blog banner with dark green

Best Gluten free flour guide

Hi there! 

Honeybuns advice on gluten free flour 

Splatters of flours on a slate board
Coeliac UK Awareness Week 2021 starts today, Monday, 10th through to Sunday, 16th May and we’re delighted at the vast array of wonderful gluten free ingredients and products now so easily obtainable here in the UK. When I started Honeybuns Bakery, back in 1998, gluten free foods were more pharmaceutical in appearance and often only available on prescription.
Happily, the free from food landscape has changed for the better, with lots of products, from bread to biscuits now firmly in the mainstream.
The only snag is that this vast choice can prove bewildering, especially for those newly diagnosed with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity. Here we’ve compiled some tips and pointers we hope you’ll find helpful.

Gluten free ingredients overview

  1. I realise this might be stating the obvious, but it’s vital to continuously keep checking labels. Even if you’ve been buying a particular gluten free brand for ages, manufacturers do change their formulations and processing methods.
  2. Don’t assume something is gluten free even if you know, logically, there should not be any gluten present. If a product is processed in a factory on the same line* as something with gluten, then it’s unlikely the manufacturer would be able to claim it as gluten free. Chocolate is a good example of this - the chocolate itself may not contain gluten but it can be processed alongside chocolate covered wafers or biscuits (containing gluten). Seek out “Gluten Free” on pack. * line meaning tubes/conveyor belts and other food prep equipment.
  3. Similarly, pure ingredients like polenta can be milled alongside other gluten containing flours and become contaminated in the process. Contamination can also occur in the field due to growing crops in certain rotations. It all comes down to the same thing - check for “Gluten Free” on pack and/or the Coeliac UK crossed grain symbol (or equivalent).
  4. With gluten particles, being capable of being airborne, it makes it a difficult allergen to control in a food manufacturing situation. Many people find it more reassuring to seek out ingredients and products made by dedicated, “gluten free only” companies for this reason.
  5. For really helpful up to date info on what is safe to eat head over to the Coeliac UK website food directory.

Spotlight on gluten free flours

1. Flour fairy: Gluten free multi purpose plain flour

Freefromfairy.com

£4.99 for 750g plus P&P

Ingredients: sorghum, teff, buckwheat plus tapioca and potato starch.

We’ve used this flour in our test kitchen when devising new recipes, so we’ve put it through its paces and we love it! We’re big fans of sorghum (more of which coming up) as it lends a softness and fluffiness to gluten free bakes. Uniquely this flour blend is made from low FODMAP ingredients making it an excellent choice for those suffering from IBS and other digestive issues. It’s also rice free, and as we can attest, many people cannot tolerate this grain either.

This flour can be used as self raising - just add 1 tsp gluten free baking powder to every 100g of flour.

2. Sorghum flour
Jar of gluten free sorghum flour on shelf with label

Now widely available, even Tesco now stock it

Try this excellent online stockist www.theasiancookshop.co.uk

£3.35 for 1kg

This is also called Jowar/Juwar/Milo and is made from a grass seed which is then milled. It’s commonly used in Asia and Africa but not very well know yet here in the UK. Nutritionally it’s rich in vitamins and minerals. Specifically it’s a good source of selenium and niacin, both of which have been cited as having possible anticancer properties.

It looks and feels like a regular wheat flour. Soft in texture and a slightly off white colour. It’s commonly described as having a sweet flavour….. however when we trialled it on its own as the only flour in a recipe we detected a slight bitter aftertaste. We also found cakes tended to dry out a bit quicker if sorghum is used as the only flour in a recipe. To address these issues we tried blending it with one or two more flours. Ground almonds partner with it brilliantly owing to the almonds’ natural sweetness and oil content. We then tried adding a little flax and we found this blend to work beautifully.

Our go to Honeybuns flour blend is: 40% sorghum, 45% ground almonds and 15% flax.

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 our second cook book, Honeybuns All Day Cook Book, especially now that rhubarb is in season. 

sponge cake on pretty green plate with rhubarb drizzle on top
3. Polenta
Overhead of open kilner jar of polenta flour

Widely available and stocked by all UK supermarkets as well as online ingredients suppliers

Baking dish filled with polenta covered roast potatoes

This is dried, ground maize and is a rich golden yellow in colour. Flavour wise it’s neutral. It creates a lovely, fluffy texture when blended with ground seeds or nuts when baking cakes. We use polenta this way in cakes and breads. It also adds crunch to shortbreads and biscuits and can also be used instead of a bread crumb coating. Check out our fab recipe for polenta coated roastie potatoes in our Honeybuns All Day Cook Book.

As aforementioned, you need to check it’s gluten free on the label as cross contamination either in the field or at the milling stage are potential issues.

Shelves stacked with various jars of different flours

There are lots of other flours out there but by narrowing the selection to just 3 will hopefully enable you to get started on your gluten free baking journey without getting overwhelmed by the huge choice.

For further tips and advice, do check out our other gluten free ingredients blog with video and our favourite gluten free store cupboard ingredients and how to use them blog. 

Our two Honeybuns gluten free books are packed to bursting with easy, step by step recipes. Everything is gluten free and the more recent book, Honeybuns All Day Cook Book, has a great selection of nut free, dairy free and vegan options.

There is always the option of just taking things easy and heading over to our well stocked online store for delicious small batch baked gluten free cakes. You can check out the ingredients in each product before buying. You’ll notice we practice what we preach, with ingredients used including:

Sorghum, polenta, ground almonds and flax.

Any questions regarding gluten free baking and free from ingredients, we’re always happy to help. Just reach us in the comments section here or email us, or contact us on social.

Wishing you happy baking & a great Coeliac Awareness Week!

Do let us know how you get on with the recipes. We’d love to see you pics.

Emx

Comment below and share what your favourite part of this blog is! Be sure to share this blog with a friend too! Thanks for reading!

Would you be happy to leave a google review? Reviews help us to continue improving our service and to attract new customers. You just need to click here

If you missed it, here's the link to the ingredients video:

 

 

 

Comments

x

Sign in below to manage your account and view your order history:

If you can't remember your password, please enter your email address below and we will send you a new one: