Gluten-free flours or blends are dry mixes that can replace or substitute gluten in bakery products.

Gluten-free Flours

Also known as gluten-free blends


What are Gluten-free Flours?

Gluten-free flours or blends are dry mixes that can replace or substitute gluten in bakery products such as bread, pizza, cookies, pasta or cakes. They rely on a proper balance of components that resemble as much as possible the functionality and properties of wheat gluten-forming proteins.

Current consumer awareness of gluten allergenicity and other related disorders (celiacs) have created the need for the development of good tasting and healthy gluten-free products.

Challenges with formulating gluten-free flours

Several factors still limit the development of gluten-free flours. A few are:

  1. Ensuring good gas retention by creating a hydrated and cohesive network to trap gases produced by yeast fermentation, chemical leaveners and oven baking.
  2. Formulating a wheatless dough of optimum handling properties like elasticity, extensibility, and stickiness. Also, the dough must expand and machine properly.
  3. Generating an oil-in-water emulsion or batter of optimum viscosity and bench tolerance.
  4. Producing baked goods with optimum color and volume, chewy texture and an airy/porous mouthfeel.

These goals can be achieved by using alternative starch- and protein-rich sources and often include hydrocolloids. The choice of  ingredients and their levels vary with the end product. For example, a gluten-free flour intended for gluten-free bread might differ markedly from a gluten-free blend formulated for cakes or cookies.

Application

Components of gluten-free flours1,2

  • Starch sources
    • Cereals: rice, corn, oats (Can be safe as long as the source is free of cross-contamination from wheat)
    • Seeds: chia, quinoa
    • Ancient (heritage) grains: millet, sorghum, teff (Can be safe as long as the source is free of cross-contamination from wheat)
    • Tubers and roots: potato, tapioca
  • Protein sources
    • Dried egg whites
    • Dried whole eggs
    • Legumes or pulses: beans, soybeans, lentils, dry peas, chickpeas, lupins
    • Enzyme-active soy flour
    • Pseudocereals: quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat
    • Nonfat dry milk or milk solids (Whey/soy flour blends can be used as substitutes)
    • Dried fruits, tree nuts (e.g. almond flour)
    • Sodium or calcium caseinate
    • Milk protein isolates
  • Hydrocolloids (gums)
    • Xanthan gum
    • Gellan gum
    • Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC)
    • Guar gum
    • Locust bean
    • Gum Arabic (Acacia gum)
    • Gelatin
    • Pectin
    • Alginate
    • Psyllium husk
    • Agar
    • Carrageenan
  • Modified starches
    • Pregelatinized or instant
    • Cross-linked
    • Oxidized
    • Stabilized starch
    ...

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