There are many flours available for people who can’t eat gluten. However, I try to limit how many flours I use just to keep my life less complicated. Additionally I don’t want to use Xantham Gum or Guar Gum to act as binders so I avoid flours that would need those gums.
This is the main flour I use. Almonds are pretty healthy and taste good. I read someone who said that the downside of baking with almond flour is you eat a lot more almonds if you bake with it than you would if you were eating it in its nut form. That’s true, but that’s also true of grains like wheat or corn. How many grains of wheat would you eat in one sitting compared to a dinner of wheat bread, wheat pasta, and cake for dessert?
You can get almond flour in various textures ranging from more coarse to more fine and you can get them “natural” (with skins attached prior to grinding) or “blanched” (skins removed before grinding.) Which flour you get will likely affect the texture of your food. However, I haven’t found it to be that big a deal (though some people do.) Back when I was first experimenting with almond flour I bought almond meal locally because it was cheaper than ordering 5 pounds of flour online. The natural almond meal made a coarser product but for the amount of money I was saving, I was okay with it. These days we use so much almond flour I order the fine, blanched flour online in boxes of 25 pounds from Honeyville Grains so that the price per pound is less. When it arrives I transfer it to freezer containers, label it with the date and freeze it. I only buy it once or twice a year so I usually wait until they have a good discount coupon available.
BESAN, CHICKPEA, OR GARBANZO
Made from garbanzo beans, this high protein flour is common in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. I use it in my pakora-style fritters. Someday I’d like to try making Dosa, a fermented crepe.
Coconut flour is high in fiber so I like to add it to recipes that I think could benefit from fiber (like my Brazilian-style Bread Balls) or when I just want a high fiber ingredient (like in my pancakes.) It is low in protein so usually needs to be used in recipes that include eggs.
Used to make corn tortillas, masa harina is NOT the same as corn flour. It is made with slaked lime. You will never be able to find it organic because of that. Although Bob’s Red Mill brand Masa Harina is not labeled non-gmo (due to possible cross-contamination from other fields,) they only plant non-gmo seeds so it is the brand I have always used.
A drought resistant grass seed that is grown world-wide. It is a whole grain flour. It can have a slightly coarse texture. I sometimes make crepes with millet flour.
Quinoa is a complete protein. The flour can be bitter so some people like to toast it as a way of getting rid of the bitterness. I don’t taste any of the bitterness in my crackers so I don’t pre-toast it.
Toasting can be done in various ways. Some sources toast it at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour, others toast at 215 degrees for 2 to 3 hours. In either case spread about half a pound on a cookie sheet and turn a few times during the toasting process.
Another drought resistant crop, sorghum flour is the gluten-free flour that is most similar to processed white flour. It does not give foods a coarse texture. It is one of my favorite flours after almond flour.
Tapioca flour, also called tapioca starch, is made from the cassava root. It has almost no nutritional value. Its main purposes are to lighten gluten-free flours that may be too heavy on their own or as a thickening agent for sauces. It is usually cheaper than Arrowroot and its uses are similar enough to arrowroot that I use it as a 1:1 substitution in any recipe that calls for arrowroot. It can go bad faster than arrowroot but since I freeze it, I don’t worry about that.
A gluten-free flour that can be used as a substitute for sorghum. It is generally more expensive, so I usually stick with sorghum.