So what are Gluten Free Starches and Gums and how do they help in gluten free cooking?
This is part 2, in a 3 part series all about Gluten Free Flours, Starches, Gums and DIY Gluten Free Flour Mixes.
3 Part Gluten Free Ingredient Series
Part 1 - Best Gluten Free Flours
Part 2 - Gluten Free Starches and Gums (You are here)
Part 3 - DIY Gluten Free Flour Mixes
Gluten Free Starches and Gums
What are Gluten Free Starches?
Good question.... 😉
Gluten Free Starches are essential in gluten free baking - if you want to have similar results to gluten-filled baking.
Different starches perform differently in baking and here are three common starches and how to use them.
If you want to make your own gluten free flour mix - having one of these starches included in the mix will make all the difference to your cooking and baking.
How is it made? - Made from root stalk of the tropical plant Maranta arundinacea and it is dried and ground (it looks a bit like talcum powder).
Taste, Texture and Nutrition - It can be used as a starch and a light flour and has Vitamin B, iron and potassium.
Can it be substituted for wheat flour? - It is best used when mixed with another flour when baking and you want a less dense baking and a more springy texture. Can be substituted for corn starch.
Useful tips - Great for thickening soups, sauces, puddings and pie fillings. Great for people who are allergic to corn. It is also great for making food appear glossy when made as a clear glaze.
How is it made? - Tapioca Flour/starch is made from boiling the root of the Cassava plant and then dried and ground into a fine texture.
Taste, Texture and Nutrition - It is a light flour and a mild flavour and used as a thickening agent.
Can it be substituted for wheat flour? - Does not substitute for wheat flour but is best used in a mix with other flours.
Useful tips - It is similar to arrowroot and can be used as a thickener and has a slightly sweeter flavour than arrowroot. It is great to use to make golden crust with a lighter texture (in breads and muffins).
*Hint - Arrowroot and Tapioca are best mixed with cold water before adding it to the hot mixture to thicken.
(not potato flour)
How is it made? - It is made only from the from the starch proteins of the potato.
Taste, Texture and Nutrition - It has a mild flavour.
Can it be substituted for wheat flour? - Does not substitute for wheat flour. It is best used with other flours.
Useful tips - It gives a light texture flavour to bread, muffins and quick breads and gluten free cookies and keeps baked goods moist and fresh.
I have also included Cornflour here as it depends on how it is processed.
Cornmeal, Corn Flour and Corn Starch
How is it made? - Ground corn kernels or maize. It is very common because it is very versatile.
- Cornmeal - ground to a courser texture (in some places called Polenta)It has a strong corn flavour and is high in fibre.
- Corn Flour - ground to a much finer texture than corn meal.
- Corn Starch - is the white powdered starch from corn grain.
Useful tips -Corn Meal is best used for cornbread, tortillas, porridge and breading. Corn flour is great for making batters for frying. Corn starch is best used to thicken sauces.
What are Gluten Free Thickeners and Emulsifiers?
...commonly known as 'Gums'.
2 of the most talked about Gums are Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum.
These types of 'gums' help to keep your mixes, mixed and give more of that 'gluten' stretch - without the gluten!
How is it made? -Helps make baked goods bind together and it s made by a fermentation process of glucose, sucrose or lactose
Useful tips - Helps make baked goods bind together. This is better for baked goods and yeasted breads
- How is it made? - made from Guar plant seeds (bean-like legume plant) and ground into a fine powder.
- Useful tips - it is usually cheaper than Xanthan gum and is best for cold foods and pastry fillings.
(Gluten Free Starches and Gums (mostly gums) have been know to cause upset tummies in some people - please research a little more if you think this may affect you.)
This is not an exhaustive list but a great place to start!
Now click across to part 3 - DIY Gluten Free Flour Mixes
or to part 1 - All the tips to Gluten Free Flours!
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