People are becoming more and more aware of the difficulties faced by those who suffer from gluten intolerance, either in the form of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. As a result, there has been an increased demand for gluten-free products in the market. One of the most important gluten-free products that you can get your hands on is the gluten-free flour. This is essential for any person who loves baking at home, but is unable to consume gluten contained within regular flour. It is also handy for those who have a hard time placing their trust in pre-made gluten-free treats that are widely available in supermarkets nowadays.
The Complex Nature of Gluten-Free Recipes
A lot of people think that it is very easy to bake gluten-free savoury treats or desserts at home once you have a bag of gluten-free flour at your disposal. However, there is a lot of complexity involved which often goes unnoticed. Eliminating gluten from a particular recipe is not as simple as swapping the regular flour with a gluten-free flour. Often times, you need to use a combination of flours to achieve the right texture, the correct flavour and the perfect structure. There is a lot of baking science involved here. People who bake with gluten-free flour need to have a basic understanding of chemistry to make the best use of the flour combinations. In certain cases, ingredients other than the flour require adjustment in order to change the protein, moisture and binding ability of the flours in accordance to the specific requirements of the recipe. Paying attention to all of these details is extremely important if you want to make sure that your gluten-free treat does not turn into a kitchen nightmare.
Are Gluten-Free Flours Expensive?
You will often hear people making complaints about gluten-free ingredients being overpriced. This is particularly true for gluten-free flour. They are more expensive than wheat flours. However, you should not label the product as an overpriced commodity, since its hefty price tag can be quite easily justified. First of all, gluten-free flours are manufactured in somewhat limited quantities. The production level of this commodity is nowhere near that of wheat flour. Unless the manufacturers can scale their production, the prices will remain relatively high. In addition to that, you need to realize that wheat is a subsidized crop in the United States. As a result, products made from wheat will naturally have lower prices in the market as compared to products made from other non-subsidized crops. Last but not the least, gluten-free flours must be processed in specialized facilities that have to be certified as “gluten-free” to avoid any form of cross contamination. This process of certification can be quite lengthy and expensive, which adds to the price of the gluten-free flours.
Types of Flours Gluten Intolerants Should Avoid
Is it really necessary for people with gluten intolerance to avoid consumption or regular flours? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. There are certain kinds of wheat flour that doctors prohibit patients of gluten intolerance from consuming. These include bulgur, durum, semolina, einkorn, club, spelt and triticale. These are all different species of wheat. Stay as far away from them as possible if you are suffering from either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Is It Okay to Replace Gluten-Free Flour with Oats?
Oats per se are not detrimental to people with gluten intolerance. However, why should you stay in doubt? If you have confusions about the safety of the grain, then simply avoid it. Replacing gluten-free flour with oats is not exactly the smartest idea in the world. It is impossible for you to verify whether the oats that you are consuming are 100% gluten free. When you take everything into account, you realize that it is definitely not worth the risk.
Always Check The Label
When you are shopping for gluten-free flours, you are strongly recommended to always check the labels on the packaging of the product. The packaging should clearly state that the product is gluten-free. You should also watch out for products that have a note which informs you about the fact that the product was handled or manufactured or stored in a facility where regular wheat or flour was present. When it comes to such products, it is best to put them back on the shelf and keep searching for a better alternative.
Different Types of Gluten-Free Flours
There is a wide variety of gluten-free flours that you can find on the market today. The gluten-free flour repertoire includes buckwheat flour, coconut flour, arrowroot, amaranth flour, corn flour, millet flour, nut flours, rice flours, quinoa flour, potato starch flour, teff flour. You could also purchase xanthan gum as a flour replacement. It is something that is very frequently used in gluten-free recipes.