Monday Kitchen Tips: Picking a Healthy GF Flour Mix

GF Canteen Flour Blend

Not all commercial gluten-free flour mixes are created equally. Not every all-purpose gluten-free flour is intended to meet every baking need. Unlike regular all-purpose flour which is made entirely from wheat, gluten-free flours are generally a mix of grains and starches and sometimes additives.

To pick a healthy mix (or one that is mostly healthy) look for whole grains as the main ingredients. If the mix contains starches and those are the first ingredients, think about stepping away. The downside is two-fold. First, starches are not a great food source. Second, they are generally listed first when the whole grains used as part of the mix are gritty. Gritty grains are really hard to hide no matter how much starch they sit in.

Mixes that list whole grains first may be superfine which will give your baked goods a nice mouth feel and texture.

We are proponents of including additives to a flour mix only when necessary. Our recipes generally do not use xanthan gum or guar gum. We use a single source starch as the last ingredient in our flour mix. Look for flour mixes that give you just enough and not more than that. There are a few commercial mixes that are starting to show up in the market that don’t contain gums. Perhaps more will follow.

Read labels and if in doubt, call the company or visit their website for information to assure that the source of the flour is healthy and fully gluten-free and not made on shared equipment.

Last, avoid mixes that contain ingredients like potato starch or flour if you are sensitive to nightshades plants.

Avoid mixes that contain corn starch if you have a problem with corn (most sources are still GMO). Investigate the source of the rice to make sure it is not obtained from a questionable source where arsenic has been an issue. Be aware of where the tapioca is imported from because all tapioca flour/starch is not created equally (some tapioca sources suffer from a metallic smell and taste).

Look at reviews and search for recalls. Read about the company’s ability to respond to questions adequately.

GF flour is expensive (even if it is cheaper than others) so choose carefully.

 

Comments

  1. Best article Ive read on GF flours in a very very long time. Thanks for making sense and working towards a healthier GF community. As someone who knows better its refreshing to see that im not crazy when I say that a GF diet can include baked goods and be healthy

  2. What is an example of the gritty grains? Kind of new to this – great info, thanks!

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Lisa. Any grain that is not milled superfine would be gritty – except starches which is why you always see those first up in the ingredients lists of most blends (commercial especially). They are there to hide the gritty flours. Try some brands on the shelf that are just white or brown rice flours (plain, not in mixes). Feel the flour – it’s like ground up rice, not flour. That’s why many GF baked goods taste gritty – like you’re eating ground up rice in your cake. There is an available process for milling them that makes them superfine – almost exactly the same consistency as wheat flour. Authentic Foods is the only mill doing that which is where we buy our flours – because of that. They aren’t the most expensive, but they aren’t the least, either. But so worth it when baking. No reason we shouldn’t have terrific tasting, great textured baked goods while eating gluten-free. Hope that explanation helps. Let me know if you have more questions.

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  1. […] to consider healthier gluten-free flour choices than say, mixes heavy on the starches, then read last week’s kitchen post. There are healthy ways to make GF flour mixes aside from using […]