I don’t think I’ve done a post in the past about Grain Free flour(s), but thought it is a subject well worth putting together.
Grain free flour contains absolutely NO GLUTEN. They are good for anyone, but in particular people who are either Celiac or have an intolerance to or are gluten sensitive.
It’s interesting, but when I first went Gluten Free in 2014, I thought a lot of my issues would go away. Well, was I wrong! Turns out that I ate things like rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat (not supposed to contain gluten), and to my dismay, they all created reactions I had not anticipated. I wound up with joint pain every time I ate any of it! So, I’ve stopped with all of them.
Enter Grain Free flours. They include the following – Tapioca, Arrowroot, Coconut, Cassava, Tigernut (no it’s not from tigers!), Cricket, Almond, and Chestnut flours. Most of these are OK for me, but I don’t tolerate nuts or beans, so Almond and Chestnut flours are off my menu. That doesn’t mean you can’t though.
Where do you get them and how do you use them? Here is some information about each of them that will help you make a decision. Now, to be up front about these ingredients – they are all more expensive than regular “flour” so be prepared when you go to look at them. I buy most, if not all, of these grain free flours on-line either at Amazon, or another supplier as I think I get the best prices there. In Canada, the health food stores don’t usually carry these flours, but that could change if it hasn’t already started. I know that Whole Foods may carry some of the newer ones, but we don’t have one near us, so I really can’t comment on that yet.
Let’s start with Arrowroot Flour/Starch or Powder: This is a very versatile flour/starch and I find myself using it on a regular basis. I usually buy mine from a supplier called Anthony’s in the US via Amazon.com. Unfortunately, that company does not ship to Canada, so you can most usually find Bob’s Red Mill Arrowroot Flour/Starch in the grocery store in the Gluten Free isle or the Health Food section, or at Amazon.ca. You could also find it at your local bulk food store (Bulk Barn in Canada, or Richards in USA).
Arrowroot starch/flour or powder comes from the arrowroot plant, Maranta arundinacea and is high in protein and contains lots of nutrients too. It has a neutral flavour and is used instead of wheat flour in a lot of recipes and can be used as a thickener for soups, stews, custards, puddings and gravy. I use it a lot to make a great crispy fried fish recipe made up of coconut flour and arrowroot powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder – it helps to make a nice crispy coating on the fish when cooked in avocado oil in the fry pan. You could use this as a batter for chicken also.
I guess mentioning Almond Flour is good for those of you who can tolerate this one (as many can). It has a nutty flavour that you will like if you like almonds. This flour is made from crushed almonds and is used in a lot of baking recipes. It can be used as a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour in cakes, breads, muffins, pie crust, and cookies and can be easily purchased in the grocery stores, health food stores, on Amazon.ca or at the Bulk Barn. One that I see a lot is Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour.
Cassava Flour can be used 1:1 in place of wheat flour in your recipes. Again, this is an expensive flour, but when you can’t use gluten containing flours, this becomes a great replacement.
Cassava flour comes from the entire root of the yucca tuber,
has a nutty flavour and is lighter than regular flour. It can be used to make all kinds of baked goods, such as waffles, pancakes, cookies, cakes, brownies, pita bread, tortillas, pizza crust, and more. It can also be used to thicken gravy, soups, and stews. It’s such a versatile flour and is my absolute favorite flour to use. I buy mine in the USA from Anthony’s at Amazon.com. You can get Otto’s Cassava flour in Canada through Amazon.ca and I believe Whole Foods sells it as well.
I use Cassava flour in just about all of my baking, along with either Arrowroot powder, Coconut flour, or Tigernut flour. I make cookies, pizza crusts, waffles, English muffins, tortilla wraps and chips, pie crust, flat bread, pizza dough, and most recently made a strawberry-rhubarb crisp with it.
Coconut Flour is made from the flesh of the coconut and has a very distinct coco-nutty flavour. It is a dense flour and you will find that you need to use more liquid when making any recipe with it, like extra eggs or gelatin eggs, water, applesauce, flax seed or chia seed slurry to keep the moisture in your finished product. It’s high in fiber, and low in carbohydrates, so is good for anyone fighting carbohydrate issues in their diets. Coconut flour can be used to make cakes, pancakes, muffins, or can be used in gravy, soups, or stews as a thickener. You will find coconut flour is readily available in your grocery store or on-line at Amazon.ca.
