Gluten-Free Flour Madness

oat flour

Image courtesy of jacqueline at flickr.com

Here in the Decadent Vegan Baker test kitchen the flour is flying. All kinds of flour – chickpea, almond meal, rice flour, amaranth flour – as I try to come up with a vegan, high altitude, and gluten-free baked good with a great texture. I have baked from recipes and discovered that removing gluten can make treats more like tricks. They become gummy and dense or hard and crumbly. Or, worse yet, they don’t ever rise. But a blog post on the Bob’s Red Mill website may have solved some of my problems.

When creating a gluten-free flour blend, they recommend that “for an all purpose flour blend use a ratio of 1/3 light flour and 2/3 heavy and/or medium flour.” When I looked back at the recipe I made that turned out very gummy, I realized the author used mostly light flours. “Gluten free flours are classified based on their protein content. Heavy flours assist in creating the structure of baked goods, as do medium flours. Light flours aid in binding and moisture retention.” Baking is all about the science so this began to make sense. The light flours didn’t contain enough structure to create a nice texture in my baking. They just made the batter moist and pasty.

Some examples of the different weight flours as mentioned on the Bob’s Red Mill blog post are as follows:
Heavy Flours – almond meal, coconut flour, and garbanzo bean flour
Medium Flours – amaranth flour, brown rice flour, and oat flour
Light Flours – arrowroot starch, potato starch, and tapioca flour

Armed with this knowledge, I plan to revisit some gluten-free recipes to make sure they follow Bob’s guidelines. I am hoping that with the proper flour weight ratio, I can better adapt recipes for some yummy treats. My gluten-free friends are hungry!

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