The flours listed below are alternatives to wheat flour and are all GLUTEN FREE. It is important to be aware that there is no exact substitute for wheat flour and any recipe made with gluten-free alternative flours will be different from those containing wheat. (Gluten, that is contained in wheat flour, is a protein that strengthens and binds dough in baking so any substitute may not turn out as well). It is recommended to have a “trial” with any baking before you cook it for your first dinner party or Thanksgiving Dinner!!.
Besan – also called gram flour, is made from ground, dried chickpeas and is a staple ingredient in many Indian and Pakistani foods. Besan is finely ground, not coarse as is the chickpea flour used to make falafels. It is an exceptionally high in protein flour and is gluten free. It is used as a coating on many of the deep-fried favorites of India including the vegetable fritters that are called pakouras. Many Indian curries contain besan to thicken the curry sauce and coat meats, fish and vegetables. Besan can be used as a thickener in soups and sauces and may be used as Westerners might use eggs to bind ingredients together. Besan flour is best stored in the refrigerator as the oil content in the flour can make it turn rancid more easily. In an airtight container if the fridge, besan can usually be kept safely for about six months. One very special use for Besan is in the making of Besan Ki Barfi which is a very common sweet in India.
Buckwheat - this flour is produced by milling the whole buckwheat grain and sieving off only the inedible outer husk. The fibrous layer covering the kernel then makes a very nutritional flour product. It is best used for pancakes, waffles, crepes, biscuits and pasta products. Buckwheat flour can be used in many recipes for extra nutrition and flavor. It has a rich, nutty flavor and a very high nutritional value, making it popular in many nations, especially in Asia.
Cornflour - is milled from corn into a fine, white powder, and is used for thickening recipes and sauces. It has a bland taste, and therefore is used in conjunction with other ingredients that will impart flavour to the recipe. It also works very well when mixed with other flours, for example when making fine batters for tempura. Some types of cornflour are milled from wheat and are labelled "wheaten cornflour" – this is then not gluten free.
Grits - is a food of Native America that is common in the Southern States and it mainly consists of coarsely ground corn. Grits is similar to other thick maize-based porridges such as polenta. Grits can be served hot or cold and as a base for many dishes from breakfast to dessert, depending on what is added. Additives can include salt and butter, meats, cheese and vegetables. It is also common for people to have sugar with their grits. Grits can also be fried.
Lentels - are small legumes that are easy to prepare and full of nutrients. Lentils are one of the oldest, most nutritious staples that have been part of history and culture for over 8,000 years. 'Dhal' is a spicy dish made wit lentils, tomatoes, onions. It is a famous Indian and Nepalese dish and is mainly eaten with rice.
Maize/Corn – Maize is also known as Corn. It is a grass that has been domesticated by indigenous people in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The Aztecs and Mayans cultivated it in many varieties throughout central and southern Mexico, and then later is spread through much of the Americas. Its ability to grow in distinct climates made is a very highly valued commodity, thus spreading to the rest of the world. Some of the most popular corn dishes include cornbread (often known as hoecakes or johnny cakes), corn pudding, succotash creamed corn, or the old fashioned "buttered corn on the cob".
Millet – India is the world's main provider of millet. It is a flour made from the grain millet, which actually comes in a variety of types. It is becoming more popular with in the United States as an alternative to flour since it is gluten free. Millet, though often thought of as the perfect birdseed, has an extensive history as an important whole grain in cooking, particularly in Asia, where millet may once have been used more extensively than rice.
Potato Flour - is made from potatoes, including their skins. The potatoes are cooked, skins on, then dried and ground finely. It is commonly used as a thickener and has a potato flavor to it. It is recommended that it be stored in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Potato Flour is often called Potato Starch. These two products, even though they are both made from potatoes, have very different uses.
Quinoa- is called quinoa (keen-wa), and is a grain that comes from the Mountains of South America. Quinoa's was one of the three staple foods, along with corn and potatoes of the Inca civilization. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain and it's protein is of an unusually high quality. It is a complete protein – similar to milk. Quinoa can be substituted for almost any grain in any recipe and is also processed into breakfast cereals.
Rice – Rice originated thousands of years ago in Asia, in a broad area stretching from eastern India through to
Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and southern China. Rice is one of the oldest harvested crops with connections back to 15,000 years old. The rice grain is made up of three main layers – the hull or husk, the bran and germ- and the inside kernel, or endosperm. The Hull or husk, is a hard protective outer layer that people cannot eat. The hull is removed when the grain is milled. Inside the hull is the bran and germ layer which is a thin layer of skin. This layer gives brown rice its color. White rice is just brown rice with the bran and germ layer removed. The endosperm is the inside layer of the grain, and is hard and contains lots of starch. Brown rice is high in fiber and lower in Gi (glycemic index) – this is helpful to increase your energy levels and will assist with weight loss compared to white rice.
Sorghum – is a grain that is common in Africa and India, but now grown in the United States. Sorghum has long been used in the United States as a grain feed for animals but is now viewed as an alternative grain for human consumption. The whole grain kernel is ground into a flour that can be used for cooking and baking. It is also known as milo flour. Traditionally this flour has been used as a cereal food to make pancakes and flat breads throughout different cultures, such as the jowar roti in India. In the United States is is becoming more common to uses sorghum flour in baked goods. It can be substituted for any flour in cakes, cookies , breads and muffins. Sorghum flour has a bland flavor, however because of its lack of gluten, which normally acts as a binder in foods, the end product can be a little drier or crumbly. Adding extra oil or eggs can improve the texture, and adding a leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda will help the dough rise.
Soy Flour - is made from roasted soybeans that have been ground into a fine powder. This flour is very rich in high-quality protein and other nutrients. Soy flour helps to add a pleasant texture and flavor to many products and this flavor can be enhanced by lightly “toasting” it first to enhance its nutty flavor. Soy flour can be used in amazing products, like fudge and other candies, pies, doughnuts, cakes and rolls, pasta, pancake mixes and frozen desserts. Some meat loaves use soy flour. Soy flour also adds moisture to baked products so can be used as an inexpensive and cholesterol-free egg substitute in these foods.
Tapioca – Tapioca Flour is obtained from the cassava plant. This species, native to the Amazon (e.g. Brazil), is now cultivated worldwide. Tapioca is a staple food in some regions and is used worldwide as a thickening agent in watery soups or milk pudding and rice puddings. It is tasteless , starchy substance; much like sago.
C A U T I O N - Caution needs to used as Wheat, Rye, Barley and Oats are sometimes referred to by alternative names or derivates of the original product.
In the wheat family, wheat can be referred to as Atta, Burghul, Dinkel, Durum, Farina, Graham Flour, Semolina, Spelt, Triticale (Hybrid of wheat and rye)
Rye can often be referred as Pumpernickel.
Malt and Malt extract is a derivative of Barley.
Oats can often be referred as Pilcorn.
It does not matter what name is used, these are all "gluten-containing" grains and should be avoided if you are on a gluten-free diet.