Gluten-free plain and self-raising flour blends These are pre-blended flour mixes. Each brand does differ slightly, but these generally contain a mixture of flour (rice) with starches (such as tapioca and corn), as well as a thickening/binding agent such as xanthan gum or guar gum. Perfect to keep in the pantry and use in easy baked goods such as cupcakes.
Buckwheat flour Milled from the pseudo grain buckwheat, this flour has a distinctive strong earthy flavour, and is commonly used to make noodles, blinis and bread. It has quite a sticky texture once moisture is added, and is generally used in conjunction with other gluten-free flours.
Brown and white rice flour Adding body to gluten-free blends, rice flour is made from finely ground brown or white rice. It has a mild flavour and is often the main ingredient in gluten-free flour blends. It has a slightly gritty texture, so is best teamed with gluten-free flours and starches that have a soft texture, such as cornflour, tapioca or potato starch.
Quinoa flour This flour is milled from the quinoa grain and is highly nutritious, being rich in protein, calcium and iron. It is extremely versatile in gluten-free baking and works well in bread, cakes and biscuits. It has a slightly bitter aftertaste, so is best used in conjunction with other gluten-free flours or combined with sweet or stronger flavours.
Tapioca starch (flour) Derived from the root of the cassava (or manioc) plant, tapioca starch has a slightly sweet taste. It has thickening and binding properties and can help give a crisp texture to cookies. Best used with other gluten-free flours, such as rice or sorghum flour.
Sorghum flour With a light, sweet, nutty flavour, this flour is made from milled sorghum grain (originating in Africa). Traditionally used to make flatbreads and porridge, today it is also used to make gluten-free baked goods. It’s high in protein, iron and dietary fibre.
Baking powder A powdered mixture consisting of sodium bicarbonate and an acidic substance such as cream of tartar, with a filling of starch or flour. It is used as a rising agent in baking – the reaction between the acidic cream of tartar and the alkali sodium bicarbonate in the moisture of the batter creates bubbles that rise. Always check the baking powder is marked gluten free.
Cornflour (maize starch) Made from starch granules found in the endosperm maize kernels, cornflour is used to thicken and bind baked goods, and thicken sauces and gravies. Always check the label to ensure it is gluten free and derived from maize.
Polenta Often used in Italian food to make a porridge-like dish, it can also be added to baking for texture and colour, and used as a coating for foods like schnitzel and chips.
Potato flour Made from dehydrated potato, this flour can be used as a thickener for sauces and gravies, and also works well in pancakes. It holds water, so also helps moisten gluten-free bread.
Potato starch Not to be confused with potato flour, potato starch is extracted from the starch grains found in potatoes. It helps retain moisture, gives a soft texture and acts as a binding agent in gluten-free baked goods. Like most gluten-free options, it is best used in conjunction with other gluten-free flours, but
it’s perfect for dense, moist recipes like brownies.
Xanthan gum This is used to provide structure and bind gluten-free baked goods (as gluten does in wheat). Made from the bacteria in corn syrup, it can have a gummy texture if too much is used, so use in moderation.
LSA meal A mixture of almond, sunflower and linseed meal, LSA is great in gluten-free baking. Linseed not only adds nutrition being high in protein and good fats, it also has a gelling and binding property when mixed with water, so can help to bind.
Coconut flour Products manufactured from coconuts have become the ‘in’ food due to the many reports on their excellent health properties. Coconut flour is essentially dried coconut in powdered form, made from the solids remaining after the coconut milk has been extracted.