Flours and Starches

Something that some may wonder is why I don’t use a simple flour blend in my baking recipes.  There are such a variety of gluten-free flour blends out on the market today.  Some are good, but there are also those that are just white rice flour, and potato or tapioca starch, which equals no nutritional value.  

While the pre-made blends have some convenience to it, I find that I like the flexibility of creating my own.  This is largely because different baked goods have different textures, which requires different flour blends.  I take it one step further grind my own grains which reduces costs and the fear of cross-contamination with gluten.   Here are my top five grains:

 

 

 

 

 

The one I use the most is sorghum.  To me, it is relatively neutral, and less corse than brown rice flour.  Millet is also similar in that respect, but a stronger flavor.   Amaranth, ah amaranth. When people smell this grain, many are immediately repulsed by the smell.  To me it smells like a garden fertilizer of some sort (doesn’t that make you want to use it?), but no fear! the flavor mellows when cooked.  In fact, I like using it in breads and rolls because it gives a complexity to the bread.

Click here to see the nutritional benefits of these grains. Something that was suggested by Tammy Credicott who wrote “Healthy Gluten-Free Life” was to taste the flours.  Don’t worry, it won’t kill you.  This just gets you acquainted with the taste and texture of these flours.

So why have starches in addition to the flours?  The flours create the core, or the skeleton of the dish while starches are the filler or muscles that provide lift and chew.   There are two types of starches primarily: tapioca, and potato.  They cannot be used interchangeably, or at least they shouldn’t be.  Potato starch is good for a more fluffy consistency while tapioca starch is good for chew.  

Hope these tips are helpful!

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