Gluten-free plain flour refers to a mix of starches like maize or tapioca, rice flour and rice bran. It usually resembles white flour. It can be used for thickening soups, pie crusts and making gluten-free baked goods.
As gluten is important in traditional baking you should only follow a recipe specially designed for gluten-free flour. This is because gluten is responsible for the elasticity of dough. The difference between bread, scones, and cake is due to the different forms of gluten.
This elasticity gluten gives allows the rising agent to work by stretching as carbon dioxide is released during levelling and baking.
Flour with gluten absorbs moisture very well while alternatives are less good at this making the consistency of mixtures different.
However, if you want to use gluten-free plain flour in pasta making go ahead! As pasta doesn’t need to stretch or rise you can use flours like rice, corn and lots of other alternatives!
It is important to understand the difference between wheat allergy and celiac disease. The simple explanation is a wheat allergy is a true allergy, while celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. People with a wheat allergy can tolerate grains like barley and rye while people with celiac disease cannot!
Only about 1% of the population are celiac. 65% of children with a wheat allergy outgrow it by age 12. Both conditions should be diagnosed by a doctor!
Foods with gluten
If you are gluten intolerant remember that it isn’t just cakes and bread that contain that gluten! You need to be careful with what you eat!
Wheat, Wheat germ, Rye, Barley, Bulgur, Couscous, Farina, Graham flour, Kamut Matzo, Semolina, Spelt and Triticale
Soups, frozen chips (often dusted with flour before freezing), mayonnaise, ketchup, malt vinegar, soy sauce and teriyaki sauces, most salad dressings, egg substitute, sausage, fried vegetables/tempura, gravy, canned baked beans, cereals, any breaded food, hot dogs, ice cream, energy bars, meatballs, meatloaf, most veggie burgers, roasted nuts, oats
Beer, wheatgrass, instant hot drinks, vodka
Other gluten-free flour alternatives
- Almond flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Rice flour
- Oat flour
- Chickpea flour