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What Is The Best-Tasting Alternative To Wheat Flour?


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#1 Seeking2012

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 04:45 PM

I'm wondering what the most delicious flour alternative is to wheat flour. I've heard of almond flour and coconut flour. Are there others? Which one tastes the best? Which one is the lowest in carbs and sugars?

Thanks :)
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- Diagnosed Celiac in May 2014. Gluten-free diet immediately

- Tested VERY high for thyroid antibodies May 2014 but T4, T3 and TSH are in "normal" ranges

- Have experienced chronic fatigue and decreased cognitive and memory function for years

- Sister has been diagnosed with Celiac, autism, schizophrenia and depression

- Mom, dad and other sister are "weak positives" for Celiac
- Mom has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes


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#2 Takala

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 06:34 PM

If you want it to be tasty, the best thing to do is to figure out which ones you like, then make a mixture or blend. In general, it takes a minimum of three gluten free flours, mixed, to get something that tastes okay and performs sort of like a regular flour, as the better tasting ones tend to be higher protein but low starch, and the starchier ones are more bland, and the lowest carb ones, such as almond or coconut, require a great deal of other stuff added to them, such as eggs, yogurt, etc, to get them to stick together.

Coconut flour is weird. It does not behave as the other grain and seed flours do, as it soaks up a tremendous amount of water or other liquids, then it takes a long time to bake, if you use very much of it in a recipe. It is best used as just a little bit in a mixture, or in a special coconut flour recipe. It may start out as low carb, but by the time you add the 6 eggs or whatnot to it, it is still high calorie. The best use I have found for it is in special applications, like, if I wanted to make a sugarless cinnamon bun filling, I would use coconut flour, stevia, butter, and cinnamon and a little bit of water.

Almond flours or meals are very tasty and can be used to make small skillet breads, (like a cornbread) almond pancakes, etc, but again, the recipes will mostly require egg or egg substitute, and it can be sort of dense. If you like dense and hearty, though, this is good stuff, high protein and low carb, won't spike your blood sugar. Almonds can be ground easily in a blender in small batches, as this flour has to be refrigerated and can go rancid if kept out in warm temperatures. Some blogs have a lot of almond flour recipes, but the one I tried it turns out that the recipe only works with that particular finely ground, bleached almond flour that she is selling, wish I had been warned. :rolleyes:

Sorghum flour is good, especially in a mixture of other gluten free flours. I like to do a combination of amaranth and sorghum, with perhaps another 1/3 of some other starchier flour, such as tapioca or brown rice, as an "all purpose" type of flour. I haven't been able to easily find sorghum that is not cc'd with oat in the stores here, so I have been using buckwheat that I grind myself, instead, so it is a buckwheat/amaranth mixture, to which I can add other flours. Some people use millet flour in these mixtures, it tastes good, but I found out that millet doesn't agree with me much, so I had to stop it. Amaranth is rather strong, but, it behaves well in a mixture (naturally gummier instead of crumbly) and it is higher protein, and it seems to retard mold in anything I've used it in, so you can store the baked item in the refrigerator. A bit of quinoa flour or teff can also be added to mixtures. Some people don't like quinoa, so test it out in a pancake or bun in a cup recipe first, so you don't ruin a large batch of baking. Ditto with the bean flours, which are high protein, but some people really do not like bean flours. Fresh garbanzo bean flour in a mixture is okay for some and not for others. Old garbanzo bean flours go rancid. Drained, rinsed, mashed canned beans can be used instead in some recipes, such as black bean brownies. This is a crossover recipe that normal people use.

The standard baking mixture is about 1/3 each of rice flour, cornstarch, and tapioca, with some sort of gum or gel added, to make a "white" type of flour for dessert baking, such as for cakes or pie crusts. I think that this is really helped by adding a bit of a mixture of the heartier flours I mentioned above, almost any of them adds flavor.

