Cooking With Gluten Free Flours : Part 1
There are many advantages to using gluten free flours and this is because they are generally made from seeds that are high in nutrients and low in acidity, making them easy to digest.
Millet, believed to have originated in tropical west Africa, has long been a highly valued and sacred crop in China. With its mild flavour, millet makes very versatile flour as well as being high in protein and trace minerals. Quinoa, originating from the Andean region in South America, is another highly nutritious seed. It is a source of complete protein and makes excellent flour especially for bread and can be lightly toasted before cooking for a milder and less earthy flavour.
When baking gluten free breads, both millet and quinoa flour need starch to be added when mix for a lighter and softer bread. Tapioca flour will provide some rise; potato starch will result in a chewy texture and sorghum flour will add both texture and flavour. For more rise and bounce you can use active dry yeast and the natural rising agent xanthan gum. Rice flour can also be used in gluten free baking, and although it is quite dry, it provides a crumbly consistency that makes it especially useful in making shortbreads and pie crusts. Rice flour also works as a thickener making it valuable in making gluten free gravies, sauces and soups.
Masa Lista is another gluten free flour that is excellent for making traditional Mexican style flat breads. The word Masa means dough, and this particular flour comes from white corn that has been treated with lime, helping to break down the cell structure and thus making it more alkaline which is easier to digest and gives it a unique Mexican flavour. Using a traditional tortilla press can be a lot of fun when making homemade tortillas, and especially with the whole family having a go.
Making tortilla’s is super simple, just mix flour and water and roll into firm balls and then press into a flat circle using your press or griddle. The bread is then cooked on a hot pan with a little oil. This delicious flat bread can also be used as easy pizza bases, wraps or for dipping in warm soup.
Stay tuned for more information about our next round of gluten free flours.