Tapioca Starch/Flour is the next one on my list of great grain free flours. This flour comes from the pulp of the yucca root and is a cousin of Cassava flour, but has different properties, so they cannot be used interchangeably. It has a neutral flavour and can be used in baking and for a thickener in soups, stews, and gravy. Tapioca starch/flour has a high glycemic index and is high in carbohydrates as well, so should be used sparingly in your diet. This flour can be purchased at the grocery store or on-line at Amazon.ca.
Tigernut flour (not from Tigers!) is another favorite of mine. It has a nice sweet flavour that works well in cookies, pancakes, and other baked goods. Tigernuts are actually not a nut, but a tuber and can be a healthy alternative to nuts for those with nut allergies. Tigernut flour is high in protein and fiber, and helps with maintaining blood glucose levels.
The tubers are small and very crunchy. They can be soaked (advisable for at least 24 hours) before eating or making the flour which can be done at home. Rather than wasting the nuts after making tigernut milk – I bake the nuts for a bit in the oven, then transfer to the high speed blender to make tigernut flour – two for one! Now I do notice a difference in the flour I make at home and what I buy on-line, but it works just as well. You can get your tigernuts or tigernut flour at Amazon.ca, or I heard that Winners? carries it (I haven’t checked this out yet, but will do).
I use Tigernut flour to make cookies, pancakes, waffles, and other baked goods as well as in smoothies and tigernut butter. I really like it as it is quite a nice flour to work with.
OK, so here is one I haven’t yet tried, but am certainly open to doing just that once I find a good supplier of it. Cricket Flour. Yes it really is a flour that you can use, but why would you use it? Well, it seems it is very high in protein (yes it is a creature after all), high in vitamins, minerals and amino acids (not surprising), it apparently has a mild, neutral taste, and it can be used in a lot of applications. According to the Cricketflours.com it can be used to make smoothies and shakes, and can be added to anything you are baking.
I guess it’s one I’ll have to put on my list of things to try next, although it’s pretty expensive!
Chestnut Flour is another grain free flour that I likely won’t be using as it is a tree-nut and I am definitely not able to eat them. However, I do believe others will be able to so will include in my list here. It can be used in recipes to make bread, cookies, muffins, brownies and pizza dough. This flour is low in fat, but is high in starch content and its glycemic index is high at 65 (although not as high as wheat flour at 85), so it’s not one you should use often. It has an earthy and nutty flavour!
Green Banana Flour is another grain free flour that I probably won’t be using (as I have a latex allergy which bananas relate to). But, it is another powerhouse flour that can be used in many recipes to help boost your potassium and fiber intake and it is a resistant starch which helps with digestion. It has a fairly light banana flavour, which makes it good to use in cakes, cookies, soups, stews, sauces. Green Banana Flour can be purchased on-line at Amazon.ca for a reasonable price.
This gives you some different flours you can now use to help with your specific dietary needs. I know that these flours and starches have been a blessing for me with my gluten intolerance. I was never checked for Celiac Disease, but am sure I was close as I’ve been suffering for a very long time with gluten issues (since childhood although it was never really recognized). Anyway, that’s in the past, now on to the future and better things.
I know that since I have adopted the AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) protocol, I’ve had to adjust my intake of grains to none, and that has been very difficult. But I have adjusted over the past few years and find I can eat most of these grain free alternative flours/starches without any problems. I am able to make tortillas, make a fairly decent English muffin, love my Paleo Crumpets, have recently fallen in love again with my new waffle recipes (and of course my new waffle iron), make cookies to die for (according to my hubby – he thinks I should sell them to the public!!), and many other recipes I was sure I would never be able to enjoy again!
So here’s to Grain Free Flours and starches! Hip, Hip, Hooray!
(By the way, if you click on any of the links that take you to a product and you purchase something there, I may earn a small commission – it in no way changes the amount you pay.)
Have a wonderful day and week ahead.