Friday, November 30, 2012

Using Alternative Flours .....By: Allrecipes Staff



Don't let allergies to wheat or gluten keep you from enjoying baked products.

Take some of the guesswork out of the shopping search--use this list to find flour alternatives.

Potato Starch Flour

This is a gluten-free thickening agent that is perfect for 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. It can be purchased in a health food store.

Tapioca Flour
This is a light, white, very smooth flour that comes from the cassava root. It makes baked goods impart 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 and soy flour. It can be purchased in a health food store.

Soy Flour

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. It can be purchased in a health food store.

Cornstarch
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. It can be purchased in a health food store.

Corn Flour
This flour is milled from corn and can be blended with cornmeal to make cornbread or muffins. It is excellent for waffles or pancakes. It can be purchased in a health food store.

Cornmeal
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. It can be purchased in a health food store.

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 most health food stores, but also in Asian markets. At the Asian markets it is sold in different textures. The one that works the best is called fine textured white rice flour.

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. It can be purchased in a health food store.

Kamut and Spelt Flours
These are ancient forms of wheat. While they aren't appropriate for gluten-free diets, they are excellent substitutes for plain wheat flour as they add wonderful flavor and consistency.

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. You can purchase it in health food stores.
Guar Gum
This is a powder that comes from the seed of the plant Cyamopsis tetragonolobus. It is an excellent gluten substitute and it is available in health food stores.
Pre-gel Starch

This is an acceptable gluten substitute. It helps keep baked goods from being too crumbly. This, too can be purchased at most health food stores.

Substitution is the solution
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 lovely and the difference in taste is minimal. Here are two gluten-free flour mixtures that are suitable for substituting wheat flour cup for cup.

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

The above mixtures can be doubled or tripled. Another option is to purchase a gluten-free flour mixture at a health food store to avoid the guesswork involved in substitutions. This flour mixture can usually substitute wheat flour cup for cup, but read the package directions to be sure. Keep these flour mixtures stored in containers at room temperature and keep them on hand to simplify your baking routine.

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Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies

"This recipe is gluten-free and delicious! Pecans are great in these, but feel free to use peanuts or any other nut you choose."

Original Recipe Yield 30 cookies

Ingredients

2 cups peanut butter
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheet.
Combine peanut butter, eggs, and sugar and mix until smooth. Mix in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Spoon dough by tablespoons onto a cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for 5 to 10 minutes before removing.
Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 438 | Total Fat: 25.1g | Cholesterol: 56mg

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