What is Non-Gluten Flour?

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  • Written By: A. B. Kelsey
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2018
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Non-gluten flour is simply flour made without any gluten. Gluten is a protein found in a number of grains, most notably in wheat, spelt, rye, and barley. It is the substance that gives dough its strength and elasticity, making the dough rise, and keeping baked goods from crumbling.

Gluten-free diets are becoming more common as an increasing number of people discover they are sensitive or allergic to this protein. People with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, must also follow a strict, gluten-free diet or risk serious health problems. Researchers are even finding that avoiding gluten may be beneficial to autistic children.

In order for people on a gluten-free diet to cook appetizing meals, they often need to use a good non-gluten flour. A few popular alternatives include brown and white rice flour, coconut flour, almond four, potato flour, and chickpea or garbanzo flour.

Perhaps the most popular is rice flour. It acts similar to wheat flour in behavior and is capable of absorbing and thickening liquids, but lacks any binding ability. Brown rice flour contains more protein than white, and adds a pleasant bulk to baked goods. It also makes a decent roux for gumbos and sauces. Cooks should select the finest grind rice flour for baking, because the courser grinds make foods feel very gritty.


Coconut flour is made up of ground fiber from coconut meat. High in protein and dietary fiber, it can be used in recipes for quick breads and muffins with pretty good results. Because coconut flour contains natural sugars from the meat, it is a great choice to use in dessert recipes. Another good non-gluten flour for desserts is almond flour, which is made of ground up almonds. With its slightly nutty flavor, it works especially well in brownie and cookie recipes.

Potato flour is a fine-textured flour made from cooked, dried, and ground potatoes. It makes a good thickener for gravies and sauces, and can be used successfully in baked goods like pancakes, waffles, and breads. This flour does make the final product heavier, however.

Chickpea flour, or garbanzo flour, is another common non-gluten flour that is often used in Indian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisine. The resulting product is similar in texture to items made with wheat flour, but many people find that it causes flatulence.

Non-gluten flours are surprisingly versatile. Baked goods made solely with without gluten may have a texture that is dense and crumbly, but many people feel it is worth it for the additional nutritional value and more exotic flavor.


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Post 9

@fBoyle-- Yes, corn flour is gluten-free. Cornmeal on the other hand is not gluten-free so make sure that you are getting corn flour and not cornmeal.

Has anyone tried chestnut flour?

I heard that chestnut flour can also be used in baking and it is gluten-free. Apparently, there are some pastries in Europe that use chestnut flour in their baked goods on a regular basis.

Post 8

Is corn flour gluten-free?

Post 7

Another excellent non-gluten flour is lentil flour. This is not commonly found in stores, but it is possible to get it in international groceries or specialty stores.

I use lentil flour, along with rice flour to make a type of Southeast Asian pancake called a dosa. This is a really popular recipe from South India. I learned about dosas and lentil flour from my Indian friends who prefer this over regular bread because they are vegetarian and lentil flour is an excellent way to get extra protein.

I'm not vegetarian but I follow a strictly gluten-free diet because I have gluten intolerance symptoms. Lentil flour has worked out great for me.

Post 6

@Oceana – My boyfriend's mother used to buy potato bread at the store. It looked a lot like regular loaf bread, but instead of white, it was yellow.

It didn't taste anything like potatoes, which was a little disappointing to me. It did have a richer, more buttery flavor than regular bread, though.

I came to love it. Now, I only want potato bread when I make sandwiches. The flavor is totally different without tasting anything like potatoes.

Post 5

I had no idea that flour could be made from potatoes! Does it make the bread or whatever you bake taste like potatoes?

I do love potatoes, but I think it would be weird if I could taste them in cakes or muffins. I am trying to get away from things made with wheat gluten flour, because I've been having a lot of digestive issues lately, and I think that may be the cause.

Post 4

My coworker recently discovered that he has a gluten allergy, so he has switched to all non-gluten foods. His wife has started making him bread using rice flour, since he can't eat regular loaf bread anymore.

He says that the bread tastes different than what he has become accustomed to, but it is still good. I'm glad that he doesn't hate it, because it's the only kind he can have.

It's so sad that he can't participate when we have birthday cupcakes at work for someone else. For his birthday, we got some gluten-free muffins, though.

Post 3

I love non-gluten bread. To me, bread is better if it is dense and somewhat crumbly than if it is light and sticky. I hate white bread because of how gummy it becomes when you chew it.

Non-gluten flour makes thick bread that I associate with holidays. My extended family used to make bread with this type of flour, and I looked forward all year to eating it.

Post 2

@hyrax53 So true, the gluten-free brownies in my college cafeteria were popular with everyone, many people preferred them because they had a lighter and moister texture.

Post 1

It's nice that gluten-free products are growing in popularity, as they can benefit the diets of anyone, not just people who are gluten intolerant.

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