There are a lot of gluten free flours out there to choose from and if you’re just starting, it can be confusing indeed!
First of all, here is a list of grains that are or are not GF:
** The oats are gluten free but most oatmeal is processed on the machines that process wheat, so they are contaminated. However, you can find certified gluten free oatmeal that has been processed in a separate facility.
Now for some tips about the different flours. Gluten is sticky and what holds wheat products together so well. So any gluten free flour tends to make baked goods crumbly. This is where the secret weapon comes in- Xanthan Gum. I was thrilled when I dicovered this stuff. It replaces the sticky element of gluten and really helps keep baked goods from being so crumbly. Word of caution- it only requires a small amount, so don’t overdo it.
One thing to be aware of when using any flour other than wheat is the texture of each flour is different and as well as taste and liquid to solid ratio. Starting to sound complicated? 😊 Well, yes and no. Yes, it can be, but no, it’s not because I’ll tell you what I’ve learned from experience, so you won’t need to experiment.
Some gf flours are heavy and soak up lots of moisture. Others are light a fluffy and extra fine. So most experienced gluten free cooks combine a 3- part ratio of light to heavy flours. They also add in lots of starch, like potato or tapioca starch to make it act more like wheat flour. I used to do this myself
However, there are now so many premixed gf flours out there that it’s hardly worth the bother of keeping all the different kinds on hand if you can just use one premixed flour. Especially if you’re not on a dedicated gf diet. In fact, if you have certified gf oatmeal in your cupboard, there are lots of yummy dessert recipes I can give you. Actually, I will give you some that don’t even require oatmeal. But I digress… Back to the flour.. First of all, you will notice I recommend mostly Bobs Red Mill brands. This is because my closest grocery store sticks this brand so I am very familiar with it. I’ve tried a few others. Some work great too, like Pamela’s. But I hesitate to recommend something I’ve never personally tried first. Disclaimer- BRM is not paying me. These are my own opinions. The links are my Amazon affiliate links though.
My personal favorite is this rBobs Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour. This is my top pick. I use this for any and all kinds of baked goods. I use it just like white flour, cup for cup. This flour has eliminated all the twenty-odd kinds of gf flours in my cupboard that I could never remember which one was for what. If you only buy one gf product, make it this one. I’m sure there are other brands that work as well, but like I said, this one is what I know.
Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Now this one I keep one hand for one thing- pizza crust. For some reason, if I use any other kind of gf flour, my husband says it’s not as good. But it has bean flour in it, so if I use it in desserts, you very quickly taste it. And let me tell you, garbanzo bean flour has a very strong smell and taste. The kind of taste you don’t want in your cookies!
I know, this is a mix, not a flour, but this is a staple in my cupboard. Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix is about the only kind of gf pancakes my husband likes to eat. And we eat a lot of pancakes in our house.
And last but definitely not the least, Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free Oatmeal. You can make such a variety of foods with oatmeal. For awhile, when I was burnt out on so many gf flours flopping my recipes so badly, I only used oatmeal. And you can even throw it in the blender and make your own gf flour.
So there you have it! Those are just about the only ‘special’ ingredients I buy to bake with outside of ‘regular’ baking ingredients. And I can’t wait to show you some of my delectable desserts!