What if your daughter, cousin, best friend, or boss announces they are gluten-free and can’t eat your brownies or cookies?
Don’t fight it: eembrace the craze.
Maybe exploring non-gluten flour is a good idea for everyone, even if gluten doesn’t bother you.
Non-gluten flours give baked goods different textures and flavors that make for an interesting change. You might even find them better then all-purpose white, or you can add a little alternate flour to your recipes to change them up, increase the protein content, and see how you feel with a bit less gluten.
Where did SUPER CHEF start?
With a few good cookbooks (see The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free and Gluten-Free Flour Power) and a selection of excellent flour. We like high-quality Pereg Natural Foods that sells All Natural, Kosher Certified Gluten-Free “Alternative Flours” made from Banana, Quinoa, Almond, Buckwheat, Chickpea and Coconut flours. They also have Farro, which doesn’t really count as gluten-free, but might as well sneak that one in, too. They come in re-sealable thick plastic bags that are handy to store in the freezer. A basket filled with these flours makes a great graduate’s gift or a summer time gift for your weekend host. Toss in a measuring spoon or a terracotta-baking dish (see Romertorf) and you have a great gift.
Make sure to put the Buckwheat bag on top and maybe you’ll have blini and caviar as a thank you.
Here is a guide to these alternate flours provided by Pereg:
Pereg Buckwheat Gluten-Free Flour – Buckwheat is the seed of a plant and is related to rhubarb, not wheat, rye or barley. Despite the confusing name, buckwheat is gluten-free and high in fiber. Because it’s packed with essential minerals it can really boost the nutritional value of gluten-free recipes. Gluten-free buckwheat is among the top five easiest flours to work with. It can be considered a “base flour” and can be used as a large proportion in your flour blends. Use it to make crepes, pancakes, English muffins, cookies and buns, and to thicken soups, stews and sauces.
Pereg Quinoa Gluten-Free Flour – It’s good to know just how versatile quinoa flour is. It creates soft baked goods but is also a fantastic all-purpose type of flour. Quinoa flour is especially great for baking gluten-free breads because of its protein content. Since gluten is a protein, it is important to use higher protein flours (such as quinoa) when baking gluten-free. The protein in quinoa flour helps to give your bread structure, and will improve the overall texture. For best flavor, try toasting your quinoa flour before using it: Spread it out onto baking sheets covered in foil or parchment paper, and bake at 215 degrees for 2 ½ – 3 hours. You’ll know the flour is ready when its scent is nearly gone and the flour has a mild flavor. Once it’s been toasted, your quinoa flour should keep well in the fridge or freezer for about 8 months. Even after toasting, quinoa flour does have a very slight sour flavor – which lends itself beautifully to bread and English muffins.
Pereg Gluten-Free Banana Flour – Because of the high starch content in banana flour you can use less flour than specified in your everyday recipes. Rule of thumb is to use 30% LESS Banana Flour than wheat flour. Banana flour mimics the results of wheat flour remarkably well, making for an easy transition to banana flour in your everyday baking. Banana flour works well by itself, but also complements most other flours wonderfully. Made from peeled, ripe bananas, the flour has minimal taste. When consumed raw, it has a hint of banana flavor, but once baked into your final creation the taste has an earthy, wholesome flavor. The texture is light and fluffy – you’ll have a tough time believing it comes from bananas. Banana flour can add a boost in nutrients to your morning smoothie, add thickness to your soups or sauces, and can be used as a great additive to natural homemade baby foods. As you might imagine, it also makes great banana bread.
Pereg Gluten-Free Coconut Flour – Baking with coconut flour is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. It’s super absorbent, but doesn’t have a lot of binding power. You’ll notice that recipes using coconut flour use a lot of eggs and very little flour. That’s because, as it lacks structure, without the addition of other ingredients to add body, it wouldn’t hold its shape well. The eggs provide moisture, act as a binder, and also give the baked goods structure. Like almond flour, if you’re new to baking with coconut flour, stick with recipes that have already been tested and proven to work. You can’t substitute coconut flour 1:1 with any other flour; it simply won’t work. If you’re building a coconut flour recipe from scratch, a good rule of thumb is that for every 1/4 cup coconut flour in a recipe, you need to add two eggs. If you’re mixing in other dry ingredients, such as cocoa powder, your egg ratio will need to go up even higher. Can you taste the coconut flavor in recipes? In neutral tasting items such as pancakes, you can taste it a little. But if you have other strong flavors in your recipe, you usually won’t be able to taste it at all.
Pereg Gluten-Free Almond Flour – When you’re baking with almond flour, remember that it does not behave like a “normal” flour. It’s much higher in fat and therefore needs some adjustments. When you bake with almond flour, you’ll notice the texture tends to be more on the tender and cake-like side, that’s because of the higher fat content. Almond flour recipes tend to use more eggs and less fat. The eggs provide more structure and moisture, but don’t worry, your baked good won’t taste egg-y! Almond flour’s natural fat content reduces the need to add fats such as butter or cooking oil. Use almond flour in small amounts. Don’t let the texture of the batter throw you off: Almond flour batters are almost always thicker than traditional wheat-based or other gluten-free recipes. Refrain from adding more liquid, because if you do, your baked goods won’t bake through. Great uses are in pizza crust, shortbread cookies and chicken nugget coating.
Embrace variety, and try one.