Best 3 Gluten-Free Flours For Baking + Cooking (Not Almond!)
by Kiki Athanas
October 08, 2017
I love experimenting with different flours in the kitchen, and although I don't have anything against a nice sprouted grain like spelt or even just a basic whole-wheat - I get that most of you have jumped onboard the gluten-free bandwagon with all your (probably not celiac) hearts, so I shall entertain you with...
My Top 3 Gluten-Free Flour Picks & How to Use Them In Recipes...
1. Tigernut Flour
Tigernuts! My favourite nuts that aren't a nut - gotta love the irony. What's more, is you've got to love the endless benefits that these funny little tubes of nutrient-goodness have to offer:
- Rich in fibre
- High in Vitamins E and C
- Natural source of magnesium
- Rich in potassium
- High in protein
The "nuts" can be ground down into a flour (I suggest just buying them in the flour form already to save time/effort, but you can also do it yourself in a food processor) and beyond being a nutritiously-sound choice - they taste great. Like even better than nuts great. Tigernut flour is actually used a lot in the keto diet to "sweeten" things up a bit, as it has a natural sweetness about it - almost caramel or maple-like in flavour. Delicious.
You can use this flour just as you would almond flour - it's an easy one-for-one swap. Furthermore, I like putting a bit in smoothie bowls to thicken it up and add a healthy fat. You may also sprinkle it on yogurt, or in these heavenly tigernut carob 4-berry muffins.
2. Banana Flour
What's better than sweet ripened bananas? GREEN BANANAS MADE INTO A FLOUR OF COURSE!
Yup, you heard right, there's officially a flour made from just about everything these days, and this one tops the cake - or rather, might be featured in your next one.
This is a low-fat (actually 0), high-starch option (sorry keto friends), which means it works great as a thickening agent in baked goods as well as in cooking (think binding up otherwise thin sauces!). For those of you who don't like bananas: 1. you're crazy. and 2. YOU MIGHT STILL WANT TO TRY THIS! It doesn't smell/look/taste like bananas at all. That is my subjective opinion, anyways. I did a bit of research and some sources claim there is a slight resemble in taste to bananas...and all I can say to that is they are dead wrong.
As a banana lover myself, I was mildly disappointed at how very different this flour is to actual bananas...but nevertheless it's still loaded up with healthy potassium and works fab in all sorts of baked goodies. I quite enjoy this chocolate chip cake by Feasting on Fruit (although, duh, I use pure raw cacao nibs rather than chocolate chips - god forbid!).
Now it's important to note you can't just sub in banana flour without second thought - it's a bit denser than regular wheat flour, so you'll need to use less. Specifically, use 3/4 cup banana flour for every cup of wheat flour in a recipe.
3. Coconut Flour
Okay maybe this one is overdone too - but I just couldn't resist listing it as my top faves, since it literally makes everything rich and delicious. Coconut flour is all the rage these days as coconut is recognized and praised as being a very healthy ketogenic fat that will in-turn keep you feeling fuelled and full for long periods of time (think: eat lots of keto muffins, fast several hours after).
Coconut flour is a tricky one when it comes to baking - you need to supplement this stuff with A LOT of liquid because it basically drinks it all up like when you get back from a hike in the desert (not being over-dramatic here).
While it's a flour with a hefty price tag, thankfully, a little goes a long way. I usually substitute anywhere from about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup coconut flour for 1 cup grain-based flour. In addition to this, you also need to increase the number of eggs (or "flax eggs" if you're keeping things vegan). In other words, a little goes a long way - and it's totally worth every sprinkle. When I was on the Candida diet a few months back, I basically had these Avocado Pancakes with Lemon Coconut Parsley Sauce on the daily, and I still use coconut flour as the base ingredient in whatever pancake creation I whip up today!