Vicki Martin, Nutritionist
Are you looking for a gluten free substitute to wheat flour for delicious home baking? Rice flour is completely free of gluten and because it is such a fine consistency, it is easy to create crisp and golden baking. However there are a few essential tips to follow to successfully use rice flour.
Rice flour doesn't act or bake anything like ordinary wheat flour — and it doesn’t look like it either. So when you're baking, let's say, a gluten free loaf with rice flour, the batter will be a lot thinner. There are two benefits from baking with rice flour. Firstly it makes baked goods crisp and brown much more easily as it is such a fine flour. Secondly it contains no gluten, a benefit for those with gluten intolerance. However, because rice flour doesn’t contain that magic ingredient that all wheat flours contain – gluten - then if you use rice flour exclusively in your baking you will have difficulty getting your product to rise if you do not use baking powder. If you don’t have an intolerance to gluten, then you can use a mixture of wheat flour or gluten flour to your recipe to help your loaf, biscuits, or cakes rise.
Let's say the recipe calls for three cups of regular flour. You might want to use one-and-a-half cups of rice flour, and the rest as regular wheat flour. Rice flour in recipes always requires extra fluid, so always make sure you have enough. You will also need more liquid in a completely gluten-free recipe than in a regular recipe. Try applesauce or fruit juice to enhance the flavour.
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