How's That New Gluten-Free “Cauli-flour” Compare? Not Great.
Head to the baking aisle of most major supermarkets, and you’ll typically notice an entire section dedicated to gluten free products. There are boxes of flours made from rice, tapioca, oats, and chickpea lining the shelves for eager, wheat-free bakers to buy.
Enter Cauli-Flour by Caulipower, the newest cup-for-cup gluten free flour. The mixture is made from dried cauliflower, a variety of rice flours, cornstarch, tapioca flour, quinoa flour, sorghum flour, and flaxseed meal. Plus, this variety includes yeast and baking powder in the mix.
To find out if it's really worth switching away from a standard gluten-free flour, I decided to test it against four other options—three classic blends, and another new contender: Green banana flour. This is another paleo- wheat alternative hitting the U.S. markets (It's been used in Africa and Jamaica for years)—though it's perhaps a bit less trendy. The ingredients are simple: Organic green banana flour. The bag suggests cutting recipe amounts by 25 percent when swapping it in, though no extra ingredients are required.
I elected to use a simple recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes, to best highlight the flour without masking it behind a lot of other ingredients. Unfortunately, the two new varieties didn’t fare nearly as well as the traditional gluten-free flours. Here is how they stacked up:
King Arthur Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour ($6.49/24-oz pkg)
This popular flour blend is made from rice, tapioca starch, potato starch, and whole grain brown rice flours. Though it gets lots of good reviews online, I found it made for a bit of an underwhelming flavor in a pancake.
Other editors described the pancakes as "looking the most normal," but agreed it had a flavorless bite, and chewy texture. This would probably go better in a sweet dish that includes flavorful ingredients, like a Gluten-Free cake.
RELATED: The Truth About Going Gluten Free
Lidl Gluten Free Flour Mix ($2.99/18-oz pkg)
This lower budget blend was a real surprise! The batch came out perfectly fluffy and looked the most like a normal pancake. However, we noticed the mild flavor of the flour didn’t stand up well to tangy buttermilk. Either way, if we can find ourselves a Lidl store we’ll definitely pick up a box for our gluten-free baking.
Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour ($4.58/ 22-oz pkg)
If you’re looking for fluffy, pancake-like texture then this is your (and our) winner. The unique flour blend includes garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour, and fava bean flour.
Editors claimed they wouldn’t know this was a gluten free pancake and found it the best tasting by far.
Let’s Do Organic Green Banana Flour ($4.29/ 14-oz pkg)
Bananas and pancakes can be a match made in heaven, so I was initially hopeful that this would create the ultimate, sweet banana pancake of my dreams.
But the dark brown color of the batter (and seriously sour smell) made me think otherwise. Editors described the taste with colorful words like "rotten banana," "sour," "bitter," and "almost fishy." Yikes. Though the texture wasn’t horrible, the smell and flavor weren’t something we ever want to try again.
Cauli-Flour ($14.99/ 24-oz pkg)
Though I knew this was kind of a faddy product, I was still surprised at how mediocre the pancakes turned out to be. The batter congealed super quickly, so by the time I got to actually cooking, the consistency was closer to thick cake batter.
This made the pancakes super thick, and a little tricky to cook through without burning. The not so surprising verdict was that they smelled (and tasted) like cauliflower.
Is that a bad thing? In a pancake: Yes. It is.
But, this flour is also significantly lower in calories per cup than competitor brands, so If you're gluten free and trying to cut back on the calories, it may be worth using in something savory—that you don't mind tasting a bit like a certain white-hued cabbage. Like, say, a pizza crust.