Grains, Flours and Starches
We're breaking down the basics of gluten-free baking with our guide to grains, flours, and starches. Here you'll find 15 products that will help you start baking gluten-free in no time.
Cornstarch is ground from the endosperm of corn kernels. This flavorless powder is used as a binder or thickening agent in puddings, pie fillings, sauces, soups, and stews, and it’s added in baked goods to make them lighter in texture.
Arrowroot is a fine, white powder that resembles cornstarch and is used as a thickener. It is flavorless and sets to an almost clear gel, which makes it ideal for clear sauces. It can replace cornstarch, but leftovers will need to be rethickened.
Gums are a common ingredient in gluten-free baking. They are added to enable rising, reduce crumbling, and give the elastic texture that gluten usually provides. Food manufacturers also use gums as thickeners in salad dressings and pie fillings.
Sorghum flour has a light color and bland flavor that make it a versatile option in gluten-free baking. Since it is milled from the whole grain, it’s also higher in fiber and protein than rice flours.
Cornmeal is made from coarsely grinding whole dried corn, leaving behind the nutrient-packed germ. It is available in white, yellow, and blue, depending on the color of the corn.
White Rice Flour
The bland taste of this flour doesn’t alter the flavor of dishes. It comes in a range of textures (from regular to fine) that affect consistency; coarser grinds can create grittiness in baked goods.
Brown Rice Flour
This flour is milled from brown rice, which still contains the bran, giving it a heavier texture, but also making it more nutritious than white rice flour.
Teff is a very tiny cereal grain native to Africa that’s rich in protein, calcium, iron, and potassium. It has a sweet, nutty flavor and can be served alone as a hot cereal or mixed into a variety of baked goods.
This flour (made from the root starch of the cassava plant) produces a clear gel, making it ideal as a thickener in puddings, fruit fillings, soups, and glazes. It also adds chewiness and stretch to gluten-free baked goods.
Flour made from hemp seeds is dark in color and imparts a nutty flavor, so it should be used in darker-colored, more strongly flavored baked goods. It is high in fiber and protein, so it is an excellent source of energy.
Garbanzo and Fava Bean Flour
This flour is a protein and fiber-rich blend of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and fava beans, which lend an earthy flavor to baked goods. It provides a great texture for a variety of gluten-free baked goods, such as cookies and breads.
Garbanzo Bean Flour
This flour is made by grinding garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) into a fine protein-rich flour. Use it blended with other flours for all kinds of baking, including cakes, breads, and pizza dough.
Also referred to as hazelnut meal, this flour is made by grinding hazelnuts. It adds a sweet, nutty flavor to a variety of baked goods. It’s also rich in protein and fiber.
This high-fiber, protein-rich flour is an excellent gluten-free flour. It gives baked goods a mild sweetness and rich texture. It requires more liquid than other flours, so use it in recipes specifically designed for it.
Also called almond meal, almond flour is made by grinding raw blanched almonds into a fine powder. Combine it with other gluten-free flours to add a hint of nuttiness plus healthy fats, fiber, and protein.