Without the gluten in breads that most of us usually eat, there will be a difference in the stickiness in making them. Gluten free flours are going to produce baked goods that are more crumbly than chewy.
However, after a few weeks of no symptoms of gluten intolerance, most people don’t miss wheat flour at all, and the new textures that gluten free flours produce become not a problem.
Gluten Free Flours
When you boil them in liquid, some gluten free flours change texture differently than wheat flour does.
Wheat flour is for use in most gravy recipes, as it thickens when you boil them in liquid. Other flours such as arrowroot flour will thin.
(Note that not all alternative flours available for cooking are gluten-free. Barley flour and rye flour are not wheat, but they are still cereal grains that contain gluten. Remember, it is not the flour one is trying to avoid but the gluten in the flour.)
Some Gluten Free Substitutes
If you need a wheat flour alternative, consider using nut flours or flours from plants such as corn (cornmeal and corn flour), potato (both potato and potato starch), or white and brown rice. You can also use tapioca sorghum, buckwheat, amaranth, arrowroot, and quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wha).
Gluten Free Flour Blends/ Mixes
Some of the other choices of flour for recipes normally using wheat flour are gluten free flour blends. Manufacturers commercially prepare them to be most like our usual wheat flour’s texture and taste in baking. You can normally use gluten free flour mixes such as these as a 100 percent substitute for wheat flour.
Commercially available cake, cookie, and bakery mixes are also easy to find at your local supermarket these days. Our favorite by a long shotare the following:
- Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
- Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix
- Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
- Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie Mix
- Betty Crocker Bisquick Gluten Free Pancake and Baking Mix
Gluten Free Gravies and Sauces
Corn starch is a great thickening agent, which you can use in place of wheat flour for sauces and gravies. Instead of using flour, use corn starch.
Gluten Free Pasta
If you are searching for a gluten free pasta, there are some really wonderful pastas made with gluten free ingredients.
- Rice pasta is one of them, although not my favorite because of the gummy texture and its tendency to easily fall apart.
- Soy pastas are available, but since this writer is of the opinion that soy consumption must be minimized, it is not the best choice.
- Bean pastas are available as well.
- There is a quinoa and corn blend pasta by Ancient Harvest that is superb as far as taste and texture goes. Its texture is firm but not hard, and the taste is amazing. Its fabulous as a substitute for using wheat pasta if you don’t react to corn.
Gluten Free Breading and Fillers
It is usually easy to replace gluten breading and fillers with other flours. For example, when I prepare my family’s Swedish meatballs at Christmas, I simply replace the breadcrumbs with Udi’s bread. I also replace the wheat flour component with a gluten free flour blend such as Glutino’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend.
More about Quinoa
Quinoa, pronounced Keen-Wah, is a wheat and gluten free grain substitute that has a rich and nutritious past. Technically quinoa is not a true grain, but is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. Thus, it is often referred to as a pseudo-grain.
Quinoa is always gluten-free, so it will provide a tasty alternative. It has a very decent nutritional value, and for those that are not gluten-sensitive, quinoa too is a great addition for a bit of variety.
The Best Gluten Alternatives
Oftentimes, for those of us with Gluten Intolerance, the best gluten free alternative is to simply avoid grains and pseudo grains altogether. There are a number of reasons to do this, ranging from a relatively high likelihood of a reaction to other grains–to cross-contamination and to the general lack of nutrition that baked goods, breads, and pastas provide.
But, I do hope this guide was helpful for the times when you do indeed need a gluten free alternative.