Over the summer I had been thinking about getting a bread maker and baking my own bread. It wasn’t because I have to eat gluten free, but because I wanted to stay away from the soy and other chemicals found in store bought loaves. Wheat grown in the U.S. is also largely genetically modified (GMO). As a matter of fact in the last few weeks of its growth, conventionally grown GMO wheat is sprayed with the herbicide Roundup to make the many acres of the grain evenly ripe for harvesting. Making my own bread from organic wheat, sans soy and other chemicals just sounded and tasted more appealing to me.
So, I began researching bread makers but didn’t really want to spend a lot of money on something that I wasn’t sure I would use very often. Bread makers can run from less than a hundred dollars to over three hundred!
One day I stumbled into a yard sale and, would you believe it? They had a bread maker!! They were gracious enough to let me plug it in and run it for a while to make sure it would work (which it did) and I excitedly took my new toy home, complete with the instruction manual, for less than $25! Score!
It takes me a while to incorporate new habits into my life and it took me some time to make my first loaf, but boy was I pleased. Now I am in experimentation mode and am incorporating different types of flours and other ingredients into my recipes. ( I found that adding potato flakes creates a smooth, dense texture and wonderful, full flavor.)
So, I thought I would pass along some information on different flours that are gluten free for those of you who would want to give making bread a try.
7 Great Gluten-Free Flours
by Dr. Josh Axe
- Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is a great replacement to white and wheat flour. Coconut flour nutrition is high in fiber and healthy fats, so if you’re looking to go on a lower-carb diet, want to try a Paleo or vegan diet, or hope to lose weight fast, one of the best things you can do is start using coconut flour.
The health benefits are superb. For instance, coconut flour’s high levels of healthy saturated fats are used by the body easily for energy and help support a healthy metabolism, balanced blood sugar levels and more. Coconut flour also assists in creating a healthy blood sugar level, since it carries a low glycemic load and doesn’t spike blood sugar levels. In fact, studies published in the British Journal of Nutrition show that consuming products that contain coconut flour can help lower the overall glycemic impact of the food and support stable blood sugar levels.
Coconut flour also helps with healthy digestion, has a high nutrient density and can aid in heart health, too. Studies show that coconut flour has the ability to help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and serum triglycerides in people who have raised cholesterol levels. Coconut flour has this positive effect because of its high supply of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber plus its healthy MUFA fat content.
Just like we know coconut oil has tremendous benefits, coconut flour is another great alternative you can use in baking. You can even use it to make waffles.
- Basic Gluten-Free Flour
You can also just buy general gluten-free flours. Basically, they use garbanzo bean flour, aka chickpea flour, along with sorghum flour and potato starch. Gluten-free flours actually have a great texture and work as an all-purpose baking flour. Typically, one cup of white flour or one cup of wheat flour is equivalent to one cup of most gluten-free flours. You can find gluten-free flours in almost any local grocery store.
- Sprouted Flour
Now, let’s talk a little bit about sprouted flour. This is a gluten-free, sprouted, yellow-corn flour. If you want to make homemade cornbread, this is the flour to use.
Sprouting is when you take a grain and soak it anywhere between, typically, 12 to 48 hours. That kills off the phytic acid in the flour. Phytic acid is what binds to minerals. If you buy whole-wheat bread today, you’ll notice that the package says, “contains riboflavin,” which is vitamin B2, and contains a few other vitamins. The truth is that when you consume this, you’re not absorbing those vitamins because they’re bound to phytic acid. Imagine you have all these vitamins and minerals that are all stuck together. You may consume this seemingly healthful mixture, but it just passes right through you.
However, when you sprout a grain, the process kills off that phytic acid. Now, all the minerals and vitamins are free so you can absorb and digest them. That’s why Ezekiel bread and other sprouted grain breads are better than regular breads.
If that’s not enough of reason to consider sprouted bread, please know that wheat also gives you a belly because it’s really hard to digest and can cause leaky gut symptoms and other inflammatory issues in your body.
- Spelt Flour
Spelt flour is another fantastic flour; it’s organic and vegan. Now, there’s some debate on whether or not spelt flours are gluten-free flours or not gluten-free. Either way, we know the sprouting process actually helps you digest. In fact, due in part to its fiber content, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, spelt flour bread is rapidly digestible, again touting its digestive benefits.
Not only does the dietary fiber present in spelt flour help with digestion, but it also helps the body lower cholesterol levels naturally. Fiber targets LDL (bad) cholesterol and eliminates it from the body in order to regulate the balance of fatty acids.
A 1999 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine evaluated the blood cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber. After a 51-week treatment period, where participants were given a fiber supplement daily, there were clear, positive results.
- Oat Flour
Next is gluten-free, sprouted oat flour. Many people wonder, “Are oats gluten-free?” If you purchase natural oats, they can definitely be gluten-free. The other night, I actually made homemade chocolate chip raisin oatmeal. This flour is even better than regular oats in terms of digestibility — the nutrients, including all the vitamins and minerals, you find in oats are easier to digest in gluten-free oat flour.
- Rice Flour
The next flour here is brown rice flour, another gluten-free flour. Rice flour, we know, tends to be non-allergenic for a lot of people, and most people digest it well. Even though I do like the sprouted flours more, brown rice flour is fine as well. And if you’re loathe to give up pasta, brown rice pasta are probably represent the best simulation of pasta.
- Almond Flour
Last, but not least, is finely ground almond meal flour. Nutritious almonds are packed with L-arginine, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium and potassium. Studies published in Nutrition Reviews show almonds have a consistent “bad” LDL cholesterol-lowering effect, especially in individuals with high cholesterol and diabetes.
Almonds are also a high-fiber food and contain certain types of healthy fats, and they’re also good for baking. Almond flour is great for making cookies, cakes and other baked goods. It’s also useful in different meals or even coating for things like chicken tenders.
I think you’re going to see that going gluten-free is actually easier than you think. Plus, you’re going to reap major health benefits from doing, so try these gluten-free flours to start.
Source: Gluten free flours
To your health!
Have you considered baking your own bread?
If you do bake your own, what bread maker do you have?
Please share your questions and comments below.