Gluten-free flours for baking allow you to bake your favorite flour-based foods without the harmful effect of gluten. Gluten is actually not harmful to your health, but if you have gluten intolerance due to celiac disease or due to a natural allergic reaction, gluten in your food is a no-no. You should use gluten free flour for baking.
Can You Actually Bake without Gluten?
Traditionally, no. you cannot make dough for baking if the flour you use contains zero gluten. Gluten is the protein that is responsible for binding, thickening and stabilizing the dough. Without gluten in the flour, your dough will simply crumble and you will not get the thick spongy texture of bread, muffin, pastry, and other baked foods.
So, What Are Actually Gluten-Free Flours for Baking?
Gluten free flours for baking contain zero gluten, but they may or may not consist of gluten free flour alone. For those with flour only, non-gluten protein substitute must be added to them to allow them to be baked. There are also gluten-free flours that are already mixed with protein substitute. If you want to use gluten-free flour when baking, you need to find out whether the flour already has protein substitute added to it. If not, you need to buy separate protein substitute to be added to the dough.
What Is the Flour Made From?
Gluten-free flours for baking are made from anything but wheat. New studies are exploring the possibility of removing gluten from wheat, the most notable of which experiments with a slow lacto-fermentation of wheat with fungi or specific lactobacilli to produce gluten-free wheat. On today’s market, however, gluten-free wheat flour is still considered rare or even nonexistent. Alternative gluten-free ingredients that are commonly used for making gluten-free flour include almond, buckwheat, cassava, coconut, cornmeal, Kamut or Khorasan wheat, potato, brown and white rice, soybean, and spelt.
What Is the Protein Substitute Added to Them?
Baking using zero-gluten flour requires the addition of protein substitute. There are three possible protein substitutes that are commonly used in the gluten-free flours for baking, including guar gum, which is derived from guar beans; xanthum gum, which is derived from fermented simple sugars; and pre-gelatinized starch. Like gluten, they have thickening and stabilizing effect when mixed with dough, but unlike gluten, they will not cause a gastrointestinal problem, even when eaten by people with gluten intolerance. If you buy the flour and it hasn’t consisted of one of these protein substitutes, you need to buy the protein separately.
Baking with Low-Protein Flours
It is also possible for you to bake using low-protein flours. Rice, corn, and millet contain a low amount of protein, so you can use them for baking. If you use only one type of these flours, you may not be able to bake properly because the protein content is so low that it often cannot bind and thicken the dough properly. You can try mixing one type of low-protein flour with another type until you get the right composition to make a dough. The easiest way to make a gluten free dough, nonetheless, is by mixing a protein substitute with gluten-free flours for baking that you buy from the grocery.