Store cupboard ingredients.
Welcome to another of our Honeybuns Lockdown Baking sessions. We’ve had a lot of questions coming in from our gorgeous customers regarding gluten free flours and how to use them.
It is indeed a potentially confusing area, with so many free from flours on the market, where do you start?
At Honeybuns, we’ve been able to put a lot of these gluten free flours through their paces. When we develop new products we use it as a handy excuse to try out new and interesting ingredients. Similarly, when we were developing recipes for both our gluten free baking books we tried various flours and blends and figured out which ones gave the tastiest and most reliable results. To help you further, please do check out our article and recent store cupboard video where we share info on this topic.
I’ll go through our first three favourite flours in just a sec. I do want to explain though that none of what follows is set in stone. The permutations are endless and you may well choose your own favourites once you get started. We’ve found our top flour blends by trial and error, and lots of stuff going in the composting bin! Hopefully we can save you time and expensive mistakes by sharing our findings.
Our go to flours are:
- Ground Almonds
- Tapioca flour
- Milled blend of flaxseed, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- Ground flax seed
I’m personally not a huge fan of rice flour, though it is useful for giving ‘snap’ to biscuits and does help to make crisp gluten free pastry. I find it lends a gritty texture and dryness to bakes.
Potato flour, buckwheat flour and coconut flour are also not on my list of favourites. I’ve found they can result in quite heavy bakes, but if you find otherwise I’d love to hear what you think.
Starting with sorghum flour. This is also called Jowar/Juwar/Milo and is made from a grass seed. It’s commonly used in Asia and Africa but not very well know yet here in the UK.
It looks and feels like a regular wheat flour. Soft and a slightly off white colour. You can now buy it in Tescos and probably other supermarkets as well. It’s widely available in Asian food stores and for online you can try Goodness Direct, Healthy Supplies or The Asian Cookshop. It’s commonly described as having a sweet flavour-..when we trialled it on its own as the only flour in a recipe we detected a slight bitterness. Cakes tend to dry out a bit quicker if you just use it on its own, hence we blend it with one or two more flours to offset these issues. Ground almonds partner with it brilliantly owing to the almonds’ natural sweetness and oil content. I’d recommend keeping sorghum to 50% of your total flour content. One of my favourite sorghum flour recipes is our Rhubarb & Custard Cake from the Honeybuns All Day Cook Book especially now that rhubarb is in season.
Polenta is a finely ground egg yolk yellow flour, not to be confused with the ready cooked slabs of polenta you can find.
It’s pretty commonly available now, please see previous supplier suggestions. It’s commonly used in Italian baking and we love, love, love it! It partners beautifully with ground almonds and I love the slight nutty texture and flavour you get. We use it happily in our Honeybuns gluten free cakes and shortbread bases. I guess a downside is that you get denser cakes from it. You can create lift by adding gluten free baking powder, bicarb of soda and a splash of cider vinegar. One of my all time favourites is our Honeybuns Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe in the Honeybuns Gluten-Free Baking book where we use polenta with tapioca, ground almonds and sorghum.
Ground almonds are a hands down hero ingredient in gluten free baking.
They’re packed to the rafters with vitamin E, natural oils and sweetness. They’re awesome in cakes, shortbreads and cookies. You just need to be careful to not use too much other fat when baking cookies or they tend to spread too much and fry. We use ground almonds in everything from breads to crackers, cakes and cookies. If nuts are an issue then swap in milled seeds. We really rate Linwoods milled organic flaxseed, sunflower & pumpkin seeds. You can get hold of this easily in supermarkets and health food stores or from their online shop.
If you missed it, here is a link to the ingredients video:
I hope that helps a little. We can go through another three flours in a future blog. Please do let us know what you think and please send us your bakes on pic/video/whatever. We’d love to see what you’ve been creating.
And if you like it, it would really help us here at Honeybuns if you were able to: