When starting a gluten free diet, many often search for a list of what they can and cannot eat. While gluten free food lists are undoubtedly helpful, many foods get left behind. As the gluten free diet grows in popularity, more pre-made and processed gluten free foods appear on grocery store shelves.
Now, there's nothing wrong with purchasing something pre-made—especially if the ingredient list is full of healthy, wholesome ingredients. However, at Bob's Red Mill, we love spending time whipping up recipes from scratch in the kitchen. So, whether you've got an itch to bake something gluten free, or can't find a good gluten free loaf at your local health food store, this article is sure to help.
Making bread at home is an excellent way to improve your baking skills and the quality of your food. By baking bread from scratch, you can fill it with healthy, gluten free ingredients and leave all of the processed junk out. And because fresh bread is hard to resist, the loaf will surely be eaten before it shows signs of spoiling. However, due to the lack of gluten, baking gluten free bread might be a bit tricky at first, which is why we've put together this list of the best gluten free flours for bread making. From banana bread to cornbread, you can create the bread of your dreams sans gluten.
Gluten Free Baking
Cooking without gluten will change the texture and taste of your recipe quite a bit, which is why when we bake gluten free goods, we take a different approach. Because all-purpose wheat flour plays such a significant role in baking fluffy treats like bread, muffins and cake, you'll not only have to replace it with a gluten free bread flour, but you'll need to understand how that flour will react to the remaining ingredients.
Understanding how each gluten free (GF) flour works will help you create a baked good that tastes and looks great. To fully understand the best gluten free flour to use in your baked treats, let's first talk about gluten.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten, a protein found in grains like barley, wheat and rye, gives dough its signature stretchy texture. It also allows batters and doughs to trap air released by leavening agents like yeast, helping them to rise better. Baked goods are often grainy, crumbly and flat without gluten, but they don't have to be! To create gluten free treats that taste just as great as their traditional counterparts, you'll want to choose a suitable baking flour alternative. The unique composition of all purpose flour makes it hard to replace with just one gluten free flour. Instead, multiple gluten free flours and binders are combined to replicate the texture of your favorite treats.
Baking at home is a favorite pastime for many and can be rather calming. The comforting feeling of a spongy, pliable dough in your hands as you knead and roll it helps to encourage mindfulness. Plus, the scent of fresh bread emerging from the oven is sure to calm even the most anxious of bakers.
However, while bread baking is a somewhat simple process, it can be challenging for those who have never tried it. And those challenges are magnified when gluten free ingredients are used. For kitchen scientists who love tweaking ratios, components, and temperatures gluten free baking is sure to be an adventure.
For others, the intimidation of it all may discourage them from trying it all together. However, because we believe bread baking is a hobby that everyone can enjoy, we've compiled some beginner-friendly gluten free baking tips, as well as recipes to start with. Review the information below and then decide which gluten free bread flour is best suited for the loaf of bread you'd like to make. From sandwich bread to dinner rolls, gluten free bread making is a skill that's sure to be appreciated.
The Best Gluten Free Flours
Though baking gluten free bread might sound like a trying task, just a bit of knowledge goes a long way. Now that you've learned the basics of gluten free bread baking, it's time to review some of the best gluten free flour for breads. At Bob's Red Mill, we spent our fair share of time testing out flours and using them to make just about everything. Here are the flours that we've found make the best gluten free bread.
Pre-Made Gluten Free Flour Blends
Gluten free baking doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, with the right ingredients making a fluffy loaf of bread sans grains is pretty straightforward. If you'd like to turn your favorite bread recipe into a gluten free one, look no further than Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour. A great substitute for traditional bread flour, it is designed to be used in nearly every wheat flour recipe. It's a unique gluten free flour blend of garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, whole grain white sorghum flour, tapioca flour and fava bean flour that you won't have to make many tweaks to. The only adjustment we recommend is adding a bit of xanthan gum or guar gum depending on what you bake with it.
While this is an excellent flour for bread-making, you can use it to create several other baked treats as well. The fine texture of this gluten free flour is ideal in gluten free recipes, including pasta dough, pie crust and pizza. And, unlike many other pre-made blends, it works well in recipes that call for baking powder or yeast.
Not a fan of pre-made bread flours, no problem. Almond flour is another gluten free flour that works well in bread recipes. Plant-based and low carb, it's beneficial when making paleo or keto bread. And even if you're not following a specific diet, it's worth a try. Aside from being reasonably easy to use, almond flour has a neutral taste making it a versatile gluten free flour on shelves. While we don't recommend substituting it at a 1:1 ratio with all purpose flour or wheat flour, adjusting most recipes won't be a problem. With the addition of xanthan gum, egg white or psyllium husk powder, you'll be able to recreate the wheat-like texture you've grown to love. Ideal for quick bread, pancakes, muffins and waffles, the next time you're itching to ditch grains, swap almond flour into the recipe instead.
Though the name might have some tricked, buckwheat flour doesn't contain wheat at all. A popular pseudocereal, buckwheat flour is an excellent source of protein and fiber. In addition, its nutty and earthy flavor can be used to enhance savory recipes and even works well when making pancakes and muffins. Though buckwheat flour isn't a direct substitute for all-purpose flour, it can create many of the same recipes. That being said, buckwheat flour doesn't produce much of a rise and should be used to develop low-rising bread like a pizza crust, pancakes and flatbread.
Gluten Free Baking Tips
Start with Something Simple
If you're new to gluten free baking, then knowing where to start can feel overwhelming. Cure those newbie jitters by beginning with a simple recipe like this Gluten Free No-Knead Bread. A recipe with a shortlist of readily available ingredients will help you get a better feel for baking with gluten free flour. Then, once you've perfected that recipe, you can move on to a more intricate one.
Follow the Recipe
Now that you've chosen the perfect gluten free bread recipe to start with, you'll want to stick to that recipe. Swapping ingredients in and out may be enticing, but when baking gluten free goods, even a tiny swap can throw the entire recipe off course. So the first time you try a new recipe like this Gluten Free French Bread, we recommend following that recipe's exact measurements and steps. This way, you can ensure that your treat turns out just as intended.
At Bob's Red Mill, baking is a favorite pastime of ours, and it's important for us to have fun in the process. While you may feel a bit limited in your gluten free baking skills, take this opportunity to learn something new, and have fun with it! Test out recipes, try out new ingredients, and make the foods that you miss. If you're not a fan of cookies or don't like the taste of gluten free pasta, don't make it! Instead, choose a recipe that you can't stop thinking about—like the cinnamon sugar toast you grew up eating on school mornings—and try recreating it. Not only is it a fun way to weave in past memories with new foods, but it may even help make sticking to the diet a bit easier.
If you've been longing for a warm slice of bread, we hope that you find comfort in this article. Whether you choose to create a gluten free flour mix at home or purchase a pre-made one, we're confident that you'll gain the skills needed to make the perfect loaf of bread. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, we wish you the best on your bread-making journey.