What’s In A Flour?

IMG_4257Recently I have had quite a few questions about the different types of gluten free flours, cost comparisons, and taste.  Getting started with gluten-free flours can definitely be confusing, so I’m here to make it a bit more simple!  Q+A time.

Q: What type of flours are best?

A: The short answer:  It depends.  My best baking results have come from using a mix of flours.  Gluten free flours have very specific flavours, and can sometimes be overwhelming as the sole ingredient in baking.  I keep about 4 or 5 flours in my cupboard at any given time, to make into mixes or use as a replacement for wheat flour.

Brown Rice
Tapioca Starch

Q: What’s sorghum?

A:  Until today, I really had no idea what sorghum is.  It’s one of those things that I guess I bought for a recipe and never really bothered to see exactly where it came from.  It’s also the flour that brings out the confused faces when I mention it.  Was that “sour gum?”, “sor what?”, or “aren’t gums bad for you?” are just a few of the responses people usually have.

Sorghum is a type of grain, mostly used for sorghum syrup, which I have never tried.  It’s also used in gluten-free beers, which is kind of cool.  I have never used sorghum alone in a recipe, and definitely recommend using it in a mix.  Want more information?  There is an entire website devoted to sorghum.  Evidently they have more knowledge than I do.  sorghumcheckoff.com

Q: Are gluten-free flours all really expensive?

The short answer: Depends on the flour.

The long answer: Depending on the plant the flour comes from, flours range quite a bit in price.  I have done a bit of exploring at different stores to find out where things are cheapest, and often grocery shop at a couple of different stores.  Basic flours, such as tapioca, brown/white rice, and sorghum are all fairly inexpensive (under $1.00/100g).  Almond flour, however, is a different story. I have found “ground almonds” at a grocery store chain that honestly works quite well as flour (although I know many people have brand preferences that they feel work better).  It is usually around $2.62/100g, and if it’s on sale I always buy some.  Millet and oat flours are more of a middle-low range in price.

One aspect I haven’t checked out is online shopping.  I know many people who bake in larger quantities find it cheaper online because you can get more flour.  If you’re only baking small batches, however, I’d recommend starting with smaller quantities of flour as it can go rancid.

This will probably be an ongoing post, so please keep the questions coming!

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