Gluten Free baking can be challenging. You will often require a combination of heavy, medium, and light flours, plus starches and binding agents to replace a cup of gluten-filled flour.
Heavy flours give structure and binding, but have lower rising capacity.
Chickpea Flour (Gram/Garbanzo Flour)
Absorbs liquid quickly, and is also high in protein. Has natural binding properties and gives structure to baked goods. You may need more sweetener to mask the slightly bean-like taste if you use more than 1/4 cup or so.
Absorbs liquid quickly, and is sweet and high in fibre. Always use it in combination with other flours as it soaks up all the moisture. Works best with eggs to keep the recipe from getting too dry.
High protein flour with a fairly strong flavor. Avoid using it as a main flour because of it can alter the taste of a recipe and cause baked goods to be crumbly.
High in protein and fibre, with a nut-like flavor. It is a dense flour with natural binding tendencies.
Naturally slightly sweet, and high in protein and fibre. Almond flour has some natural binding tendencies which helps give structure to baked goods. Has natural oils that make baked goods soft and moist.
Medium flours lighten heavy flours, even out stronger tastes, soften the crumb and texture.
Amaranth is a lighter coloured and very lightly flavoured flour. Because it has higher properties of starch, it is ‘sticky’, meaning it is more naturally binding.
Millet makes dough a golden colour. Its sturdier than sorghum but has a milder taste. I like using it in combination with white rice flour and potato starch for a nice all-purpose blend
Sorghum (Jowar) Flour
This is the lightest of the medium flours, and has a very soft, light crumb. It has a slightly more pronounced flavour than Millet, but yields softer breads. It has a great naturally binding capacity and can be used in just about any recipe.
Brown Rice Flour
Brown rice flour is an all purpose medium flour. It does not provide as soft a crumb as sorghum but is more neutral in flavour. It is a stiffer flour than white rice, and sometimes has a slightly grainy mouth feel depending on flour combination. Works well in combination with a light flour and a starch.
Light flours are needed for binding, adding lightness, and sometimes crispiness. They also neutralize the taste of stronger flours.
White Rice Flour
An all purpose light flour, works well with light cakes and baked goods. It can sometimes have a grainy mouth feel, best used in combination with other flours.
Great for the grain free crowd, chestnut flour is high in natural starches and is a light flour, so it works wonderfully in combination with almond flour and /or coconut flour. It gives lift to other grain-free flours.
Sweet Rice Flour
Sweet rice flour is very starchy and moist you should add it sparingly as a moisture boost to your baking (use no more than ¼ cup per recipe). Too much can make for a gummy product. It’s great in combination with coconut flour to balance out moisture. It can also be used in combination with starch to thicken gravies.
Tapioca Flour (starch)
One of the heavier starches, it works well to bind recipes together, and add crispness to cookies, etc… If you use too much, it can make a recipe a bit dense, or gluey – best to combine it with either arrrowroot or potato starch for optimal lightness in your baked good. Baked goods made with this starch freeze well (unlike cornstarch).
A great, very light all purpose starch, however one of the more expensive ones. You can use it instead of combining tapioca and potato. Also freezes well, and like other starches, works to bind recipes together and add crispness.
Excellent for adding lightness and lift to a recipe and binding it together. Best used in combination with another starch or another light flour, as too much potato starch gives a recipe a strong potato taste.
USING XANTHAN GUM & GUAR GUM
In baking, gluten is responsible for the elasticity in dough and allows the final product to keep its shape and texture. In gluten-free baking, xanthan gum and guar gum can be added to provide the stickiness or binding properties in place of the omitted gluten.
For standard baking (cakes, cookies and muffins): add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum per cup of flour blend
For baking that requires yeast (bread, pizza dough): add 1 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum per cup of flour blend