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Gluten Free Substitutes

You might be asking just what gluten is. Gluten is a protein that is found in certain grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Most flours used today are made from these three types of grains. Flour, which is used in baked goods, cereals or as a main ingredient in foods like gravy is full of gluten. Flour can also be found as a filler in things such as curry powder or instant coffee. Finding a commercially gluten free flour can be extremely hard that is until recently. Gluten allergies are sky rocketing. Because these allergies are coming to the forefront it is much easier to find gluten-free recipes that are delicious and easy to make.

Gluten Free Substitutes

Finding a Substitute

The gluten is what keeps cookies, cakes and pies soft, moist and held together. It makes baked goods have their texture because of the air getting trapped within the sticky boundaries of the gluten. When gluten isnít present, we need to find other substances that can form a sticky shield to hold the gasses in.

Xanthum Gum comes from the dried cell coat of a Zanthomonas campestris. Since it is made in a laboratory, xanthum gum is scientifically sticky. Guar Gum is another, more natural binder. A powder is created from the seed of the Cyamopsis tetragonolobus plant and is an excellent substitute for gluten. These alternative sticky-substitutes can easily be found in any health food store.

What Substitutes Best Fit Your Needs

Every day someone is coming up with a new way to substitute a common item into recipes that call for gluten. There are ways to substitute combinations of ingredients, cup for cup, where you would use any of the three main gluten-based flours. Letís take a look at some of the less common substitutes for gluten and open up the realm of possibilities.

Soy Flour

High in protein, soy flour has a nutty taste and a smooth texture due to the high fat content. Soy flour is usually used in combination with other flours, to make baked goods such as brownies, cookies and muffins. Since soy flour can stand up to almost every thing, it is also good to combine with nuts and or fruits.

Tapioca Flour

This light, white, very smooth flour comes from the cassava root. You might be familiar with the chewy little balls found in tapioca pudding, so you can imagine how well it reacts with baked goods. Anything that needs to be chewy, like French bread or white bread, could use this kind of flour.

Brown Rice Flour

This gluten substitute comes from unpolished brown rice. Because this ingredient contains bran, it has a higher nutritional value that traditional flour. This type of flour is used best in more dense breads.

Potato Starch Flour

Potato Starch Flour is a great substitute. The thickening that this flour provides is outstanding and because of the high starch component, the ingredients bind to it like glue. Mix a little with water first to help hydrate the granules and get the glue working, then substitute potato starch flour in your recipe, cutting the amount of flour needed in half to get the right proportions.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from gluten allergies donít despair. A little forethought is all it takes to find the right ingredient to replace the gluten ingredients. As always be sure to consult with your family doctor before going on a gluten free diet. Just remember a gluten free diet is a tasty diet with a little insight and imagination.

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