If you can tolerate tapioca and dairy, the Chebe mixes, which are just mainly tapioca that you add oil, cheese and egg to, are very simple to work with, and the additions add flavor. I "augment" the Chebe mixes with adding some higher protein flours and a bit more of the oil and egg, or oil and yogurt, and some salt, (example, adding a few tablespoons of buckwheat - almond- amaranth mixture to it) and this gives it a nice hearty taste with the grated cheese.
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#3 tarnalberry

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 06:46 PM

I bake with a lot of almond flour. I haven't had much trouble using whatever variety I've bought, but I buy a 25lb box at a time, and definitely don't want to take the time to grind my own. (I make huge batches of muffins and freeze them all at once - like 15 cups worth of almond flour in one go.) I think it's what I use most often, partially because of its low carb count.

But there isn't one flour you can replace wheat flour with. Mixes are important, and really, you have to experiment to find out what mixes you prefer.

If you can tolerate oat flour, it is a very useful replacement as well.
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#4 love2travel

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 12:41 PM

There are currently 21 flours in my freezer. I checked. It's true - you cannot simply replace wheat flour with just one other - blends work very well. Tricky thing is, each flour or starch has different properties; for example, one for browning, one for rising, one for strength, one for flavour...and so on. In fact, I have a superb bread recipe that calls for 9 flours and starches.

It really depends on what you are using it for. Is it baking? Cooking? Making a roux? A batter? Crepes?
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<p>Confirmed celiac disease February 2011 from biopsies. Strictly gluten free March 18 2011.Diagnosed with fibromyalgia April 13 2011.3 herniated discs, myofascial pain syndrome, IT band syndrome, 2 rotator cuff injuries - from an accident Dec. 07 - resulting in chronic pain ever since. Degenerative disc disease.Osteoarthritis in back and hips.Chronic insomnia mostly due to chronic pain.Aspartame free May 2011.

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#5 bbuster

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 04:42 PM

Takala gave a great response.

Most of the flours I use are more about texture than taste, but sorghum is one that I use a lot to give a really nice flavor to baked goods of all kinds. Of course it is blended with some of the other flours (white rice, brown rice, tapioca, potato starch, etc. depending on what I'm making).
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#6 Ironbar

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:25 AM

Hmmmm. I didn't know about the mixing of flours bit. I'll need to do some more reading about that!
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#7 love2travel

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:06 AM

Hmmmm. I didn't know about the mixing of flours bit. I'll need to do some more reading about that!

All my baking blends contain at least 3 flours. One bread recipe I make uses 9 kinds! That is unusual, though. Each flour offers something different: you need different ones for browning, rising, lightness, strength, elasticity, loose or tight crumb, flavour and so on. It is actually quite interesting. For example, pizza and bread flours contain more protein (i.e. soy, quinoa, garfava) for strength and structure than flours for cakes, cookies, etc. (almond, coconut, brown rice...).
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<p>Confirmed celiac disease February 2011 from biopsies. Strictly gluten free March 18 2011.Diagnosed with fibromyalgia April 13 2011.3 herniated discs, myofascial pain syndrome, IT band syndrome, 2 rotator cuff injuries - from an accident Dec. 07 - resulting in chronic pain ever since. Degenerative disc disease.Osteoarthritis in back and hips.Chronic insomnia mostly due to chronic pain.Aspartame free May 2011.

When our lives are squeezed by pressure and pain, what comes out is what is inside.

#8 SensitiveMe

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:02 PM

I agree that blends are needed for glutenfree cooking. The only simple thing I do to replace wheat flour is to use potato starch to replace wheat flour when making gravy from the drippings of chicken or turkey.

I like sorghum flour added to my blend for making bread because to me it makes it taste better and gives it a better texture.

But I learned that from experimentation. My first mistake in glutenfree baking was to use a blend which contained garbanzo bean flour. Not only did it taste awful to me but it upset my stomach and I threw the rest of what I had made away. Next I tried using a different blend when making a banana bread and it came out with the texture of a sponge. I could not tolerate eating it and threw that away also.
And so you will most likely have to experiment in order to get what has a good taste and texture to your liking.

I have quite a few glutenfree cooking books and the best by far for discussing flours and their properties and giving you different blends is Gluten-Free Makeovers by Beth Hillson. It gives you a variety of different blends for things, has a lot of recipes, some pictures in the middle section, and in the back of the book are substitutions for certain dietary restrictions.
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