over again but I've had a lot of luck with this recipe:
https://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes/how-to-make/amaranth-pie-crust/


Edit because I keep thinking about more stuff:

Coconut flour is extremely drying, to the point of a single tbsp being enough to turn a cookie recipe into crumbles. If you are not using a recipe that specifically calls for it, don't use it as a substitute for anything else. It goes well into recipes with a ton of moisture and binders and usually a lot of eggs.

Buckwheat flour makes amazing crepes.

Dutch Cocoa is the ultimate kryptonite for gluten free binding, I swear it has negative binding properties. If you're making a chocolate cake you'll want to stay away from millet and rice flours and add extra binders (eggs, applesauce, whatever floats your boat).
 
Laura De
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James Alun wrote:So mum gets Dove flour which uses a blend of rice, potato, tapioca, maize, buckwheat and xanthum apparently.



Woooow that is an amazing price for a GF flour blend in my experience. According to Google, I paid £13 for my 1.8k bag of Bob's Red Mill!

James Alun wrote: I've found it works well for sponges (almost the same as wheat flour), it's ok for crumble (it needs more butter and the texture is wrong but the flavour is ok) and terrible for cookies (no structure at all).



Oooh I've never attempted a sponge, I'll compare the blends I have and see what might work. Thank you for the deets!
 
Laura De
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Jan White wrote:I'm completely in love with chickpea flour. I don't have an oven, so I make pancakes and use those for bread. They're usually 100% chickpea, cause it holds together the best and has the breadiest texture of the flours I've tried. You have to eat them right away or they get sooooo sry, though!  

Millet flour has a really nice texture and mild taste, but it doesn't hold together as well as chickpea. I often mix chickpea or oat flour in with other flours to keep them from being as crumbly.

Take a look at www.powerhungry.com She's got lots of gluten free baking recipes, most with very few ingredients. I've made a few of her things and liked them all.



Another one I haven't tried! Thank you :) I'll head to that site this weekend. I gotta make room in the pantry!
 
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This is the best explanation I’ve found for what various GF flours do, and how to substitute them.

My personal GF blend, following her directions, includes oat flour, tapioca starch, mesquite flour(!)  (she said bean, mesquite is bean, and it is sweet and delicious), and almond flour. Everything I’ve made with it has turned out tasty, though I will admit to not tackling structured loaves with it yet.

I’m intending to do a bit of work with Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and then try out their loaves with my mix, but there are only two of us, and we can only eat so much bread so fast. (;
 
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