What gluten-free alternatives are there?

White flour (type 405/550) is an important ingredient in many baking recipes. But not everyone can or will use wheat flour – for example for health reasons, or because it is sold out in the supermarket.

Food blogger Kathrin Runge develops her own recipes for cakes, muffins, cookies and bread. On her blog “Baking makes you happy”, she presents ideas – including delicacies without wheat, without sugar or vegan baking recipes.

What alternatives are there to classic wheat flour?

Catherine Runge: Wheat flour can almost always be replaced with light spelled flour (Type 630). It does not change the taste or consistency. However, the recipe is not gluten-free.

Whole grain flour can also be an option. But then you definitely need more liquid so that the dough does not get too dry. And the taste changes as a result.

Which ingredients are suitable for gluten-free baking?

Catherine Runge: You can use rice flour, coconut flour or almond flour, finely ground almonds or nuts. You can also grind oatmeal wonderfully. They are also usually gluten free.

However, if you have celiac disease, an inflammatory bowel disease, and therefore do not tolerate gluten at all, you should play it safe. Then you must make sure that it is explicitly gluten-free on the packaging.

What is different when baking with gluten-free flours?

Catherine Runge: Since gluten is lacking as a binder, rice, almonds and coconut flour have completely different properties. So if you try to just replace wheat flour with gluten-free flour, you will get a completely different result.

Both the taste and the consistency then differ greatly from the original. I would therefore recommend using proven gluten-free recipes.

If you want to modify recipes yourself, you should feel slow. Guar gum or locust bean gum, flea seed shells or chia seeds are suitable as additional binders. One teaspoon is usually enough. Unfortunately, there are no exact conversion tables.

When baking with coconut flour, you definitely need a lot more liquid. Otherwise, the pastries would end up as rock hard or bone dry.

For example, in mushroom cakes, ground almonds work best as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. However, it should not be confused with almond flour. The difference: Almond flour is oiled and therefore contains less fat.

If you bake bread with almond flour, you should not be surprised if there is a slight taste of marzipan. But that’s exactly what’s so exciting about trying out alternatives.

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