Special Diets | 4 February 2016Goodbye gluten! 8 alternative flours you need in your kitchen Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Bakers opting to use gluten-free flours in their breads and cakes are on the rise. For some, it’s because they’ve been diagnosed with coeliac disease, while others want to cut gluten out of their diet for the sake of nutrition and energy. Others still simply prefer the taste of these alternative grains. Whatever your reason for avoiding wheat, here are eight gluten-free alternatives that are anything but run of the mill. Brown rice flour Naturally gluten-free, creamy in colour and high in vitamin B, manganese and just about everything else that’s good for you, brown rice flour is a great base on which to build other flavours and textures. Brown rice flour is widely available in health food shops and supermarkets, but you can also make your own in a Nutribullet. Chestnut flour As you’d expect, chestnut flour has a sweet, nutty flavour and is delicious in breads and cakes – have a go at using it in gluten-free madeleines. Chestnut flour works well alongside sweeter ingredients such as chocolate and cardamom, too. Coconut flour Coconut flour is fast becoming a gluten-free baking favourite. It’s packed with fibre and tastes especially good in bakes containing tropical fruits – such as bananas – and spices. Made from pressed, dried white coconut flesh, this alternative flour is super absorbent and expands during cooking, so a little goes a long way. It’s great for blending with other flours, too. Buckwheat flour Despite the name, buckwheat flour is gluten free. In fact, it’s not wheat at all. It’s technically a member of the rhubarb family, and like its superfood cousin, originates from Central Asia where it’s used in everything from Russian pancakes to Chinese noodles. It has a strong, nutty taste so is best blended with other flours in bakes. Teff flour Very much the new kid on the block in the UK, teff flour was in fact one of the earliest grains domesticated by humans. It’s originally from Ethiopia, and thrives in dry, mountainous conditions found in that part of the world. Despite being a member of the grass family, like wheat, teff flour is actually gluten free and packed with nutrients, protein and amino acids. Amaranth flour Native to South America, this ancient grain is now grown all over the world. Loaded with nutrients and packed with protein (more than any other gluten-free grain), amaranth flour is also the only known grain to contain vitamin C. Chickpea flour Also known as gram flour, chickpea flour is widely used in Indian and Asian cookery for dishes such as pancakes, pakoras and crispy batters. You can even use it as a face pack and exfoliant by mixing it with a little natural yoghurt – not something you can say about self-raising. On your marks, get set… Hold your horses – before you shout ‘BAKE!’ and break out the mixing bowls, there’s something else you need to know. Simply swapping your standard flour for a gluten-free alternative will give you a tough, crumbly, flavourless bake. The reason? There’s no gluten to bind the proteins together. Instead, you’ll need to add a baking aid such as arrowroot, cornflour or baking powder. By blending a range of different flours and a small amount of your chosen baking aid you’ll achieve the right texture, taste and flavour for your bakes. All you need to do now is decide what to make! For a host of ideas on baking with alternative flours pick up a copy of Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman. Be sure to follow her on Twitter @HensCleanCakes and Instagram @HensCleanCakes for the latest inspirational bakes. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.