Substituting Gluten Free Flours

by | Oct 2, 2015 | Nutrition, Resource Center

Brown Rice Flour
This flour comes from unpolished brown rice. It has more food value because it contains bran. Use it in breads, muffins, and cookies.

Cornstarch
GlutenFreeDaily only recommends the use of corn in moderation.  This is a refined starch that comes from corn. It is mostly used as a clear thickening agent for puddings, fruit sauces and Asian cooking. It is also used in combination with other flours for baking.

Corn Flour
GlutenFreeDaily only recommends the use of corn in moderation.  This flour is milled from corn and can be blended with cornmeal to make cornbread or muffins. It is excellent for waffles or pancakes.

Cornmeal
GlutenFreeDaily only recommends the use of corn in moderation.  This is ground corn that comes from either yellow or white meal. This is often combined with flours for baking. It imparts a strong corn flavor that is delicious in pancakes, waffles, or simple white cakes.

Potato Starch Flour
This is a gluten-free thickening agent that goes great in cream-based soups and sauces. Mix a little with water first, then substitute potato starch flour for flour in your recipe, but cut the amount in half.

Soy Flour
For that special occasion, this nutty tasting flour has a high protein and fat content. It is best when used in combination with other flours and for baking brownies, or any baked goods with nuts or fruit.

Tapioca Flour
This is a light, white, very smooth flour that comes from the cassava root. It’s great for giving baked goods a nice chewy taste. Use it in recipes where a chewy texture would be desirable. It would work nicely in bread recipes such as white bread or French bread. It is also easily combined with cornstarch.

White Rice Flour
This is an excellent basic flour for gluten-free baking. It is milled from polished white rice. Because it has such a bland flavor, it is perfect for baking, as it doesn’t impart any flavors. It works well with other flours. White rice flour is available in health food stores and Asian markets.  Fine textured white rice flour works the best.

Substituting Gluten
Wheat flour contains gluten, which keeps cookies, cakes and pies from getting crumbly and falling apart. It is what makes baked goods have a good texture because it traps pockets of air. This creates a lovely airy quality that most baked goods possess when baked with traditional wheat flour. In order to help retain this structure when using non-wheat flours, gluten substitutes must be added to a gluten-free flour mixture. For each cup of gluten-free flour mix, add at least 1 teaspoon of gluten substitute. Here are three very good substitutes for gluten.

  • Xanthum Gum
    This comes from the dried cell coat of a microorganism called Zanthomonas campestris. It is formulated in a laboratory setting. This works well as a gluten substitution in yeast breads along with other baked goods.
  • Guar Gum
    This is a powder that comes from the seed of the plant Cyamopsis tetragonolobus. It is an excellent gluten substitute.
  • Pre-gel Starch
    This is an acceptable gluten substitute. It helps keep baked goods from being too crumbly.


Substitution is the key
If you are ready to try some recipes, start with recipes that use relatively small amounts of wheat flour like brownies or pancakes. These turn out great and taste almost identical. Here are two gluten-free flour mixtures that are suitable for substituting wheat flour in the same measurements.

  • Gluten-Free Flour Mixture I
    1/4 cup soy flour
    1/4 cup tapioca flour
    1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • Gluten-Free Flour Mixture II
    6 cups white rice flour
    2 cups potato starch
    1 cup tapioca flour

Keep these flour mixtures stored in containers at room temperature and keep them on hand to simplify your baking routine.